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Thanks for your insights on “precision farming.” I find the topic to be very interesting. A close friend of mine introduced me to it a couple years ago, and it was surprising to hear that it is still in its growth phase. Like you alluded in your descriptions of how the roles of sales representatives have evolved, I imagine one of the largest hurdles is educating the consumers or the farmers. For an industry that requires such large initial investments, it makes sense that they would be hesitant to change. Luckily, the concept itself should yield some very specific data on how crop yields have improved with the adoption of this technology. It will be interesting to see how much longer the external factors you mentioned will slow growth.

On November 20, 2016, John commented on Garmin- A Tale of Playing Catch and Copycat :

MC, thanks for your insights on Garmin. I have to admit that this is a brand that we are quite familiar with in the military. A Garmin wristband with GPS technology has been a part of our uniform for the past ten years. Interestingly enough though, I am not aware of Garmin ever receiving a government contract for this gear. Rather, Soldiers either purchased the gear themselves or units purchased it with discretionary funds. I’m afraid this is just another example of a Garmin missed opportunity.

I completely agree with your idea of Garmin integrating themselves within the car industry. There is certainly a technological gap between our smartphones and our vehicles, and Garmin has much to gain from focusing future innovations on this area. In fact, I am quite surprised why their competitors haven’t done this already.

Thanks for your insights on Uniplaces. I was unfamiliar with the company, so it was interesting to learn about its customer value proposition. I agree that there was much value to be provided; however, I was immediately concerned about liability and its ability to sustain a certain degree of quality during rapid growth. It seems as though Uniplaces was created to mitigate the anxiety produced from moving to an unknown place. During times like this, safety is generally the top priority. With Uniplaces primarily being a software company, I cannot see how they could possibly scale their physical presence fast enough to mitigate the safety risks and sustain the quality they promise. I am concerned that they are just a few incidents away from having a tarnished brand.

On November 20, 2016, John commented on Cinemark: On the Way Up…and Down :

Zach, thanks for sharing your insights on Cinemark. I found it interesting that their app is in its infancy. Like you mentioned, an application will be key in increasing customer loyalty. Piriya just wrote an interesting piece on the hospitality industry and how they have broken down the “customer journey” to find additional ways to create value. In addition to greater investments in applications, I think this approach would also be equally as valuable to the movie industry. Whenever I go to the movies, I generally go out to dinner as well. I wonder if there is value in Cinemark or other movie companies integrating with local restaurants. Instead of adding to a customer’s entertainment experience, integrate with other companies to recreate the experience in entirety.

On November 20, 2016, John commented on AccorHotels: Battling against Online Travel Agents :

Piriya, thanks for your insights on Accor Hotels. I really appreciated the background information on how Accor and other companies within the hospitality industry are dissecting the “customer journey” and attempting to use digital technology to influence them along the way. I previously envisioned it in more of a retroactive manner–new technology being introduced and then companies looking to incorporate it into its business model to add value. Accor’s proactive approach of breaking down the process and looking for technology to transform the customer experience seems far more innovative and efficient.

Though I appreciate their strategy, I am concerned about Accor’s tactical decision of allowing independent hotels to list on their website. Customers will certainly appreciate the added value of lower prices, but Accor will still find itself in low margin pricing wars with these other independent hotels. In addition, I am afraid that Accor will never be compete with the network effect these OTA’s are already benefiting from. Perhaps, this investment would have been better spent investing in innovative methods to create additional value other than lower prices. It reminded me of Marriot’s work with their Courtyard brand. They added a bistro across all of their Courtyard hotels, which added a unique, affordable, and consistent experience that I myself have found worth the additional value.

On November 7, 2016, x96791 commented on Climate Change Challenges Brewing for Starbucks :

Thanks for sharing. I also agree that Starbucks should do more, but I struggle with how to provide adequate incentives to expedite their progress. As of now, it appears that Starbucks is mainly improving to protect their investments, rather than acting to decrease their contributions to climate change. In addition to their LEED initiative, I think it would be interesting for them to take a look at their emissions created from transportation. Perhaps if this was a priority, they could adjust their delivery plan to mitigate the effects. Going back to my original point on incentives though, I’m afraid Starbucks would be hesitant to make such an investment unless it directly contributed to a decrease in costs.

On November 7, 2016, x96791 commented on Winning the Beer Game :

Apek, thanks for sharing. It was very interesting to read how climate change has already created a high risk water environment for about 10% of AB breweries. The simple example of conflict that was provided at one of their breweries is something that many are estimating will continue to occur at an increasing rate. In fact, a recent article published by CNN drew a correlation between the current war in Syria and a drought triggered by climate change ( I’m afraid that instances such as this will become the norm unless all parties, to include both the private and public sector, come together to provide meaningful and rapid change.

Corina, thanks so much for sharing. Its reassuring to see leaders, like Pope Francis, taking bold stances to support efforts to mitigate climate change. There are few leaders with the social and worldwide capital of Pope Francis. His support along with the Catholic Church was imperative to the cause. In 2014, the U.S. Defense Department released a paper on the anticipated effects of climate change. In this paper, they concluded that global instability, conflict, and hunger were all likely outputs of climate change ( With such drastic effects, its only logical that the Pope would be compelled to get involved; not doing so would arguably be neglectful.

On November 7, 2016, x96791 commented on A Melting World: Ben & Jerry’s in the Age of Climate Change :

It was very interesting to read about a Ben & Jerry’s and their dedicated approach to tackling climate change, especially since they are not one of the contributors to the climate change problem. It was admirable how the company has remained focused on the issues throughout the years, despite its original lack popularity. Their “endangered pints list” was one of the most clever methods of educating consumers that I have read about.

From a revenue perspective, I think its a bold assumption to assume that ice creams sales will go up with climate change. In 2004, the U.S. Defense Department released guidance on their estimations of some of the effects of climate change; global instability and conflict being some of the major outcomes ( I’m not convinced that the increase in ice cream sales will outweigh the effects of global instability.

On November 7, 2016, x96791 commented on Can Chemical Manufacturers Take the Heat? :

Brian, I couldn’t agree more. There seems to be pattern of shortsightedness by many of our public companies. As you mentioned, the inevitability of future, more stringent and all-encompassing regulations and social pressure is high, yet many of our public companies, like Dow, are still setting small goals to provide the facade of progress and not really working towards a resolution for the root of the problem. In my opinion, it would be unwise to assume that public companies would sacrifice shareholder value when there is not an incentive to do so. For this reason, I believe the government must fill this void and provide the proper incentives to push companies like Dow in the right direction. Thanks for sharing.