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On November 17, 2016, JS commented on The New York Times in the digitalization era :

Nice post about the issues facing the printed media industry today as digital media takes hold.

While I agree that NYT faces headwinds regarding digitalization, they also have major opportunities in regards to how they capture new marketshare, given their innovations in the space. NYT has been at the forefront in the industry of creating interactive news, especially during the election. The quality of how they present information is unmatched and the ease in which they can produce it is fairly remarkable.

I wonder if they could partly transform their business, as competitors have done, in better integrating native ads into their website and increasing the value of the ads they serve. Using their expertise in digital content creation, they could help brands make interactive, relevant and useful ads on their website, which they could charge a significant premium for over traditional online marketing. They could use this revenue to offset free users of the website and hopefully make ads better so that users would be more willing to delist the site from adblockers.

Only time will tell, but NYT does have a few significant competitive advantages which I feel could carry them forward into the future.

On November 17, 2016, JS commented on Motivate: Spinning Today for a Better Tomorrow :

Really cool post Joanna. As a former citibike user, I loved the system for those last mile commutes where walking took too long but the train was too out of the way and costly. I think there is a lot of potential for expansion in NYC, however I wonder how useful it would be in commuter based cities and especially how it would influence the wealth divide in the USA.

Citibike only launched in downtown and midtown manhattan, where some of the richest, youngest and whitest New Yorkers lived, and expansion has only moved towards Astoria (trendy part of queens), Upper East and West Side and parts of trendy Brooklyn. I think that as a result of the program, NYC has not properly tried to service the outer- borough middle and lower economic classes and has not serviced the vast majority of minorities in the city.

In addition, in cities such as LA, Denver, Atlanta, we will most likely see these systems only in city centers similar to manhattan NYC, servicing urban youth.

My issue with all of this, is that if these systems are going to be publicly funded or at least subsidized, are we effectively subsidizing the rich at the expense of the poor who can not use these systems. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t create these systems as a result, however I think it is a debate worth having as bikeshare’s continue to growth in the USA.

On November 17, 2016, JS commented on Food for thought: Should you buy a smart refrigerator? :

Hi Scuba Steve,

Great posts really showing the potential amazing benefits and risks around IoT and in this case, a fridge that costs 5-10x the price of a non-IoT fridge.

In terms of security, Samsung could create a closed system, or an intranet in which only you hold your data, and any data given to external sources would be token-ized, similar to that of apple pay. However, using this type of closed source system would exclude partners of Samsung to utilize data, and would close down the ecosystem to either Samsung products or products made with the Samsung system integrated into it. Apple has gone this route with it’s “Homekit” system and as a result, their ecosystem is tiny, especially compared to Google’s Home ecosystem which contains far more brands and products.

Do you think this closed ecosystem is the future, due to security concerns or a more open one where security might be more suspect. If it is closed, can Samsung really play in this IoT space, since they cannot make EVERY product someone might want connected to their house. However, if they lose control or are unable to gain market share in their ecosystem, they might have to pay to join someone else’s closed ecosystem and of course risk the other ecosystem not letting them in or dropping them at some point.

I am very interested in seeing how the IoT ecosystem is created over the next few years and how Samsung and their fridge will play a part!

On November 17, 2016, JS commented on Tencent’s Wechat: The end of small apps? :

I really enjoyed reading this since it shows a major difference in the Chinese and the rest-of-the-world app ecosystems. I have noticed the exact OPPOSITE trend in the US app ecosystem, as the trend now is for apps to break apart and become simpler. For example, Facebook separated its messenger app from its main app, Foursquare broke apart its review app from its social check-in app (Swarm) and Google now has about 5 apps for messaging.

To me, it is fascinating how China and its consumers have preferences so different than that of the rest of the world, where certain apps and companies (baidu, alibaba ect…) gain nearly monopoly marketshare while international entrants fail at spectacular rates. Conversely, these Chinese apps and companies have barely made a dent in western market culture and sales.

I wonder then to what extent wechat could expand outside of China, or if that is the only frontier for them. Could they find a way to be the seamless, paypal, venmo, messenger, yelp, groupon for the world?

On November 17, 2016, JS commented on Macy’s in the Digital Age :

Awesome article! As someone who worked for a subsidiary of Macy’s, I know first hand how many opportunities this legacy department store has for innovation and you touched on basically all of them!

In terms of RFID, one interesting thing is that the technology has been around for decades, and Walmart tried to get their suppliers do move from UPC to RFID tracking almost a decade ago but failed spectacularly due to the price per RFID chip. Its interesting that we are now at a critical point where the cost of an RFID tag is under 1 cent, down 90+% over the last decade. Something to consider next time you think about adoption of existing technologies would be why now, and why not earlier? There is also still tremendous vendor resistance to RFID due to their implementation costs, especially among some old school fashion brands, so how might Macy’s convince them to change?

I also liked your three main points on what Macy’s can do going forward to drive sales and customer interaction. Personalization will be huge over the next few years in getting the right product, size and assortment to the customer, where at what speed and how he or she wants.

On November 7, 2016, jsamakow commented on Climate Change Delivers New Opportunities for Maersk Line :

I love how this post took a counter approach unlike most of your classmates, showing how global warming can be useful for certain industries and companies such as Maersk. I think that the opportunity here is excellent, and I like that you dutifully mentioned the possible issues with this strategy such as needing specialized hulls and icebreaker ships, as well as the heightened risks with ice navigation. I also liked how you really looked at the financials of the company in order to see why the time is nearly right for this opportunity.

My only question is why they need to be a first mover in this space at all, and could they simply be a high quality 2nd mover, similar in some ways to Apple. Instead of being the first to invest in the area, look at how others are succeeding or failing to ship in the icy waters, and then use the extensive war chest to create a strategy that would be able to ship in this route better than anyone else. It might be wise for them to stay out of this sector until then. After all, do you even remember MP3 players before the Ipod?

On November 7, 2016, jsamakow commented on China’s War on Pollution: Spotlight on Water :

I love hearing about what governments, especially in developing countries, are doing about the most powerful environmental-economic concepts facing the world today… the tragedy of the commons. Your example is a great example of where private companies do not have to pay for their own externalities due to a lack of enforcement mechanisms, leading to resource loss and destruction of the environment.

I am glad that the Chinese government is starting to take such a hard stand against water pollution, however I do wonder if BEW is simply going to treat the symptoms rather than cure the main issue which is pollution by industry. BEW is obviously incentivized based on how much water they can treat, so they are actually incentivized to NOT have industry reduce their pollution, and in fact it would be beneficial for it to get worse, so they would be able to continue to ramp up production and start new projects.

I have taken (one to many) political science classes on regulation and have seen first had other examples of how incentives of pollution cleaners have been misaligned leading to regulatory capture and eventually massive waste in spending and resources. I hope that China does not let this happen here and enforces reduction in water pollution, and controls BEW’s political and economic influence.

On November 7, 2016, jsamakow commented on VIPshop: Combat climate change in China e-commerce :

I really liked this post as I didn’t even know that this company exists! I wonder though how important green warehouses are to their value prop. Warehouses typically need to be as cost efficient as possible, so beyond easy and NPV positive expenses such as installing LED bulbs (as we learned a long time ago in FIN), do you think they are enacting any green policies that do not necessarily help their bottom line along with the environment. That is, are they dealing with the externalities of their distribution network? I like your idea about creating more systemic programs such as recycling and outsourcing computer power during busy times. The first is a great marketing vehicle while the second reduces waste and power consumption. They could make a big impact in China with getting more people to recycle!

On November 6, 2016, jsamakow commented on Red going Green: Coca-Cola’s Environmental Initiatives :

Very interesting post Timi. I do wonder how the location’s of their plants will affect their investments going into the future. For example, my guess is that the costs of water recycling outside of NYC are far greater than any benefit, compared to plants in the middle east. Are they doing anything with renewable energy as well? Its crazy how much energy they use on production, I wonder if they have significant shipping costs with their global distribution network that could lead to high carbon emissions as well. I really like your idea about coke needing to be on the forefront of recycling, especially in developing countries where recycling is not as common. Great job and very interesting read!