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On November 20, 2016, kamoy commented on Education: One size no longer has to fit all :

Thanks for a very interesting post, Gng!

While the adaptive/customizable feature of the software is attractive, as you noted, this advantage comes at the cost of non-cognitive social skill development. The day-to-day engagement with teachers and other students is an often overlooked but essential component of student development. I wonder if there is a technological solution that can offer the best of both worlds – more social development via an adaptable platform.

On November 20, 2016, kamoy commented on Internet of Commercial Buildings: Changes at Johnson Controls :

Doug – thanks for this great post!

As a real estate investor, I’ve certainly been interested in seeing how technological advancements can drive operational efficiency throughout a building’s life cycle. As I was reading about the rise and fall of Panoptix, I was reminded of a company that I think it somewhat similar. BuilDATAnalytics uses a cloud-based software platform that allows construction stakeholders (owners, contractors and construction managers, etc) to have access, from anywhere in the world, to the same real-time information about inventory received, completed construction activities and contracting dollars earned [1]. The idea here is to equip construction stakeholders with the transparency needed to maximize efficiency at construction sites. When considering the root causes of the downfall of Panoptix, I wonder if revamping it so that the social/community component is removed would increase viability. Perhaps its value proposition could, similar to BuilDATAnalytics, just focus on offering users access to building operations information on their own respective projects, rather than the consolidation of various project information.

[1] http://ctbim.com/#sec-about

On November 20, 2016, kamoy commented on Domino’s: Pizza Giant, or Tech Startup? :

Thanks for this great post – Your description of the rise and fall of Dominos over these last few years is very interesting and, frankly, almost reads like a pleasantly-condensed HBS case!

I hadn’t realized just how big of a role online sales/technology has played in the revamp of the Dominos business and operating models. It is interesting to see that while they were first movers in the online pizza order/delivery model space, they were not able to create enough of a competitive edge to isolate competitors such as Papa John’s. I would imagine in the ever-evolving world of technology, any promise of a long-lasting first mover advantage is contingent upon the speed with which the company can innovate and execute new digital advancements. The drone delivery system sounds quite promising, particularly from a labor costs perspective. However, as drone delivery is still a relatively new frontier across all industries, it may be too early to determine whether moving in this direction would be an economically viable investment.

On November 20, 2016, kamoy commented on Sephora: Bringing digital into brick & mortar stores :

Thanks for this great post!

As shoppers today trend towards purchasing merchandise online instead of in-store, it has become increasingly important for brick and mortar retailers to incorporate digital technologies to enhance the in-store shopping experience. Given the importance of in-store tests for make-up wearers, Sephora, almost by default, has a competitive edge over retailers like Macy’s or Nordstrom when it comes to in-store foot traffic. As a frequent Sephora shopper, I think incorporating technologies like Color IQ and Pocket Contour makes a ton of sense. My only concern operationally is whether these technological investments in stores will truly yield an increase in sales. While great for initial product discovery, once a shopper discovers their preferred product, they can simply replenish products through online purchases. I would recommend Sephora consider incorporating POS technologies to allow for more efficient operations – for example quicker payment processing and inventory and staff management.

Thanks for the interesting post, Jenna!

The impact of technology on print media has certainly been transformative for the industry over the last few decades. The big question is, what’s next? As you mentioned in your last paragraph, there are many who seem to believe virtual realty journalism will be trending over the next one to two years. It seems some major news publishers have already begun betting on VR, creating “VRrooms” that offer 360-degree videos that can be viewed via smartphone app or Google Cardboard headset. Most notably, last Fall the NYTimes sent out one million Google Cardboard headsets to Sunday print subscribers in an effort to encourage use of its VRroom [1]. Initial users seem very satisfied with the quality of their VR news experience, but it may still be hard to justify significant investment in VR for now, as it may still be too early to gauge the longevity and feasibility of this platform.

[1] http://www.niemanlab.org/2016/03/report-2016-will-be-critical-for-growth-of-vr-in-journalism/

On November 7, 2016, KSmalling commented on W(h)ining about Climate Change: Sula Wines :

I really enjoyed this piece, Tarunika! Thanks for sharing.

As a millennial with a pretty strong affinity for wine culture, I am pleasantly surprised to learn of the booming Indian wine industry. It is certainly disappointing to see how climate change may impede Sula’s ability to profitably serve the demand it has effectively created. I imagine India is not alone and many comparably-successful wine-producing regions are also being challenged by unfavorable climatic trends.

I really like Crystal’s point – taking a page out of the Indigo playbook and exploring ways to grow weather-resistant grapes. Just building on that, I wonder if it would be to Sula’s benefit to shake up the traditional vineyard-based growth/harvesting model by transitioning to greenhouse grapes. Through the greenhouse model, Sula (and perhaps other wineries in similar situations) could invest in the technologies required to replicate the ideal weather conditions grapes require within the protective frame of a greenhouse. Human-regulated water systems could offset erratic rain patterns, thus maximizing growth potential and overall grape yield. I imagine this might require substantial upfront costs, but considering the nature and imminence of this climatic threat, it may be a worth-while investment.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this!

On November 7, 2016, KSmalling commented on Submerged Subways: How Will the MTA Adapt to Rising Seas? :

This is a great piece, JFW! Thanks for sharing.

As a native New Yorker, I have been a faithful MTA passenger for several years, including the darker post-Sandy days. Also stemming from global warming are increased instances of super-winter storms dumping several feet of snow for weeks and weeks in the city. Though the damage is typically not quite as devastatingly crippling as the damage from Sandy, with each storm the city subway system still suffers substantially with more instances of delays, mechanical issues, and interrupted service. This has a trickle-down effect as various professionals who work in the city and rely on the subway as their main form of transportation are forced to stay home, thus compromising business operations for a number of companies. Furthermore, the trains become more subject to wear and tear from increased exposure to icy rails, precipitation and moisture.

As we continue to experience more and more intense winter storms, sweeping, permanent changes need to be implemented sooner rather than later.

Super interesting article, Ana! Thanks for sharing.

As a real estate investor and native New Yorker, I have been quite a fan of Related’s sustainability efforts through the Hudson Yards project. The good news is it seems green development is becoming an industry standard among comparable Class-A and luxury residential developments in urban markets (eg. Veronic Mainetti’s Sorgente), as luxury tenants increasingly demand eco-friendly spaces [1]. In those instances, not only does sustainable development help drive operational savings, but it can yield premium rents/prices, helping push top-line growth.

In regards to green retrofitting – I’m definitely huge fan. Virtually all of the workforce housing redevelopment projects my team and I have worked on in the South Bronx incorporate some sort of sustainable renovation solution. However, unlike, the luxury market, many of our tenants are not eco-conscious thus while while we may gain some cost-savings, limited upside on the top-line puts downward pressure on the overall yield on cost. Building on the momentum from Bloomberg’s book, I would be interested in seeing more regulatory engagement on this, providing affordable housing developers with incentives to allow for more economically-viable green retrofitting in underserved urban communities.

Would love to pick your brain on this sometime when you’re free!

[1] http://nreionline.com/finance-investment/sustainability-new-norm-real-estate-development-and-investing

On November 7, 2016, KSmalling commented on Thinking Outside the Box :

Hi, ijkijk – This is a really interesting and well-researched article – thanks for sharing!

As I read the article, like “DF”, I glanced over at my personal pile of opened packages from this week’s round of deliveries and my heart sank a bit. I like the idea of somehow shifting the burden of sustainable packaging from distributors to consumers. Similar to how various state legislations have mandated the increased use of reusable bags in supermarkets and other local retailers, perhaps a system could be put in place to encourage the use of reusable packaging materials, direct from the consumer.

On November 7, 2016, KSmalling commented on To Shop, or Not to Shop: Depends on the Weather :

This is a super interesting article – thanks for sharing! I agree with CC’s comment above. Focusing on driving online sales rather than brick-and-mortar can help mitigate the high inventory holding costs in the physical stores and reduce the impact of any lead time and/or supply chain bottlenecks.

I have become quite interested in the intersection of the apparel industry and climate change. I was surprised to learn that second only to oil, the $3 trillion apparel industry is the second largest polluter in the world, contributing a whopping 10% of global C02 emissions [1]. Unfortunately, in addition to variables such as the use of cheap synthetic fibers and massive deforestation, the consumption of fast fashion garments is a key source of many apparel-related carbon emissions, averaging 400% per garment per year [2]. As more and more fast fashion consumers turn fashion into a “throw away commodity”, the environment suffers. To combat this, I would challenge Macy’s to incorporate some sort of recycling program that would encourage their fast fashion buyers to recycle their unwanted clothes. Separately, I would challenge Macy’s to build on its existing efforts to combat climate change by partnering with environment-focused apparel brands (brands that primarily use environmentally-conscious fabrics such as linen) and featuring these brands in flagship stores. Through these partnerships, Macy’s could establish a “green” marketing campaign to help rally consumer enthusiasm away from more traditional, yet harmful, materials such as cotton to more environmentally-friendly materials.

[1] http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2015/12/03/making-climate-change-fashionable-the-garment-industry-takes-on-global-warming/#44690a3b778a

[2] Ibid.