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On November 20, 2016, Kat commented on Duolingo: Working for your Education :

This company has a very unique model and also a very problematic one–I echo Dan’s fears that the translations might not be enough and wonder if they have released any metrics showcasing their accuracy. I also wonder if writing translations is the best way to learn a language, as it keeps you only partially immersed in the new language and mostly immersed in thinking of your own language (which would be what you’d be translating). Not all translations are straightforward vocabulary issues, too, and often involve a high degree of familiarity with idioms, etc. Also I wonder how it could improve speaking skills rather than just written. Maybe Duolingo should focus more on the educational aspect and maximize revenue by being a low-cost alternative to Rosetta Stone, but not free.

On November 20, 2016, Kat commented on From Paintbrush to Pixels :

This is a really interesting topic.
When I was an art major in college, I had to write papers about and reference pieces of art that I did not always have access to. High quality digital photos really can do amazing things for artists and researchers around the globe. However, there is an aspect of art, even paintings, that doesn’t yet translate to the screen. The technique of glazing with oils, for example, which many of the great painting masters used, involves using the luminescence of the white canvas to create an almost “glowing” effect, especially seen on skin and backgrounds in paintings. It is very reliant on the lighting chosen by the museum. I have yet to see a photo that replicates this effect quite right, and indeed the lighting of the canvas in a photo can completely change one’s interpretation of the tone and technique. But I am optimistic that the technology will continue to improve and I think it’s a really great thing that so much art is now globally accessible.

On November 20, 2016, Kat commented on L’Oreal: Transforming beauty with technology :

Very good post! I enjoyed reading about the responses L’Oreal has had to the changing digital landscape and that they are a pioneer in their industry. I too echo the above comments and wonder how much impact their app has had on sales–I imagine it has definitely helped people to become much more educated about what L’Oreal has to offer at the very least.
I wonder if L’Oreal has opportunities to involve other digital technologies such as VR and augmented reality into apps that allow you to physically “try on” makeup rather than just seeing an image. I think they could do some really cool things with that, since the application of makeup and beauty products is so experiential.

On November 20, 2016, Kat commented on Future of Clothing = Renting? :

Really cool image of the dry cleaning–I didn’t realize just how huge an operation that would have to be!

I’ve found RTR to be a fascinating business. I’ve used the service a few times for weddings and formals, and it’s really great, especially because they send you more than one size just in case. It’s strongly targeted at a younger demographic, such as a college-aged or young professionals, who provide a huge opportunity for brand marketing. Many of these consumers haven’t yet tried certain designers as the prices were prohibitive. But by getting to try the high-fashion brands at a lower rental price, these young women become fans of certain designers and build brand equity, which I imagine helps sales of the brands eventually.
I completely agree with your ideas for further digital growth. I also wonder what you think about growing into more physical places as well. RTR has a few store fronts, such as in Chicago and NYC, and also go to colleges and other places for special events. For example, at my college, RTR had a few events where we got to try the dresses on and rent on the spot for a discount. I think a selective targeted growth strategy in the physical space can continue to help them to attract even more customers.

Great post!
It’s been interesting seeing Nintendo embrace a shift–however slowly–to the mobile market. Their core belief was always hardware first, with consumers only able to play the Nintendo IP on Nintendo hardware. Mario I think will be one of the first, if not the first, times that you can play a completely Nintendo-owned IP game on a non-Nintendo system (Pokemon is not completely owned by Nintendo, and actually had a few mobile games available before Pokemon Go, such as Pokemon Shuffle). I echo Sarah in wondering how the mobile Mario game will do; I imagine quite well. They have the full support of Apple’s marketing, as the Mario game was announced at an Apple conference and has a key placement in the App Store, along with an unusual (for the App Store) preorder feature. I wonder if Nintendo will go the way of Sega and shift to a software/IP only company. Sega shifted to a focus in mobile games in recent years, and hasn’t produced any hardware in over a decade.

You bring up some very interesting initiatives that Mars is putting in place in order to combat the effects of climate change. I think the genome project has a good chance of being effective. I recently read about a similar project undertaken for wheat which has had some early successes. The genes/polygenes that help with drought resistance have been identified for the most part–although the factors which control this are very complicated (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3844267/). Companies have begun to develop new promising strains of wheat which have performed well in tests, such as the Bentley wheat variety developed by OSU (http://www.agweb.com/article/hungry-cattle-help-osu-researchers-discover-drought-resistant-wheat-naa-sonja-begemann/).
I think that investing even more into the genome research is the best short-term risk solution for Mars to pursue, as it will be increasingly difficult to curb the effects of climate change despite Mars’ best intentions.

I hope that the work that Mars is putting into place also can trickle down to other chocolate makers like Mondelez (Cadbury), Nestlé, and Hershey’s to save chocolate for all of us!

On November 5, 2016, Kat commented on The Battle at the Top of the World :

This was a very interesting post about a burgeoning issue I did not know much about. It’s a troubling matter as it is a company that is actually benefiting from the effects of climate change.
I wonder–will other industries begin to take advantage of this passage soon? For example, will trade/shipping start to utilize these new shipping routes, and what will be the effect? Should it be stopped or should we benefit from this (with hopefully some restrictions)? If these routes are used effectively, they could actually reduce shipping distance, which would decrease fuel consumption, which ultimately, ironically enough, has a positive effect on climate change.

Loved this great summary of H&M’s practices and movement towards sustainability.

The fast fashion industry does seem like a tricky one to implement sustainability in as their business model requires customers to purchase tons of cheap clothing often. The recycling point you bring up is a great idea to help alleviate this issue. I actually was at an H&M in Boston the other day and noticed a clothing recycling bin. I had never seen this in any of their stores before, so I just took a look at their website. The recycling program is a newer initiative and has already had really strong results: “Since we launched our garment collecting initiative in 2013, we have gathered more than 32,000 tonnes of garments to give them a new life – that’s more fabric than in 100 million t-shirts” (http://about.hm.com/en/sustainability/get-involved/recycle-your-clothes.html). I think it is key that they continue to implement this program and educate more consumers about it.

On November 5, 2016, Kat commented on Impossible Foods: How a Burger Will Save the World :

Great post!
I once read about Impossible Foods and thought it sounded incredible. I really wanted to try one, but, of course, as you point out, they have no strong distribution network yet. I think the key to mass adoption will be for people to just get to try it and see for themselves how much like a burger it is. I wonder if they could start by doing traveling samples/taste tests, perhaps at food festivals in NYC for starters, or at food truck events? I feel like the audiences at those types of places will be more adventurous than the average consumer and can be the early adopters and brand advocates. I think they should target mostly the meat-eating crowd rather than vegetarians/vegans as those will be the key switchers needed to accomplish their climate change mission.

On November 5, 2016, Kat commented on Coca cola responses to threat of climate change :

This was a great summary of Coca-Cola’s strategy toward and policies about climate change. I definitely agree with your assessment about using responsible marketing/advertising in the future. The case we read for this assignment noted that climate change was especially resonant with the younger/millennial generation, which I think presents Coca-Cola with a huge opportunity for both increased sales and leadership of climate change education. I wonder if there is a way to use any of Coca-Cola’s typical advertising campaigns, such as the polar bears you used in your post image, to educate the public? Polar bears are, of course, highly threatened by the effects of climate change (due to melting arctic ice), so I feel that they could be used for this type of campaign as well.