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On November 20, 2016, KG commented on Finding Nemo :

LS – great post and very interesting application of tech along supply chains. I’m curious if/how/to what extent it has gained traction across various groups. At what scale are they operating? Have fishermen bought into the system? Is their connectivity reliable enough to load information accurately and consistently? What about the other players in the supply chain? This seems like a very high value tool, but also one where incentivizing everyone to take the time to use it would require strong understanding of that value well–not always an easy message. Would love to learn more!


Super fascinating post Will. I had no idea that this Mirai source code was freely available. Knowing that now, I’m surprised incidents like the October attacks are not more common. I’m glad to see that google is taking action and empowering others to do so with Jigsaw and Project Sheild, and I especially appreciated your assessment as to their incentives in doing so. It’s a great example of a company taking a long-game, holistic view of a problem, even when it is expensive and won’t show direct, short term payoffs.

I’m curious as to whether Google is also looking into the “coordination” elements of DDoS attacks. How does that coordination happen, especially at the scale we saw in November? Is it something Google can learn to identify and predict?

On November 20, 2016, KG commented on Optimizing the Happiest Place on Earth :

This is awesome! I can imagine so many additional efficiencies this creates in addition to customer satisfaction: staffing allocations across the park; food inventory and waste reduction; pricing during off-days or seasons; facilities maintenance; programming during slow or frustrating times of day; restaurant turnover time; or adaptation to trends in customer demand for various rides or characters. I’m sure those are just a few in how this could be utilized to lower costs and improve quality. Very cool to see TOM principles combine with data in such a comprehensive way.

On November 20, 2016, KG commented on Big Data Can Cure Cancer :

Really interesting topic Anton, thanks for sharing. I agree with MB’s points (who is MB???) on privacy, but I think if we are able to address those concerns, this digitization of health records would have monumental impact.

You have some great ideas for how to pressure the system to move this direction, but I’m skeptical about whether this will go far enough to fully align all the players with so many differences state to state, provider to provider, insurer to insurer, customer to customer. This is an area where I think government could be best suited to enter and align incentives, but as we’ve seen the Affordable Care Act doesn’t get us there and is likely to be changed.

Another question I have is who will have access to data once aggregated–ie who owns it, as we discussed in class. In order to be of widespread use toward cancer cures, for example, it would be great for any and all researchers in the medical community to have this access. But back to the patient privacy concerns, ideally data will not leak beyond individuals and their providers.

Super interesting Alex. I’d never considered how learning materials could be democratized through digitization. Curriculum decisions more in the hands of teachers seems like a great way to modernize dated systems and approaches. A bit tangential, but I’m curious whether this will reach its full potential given the volume of formal testing that teachers are pressured to test to. Will they have the power to get creative and iterate when the pressures are so high to teach to the tests?

I am excited that Pearson is being challenged by a more competitive landscape with these smaller players approaching education differently. While I agree with your recommendations for Pearson to pursue scale against these competitors, a denser market will surely raise the bar for modernizing education all around.

On November 5, 2016, Kristen Gendron commented on PADI and Climate Change: Staying Afloat or Drowning? :

I love this post. In talking about climate change, it is easiest to focus on impacts on people, land, or sea levels as a whole; it is hard to remember that there is a whole ecosystem under the sea that is extremely vulnerable to this trend.

I agree that extensive travel contributes to the problem, and that ideally we should all be more conscious of the environmental impact of recreational activities. But given that education is a huge barrier to all behavior change, isn’t it better that we know more about the world we live in to be inspired to help protect it, and share that passion with others? I think this relates to the debate about zoo’s, which are controversial in keeping animals in enclosed and in varying degrees of habitat quality. On the other hand, is it better that millions of children and families who visit them gain an appreciation for the natural world?

I’m not convinced what the right answer is to these questions. But in the meantime, I think your recommendations are spot on: if PADI, operators, and divers can become more aware, we can become part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

On November 5, 2016, Kristen Gendron commented on Hershey’s and the Extra Bitter Future of Chocolate :

Really interesting Justin, thanks for sharing. I agree Hershey is taking important steps here. I was actually involved in exploring a partnership with them that fits into your example of Structural Innovation initiatives. I was impressed by their progressive views on working with farmers and suppliers. I wrote about it over at “The missing link to the last mile: Overcoming communication barriers to climate resilience”

On November 5, 2016, Kristen Gendron commented on Caffeine Headache: Starbucks Responds to a Growing Threat :

Zach, I really appreciated your insightful assessment of Starbucks moving forward. It struck me that despite being quite progressive in their overall strategy, staying true to it is something that needs to be a priority integrated into every part of the business. While I like to think I would, I’m really not sure I would’ve considered the energy impact of hot and cold products. I wonder if this was similarly an oversight, or a conscious tradeoff by the company.

My impression is that Starbucks invests in relationships with its supply chain, but it will be interesting to see how effective they are at encouraging them to implement the findings coming out of the research center. In my experience, that change requires a significant amount of education, behavior change, and/or financial incentives. Do they have the relationships and infrastructure to make that happen on the ground? Will they use a carrot or stick approach? It will be exciting to keep an eye on the progress they make and how.

On November 5, 2016, Kristen Gendron commented on Is it all a Hoax? The GOP and Climate Change :

Super interesting and relevant reading for the week, Clemens. I assumed that, while I think the party is extremely behind on acknowledging this issue, that it was at least progressing in the right direction. I hadn’t realized that it is actually regressing from more progressive stances in the past.

I’d be curious to see how much of this is “marketing.” For example, where do Republican congressmen fall in votes for climate-related legislation? The fact that few of them are making public statements rejecting climate change gives me some hope that they are acting more rationally than some of their leadership’s statements suggest.

I’m also interested in your opinions about what other thought leaders or the public can do to influence the situation. Your recommendations for the party are excellent. How to we get them to that point?

Tuyee, thanks for sharing about the details of Neste’s plans for sustainable sourcing in West Africa. While I saw their work in action in Ghana, I didn’t realize that it was part of such a strategic plan that I find impressively comprehensive.

I just finished another post, “Chocapocalypse: Is Chocolate Endangered?” about Mars’ sustainability strategy facing similar challenges to Nestle here. It is interesting to compare the plans of two huge purchasers of West African cocoa. It seems that Neste’s plan is far more detailed and farmer-focused. On one hand, I can see that being as specific publicly as Nestle is here could be a corporate liability if the company is not seriously committed to meeting these goals, but to me it shows a more thoughtful assessment of the problem and a more strategic long-term plan.

On November 5, 2016, Kristen Gendron commented on Chocapocalypse: Is Chocolate Endangered? :

Ashely, super interesting to look at Mars’ initiatives to respond to climate change. I’m surprised at their goals and the results of their efforts to date.

I think you are spot on in your recommendation for Mars to focus on smoothing sourcing by investing in farmer resilience. In Ghana, the price per bag of cocoa is set by a government-run Cocoa Board because it is such a key export for the country. So price volatility to farmers or companies is set more reliably than with other crops, but there is huge variability in whether farmers’ cocoa will actually meet quality standards for that price. Purchasing clerks from the Board throughout the country evaluate whether each bag of cocoa is adequately dried, mostly whole-bean, uniform in size, etc. When farmers have limited knowledge of best practices, or limited access to improved farming tools, their income, and the volume of product for purchasers like Mars, plummet significantly.

I was disappointed that improving these practices was not a major part of Mars’ Sustainability plan as you recommended. The plan seemed limited to focusing on energy and process efficiencies. Not only does this overlook a major concern in cocoa sourcing, I was not impressed that even these goals only saw 5% and 18% improvements in an eight year period.

As an excessive consumer of chocolate, I hope that Mars can push themselves toward more holistic goals, and more ambitious execution of them in the future, for all our sakes…