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On November 20, 2016, kimber commented on Greetings from Hallmark :

Thanks for the post – I am somewhat of a greeting card enthusiast (!) and I totally buy in to the idea of using greeting cards to spread cheer! Highlighted in the article below is that consumers have an immense number of options when choosing a greeting card (I’m always so overwhelmed looking through a wall of cards inside a store). In this way, I think it becomes even more critical to have cards as customized as possible so as to differentiate them from the sea of otherwise substitutable options. I feel as though personalized greeting cards (especially for the holidays!) are becoming more prevalent, and with competitors like Minted springing up left and right, Hallmark may find itself up a creek sooner rather than later if it doesn’t adapt and provide a platform for customization.

Also, as you mentioned in your post, the greeting card industry is having a tough time staying relevant. In a way, I think you can draw parallels to the newspaper industry. I’m surprised that Hallmark hasn’t made more of an effort to go digital with its products – e-Cards give consumers a more efficient, time-saving option to send a quick note. And even then, when sticking to physical products, people are moving to buying almost everything online (from groceries to mattresses and even cars), and thus that Hallmark too needs to recognize that this shift in shopping behavior will undoubtedly affect its business model. A bigger push for online sales is likely necessary for sustained prosperity and growth (less than 5% isn’t going to cut it!).

On November 20, 2016, kimber commented on On Dating Apps & Demographics: The Heart Wants What I.T. Wants? :

Love this post and the color on Hinge’s latest updates – I’m sure my single friends are pleased with the increase in conversations and connections!

Totally agree with your sentiments on potential congestion of the market with all of these choices in dating apps. I really like how different apps are trying to differentiate from one another – hopefully this leads to a platform self-selection process that gathers more “like-minded” supply and demand.

My biggest concern with online dating apps is that they are all hinged on matching users to potential mates based on what they believe are the personal preferences / characteristics that they expect for their future soulmate and life partner to have. I read “Modern Romance” by Aziz Ansari this summer (fascinating book if you haven’t come across it!), and that’s where this idea originally crossed my mind (article below gives a brief excerpt / summary of some of Ansari’s ideas). If indeed people do not know what they actually want in a partner, as Ansari alludes to, do you think it would be more beneficial for these dating applications to more heavily rely on algorithms and logic-based rationale to match users? At the very least, they could offer some “suggested” matches based on their extensive user database as well as provide matches per the user’s stated characteristic limitations. Could be an opportunity for even more happily ever afters!

I will admit, your $50k per month statistic has me wondering if I should drop out of school and re-route to fashion blogging… As an avid LTKI user (much to the dismay of my savings account), I had never really considered how dependent it is on the sustainability and future success of Instagram – which is obviously completely out of its control. I wonder if, given its popularity, it could continue to grow and prosper on its own potentially through its own mobile application, instead of relying so heavily on one social media platform. If its current consumers could follow these fashion bloggers in another way (i.e. not via their Instagram profiles), LTKI could eliminate this dependency risk.

I think the bigger risk for LTKI may be losing market share or transactions to other dedicated fashion bloggers and retailers, especially those that link to other social media platforms as well (Twitter, Pinterest, etc.). I also wonder if they ever begin to lose influencers to companies like ShopSense, which pays commissions based on clicks instead of purchases (as mentioned in the article below), as I’m sure that is more appealing to a decent portion of the blogger population.

I totally agree with you that they simply need to find a way to stay relevant – whether that is diversifying to other social media platforms or finding a way to be sustainable and profitable on their own. Thanks for the post!

On November 20, 2016, kimber commented on – Bringing Deliciousness To Your Doorstep! :

I simply love this concept, thanks for sharing! When I was working downtown in Houston, I visited a farmer’s market every Wednesday for lunch – what I would do to order some jars of goodness from a few of those shops right now…

I do, however, fear for the sustainability and viability of this business model. Given the increasing popularity of doorstep delivery in almost every facet of life, including trendy grocery stores that favor gluten-free, organic, you-name-it high end products very similar to those that you would find at a farmer’s market, this website may certainly lose out. For example, InstaCart can deliver from Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s in as little as an hour. As cited in the article below, even Amazon is jumping on the grocery delivery train, and these platforms often offer same-day delivery on a much wider swath of products than offered by DLSH.

That being said, if DLSH can match supply and demand in a way that people who really love their farmer’s market products are utilizing the platform (and if they can achieve sizeable scale!), this could really be a home run, and a significantly positive change in the way these markets operate.

I had never heard of this company before but find it fascinating – I personally had a hard time buying my first car because of this exact problem! It also seems to be a rather effective platform, given their default rates are competitive with other microfinance organizations.

I do however wonder if this system introduces new, easier ways to “cheat the system” (as hinted in the article below), given that the algorithms use data pulled from social media sites and platforms, where all the information made available is self-selected by the consumer his or herself. It’s obviously much harder to hide your past payment history and amount of debt you’ve taken on than it is to keep from connecting to certain people on your Facebook platform. You also have to wonder if there will ever be a time where social media platforms do not allow external companies (such as this one) to access and use the data that is found on their users’ profiles.

That being said, this platform certainly seems like a step in the right direction in making credit available to both those who have good credit histories as well as to those who have the potential for high earnings in the future… extremely innovative and creative way to access a previously unserved market.

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

Super interesting insights – so glad to see such a large, influential beverage player tackling the issues of climate change head on. However, I have a question about whether there are more sustainability initiatives the company should also be focused on beyond water conservation and efficiency. As mentioned in the article below, the sustainability of hops production is being called into question as climate change takes its toll on fields in areas where hops are typically produced. Does AB InBev use less hops on average than a more “craft beer”-focused brewery? If not, is the company taking any steps to combat this looming agricultural issue going forward?

Additionally, is AB InBev also focused on other portions of its supply chain that affect the environment? For example, other pieces of the production process (including transportation, bottling / packaging, and refrigeration) also contribute to the carbon footprint. Given its size and scale, has the company considered trying to push some of their eco-friendly principles on to their partners – for example, by introducing certain minimum sustainability standards for organizations that it does business with?

This article is absolutely fascinating – I would have absolutely never guessed that Kenya supplied so much of the EU’s flowers and, almost more shockingly, that flying flowers all the way from Africa has such a dramatically smaller impact on carbon emissions than producing flowers in Amsterdam!

Interestingly, I came across an article (below) which begs the same question about roses (~80% of roses found in the U.S. apparently come from South America); I clearly didn’t appreciate the size of the import market for flowers. I wonder if there is some way in which growers from all over the world could promote and institute “best-practices” for growing so as to most drastically reduce the impact of emissions to the carbon footprint of the flower industry altogether. The author makes the argument that oftentimes flowers grown in the U.S. are so much worse for the environment simply because they are grown in climate-controlled greenhouses. Is there a more carbon-conscious way to economically produce fresh flowers domestically? Or should we instead be focused on growing these flowers solely in Africa and South America (where growers can rely on natural sunlight, as opposed to artificial heating and lighting, resulting in a much lower negative carbon impact), and shift our attention to being able to transport these products in a more carbon-friendly way?

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

As a self-identified ice-cream enthusiast, I found this post super interesting – I’m confident that I’m never considering sustainability initiatives while indulging in my Ben & Jerry’s! I find it truly inspiring that the company is taking great strides to increase awareness about climate change. For example, the article below highlights their “I’m Too Hot” campaign, in which they teamed up with the EPA to encourage others to gather and discuss climate protection. This initiative led me to wonder what the impact would be if more companies took these kinds of outward, interactive actions to actively engage with consumers and the general population about the inherent risks of climate change…

I am left curious about what actions the company is taking to combat the risks you have highlighted posed by the inevitable threat to sustainable supplies of cocoa and nuts. Although I like that Ben & Jerry’s has acknowledged the risks relating to their ‘Endangered Pints’, as the end consumer, I am more worried about what they are doing to slow or even potentially reverse the existence of this list in the future – life without Phish Food would almost not be worth living!

On November 7, 2016, kimber commented on Coca-Cola: Sugar water and climate change :

I really appreciate your post here – as a beverage giant and globally-recognized company, I find it extremely important for Coca-Cola to be pushing climate protection initiatives for two reasons. Firstly, the company’s sustainability initiatives will have a real impact on the environment; but also, and equally as importantly, the changes and initiatives it identifies in order to combat the upcoming potential effects of climate change are seen by many (both within the beverage industry and otherwise), and the fact that Coca-Cola is making several commitments to slowing or reversing these trends makes a big impression on its worldwide audience.

One very interesting and somewhat surprising fact I discovered is that historically, Coca-Cola’s refrigeration has been its largest source of carbon emissions. In an attempt to drastically reduce its carbon footprint, the company has started moving to hydrofluorocarbon-free refrigeration equipment, which instead utilizes carbon dioxide as the refrigerant. As the article below suggests, “eliminating HFCs in the commercial refrigeration industry would be equivalent to eliminating the annual greenhouse gas emissions of Germany or Japan.” This somewhat shocking statistic just makes me wonder – since Coca-Cola is so clearly committed to reducing the negative impact of climate change, do you think there is a way for the company to get involved in trying to convince other companies to move away from HFC equipment as well?

On November 7, 2016, kimber commented on Chemours: How Chemicals are Helping to Cool Climate Change :

Very interesting and eye-opening article, as although I was privy to the significant risk posed to the environment by HFCs, I actually did not know that an effective replacement existed. It seems that oftentimes large corporations recognize the need to get away from HFCs, given the nature of their toxicity to the planet from increased carbon emissions and heat-trapping characteristics, yet they are not utilizing HFO as the solution. For example, in the case of Coca-Cola, the use of HFCs in its refrigeration equipment is the company’s number one source of carbon emissions. However, as mentioned in the article below, Coca-Cola has instead switched to using carbon dioxide in its coolers as a refrigerant, which leads me to wonder: are HFOs more environmentally friendly refrigerant substitutes than carbon dioxide, and if so, is there a way to increase awareness of its existence so that companies can begin to utilize the most climate-friendly solutions in their refrigeration processes? If a beverage industry mogul as large as Coca-Cola is looking to find cost-effective and efficient HFC replacements, I’m sure the potential market size for eco-friendly cooling substitutes is vast – the question then becomes how to most effectively capture this market to optimize global climate protection.