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On November 20, 2016, Will L commented on The New York Times in the digitalization era :

This was great, thanks! Is there any thinking on why non-video online ads are still so undervalued relative to print ads? It feels like there’s no real reason other than just pure scarcity (space online is unlimited) but if readership is constant and share of page is similar I don’t get why the ads would be so much less effective. And if they aren’t, are they fundamentally mispriced? Also, would be curious to see how their publication strategy is changing. Is long-form going out of vogue for their readers like it is elsewhere? Does that mean depth suffers?

Great post! Similar to kfh above, how do you deal with the Window Shopping / showrooming phenomenon as someone else discussed with electronics stores specifically? You reason above that they need to turn experiential – any thoughts on what that might look like other than the usual coffee-shop shop-in-shops and more cafe seating/comfy chairs? Maybe there’s some kind of subscription model that would work in addition to retailing books – free unlimited coffee, premium, quiet seating, handpicked selection or early access to books, that kind of thing. I think the comparison to movie theaters is tough if only because those are events that we haven’t come to expect for free; but coming into a bookstore and reading for hours is considered a right. How can the bookstores add enough valued services to justify charging or to entice the customer to purchase?

On November 20, 2016, Will L commented on The new Thanksgiving weekend activity … “Spying Saturday” :

Great post, Anonymous Sectionmate. Are there tech countermeasures that retailers can use to either hinder the Amazon app (switching over from barcodes to other types of inventory management tech); or, on the other side, recognize that someone is using the Amazon app over the store wifi and figure out a way to offer discounts / better shipping to the individual? The main advantage of big box retailers is obviously the immediacy and instant gratification of being able to buy and deliver the goods to someone’s house that very moment. Are there ways the retailers can offer value-added services (set up, for example) for discounts that would tip the scales in their favor? I’m always hesitant to sign off retail as being a lost cause but in this case it feels like a very challenging problem.

On November 20, 2016, Will L commented on Just one more mile to go… :

Hey Ricardo, great post. I’m curious about the response from the unions on the tech development here, especially those working for the major carriers (e.g. the Teamsters). Has there been pushback on the rollout of the tech given the inevitable reduction in workforce that will occur? What can the companies involved do to cross-train their employees? I guess a lot will depend on how much human intervention is needed in the supply chain loop but seems like a potential issue in the short term in addition to regulation.

On November 20, 2016, Will L commented on Manus X Machina: Saks Fifth Avenue in an Age of Technology :

Wow. 16 hours to 20 minutes for an inventory count? I wonder what was stopping them from doing this sooner – the labor cost savings have got to be tremendous. Are the units themselves expensive? Which brings up another question – could this technology be implemented by lower cost retailers as easily, or do the margins prohibit that? Inventory management feels most like a priority for high-volume goods, but those are usually low-margin. I’d be curious whether a Macys or a JCP would be able to make this work financially.

On November 7, 2016, Will L commented on Starbucks is hit hard by climate change…and punches back. :

Greg, thanks for the article. Was curious about the investments in water usage reduction in Starbucks stores – do they think this is a self-contained investment with a payback period, or is it more for the overall mission / good PR? If the former, I’m curious just how much water they use, since water is so cheap that any substantial investment with a reduction in water use feels like the payback period would be prohibitively long. If it’s the latter, it’s interesting that as a consumer this is the first time I’m hearing about it. More broadly, has Starbucks taken steps to communicate these actions to consumers in a targeted way? I know their fair trade coffee was a big sticking point for them, but curious whether they view these as having demand effects in general.

On November 7, 2016, Will L commented on An Inconvenient Trout: Nissui’s Approach to Climate Change :

Thanks for this article, great read. My main concern with this method is that there wouldn’t be enough on the consumer demand side to allow for this kind of switchover. Are Japanese consumers willing to eat farm-raised fish? It’s an interesting dilemma, since I imagine farm-raised fish would actually be cheaper and more environmentally-friendly, but maybe that lower price would be perceived as being lower quality. In the States, farm raised fish is laid out right next to wild-caught in stores like Whole Foods, and the market premium commanded by wild-caught is nearly 2x. Are there efforts by Nissui and others to convince Japanese of the issues surrounding the fish economy? Would just worry that all the excellent work on the supply side won’t mean anything if purchasing behavior isn’t changed.

Great post Joe. What are some of the most common major hazards in shipping that far north? Are the ice-class vessels not in fact very resilient to ice contact, or is it a matter of getting stuck / frozen in somewhere? And if the worst should happen, are the vessels and cargo insured? I notice you mention the cargo could be worth up to $5M; if that’s lost, I assume the cargo cost is recouped.

One another note, is there an opportunity for a caravan-style arrangement while the volume continues to ramp and routes are still being defined? You mention staying close to recovery vehicles, but my question would I guess be around how valuable are the trade routes themselves, and would it be mutually beneficial even for competitors to trail one another through the passages and offer assistance?

On November 6, 2016, Will L commented on Creepy Crawlies & Climate Change at the CDC :

Thanks Tatiana, great article. Coming from a place of knowing next to nothing about the topic, I’d be curious about the relationship between climate change and the migration of species (esp. insects) specifically w/r/t the volatility of weather vs. the overall average increase in temperatures. Given that ‘more extreme’ weather is also part of the climate change program (more storms, more rapid fluctuations in weather, less predictability), are northern regions potentially granted a temporary reprieve due to things like flash freezes and lower minimum seasonal temperatures that the migratory species are not used to and are unable to endure?