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I love the idea of smart refrigerators that can sense food shortages! The future is now. In terms of cellphone-based checkout, is theft a concern, and how can Whole Foods mitigate this risk without having to invest in personnel just for this purpose?

While the novelty of staffless hotels seems like it could make for an attractive experience, I have generally found that pleasant experiences are made extraordinary by staff who go the extra mile. How could digital technology replicate the full hospitality experience beyond the essential baseline of convenience in the booking and check-in process? If we can digitize and automate that, I think we would truly have a differentiated experience. Until then, I still think hotel staff provide an immense value.

While MOOCs have certainly been the subject of much hype and appear to be successful in terms of enrollment and signups, research shows that course completion rates are extremely low [1]. Though I do think digital should and will be a major force in higher education, I believe there needs to be more clarity on which metrics we should use to measure the success of digital education programs. Clearly defining those will allow us to know what is working and what needs to be optimized. I wonder, for example, how students would rate the HBX experience as opposed to the traditional MBA?

1. http://news.stanford.edu/2015/10/15/moocs-no-panacea-101515/

On November 20, 2016, Ldubs commented on The New York Times is Not a Paper: The Face-off with Twit/Book :

Great article, and as a rabid Twitter consumer I certainly understand first-hand why alternative digital sources have become a more appealing source of news. One aspect your post didn’t explore – pricing. Most newspapers began exploring a pay-wall model in the last few years. I understand that overall readership is down, but I wonder how much of this is correlated with the pricing schemes these newspapers have decided to pursue. Are there alternative models that could boost revenues and overall readership?

On November 20, 2016, Ldubs commented on Under Armour: The Next Big Tech Company? :

This is fascinating, especially since I spent most of the day in Under Armor’s new Boston flagship store. I have two concerns about this digital strategy: First, how do they plan to integrate their digital health apps with brick and mortar sales? Having been to a store today, I did not see any promotions related to their digital strategy. While this is purely anecdotal, I wonder if there are better ways they can create a reinforcement loop for consumers regardless of which channel they’re using to consume Under Armor content. Second, given our discussions about emotional connection to Nike and their effectiveness at promoting sales through high-visibility athletes, I wonder if this digital strategy can truly be a driver of sales. It seems from comparing Nike and Adidas, performance is rarely the main concern of shoppers – rather it is how they feel about the brand.

On November 7, 2016, Ldubs commented on Animal-free Beef: A Meaty Idea :

Really interesting post, and I’m eager to watch the next moves Memphis Meats makes. There already seems to be burgeoning competition, with David Chang debuting the Impossible Burger at Momofuku. Overall, I truly believe in the approach to first convince meat-eaters to change their behavior by marketing a product that tastes just as good, as opposed to selling the environmental benefits. I believe Memphis Meats’ marketing strategy will be key to their success.

On November 7, 2016, Ldubs commented on Mud Skiing: Vail’s Race to save its Winter Sports Business :

What I find interesting about Vail’s response is that they seem to be making smart, operationally-driven decisions that would benefit them with or without climate change, and that climate change has actually provided a positive impetus to Vail to re-examine its processes in order to optimize them. It seems the potential risk of this approach is that Vail is driven primarily by a cost-cutting motive, and is therefore not thinking about its larger contributions to the climate issue like deforestation.

On November 7, 2016, Ldubs commented on H&M: Fashionable or Fashionably Late :

This is such an interesting post – thanks for sharing! While many retailers seem to be taking steps towards sustainability, I often wonder how much of their production they actually manage to offset, and you provided some really insightful information I hadn’t thought about — like the feasibility of recycling clothes. I think regulation would be a great idea on synthetic materials, but I would also like to see some sort of public marketing campaign on the recyclability of clothing as I think this is a huge gap in consumer knowledge.

What a great concept! I think it’s incredible that unlike some of the retail giants others have wrote about that are reversing many of their policies to be more sustainable, Wheely’s started their company with concern for the environment as a core component of their business model. I also really like the idea of eco-entrepreneurs, and would be interested in seeing what partnerships or offshoot businesses Wheely’s explores as they expand in order to capitalize on the market of entrepreneurs who are concerned about the environment. I can see the mobile retail bike as being applicable to several other lines of business, such as convenience shops or retail for accessories.

On November 7, 2016, Ldubs commented on Sustainability at H&M: Cleaning Up Its Act :

Interesting post — and somewhat surprising to see what H&M is investing so much into sustainability given their poor track record with overseas sweat shops. I would be curious to understand how H&M’s sustainability initiatives and responses to climate change are impacting the local communities in which H&M factories operate.