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On November 20, 2016, m_watson commented on Facebook for Business: Liking Your Way to Digital Transformation :

Thanks for sharing! What an interesting extension of Facebook into the workplace. My biggest question here is Facebook’s ability to sell this product given their lack of experience selling B2B software. Currently, Facebook is so seen as a consumer product that actually drains productivity in the workplace (some offices even have a blocker on Facebook) that I’m worried they lack the traction with enterprises to have this product taken seriously. Additionally, their salesforce is trained to sell advertising, not to sell a product offering – so they will have to build up that capability within their organization as well.

On November 20, 2016, m_watson commented on What is the way forward for Coursera? :

Rajit, thanks for the great post! I think Coursera is such an interesting organization – and was really the driving factor in the digitization of higher ed education. I think Ting mentioned an important point, which is that Coursera is really struggling with customer retention. A very low percentage of their students who start a course finish the course and come back week after week. Coursera has yet to identify what the important levers are for students to get to finish a course. I also think they face challenges from LinkedIn with Lynda and Udacity who are focused on “nanodegrees” sponsored by hiring organizations and certifying certain skills with smaller commitment classes – less like university courses on Coursera. I am curious to see how Coursera will update their business model as the MOOC industry landscape changes.

On November 18, 2016, m_watson commented on Grocery Delivery: 2nd Time’s the Charm? Instacart vs. Webvan :

I’d add that another difference between Instacart and Webvan are their partnerships with existing grocery stores, like Whole Foods. From my understanding, Webvan attempted to build out their own distribution centers and didn’t leverage the existing infrastructure of grocery stores – whereas Instacart purely shops and delivers for the customer at existing grocery store chains.

This strategy for Instacart may limit their growth in the near term as they are not partnered with grocery store chains that reach all geographies, but does allow them to run an asset-lite model, unlike Webvan.

On November 18, 2016, m_watson commented on Kylie Jenner Inc: Giving Lip service to Digital Engagement :

Great post! I agree that Kylie may not be after growth at all, but if she is considering maintaining sales for Kylie Cosmetics – do you think they can maintain direct to consumer sales through her digital platform? We’ve seen recently many direct to consumer brands develop a brick and mortar strategy (Warby Parker, Bonobos). Will she have to shift and build partnerships with Sephora or other retailers to sell the lip kits? Is being an online store enough to maintain sales?

On November 18, 2016, m_watson commented on Rebecca Minkoff and the Digital Store :

Such an interesting digitization within brick and mortar stores! I am curious how this application of digital technology in their store aligns with their broader omnichannel experience. I would hope that they connect this experience to a smartphone app in some way, where then the next time you walk into a store, personalized recommendations would come up – or you would get an email prompting you to order an item online to try.

In a world where retailers are shifting to omnichannel – I fear that this singular move to digitize stores may not be enough.

On November 6, 2016, m_watson commented on A longer-term view on saving lives :

Such an interesting article, highlighting the tension between being prepared for the needs of patients, while using unnecessary energy resources at the same time. I agree with Phillip above in the question about how this would compare to other large buildings like hotels. These are clearly enormous costs for hospitals, so I would think they would be incentivized to utilize more energy efficient practices. For example – similar to a hotel, an empty room should have the energy completely shut off – no machines need to be actively running until a patient is in the room.

Sebastian, great topic! I spoke about Vail Resorts and the way they are similarly affected by climate change. My one concern that I highlighted in Vail is the long term sustainability of the snow maker machines. Although they are becoming more energy efficient, these machines require a huge amount of water and energy in order to produce enough snow for proper ski conditions. As temperatures increase and more water is held in the atmosphere with climate change – this is still going to be expensive for the ski operator and harmful for the environment. I agree with you that shifting towards year-round revenue streams will be incredibly important for the organization.

On November 6, 2016, m_watson commented on Hello Tokyo: A Model Sustainable City :

This is a really interesting article about how a city has approached being sustainable for the future. I’m wondering how the TMG has worked to reduce emissions from transportation as well as from buildings. This may be included in their cap-and-trade system, but how can they encourage more carpooling, use of public transportation, biking, and electric vehicles. Cities like Copenhagen have made it very expensive to own and use a car in the city, and tax very heavily on gas and emissions in order to incentivize the public to shift away from personal cars as a form of transportation. I also wonder how this can impact the suburbs and other parts of Japan.

On November 6, 2016, m_watson commented on Reformation: Making Sustainability Trendy :

Tracy, great article – I had no idea that Reformation was thinking so deeply about the environmental impact of the fashion industry. I completely agree with you that consumers need to be better educated about the products they are purchasing. I also wonder how Reformation can be more proactive about the recycling of their clothes and the reusability of fashion – given the shift towards wearing a piece of clothing only 5 times! For example, is Rent the Runway the most environmentally friendly fashion company by reusing garments that would typically only be worn once or twice? Should retail companies be thinking about their business model completely differently (renting clothes) in order to fill the demand for fast fashion and make sure they are being sustainable?

On November 6, 2016, m_watson commented on Paper for the Planet :

Really interesting article and sounds like WestRock is taking many steps to reduce their environmental impact. I wonder if they can partner with their clients to together think about how to create more sustainable packaging options, both in terms of materials used, but also packaging design. For example, Poland Spring redesigned their water bottle in 2012 and was able to achieve both supply chain savings and decrease plastic and energy used in each water bottle (http://www.slate.com/articles/business/operations/2012/06/poland_spring_s_new_bottles_why_are_they_so_thin_and_flimsy_.html) I wonder if WestRock could really build out the capacity and expertise to help their clients think more strategically about their packaging and help them achieve cost savings and have a positive impact for the environment.