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On December 1, 2017, Marissa commented on Will On-Demand Food Delivery Kill the Chipotle Burrito Line? :

Thanks for writing about something I care greatly about! I couldn’t agree more that the use of apps and food delivery services is biting into profits for in-house restaurants and dining services. This reminds me a lot of the Marriott/ AirBnB dilemma: the new, hip folks are here–do we copy them or stay really good at what we already do? You argue they can start to copy them, in a way, or at least tag along by being a part of existing food delivery services. You also make great suggestions about how to improve this process (I particularly like your idea of making a separate line for people making bulk orders for delivery). However, I do think there’s an argument to be made for them staying good at what they’re already good at–part of the customer promise of Chipotle is the in-house experience. While some people do scurry out the door with burrito in hand, many others stay in the casual, upbeat, open space restaurant to chat with friends or do some homework. Because the restaurants are so strategically located, they do end up with a lot of foot traffic who benefit from these offerings (in a similar way that Starbucks does). So perhaps their approach should be two-sided: yes, we’ll take part in the delivery service, perhaps opening our own… but we’ll also make sure we’re fulfilling the heart of our customer promise that people know us for. I worry that if people see Chipotle going “too digital”, they’ll think of it as a fast food, experience-less way to eat–not a true visit to a Chipotle (a very joyous experience, in my opinion). Thanks again for sharing your article!

On December 1, 2017, Marissa commented on Profits Starting To Wind Down: A Setback for Wind Turbines? :

Thank you for writing about such an important topic. I see the challenge here as a double-edged sword; on the one hand, decreasing prices cuts margins for wind turbine manufacturers (companies we’d ideally like to see succeed), but we also want to foster competition to ensure best practices rise to the top with the lowest costs emerging into the market. I think another challenge here is the actual tie of wind turbines to the grid. In what is usually a lengthy process (assuming it gets past design, approval, regulatory agreements, “not in my backyard”-ers, and so on), interconnecting a wind farm to the electric grid is challenging but also an opportunity. If these wind turbine companies create partnerships with members along that supply chain–especially the utility–I think they could see more success and start to overcome the incumbent types of power plants. For example, if the wind energy company formed an alliance with a local utility, then perhaps the utility would be more incentivized to figure out how to best incorporate wind into the energy mix. Increasing demand in this way may help companies become more profitable. I think the challenges here would be in the regulatory space, but given regulators’ recent pushes for clean energy and zero emissions goals, lobbying for some type of alliance in this way may just prove successful. Thanks for sharing your article!

On December 1, 2017, Marissa commented on Berry Risky Business, Driscoll’s… :

Kevin’s “Berry interesting” nailed it! I really enjoyed this read. I understand that automation seems like an appropriate response for labor shortages, but I do wonder what impact this has on the individuals whose lives depend on working in agriculture. As you mention, many folks are tired of dealing with this “labor headache” (as one agriculture sales manager describes it in the article below). Automation can help make results more consistent and manual labor-independent, but as population increases, I think we need to remember that the agriculture industry could be an incredible opportunity to maintain and create jobs for people both at home and abroad. I also think customers appreciate the “hand picked” human element that is often associated with agriculture–and perhaps a large reason why lately, local farms and organic foods have become increasingly popular. Ultimately, even though it may help the business to rely on automation as a result of pending immigration issues, I would personally suggest more reliance on human labor, even if it comes at a higher cost. This could happen through lobbying with the government or turning to more local sources of labor in order to support people who do not have other opportunities to make a living. Thanks for sharing your article!

On December 1, 2017, Marissa commented on The Beef with Beef :

Great article and comments as well, thanks for sharing, Lisa! I particularly appreciate you incorporating the images–the most striking part of this for me is, frankly, the “fart bag” image! It’s one thing to talk and write about sustainability surrounding the beef industry, but it’s another piece altogether to think about the impact these initiatives have on the animals. If I didn’t feel bad already that these animals go to a slaughterhouse, forcing them to wear these bags makes me feel even worse. I wonder if a big part of the push to sustainability has to do with ethics and fairness to the animals that make this industry happen. Partnerships with certain animal rights groups may help these beef companies attempt to gain more credibility. That said, I think the best part of your argument regards the industry-wide changes you’re suggesting. Climate change is global–it doesn’t care where the emissions happens, we all feel the impact. Just because one company is committed to sustainability doesn’t mean that the climate change issue is fixed (rather, perhaps it opens up more space for the competition to behave even less sustainably). I would push your argument even further to suggest that companies like JBS invest in sustainability initiatives and make partnerships with other companies facing similar issues. Thanks for sharing your article!

On December 1, 2017, Marissa commented on The MBTA’s climate challenge :

Thanks for writing about the T–something I have relied on for years and for many people, something that is absolutely necessary for livelihood. I appreciate your points about how hard it will be for the MBTA to prepare itself for massive-scale infrastructure damage due to climate change. From intensifying storms to increasing water levels, the T will have many challenges coming its way. This makes me consider how other infrastructure-intensive industries are preparing for this issue, and how it’s being handled in other cities with similar problems on the horizon. In the energy industry, some companies have started constructing their projects in locations based on protection from climate change; for example, a local electric utility has recently been constructing one of its substations on an elevated platform in downtown Boston to avoid issues related to flooding or generally raising sea levels. Does this solve the electric grid’s problem in its entirety? Of course not–but it does offer an incremental solution that can be reasonably adapted to other sites along the grid as new construction is needed. (It also makes people aware that this should be taken seriously!) Should the T be elevated? Perhaps–but I think along this vein, we need to seek more creative solutions, and ones that are incremental. Your points about ridesharing are interesting–perhaps the T should partner with existing ridesharing apps, or make its own, in order to make travel infrastructure more flexible. These types of creative solutions could help public transit still be possible in years to come as climate change continues to wreak havoc. Thanks for sharing your article!

On December 1, 2017, Marissa commented on Isolationism: How to kill American solar :

Thank you for bringing this issue to light–it’s frustrating that in the midst of an administration trying to promote internal business and job creation, we end up compromising our ability to generate clean energy. I like your two-sided approach of building relationships with local corporations such as Tesla, while also preparing for future demand by pre-purchasing inventory. However, one challenge associated with this current structure is that as new innovations occur in the solar cell industry, they penetrate the market later and later because the stockpile of older designs are still waiting to be used. So not only does this situation cause financial problems, but it stagnates innovation by forcing companies to hold onto older, less efficient, and likely less cost effective designs. I wonder if perhaps a solution to this would be through pre-purchases without actually receiving the goods–a payment in advance wherein as new models come out, the company receives them. In the meantime, the American market can become more mature and cost effective, while also allowing innovation to prosper. Thanks for sharing your article!