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On November 20, 2016, MD commented on Optimizing the Happiest Place on Earth :

I feel excited but at the same time somewhat violated by the house of mouse. I understand that this allows them to provide a higher level of service and some pretty cool products but I just don’t know how I feel about some central Disney overlord tracking my every movement. This reminds me a little bit of the new HBO sci-fi show Westworld (if you haven’t seen the show that is not a compliment) where guests hand over all control to the amusement park and eventually events take a turn for the worse. No I don’t think amusement park robots are going to go rogue (again Westworld reference) but I do question whether these small improvements for the customer are really worth being tracked. Disney tries to pass this off as enhancing the user experience but at the end of the day I think this helps them more than it does the customer. I do wonder how they measure their ROI on the $1B investment and whether other attendees share my concerns or whether people are willing to give in and leave their experience in the hands of the park operators.

On November 20, 2016, MD commented on NikeID: polishing the shoe buying experience :

Great post and I have to say I really have a lot of respect for Nike being progressive and forward thinking. We have seen it often with many businesses that are the industry leader that they become complacent and rigid but obviously Nike still believes in pushing the envelope. Nike does not want to go down in history as a Kodak who was disrupted. What strikes me as the most interesting thing about this strategy is that Nike has figured out a way to perform customization but without changing the cost structure too drastically. Many times it can be tough for a company to deliver a customized service or product without either compromising margins or raising price but it seems like Nike has figured out how.

On November 20, 2016, MD commented on Can retail stores also act as mini distribution centers? :

Very interesting post on the future of retail. Amazon and e-commerce retailers have obviously disrupted the space but as you point out I don’t think we have seen the final chapter of this story. The traditional large retailers like Macy’s were caught a bit off guard by the magnitude and speed of the change in retail but as you explain what is most interesting is what they will do now that they realize the shift to digital. I do think that there is some excess capacity in terms of brick and mortar stores but the physical retail locations for Macy’s actually provide a key point of differentiation that online retailers cannot match. The omnichannel strategy will be interesting to keep an eye on and see if it is a success or if as consumers we have truly moved to an all digital world when it comes to buying our clothes.

Clemens, I agree that the results, although not 100% clear a result of the big data output, are compelling and indeed a big success for New York but the issue I have with this system are some of the ethical dilemmas that could arise. It is great you mention the short story/movie minority report because the whole point of the movie was to evaluate the dilemma of arresting someone who was expected to commit a crime but never did. Although this system is not leading to then arrest of people before they commit a crime there could be some intrusion on the liberties of individuals who live in certain areas. Is it really fair to have an intense police presence in an area that is predicted to have crime? Especially during the era of stop and frisk these areas would have been subjected to what you could argue was unwarranted scrutiny. I also would be concerned that some of the data may point to correlation but not causation and could inadvertently target certain groups of people unfairly, whether it be by race or socioeconomic class. Again, the results are amazing so the dilemma is whether the benefits outweigh the costs and how you can implement a system that does not discriminate or impede on individual rights.

Very interesting post and great that you point out such a substantial opportunity that most of us would not recognize on the surface. Self-driving cars look to be on the horizon and what is interesting is all the external changes the technology will cause. You point out how many truck drivers there are in the country so what do you think is going to happen when eventually the vehicles are fully autonomous and these people are out of a job? Also have you thought what complementary services and products will arise to service this technology and changed industry?

On November 7, 2016, MD commented on The Death of the Gas Station? :

Garet, very interesting article and a space that I actually find fascinating but due to the effect that self driving cars will have on this business. You are right that climate change will cause a shift in what gas stations provide as more electric cars hit the road but what happens when self-driving cars hit the road? Will people even ever need to go to gas stations or will cars go on their own when the passenger/owner is at work? If that is the case then what happens to the convenience store or fast food tenants that are bundled with these gas stations? Do gas stations even need to be in convenient locations or do they shift to low cost real estate?

Unfortunately for the gas station owners, I think they have more to worry about than just climate change and may have a more existential threat looming in self driving cars.

Very interesting post on a sector I had not really thought about. As I read through your post, I can’t help but think whether this industry would truly be regulated by governments. Given the current state of the industry, I can’t imagine it can handle the added costs it would take on if it spent the money to reduce its footprint. That being said, most of the elements you mention above are key staples in society so I can’t imagine governments allowing for a sharp decline in production due to the effects this would have on the economy as a whole.

I do find it admirable the Rio Tinto is being proactive to reduce climate change I am left wondering whether there are certain industries that are so vital to certain economies and the world that they may be able to get by without much change.

On November 7, 2016, MD commented on Dollar Menu in Danger :

Very interesting post Siyer. I appreciate you diving into multiple effects climate change will have on the supply chain. What your post leads me to believe is that eventually McDonalds may need to source more ingredients more locally and/or update the menu to reduce ingredients that are tied to high green house gas emissions. If this happens then I do start to wonder about the viability of the business because of the increased ingredient costs and McDonald’s no longer being able to fulfill a key value proposition of being a cheap meal. How do they compete when they are selling food at similar prices to higher end establishments?

Joe, very interesting topic and approach to the prompt. Typically when we think of climate change we link it to problems and negative effects on businesses but as you point out there are some businesses that may actually benefit from this. I am curious what the carriers position on climate change is since they stand to benefit from it but obviously this is not a good thing for the world.

You mentioned how there has been investment in the new ice-class vessels and I am curious as to how that will affect the entire industry. I ask this because I know that there had been a huge build up of large carrier vessels and that supply has completely outpaced demand sending prices cratering and the industry into crisis. How do the carriers justify adding even more supply even though that supply is cheaper to operate?