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If I were them I would also focus on pruning its portfolio (i.e., monetizing its non-core assets / brands) in order to more effectively allocate resources towards its most profitable brands.

On November 20, 2016, MH commented on Playboy: The Naked Truth :

Awesome post, Michelle. I cannot help but think of the parallels with Rdio and the music industry. Because any one can access porn for free from anywhere (albeit maybe on a separate device to protect the main device from viruses) the reference price is zero. Since the reference price is zero, it makes it literally almost impossible to convince viewers to pay for porn. There are even “premium” sites that exist that literally offer unlimited and unfettered access to the ‘hottest’ videos for $1. In this world, I do not see how Playboy can focus on porn at all as an offering, unless it too goes free. And even in that case, it would have to increase spending on its content acquisition strategy, which is a risky game. I agree with your suggestions to try and do a complete rebrand, as newer consumers are less likely to have preconceived notions of what Playboy used to be.

Great post, Sam. I enjoyed reading it as I have been spending time in this space and following Rhumbix closely. I wholeheartedly agree with Gregor’s comment in that it is critically important to understand how Rhumbix engages with workers as the quality of its data certainly depends on worker compliance with its procedures. To me, Rhumbix seems to have been developed with a top-down mentality, which could prevent some troubles after all the hype and investment dollars settle. That said, what Rhumbix certainly got right was recognizing a problem and attacking a multi-trillion industry that certainly is stone age. There is tremendous opportunity in this industry for digital disruption, an industry in which 35% of all projects under $500 are late or over budget.

Tough market out there for sure, for dating and dating apps. I unfortunately missed the wave on all the swiping and catfishing given I have been in a relationship for 5 years, when Tinder just starting conquering the market. That said, my roommate in NY was a dating app power-user, which enabled me to learn a significant amount about the market. One observation I have made is that the role of dating apps has certainly continued to evolve (or devolve could be a better word). When these apps first launched, I believe they provided utility in two main ways: (1) it was fun and exciting to actually have the power to swipe ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to another person without them having any clue as to your decision, and (2) there was a prospect that you would actually obtain a match and then meet (and potentially ‘hook up’ with someone — side note: it is fascinating at how many ways the consumer dating market can be segmented in terms of use cases). However, given the mass proliferation of these apps today, I believe utility (1) has largely been diluted (i.e., the fun of swiping has diminished greatly). The fun in swiping has diminished so much so that entirely new apps have been created that SWIPE FOR YOU (my roommate was a power user), such that you can go to sleep and wake up with [60 matches] after Tinder swiped through every single woman in Manhattan. I have another friend who wrote an algorithm that not only swipes for him, but also sends a response and follow-up response depending on the woman’s response to his first response. How far will things go?

On November 20, 2016, MH commented on MLB Advanced Media: The future of America’s pastime :

MLBAM is an awesome company. I am glad you wrote about them, Phil. We actually looked at pursuing MLBAM as an investment opportunity at Carlyle given MLBAM is literally the digital streaming industry leader. However, the company is so hot, we couldn’t get in! It is incredible how they changed the game by evolving completely away from baseball and becoming the streaming provider for HBO (including Game of Thrones, one of my personal favorite shows). It is not surprising at all that Disney viewed MLBAM as a great strategic investment given Disney’s goal is to penetrate as deep as possible into the consumer ecosystem.

On November 20, 2016, MH commented on Slacking – A new way to win? :

Thank you for writing on this, Luke. I am a Slack power user. I have used it for 3 different early stage companies and have found it to be incredibly effective in sharing up-to-date information to appropriate parties and enabling those parties to respond back efficiently and effectively. I echo the risk shared by E3PO in that the process of writing an email is much more formal than that of a Slack message, which can affect the quality and depth of thought of the message conveyed. That said, I think Slack and its users are highly cognizant of this trade-off and would argue that they may actually embrace it. Slack has enabled me to be much more organized with information and lowers the barrier to sending information. Said another way, most organizations and people do not struggle to be effective because of over-communication, but face challenges due to under-communication. Slack promotes over-communication, which to me, helps improve organizational and personal effectiveness. That said, I do not think that Slack is a complete replacement for email, nor do I believe that it replaces the effectiveness of all individuals being in the same room pounding out or “white-boarding” a project.

Appreciate the insights, Yassine. I fear that the majority of casino operators are fueled by greed and irresponsibility within an environmental context. That said, given the public scrutiny of operators, I am surprised that others have not adopted sustainable practices as well following Las Vegas Sands’ leadership. An interesting study could be conducted to better understand the psychology of the typical Las Vegas consumer, particularly as it relates to hotel / casino preferences. I could see how promoting LEED certification could resonate with certain consumers. On the other hand, my intuition is the the allures of Vegas (i.e., vacation, luxury, extravagance, excitement), or what drives people to Vegas, fundamentally conflicts with the mantra of “doing one’s part to positively impact the world.” If the latter is true, then operators / owners could potentially not view upgrading environmental standards as having sufficient return on investment to justify the cost, particularly given the declining visitation / spending trends in Las Vegas putting pressure on profits.

On November 6, 2016, MH commented on Bye-Bye Beautiful Bivalves :

Great article, Michelle. What is troubling to me is understanding how this plays out. Rising ocean acidity seems to be a bi-product of a history of increasing carbon dioxide emissions. That said, if we are already at the “break-point” in which our appetizers can no longer thrive, is it too late? Would a reduction in emissions, or an increase in environmental sustainability efforts, help to reverse the effects mentioned above, or similar to Propecia / Rogaine, are we currently at a point in which we just do not want to worsen the current predicament? In the latter case, it seems as though relocation or focus on man-made farming alternatives could be the only options.

On November 6, 2016, MH commented on Climate Change & Whisky: The Sobering Realities :

I like the way Diageo is collaborating with other organizations to lead the charge in promoting environmental best practices. It reminds me of IKEA becoming a founding member of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to help solve the problem of deforestation. These large and influential organizations have a duty to evolve as environmentally conscious entities as they continue to heavily influence environmental outcomes.

On November 6, 2016, MH commented on Coca-Cola: Sugar water and climate change :

I agree that Coke could enhance its brand by being more transparent about its sustainability issues. Furthermore, Coke has the power to lead the forefront in terms of innovating away from pure sugar. Stevia, for example, is known to provide economic benefits given its high concentration of “sweetness.” Steve is 200-350 times sweeter than sugar, enabling farmers to use only 1/5 of the land needed to provide the same level of sweetness in sugar. Consequently, less water and energy would need to be consumed.

Great post, Jordan. I identify with this sentiment as I was actually raised as a vegetarian by my mother, and actually wrote a high school research paper on vegetarianism. My mother is still a vegetarian to this day.

From my experience, traditional vegetarian burgers (“veggie burgers”) taste nothing like meat. And for most Thanksgivings, we would eat tofurky — not exactly a turkey. I have also read about Impossible Foods and think it is great. As someone who loves meat now, despite not supporting cruelty to animals, I would certainly be a buyer of the Impossible Burger.