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On November 20, 2016, Hartley commented on Everlane: Minimalist wholesale strategy and minimalist design :

Great post on such an interesting company! I know someone who works at Everlane in SF, and I’ve always found their model fascinating. As a consumer, knowing the transparency that they provide around pricing, material sourcing, and labor that goes into the clothing is so refreshing. Even when I notice that they take a substantial margin for different items, I feel better knowing what I am paying for vs. having no visibility to that in any other clothing shopping experience. I agree that the brick and motor locations are important for online products that consumers typical interact with before making a purchase. Casper and Glossier – two other online only retailers – have made similar strides with pop-ups and true brick and mortar locations. I am interested to see how much these “online only” brands can grow in the future.

On November 20, 2016, Hartley commented on Peloton : Fitness Studios :: Netflix : Blockbuster :

Thanks for the great post! I get a lot of targeted advertising for Peloton on Facebook, so I must be part of their target demographic. As big fan of the SoulCycle class experience, I wonder if Peloton is able to recreate this in a way that is as energizing/addictive/cultish for the target customer base. While I love the concept, to me this seems like a time when technology gets in the way of real human interaction. SoulCylce, Barry’s and other exercise studios are often a social experience that you do with friends and others, but to me this seems to lose part of that experience. I agree with one of the earlier comments, that technology may be a challenge for Peloton as they continue to develop this product. Exercise equipment should have a longer lifetime than my phone or tablet, so I wonder how Peloton will balance updating their hardware and staying relevant while also not making their current customer’s investment outdated. I wonder if in the future, we will just plug our own tablets into enabled connected exercise equipment to access a similar platform.

On November 20, 2016, Hartley commented on Webvan’s Demise or When Technology Fails to Meet Operations :

Great post Great! I actually remember when WebVan came out, my family was really excited to try it. As I recall, we only ever used it one time before my mother declared it “too expensive” and not worth the effort vs. just making her weekly trip to the grocery store. With all digital shopping experiences, consumers give control over to another party to make their grocery selections, which is a fundamentally different shopping experience vs. the storefront that we are all used to.
I actually did my blog entry on Instacart, which adopted a fundamentally different model for the same business problem. Where WebVan went all in with the warehouses and full fleet of full time workers, Instacart contracts out basically every element of the process (stores and inventory, pickers, drivers, delivery). Time will tell to see if this model ends up being profitable long term, but I think the digital delivery services of today learned a lot from WebVan’s unfortunate failure.

On November 20, 2016, Hartley commented on Sephora: Who wants a virtual makeover? :

What an interesting development in Sephora’s goal to be “unique, interactive, and personalized.” I love this concept and I think that is something that Millennials and Gen Z will get on board with pretty seamlessly. One problem that I struggle when I’m in Sephora is how makeup looks in the light of the store, vs. how it looks when I get home. If I was able to test how make up looked in different light, through my phone, this could be a major breakthrough! I too suffer from the same extreme paleness that Caroline mentioned, so increasing this application to the face makeup segment would be great for users. From my time working at Revlon, skin tone matching was a problem for many consumers, so having an app that could suggest color tones and shades for consumers would be a major breakthrough.

Jacqueline, thank you for the very interesting blog post! I had no idea that pharma companies were starting to use technology in this format, but it sounds like a huge opportunity. I am very curious how the actual virtual clinical trials will look when Pfizer has completed development. I would guess that there would be some concerns to overcome with patients reporting their own conditions instead of having those documented by a medical professional onsite at a trial location. From a data integrity perspective, I am sure this is something they will have to work out as a company and with the FDA. I love the idea of the microchip pills, as a way to get around potential human error, but I am sure that trial participants might have a sense that this toes the “big brother” line.

Thanks for the great post on a very visible consumer business! It’s great to see how diligent Nike has been about zeroing in on the environmental costs of each arm of their business, and even through the lifecycle of their products. Cynically, I wonder if some the increased focus around initiatives like this is an attempt to proactively get ahead of public relations concerns about their business since those have gotten out of control for them in the past.
The last point you identify around metrics is especially interesting to me. I agree that as one of the world’s most influential and recognizable brands Nike should be stepping up as a leader in sustainability issues – with clear goals and programs that offer transparency to consumers and shareholders. There is something moderately condescending about organizations offering lip service to a cause, without really demonstrating how much skin they have in the game – either with performance goals, clear measures and transparency, or how much capital they are putting behind this. It seems like the organization is moving in the right direction, but Nike has more work to do if they’d like to prove their dedication to these causes.

On November 7, 2016, Hartley commented on Blue Apron: Delivering an efficient tomorrow :

Thanks for the post Aakash! As other commenters mentioned, definitely an interesting and positive take on what Blue Apron is doing in this space. I used to be a consumer of Blue Apron for several months, and the reduction in food waste was absolutely something I appreciated from a consumer perspective. However, as a few of the other commenters noted, the amount of waste coming from the constant deliveries was enormous. Each week the meals were delivered in a box, with cooling packs, and individual plastic packaging for every single ingredient! While elements of the packaging were recyclable, much of it seemed unnecessary and extremely wasteful compared to the product packaging you would come home from the grocery store with.
While Blue Apron might serve as an example for how consumers can cut down on food waste, I don’t see many ways that they are actually trying to combat global climate change or make the world a better place. It seems instead, that they are capitalizing on consumer’s desire to reduce food waste, charging them more per item provided, than they would pay per item in the store. I would like to see more from them paying it forward to help those who struggle with food security, with some of the profits they’re gaining from those who never have that concern.

On November 7, 2016, Hartley commented on So Hot Right Now! The Levi Strauss Climate Change Agenda :

Thanks for this post EB! It seems like Levis has some interesting initiatives to tackle the growing pressures that climate change will place on the business. I was especially interested in response #2 around the better cotton initiatives. It seems like there could be some parallels here with the Ikea wood sourcing case. While passing the burden of sustainability along to their suppliers is one approach, perhaps they could consider some of the options that Ikea was entertaining – purchasing their own agricultural resources and growing the cotton themselves (vertical integration), using cotton blend products with more sustainable resources (maybe a synthetic with low environmental impact), or as mentioned in previous comments, promoting recycling of used clothing and using that in some elements of products (they may already do this).

Thank you for your insightful post on a topic near and dear to my California-wine-loving heart! As a wine lover, and recent observer of the devastating drought conditions in California, I know these issues will significantly change the dynamics in the industry for years to come. I thought the potential impact on wine industry section of your post was particularly interesting. Nearly all of the factors were potentially positive and negative for impact on the industry. Volatility in yearly production is something that vineyards have come to expect year over year, but I think that this has and will be exacerbated significantly in the future due to climate change.
This reminds me of an experience that I had last summer wine tasting in Sonoma. One of the flights we did was of a wine that had been produced from the same set of vines over a period of 5 years, where there was significant variation in extreme drought and weather fluctuations in each of the years we were tasting. No surprise, the quality of the wine changed dramatically with each year, depending on the growing conditions. Obviously, this seems like something that would have significant business implications for a producer as large as Rodney Strong. I agree the other commenters that more needs to be done by the business to protect against, or diversify this risk in the future – whether that is through migration, changing the business model, or exiting the industry. Currently, it does not seem like they’ve protected themselves well against the inevitable challenges in their future.

Dr. Mike! Thank you for exploring this important and timely issue in your blog post. I had not thought about this assignment from the perspective of organizations are actually benefitting from global climate change. Your post has made me feel increasingly wary about how AMVAC’s financial success is at once helping protect communities from the impact of an infection disease, while at the same time increased use of their product is causing significant negative environmental impacts.

As you mention in you “what should AMVAC do next” comments, I strongly agree that AMVAC needs to focus on redeveloping Dibrom to reduce the some of the negative environmental impacts. Even a step further, I think they should focus on developing products that have negligible impact in order to protect the environment and future sales. If they can do this, it’s likely they’ll gain more support in governmental and regulatory agencies, and perhaps among the public (if they can make it safe enough for consumer use!).