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On November 20, 2016, mmd commented on How to Save the U.S. Postal Service :

Thanks for the article! I think that these digital initiatives sound promising, but I just wonder if the USPS will be able to get to breakeven based on these? To me, it seems like there are a whole host of problems that are burdening the USPS; in an age where UPS, FedEx and DHL are managing to succeed, why do we need the USPS? I understand that it’s a large US employer, but it appears that there are private companies that can do the USPS’ job much more efficiently than the USPS–as such, why waste government resources to support a company that is losing billions?

On November 20, 2016, mmd commented on GE’s Quirky Idea :

I think this kind of a JV between an established player and the community-at-large is super interesting. I wonder what would have allowed the partnership to succeed? I think crowdsourcing is a fantastic way to turbocharge a larger corporation’s R&D at a fraction of the cost; however, it seems to me that the partnership needs to be more thought through on a number of points, such as go-to-market strategy and controls.

On November 20, 2016, mmd commented on Are we approaching the end of management consulting? :

Thanks for the article! I would be curious to understand how the major management consulting firms are responding to the threat that Hourly Nerd represents; is there a large enough barrier to entry that McKinsey, for example, could not beat Hourly Nerd at its own game? Or is the ROI not worth it for management consulting firms to play in this space (e.g., cannibalizing their own business)? The value proposition of Hourly Nerd is strong – I just wonder how defensible it is in the long-term.

On November 20, 2016, mmd commented on Hacking the TOM Beer Challenge :

Thanks for the article! I think the SteadyServ technology is fascinating. I agree with your view that penetration of the technology is critical for it to have any impact on overall supply chain efficiency (though it the individual bars may benefit from the analytics on their own, if nothing else). I agree that testing with retailers is important, but I challenge you that earning the buy-in of the breweries is even more important. I believe this because each brewery serves a substantial amount of retailers; should the breweries believe in the technology and choose to advocate that their retailers use it, the technology could gain massive network effects very quickly.

On November 20, 2016, mmd commented on A Better(ment) Way to Invest? :

Thanks for the article. When looking at robo advisors, I have always wondered how to differentiate their product offerings on anything other than price. Given the product offering is passive, these algorithms are at risk of becoming a commodity – said another way, am I better off investing with Wealthfront over Betterment? I don’t believe that there is any real differentiation among the robo advisors; while lack of differentiation does not represent a problem during the “land grab” phase of growth, I agree with your view that the technology will likely represent an attractive acquisition target for a larger institution as growth slows. In that context, robo advisors are an interesting development in wealth management, but I do not believe that they pose a true threat to the incumbent players.

On November 6, 2016, mmd commented on Imagine A World Without Lobster Rolls :

Your post does a great job showing that Luke’s, like IKEA, is a business model that requires a sustainable supply chain. I wonder if the efforts taken to preserve lobsters are a function of lobster’s popularity in the US; said another way, do you think similar sustainability measures would be taken for other kinds of seafood that are less popular?

On November 6, 2016, mmd commented on Tesla: Profitable? It depends on the climate. :

Do you think that Tesla’s shareholders are concerned about the prospect of near-term profitability? While I imagine that profitability is a nice thing to have, I would argue that Tesla’s shareholders own their shares based on their views of Tesla’s growth potential in the medium-term. In that context, ZEV revenues are helpful cash flows, but I do not believe that they are critical to Tesla’s economic model going forward.

On November 6, 2016, mmd commented on Climate Change & Major League Baseball: A Strikeout? :

Like Scott suggested above, I wonder how the MLB’s sustainability mission can align with its revenue goals. For example, I would posit that night games are really played to attract the largest TV and stadium audiences, rather than for any concerns about temperature. If more games are moved to the day, will the MLB’s business model still be viable? I think your piece does a nice job exposing the rifts between sustainability and profitability in America’s favorite game.

While I agree that tracking store emissions is an important measure for Starbucks’ sustainability, I’m not sure company-level metrics are the solution to the coffee growers’ dilemma. Your post really makes me wonder how global corporations should ensure the long-term viability of their supply chain (e.g., IKEA and its supply of wood). Candidly, Starbucks’ efforts to reduce its own emissions is fantastic but will not be the solution to saving the future of coffee. Instead, as you suggest, its R&D efforts around coffee crops could be a solution to adapt to climate change. In this context, should major corporations seek to just combat climate change or should they focus more on making sure that their business models survive through climate change?

On November 5, 2016, mmd commented on Climate Change and the Department of Defense :

Your post does a nice job capturing the challenges facing the DoD as a potential consequence of climate change and how they may begin thinking about addressing these challenges. However, your post has made me wonder how feasible the DoD’s plan might be in the context of congressional budget constraints. Given the increasing pressure to cut costs at the DoD, will the DoD’s efforts to address climate change fall by the wayside as more tangible problems are given priority?