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On November 20, 2016, MR commented on Hasbro Is Not Leaving Monopoly to Chance :

Thanks Gregor, amazing to see, that the amazing Monopoly experience is still making its way to children – now via the AppStore.
I was wondering if Hasbro has ever tried to diversify away into other type of popular games (e.g. MMORPGs) or if Hasbro is simply trying to take their ‘old products’ in a ‘new channel’. In my opinion, classical board games (even in an online format) will be crowded away by the Zynga-type of games (often games featured for free with significant in-app purchase options, but with significant player-to-player interaction and a high degree of community-building).
Nevertheless, it will be very sad to see the fake Monopoly money vanish and replaced by virtual coins and by that probably reducing the number of frustrating, but fun family evenings.

On November 20, 2016, MR commented on Enlighted Inc: Nest but better :

Great and interesting article, Haley! Although having worked on a project in the digitization of energy products, I haven’t heard of Enlighted before. I think their business model sounds great in theory, I was just wondering if you would happen to have some insights on how they are actually doing in practice? Looking at Nest and all other SmartHome providers out there, none of them have been really successful in reaching a strong market adoption (not to speak about their profitability). In B2C it seems almost impossible to educate customers (how are not very tech-savvy), but also in B2B or with commercial/industrial customers market adoption seems to be very difficult. I could imagine for instance for Enlighted to struggle in the market due to differing incentives between the parties involved in real estate (e.g. construction vs. actual tenants) as many of the expensive smart electricity systems need to be built into the actual ‘hardware’ of the building and are hard to adopt after the electrical systems have been fully installed . Thus, it will be interesting to see if Enlighted will be able to overcome these hurdles.

Great read on digital dating!
I am very curious to see how the introduction of such dating technologies will actually influence psychology and behavior of the society in the long-term. In the ‘old times’ the range of your possible ‘mating partners’ was limited to your hometown, work place or social circle. Having found a partner, usually rarely new occasions arose to easily meet or find new potential partners. In today’s world however, I am convinced that new apps like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, etc. will significantly change our understanding of concepts like ‘lifetime-marriage’ and monogamy over time.

On November 20, 2016, MR commented on Ready to become an energy prosumer? :

Great article, Corina!
Love the examples you explained to show the recent trends on the utilities market – in my opinion one of the few industries were the last decades have shown only marginal innovations in grid networks and grid technologies.
I fully agree with your implications and the roadblocks for a full adoption of the new innovations by the market. Having worked for one of the major energy provider in Europe, I have seen how difficult it is to roll-out new innovations or to educate customers in a market which is almost purely driven by price competitiveness. For instance, although Germans consider themselves very eco-friendly and demand clean energy, only 2% of the consumers are actually willing to pay a small premium over the standard tariff for a green tariff. Thus I agree that the largest hurdle will be in customers’ willingness to pay and if governments will decide to subsidize certain new trends.

Thank you, great article on aspects of e-commerce that many entrepreneurs and VC enthusiasts like to push aside. I fully agree with your depictions on how many e-commerce businesses lack simple differentiators that would provide barriers to entry or a competitive advantage. One of the only real competitive advantages that e-commerce business have is to build up scale as quickly as possible to create a huge customer base and become entrenched in the ‘customers’ mind (in which only a few companies have been truly successful, such as Facebook, Zalando, etc.).

To reach such a growth in few years only, significant investments of investors’ capital are required at shocking cash-burning rates. After having educated customers to great deals via loss-making operations it often becomes very difficult to really turn around the business eventually into profitability. It will be interesting to see if or rather when the e-commerce bubble will burst.

On November 7, 2016, RM commented on BMW’s Hydrogen Fueled Future :

Very interesting article, I have not been aware so far of BMW’s earlier hydrogen program. I would be very interested in learning more about how BMW actually positions their strategy in terms of sustainability. If you look critically at the i3 and i8 models that BMW has introduced, you can quickly see how technologically inferior they are compared to Tesla models. Driving the i8 not on a hybrid mode, but on a pure electrical mode, it can go only 30-37kms before having to recharge while the larger Tesla models can take up a distance of a couple of hundred kms.
My very personal opinion is that BMW has not done enough in the past years to realize and accept the change that is happening and will eventually have to pay for this in the next decades – a challenge that many German companies face nowadays.

On November 7, 2016, RM commented on Bye-Bye Beautiful Bivalves :

Awesome article and very well written, Michelle!
Interesting to hear about less publicly known effects of climate change, such as oceans absorbing ~50% of the CO2 and the drastic impact that has on the flora and fauna of the sea world. I was fascinated of the degree of professionalism that is applied in this industry where you would typically expect a simple non-sophisticated fishing industry!
I agree that the diversification in terms of location is a good countermeasure, even if maybe not very sustainable in the long-term. However, also shocking to see that there seems to be no really effective countermeasure tackling the real problem. Certainly this will have an effect on the overall supply-demand situation of oysters and ultimately the price level that we will see in the future!

On November 7, 2016, RM commented on Sinking the Subway: The MBTA Confronts Climate Change :

Very interesting article that we will all be able to relate to in the next coming months.
Really shocking to see how little is being done in preparation for more extreme weather situations. Given the incredibly old infrastructure of the MBTA, I was wondering if there would be already a few “low hanging fruits” or easy solutions that could at least help in the short-term to overcome drastic winters. The CTA in Chicago has for instance equipped their trains with snowplow blades and sleet scrapers to empty and heat the tracks [1]. Curious if something like that is applied in Boston and could help at least in the short-term to ensure public transportation does not need to be set off this season.


On November 7, 2016, RM commented on Nome’s New Race :

Very interesting to finally get a perspective on someone actually benefiting from climate change and melting ice mass. I am slightly concerned though about total welfare effects. Surely, it will be beneficial for Nome and also for the shipping industry, however I am worried that increased traffic and tourism will simply accelerate the change in ice patterns in the Arctic Sea. This again will open up new opportunities and new waterways, but this might become a vicious cycle. Looking now at total welfare effects also taking account environmental, social and ecological aspects this could turn into a quite disturbing development.

Great article! Very happy you bring this topic up, actually, as I think that the cement industry is one of the most under-regulated industries when it comes to emission target and reduction policies – given the incredible impact that this single industry has on overall worldwide emissions.
I loved how you have worked out the problems around their targets and I couldn’t agree more with Lady’s previous post around the disappointment that they are not setting themselves more aspirational targets.
I fully agree with you that much more needs to be happen in the cement industry. Having worked for LafargeHolcim, I could experience myself that internally not a lot of emphasis is put on sustainability or an aggressive reduction in emissions. Especially as the industry is currently under such cost pressure, no single cement player is willing to make the first push to establish themselves as sustainability leader due to fear of losing cost competitiveness. Thus, I am wondering if maybe governments will need to play a stronger role in enforcing rules & guidelines that will apply to all players to not distort the overall industry structure.