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On November 20, 2016, MW commented on GameStop – A casualty of digitialization? :

The future certainly looks bleak for GameStop as the company’s business model currently exists. However, given the popularly of gaming and the quality of the broad of GameStop as SLA mentions above, I thought a natural extension of the company’s model could be into e-sports and video game competitions. There is a lot of money and opportunities in this relatively young category. As Brett Morris, President of Super League Gaming, questions “Why can’t gamers go to practice?”, GameStop should be the one taking advantage of this opportunity (1). The company has 6,614 stores in operation and the company should consider taking advantage of this real estate to host practices and competitions for gamers to develop their talents (2). And, this increased traffic and captive audience would likely purchase other products as well. Just as Petco started offering grooming services to its consumers to drive traffic and repeat, subscription like purchases, GameStop could consider adding video game lessons and tournaments as well.

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Another action that Starwood should consider is allowing guests to buy the products in their rooms. For example, Westin hotels developed a mattress called the heavenly bed ( after receiving a lot of interest from guests. Not only is this another revenue opportunity, but it likely attracts these guests to come back to Westin as they know they can depend on the mattress / bed to get a good nights sleep. Ace Hotels also allows guest to buy items from their room. For example, after visiting the Ace Hotel in Pittsburgh, I wanted the robe from the hotel room and was able to purchase it quickly ( They could even consider adding a Amazon dash button type device in their hotel rooms so that guests could buy immediately and the hotel could automatically charge their credit card on file. Experiences and convenience are becoming increasingly important in the digital age and hotels like Starwood should continue to focus on both.

On November 20, 2016, MW commented on McDigital or McDoomed? :

Enlightening post Anisa. I think that the digital menu boards have a ton of potential as you mentioned. In addition to what you highlighted, McDonalds could use the board for experimentation. For example, McDonalds is offering some new signature burgers, such as the “SoCal burger, which comes a bakery-style bun with white cheddar cheese and chili-lime tortilla strips” (1). McDonalds should consider using the digital menu boards to do A/B testing of sorts where every other car gets a different signature burger option to see what burgers are more successful before rolling out the item more widely. And – on another note – I hope that McDonalds continue to focus on the health & wellness initiatives as well as their sustainability goals!


First of all, I disagree with your opening remark that “Whole Foods in New York City is a nasty place to shop”. As someone who worked right next to the Tribeca Whole Foods for 5 years, I believe that Whole Foods is a fantastic grocery store. It is one of the biggest that I have visited, has excellent, fresh selection and great customer service. While I believe that Instacart is an excellent complement to Whole Foods, I do not believe it can replace Whole Foods – or any grocery store for that matter. While Instacart may work well in New York City or other densely populated areas, its ability to provide the fresh, quality service may be compromised in more rural regions. Instacart employees are paid on how many trips that complete and how quickly they complete those trips (1). Completing a higher number of trips in New York City or San Francisco is a lot easier to do vs. in Huntsville, Alabama where Whole Foods also has a location. Given all of the issues that SCWC, JZ, and Anthony already mentioned that Instacart has in urban areas, the viability of the model will likely be even more compromised as they try to expand throughout the country.

On November 20, 2016, MW commented on Can Magazines Survive the Internet? :

In addition to all of the changes you mentioned, Conde Nast has also made a number of key personnel changes / altered their human capital structure to better align with an increasingly digital environment. For example, Linda Wells, the founder and editor-in-chief of Allure magazine, was fired and Michelle Lee was brought in to replace her. Michelle was formerly the editor-in-chief and CMO at Nylon Media and is “charged with bringing Allure into the digital age and extending its reach to Millennial women” (1). Conde Nast also consolidated the business / publishing sides of Vogue and Teen Vogue to be one unit as they look to cut costs and align their businesses. Your blog post captured the challenges and responses that Conde Nast is confronting as they adapt to the digital environment but also worth considering what changes are required to their human capital structure and what other shifts may be necessary. In addition to the initiatives above, these challenges require a significant amount of senior management’s time.

(1) Alexandra Steigard, “Top Stories of the Year: Shake-ups at Conde Nast”, WWD,

On November 7, 2016, Mary Walsh commented on Marine Harvest ASA – A Quiet Beneficiary of Global Climate Change :

Paul, fascinating post. Like you mentioned, MH is in an enviable position in that the demand for their product is expected to rise with global population growth and rising incomes / protein consumption. In the near term, I would also expect the demand for salmon to be very strong, as salmon is considered to be a superfood since it contains omega-3 fatty acid and thus should be a beneficiary of the focus on health & wellness in the US. Given MH’s sector leadership and competitive advantages, do you think that the Company should considering producing other varieties of fish or do you believe that they should maintain focused on salmon? Also, are there ways for the company to reduce their overall energy consumption? MH is adapting to changing environmental conditions but could be more proactive in actually mitigating climate change.

On November 7, 2016, Mary Walsh commented on Can H&M Make Sustainability Stylish? :

I agree with Jean Grey. H&M’s business model – along with the rest of the fast fashion industry – is inherently contradictory to the notion of sustainability. H&M has conditioned many consumers to the idea that you can wear a piece a few times and then discard that item. And, while I agree with Anisa that the company can do more, nearly any action that they pursue is just a bandaid vs. a true solution. H&M will always be driven to sell more items and have their consumers replace their clothes with shocking regularity (an average H&M item is only worn 5 times!). While I appreciate that they are seeking ways to be sustainable, I believe that the model of “fewer, better things” that a company like Cuyana ( is adopting is more authentic and environmentally conscious.

On November 7, 2016, Mary Walsh commented on Even Goldman Sachs Cares About Climate Change :

Phil, thank you for your post. In response to Frank’s struggle to see the connection between the initiatives and impact on GS’ business, as someone who worked at the firm for 5 years, I can confirm that an impact on GS’ business exists and likely will become more pronounced over time. Two examples that pop into my mind are the firm’s situation post Hurricane Sandy and winning business mandates from clean energy firms that want their partners to be like minded. While most of downtown Manhattan (and the major US stock exchanges) were shut down for at least several days post Hurricane Sandy, GS’ downtown headquarters never lost electricity and was fully operational the day following the hurricane. GS’ employees that were able to commute into the office were able to work and our clients appreciated our availability. For example, we were in the middle of marketing Restoration Hardware’s IPO during the hurricane and were able to price the offering on the expected pricing day, which was greatly appreciated by the client. And, as mentioned above, the firm has won a number of mandates from clean tech clients such as Tesla, partially due to the firm’s sustainability practices.

On November 7, 2016, Mary Walsh commented on Maker’s Mark: Seeing the Forest for the Trees :

Agreed with your view that Maker’s Mark should be admired as an industry leader in the spirits sector in terms of sustainability (as well as taste!). I had never previously considered the environmental impact of alcohol until reading this post. I appreciate their initiative in controlling the supply chain by purchasing forests. However, this post left me wondering how much strain Maker’s Mark (and other spirits producers) is placing on the environment and how much is alleviated by them owning the forests? Is the cost worth it? Understanding this dynamic would be helpful for other spirits products to know as it may encourage others to follow their example.

On November 7, 2016, Mary Walsh commented on Plant-Based Burgers – A Big Missed Steak? :

Thank you for the enlightening post. As a health conscious eater who is trying to reduce her meat consumption yet still craves a great burger, I appreciate that the demand for delicious, healthy non-meat based burgers exists. However, Beyond Meat must be very careful about how they market the burger and to what audience. Students in cafeterias may be a large and receptive market but selling the burgers through this channel may ultimately harm the brand and hinder long term growth. If the burger is deemed “cafeteria food”, it will likely be considered lower quality. And, if the burgers are sold through 3rd party restaurants such as Five Guys or Chipotle, consumers may not realize that they are eating Beyond Meat burgers, impacting brand awareness. I believe that Beyond Meat’s current channel of Whole Foods is a strong start as Whole Foods customers tend to be health conscious, adventurous eaters with discretionary income who likely consider themselves to be “early adopters” of food trends. Perhaps the next stage of channels could be Sprouts Farmers Market or even the local supermarkets vs. restaurants or cafeterias? Your facts that 3/4 of Americans eat a burger at least once a week and total U.S. beef consumption is >25 billion pounds illustrate how big of a market exists so effective marketing is critical here.