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On November 18, 2016, Naomi commented on Fitbit Finds Its Fit with Digital :

Fitbit has changed the face of fitness by equipping users with data-driven insights on their activity levels. As Fitbit considers to gain more users and as users become hungrier for deeper insights, I am curious to see how Fitbit will bring in other health-related data points into their software. Will Fitbit attempt to make logging of diet information, a key component in health and wellness, easier to gain a well-rounded picture of the user? Currently, it is a hassle to manually log information on food/drink that is consumed throughout the day. Fitbit already has an intuitive user platform that it can leverage to build in additional functionality to log nutritional information. If Fitbit can solve this dilemma, it will be sitting on a treasure trove of data. How can Fitbit pull in additional data points to make its consumers smarter about fitness?

On November 18, 2016, Naomi commented on OpenTable and the Restaurant Revolution :

I use OpenTable for a majority of my restaurant reservations and it makes a once daunting task simple and easy. I agree with your recommendations around leveraging data to predict customers’ taste in restaurants. Building off that idea, it would also be great to see OpenTable incorporate a social aspect into its platform. For example, it would be great to connect with my friends through the application and get recommendations to restaurants based on restaurants my friends like or suggest. I also wonder how OpenTable will get restaurants more on board with sharing their in-house data with OpenTable to help OpenTable better understand its users. OpenTable has an incredible opportunity to make dining a more social and data-driven experience, it’s just a matter of getting access to accurate data.

Interesting read on how B-Dubs is leveraging technology to become more efficient. I am curious to understand why the B-Dubs executives decided to leverage technology to impact customer-facing operations rather than tackle back-office operations. With human interaction being a crucial part of the customer service experience, it is a risky move to reduce customer-facing interactions. I also wonder how can B-Dubs use technology to improve its ratings by engaging customers to leave reviews in the restaurant instead of relying on customers to leave a rating after leaving the establishment. Lastly, I’m interested to see if B-Dubs will use its digital platform to surface analytical insights to restaurants and use the platform to share insights among all of its B-Dubs locations.

On November 18, 2016, Naomi commented on How Netflix Became Chill :

The numbers around user growth for Netflix drives the point home around how successful Netflix has been in making customers less reliant on cable subscriptions. As Netflix continues to attract customers, how does Netflix handle the issue of TV networks creating their own streaming services to capitalize on streaming services, like HBO with HBO GO? Will Netflix look to integrate its platform with TV networks, like what Hulu has done through a partnership with Showtime? Also, as how will the economics of purchasing content from content creators be affected as Netflix continues to create content thereby taking away eyeballs from purchased content? Will the margins on purchased content be diminished to the point that it is no longer economical to purchase rights to the most expensive content? I’m curious to see how Netflix will continue to disrupt and industry where it is angering many powerful, incumbent giants.

On November 18, 2016, Naomi commented on The ZocDoc will see you now… :

As an avid user of ZocDoc, I completely agree with your suggestions on growth opportunities for the company. ZocDoc has made finding available doctors extremely easy, but I wonder if this ease of use has also resulted in an increase in wasted time for doctors. Are patients misdiagnosing their ailments and going directly to a specialist instead of seeing an internal medicine doctor to get a referral to the correct specialist? I wonder if ZocDoc can expand its platform to allow for video doctor appointments with in-house ZocDoc doctors who can determine which specialist a patient should visit instead of leaving the guesswork up to the patients. ZocDoc can even monetize this feature to start earning revenue from patients. Like you, I think ZocDoc has great potential to vastly improve the healthcare system; it’s just a matter of getting the hospitals on board.

On November 6, 2016, Naomi commented on Can an Oil Refinery Refine Its Carbon Footprint? :

Excellent article on emissions issues faced by BP. It is promising to read that BP is taking a more proactive approach to emissions reductions. Being that BP has caused a fair share damage to the environment through oil spills and excessive emissions levels, I question if BP is not fully tackling their environmental impact because they have enough income to cover any fines that they may face. Does BP consider the tradeoff between investing in preventative measures versus the potential costs if the company were to be fined? From a moral standpoint, I truly hope this is not the case but it is completely possible that BP has analyzed this tradeoff before.

I am also interested to see how BP is leveraging data and analytics to gain more insights into the emissions impact on the environment. How is BP using sensors and the data collected to become smarter about their operations from an emissions standpoint? And is BP working with other companies, such as the companies that supply the materials to build and maintain its refineries, to determine ways to reduce the leakage of gases? I am excited to see which changes BP will implement both internally and externally to reduce its emissions footprint.

The aviation industry is facing an interesting turning point where air travel seems to be steadily on the rise. It is interesting to read about the initiatives that Airbus has laid out for the coming years. These technological innovations seem to have great potential in reducing emissions. However, I am curious how the entire aviation industry will react to these initiatives. In order to scale the vision that Airbus is working towards, it requires major operational changes for airline carriers as well as airports. Will airports be willing to embrace these changes in the coming years? It will be extremely difficult for Airbus to be able to sell any low-emission airplanes to airline carriers if airports have yet to embrace and act on the necessary sustainability initiatives.

With the prevalence of discount airliners in the world, how will Airbus convince these companies to embrace these newer, sustainable airplanes that may cut into these airliners’ profitability due to higher price tags on these aircrafts? I agree that the change must began with the aircraft manufactures. We have also seen that Boeing has set out similar sustainable goals with its development of green diesel and biofuel aircrafts. However, how can these manufacturers work with all the other players in the aviation industry to make the dream of sustainable air travel a reality?

It is great to read that DOW Chemical is taking steps to help increase the availability of fresh water through desalination. DOW Chemical has had its fair share of sustainability issues in the past, with safety issues related to its pesticides and its toxic waste sites. I’m curious to see if this desalination initiative will lead DOW to try to clean up their chemical environmental impact. Will DOW take this opportunity to analyze their chemical product’s impact on the global water supply and determine ways to minimize that impact?

Being that DOW is an extremely large company with many major initiatives focused on oil fracking and solar, where does desalination fall on the list of DOW’s priorities? Fracking has grown to be a healthy industry and any fracking-related technology has the potential can be a major revenue driver for the first-movers in the industry. Will DOW lose sight of its desalination initiatives in order to pursue higher revenues tied to the fracking industry? If the merger with DuPont goes through, will these two major companies use their combined forces to make big waves in the desalination efforts or will desalination fall to the wayside?

On November 6, 2016, Naomi commented on IDE Technologies: Making Seawater Desalination Sustainable :

Desalination has such interesting applications but from this article, it seems as though the technology has a long road ahead in order to become a more cost-effective and less resource-intensive technology. I am astounded by the fact that 80% of the world’s population live in areas with limited water supplies. With such a high percentage, I am curious to know if IDE Technologies have looked to partner with national governments to gain access to resources to assist in further R&D to leverage this technology.

Another interesting point in the article is that Israel is a net water exporter. What is the environmental impact on exporting this water to other regions? I also wonder how IDE can optimally position their global desalination plants in order to minimize their environmental impact from transporting desalinated water. The article brings up an excellent point around desalination offshore. It will be interesting to see if this industry decides to shift to smaller plans in order to be able to have presences in a larger number of geographies or if larger plants are in fact the most economical and sustainable way to desalinate water.

On November 6, 2016, Naomi commented on DIGging INN to Climate Change x Sustainable Food Systems :

This article does a great job of addressing a difficult trade-off between sustainable practices and predictive supply that Dig Inn and similar companies are facing. I feel as though sustainable dining has increasingly become a fad over the past few years as diners seek more transparency in the food they consume. It is interesting to see how Dig Inn has ridden this wave and figured out a way to manage customers’ expectations around having consistent year-round offerings of vegetables.

The article mentions that de-centralizing food production has the ability to help Dig Inn recover from shortages in a specific region. I’m curious to know the logistics that go into helping a certain region recover from a shortage. Does Dig Inn source crops from other unaffected regions and send these crops to regions with shortages? If so, how does that impact their GHG emissions? Does Dig Inn have a contingency plan in place to minimize the level of GHGs when dealing with shortages?

I also wonder if Dig Inn can learn from Whole Foods’ practices to improve their sustainability efforts. Whole Foods’ also has major initiatives around locally sourced produce; I wonder if there are lessons to be learned by analyzing their operations since Whole Foods is on a much larger scale compared to Dig Inn but has similar sustainability goals and challenges.