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On November 20, 2016, NR commented on Digitizing the globe one pixel at a time – Google Maps :

Great post, Aayesha! I think your post highlights many of the opportunities that exist in location intelligence that I wrote about in my blog post about Foursquare. Similar to Google Maps, Foursquare uses technology to precisely map out point-of-interest data that can be used by advertisers as well as developers looking for an API to build on. Foursquare, however, has gone a step further to use passive location tracking to measure foot-traffic patterns of consumers to inform real estate businesses looking to build new sites and finance investors searching for alternative data to provide more information on business performance. In the world of technology though, Google is king. I am curious to know whether Google also plans to monetize the data they are capture and sell it as insights to businesses for investment strategies. Google is probably better positioned in the market as a leading technology player, so I have little doubt that they can crowd Foursquare out of the market. It will be interesting to see if they decide to monetize the data, or keep the data internally to continue bringing new technology products to the market.

On November 20, 2016, NR commented on Groupon: A Good Deal for Anyone? :

Great post! As the commenters above mentioned, the appeal of Groupon absolutely diminished from a consumer perspective with the overabundance of options (with no objective or customer rating information) and a relatively blanketed approach to targeting of specific deals to consumers. For me though, I’m less concerned with consumer adoption and more concerned with merchant usage. Given the way Groupon deals were structured, my understanding is that the merchants that chose to use Groupon were almost desperate to increase sales. By offering lower-quality merchants on its site to achieve scale, Groupon loss the interest of many consumers who were looking for a deal but who knew that the coupons being offered were not actually of good quality. In speaking from personal experience, I’ve shifted my coupon purchases from Groupon to Gilt City because it feels like the site does a better job at curating its merchants to offer real value to consumers. To survive, I think Groupon should re-evaluate its merchant strategy and re-think its deal strategy to attract higher value coupons for consumers. I do worry that Groupon’s brand has already diminished considerably in the consumers’ mind, but this might be the only strategy that offers value for all.

On November 20, 2016, NR commented on Football 2.0 :

CMH, interesting post! I love the idea of using this technology to enhance the game from both the fans and the players perspective. As @NovChopin and @MM mentioned above, I see immense value in using this type of data provided by RFID trackers to monitor player health and safety, especially as it relates to concussions. If Zebra can actually answer and quantify the question “how hard did my quarterback get hit?” I can see the League using this data to assess in real-time whether to pull players out of the game for further evaluation. This type of data, however, may pose some risks to the League. What if it was found that a player was hit at an “unsafe” speed, but felt fine so the player stayed in the game? Would the League or teams face penalties if they make decisions based on their on-site physician’s opinions rather than based on Zebra’s data? Should they face these penalties? I think there’s a lot to be done in improving the playing conditions for players, so I’m excited to see how Zebra can be used to make better decisions in health and safety.

On November 20, 2016, NR commented on How Macy’s and Technology “Fit” Well Together :

Very interesting read, Erica! I personally love the idea of transforming the shopping experience through digital technology. I absolutely see the benefits Macy’s is hoping to capitalize on, but can also see the risks that @Ranj and @Jgilortiz mentioned above including poor inventory planning and minimizing customer wait time. However, I think Macy’s can actually mitigate these risks through the same technology it’s offering for consumers by focusing on the back-end data. I would imagine that this technology gives Macy’s a better understanding of which items customers are trying on the most, which items customers often try on by don’t end up buying, and which items have the best conversion rate. This type of data would be immensely helpful to the retailer. Macy’s can use this to better determine which styles of data to purchase and which brands often look good on the shelf but are actually poor fits for customers. Further, I’m wondering whether the app technology would give the retailer more insights into its customers and allow for customers to select their preferred styles ahead of time so that when they arrive at the store, their inventory is ready. I’m also curious to know a bit more about whether the technology also offers suggestions for customers to ‘complete the look.’ This would also enable to retailer to increase basket sizes for customers while also providing a more high-touch experience. I’m really excited to hear whether this concept really takes off!

On November 20, 2016, Natalie Rufat commented on Football on your phone :

Great post, AJR! I can attest to the fact that the league has prioritized digital strategy, and to your point, focused on digitalization not only in the context of broadcasting, but also in the context of player health and safety.

Regarding its digital strategy for content dissemination, one thing to keep in mind is the fact that broadcast networks, who have had long-standing relationships with the NFL, are incentivized to keep the League’s content on a fairly closed platform and are prepared to offer high bids to do so. In addition, the NFL currently partners with DirecTV to stream live content for fans, meaning the NFL itself cannot likely offer a streaming option for fans unless it terminates its contract. The biggest hurdle I see from the League’s perspective, is not whether the technology partners exist to more broadly disseminate content, but rather how can the League maintain its partnerships while still delivering digital content to fans who are eager to view games in a new way. I think by offering different or unique content (like player and fan perspectives streamed on Snapchat or interactive game viewing by voting to predict scores), the NFL can maintain its current broadcasting partnerships and still provide high quality, digital content to fans. What I hope to see going forward is a greater focus on digitalization from the network/broadcaster perspective (e.g., NBC, CBS, ESPN) so that NFL can leverage their platforms and distribution rather than having to invest in developing its own digital media capabilities.

On November 6, 2016, Ship Mate commented on AccorHotels: Is growth possible with climate change? :

Great post, Orianne! I’m glad to see that Accor took the initiative to adopt sustainable practices early on… hopefully other hotels will follow. But I echo Josue’s concerns – will customers really pay more to save the planet? Hotel chains are already losing share to AirBnB and other home sharing services. These businesses are considerably more sustainable than hotels since they don’t require maid service, laundry is done less often, and facilities use less energy. Not to mention, AirBnB usually offers accommodations at a fraction of the price as hotels. It’s hard for me to imagine a scenario where hotels can continue innovating in terms of sustainability while incurring the incremental costs. Perhaps they need to do more to find eco-friendly solutions such as working with sustainable suppliers, which can potentially control costs in the long-term. Or, maybe we’ll see hotel chains open more low-frill options that reduce the amount of energy consumed. Overall, I’m curious to see how they can sustain their business (and market share) WHILE adopting these eco-friendly practices.

On November 6, 2016, Ship Mate commented on Tahoe Skiing Faces Extinction :

Great read, Chris! I’m with you on this one – I’m skeptical on the concept of artificial snow sustaining ski resorts going forward. I’m curious, is this issue affecting all winter resorts and snowy mountains, or are there mountains farther up north that will avoid the effects of climate change for a few decades? I’d imagine that there are mountains up North, closer to the Arctic circle, that might end up getting developed as ski resorts, which would help solve the ski shortage in the next century. Do you know whether there have been developments up there? From my research in the cruise industry, I saw that many cruise operators are now looking into navigating around the Arctic Circle as that area is getting warmer and glaciers are melting. Perhaps it’s not the end of ski as a sport, but rather a shift in where skiing occurs.

On November 6, 2016, Ship Mate commented on Allstate on the Front Line: Insuring Against Climate Change :

Great post! I’ve seen first-hand how insurers can really “punish” those living in riskier geographies with their high premiums. My family owns property in the Florida Keys and after several damaging hurricanes (we lost our house during a Tropical Storm in 1998), many property insurers would not insure us until we took certain measures to prevent future catastrophes.

Here is where I struggle with Allstate’s decisions to better position the company for the effects of climate change – rather than leave customers “out to dry” as @Dan Routh mentions above, I would rather see Allstate invest in better infrastructure for these risky geographies to better withstand extreme weather conditions. For example, much of the Florida Keys experiences high levels of flooding during rainy seasons and hurricanes, causing severe damage to homes in these areas. Perhaps Allstate should partner with development companies to help design and construct houses that are above sea-level to mitigate flooding going forward? Or, maybe they should encourage the local governments to install better draining systems throughout the cities to ensure that excess water moves out quickly? These types of investments would alleviate much of the high costs associated with hurricane damages, while also helping customers living in these geographies. Further, these changes would create longer-term solutions to climate change rather than just shifting the financial burden to home and property owners.

On November 6, 2016, Ship Mate commented on An Explosion Redefines a Worst-Case Scenario :

Interesting read, Hugo. This reminds me of what I often had to deal with in Florida where, despite adequate hurricane preparation, power outages were always expected. Florida Power & Light (equivalent to NY’s Con Edison) has invested significant capital (over $2B) in developing new technologies to better respond to storm damages and prevent widespread power outages [1]. Specifically, they have invested in amphibious robots, drones, and mobile technologies to allow storm responders to identify the causes of power outages quicker than in years past. They’ve also established a Lightning Lab research center which tests new equipment that will better withstand lightning’s effects on the power grid. I would be curious to see what ConEd is doing in terms of innovation to better react to New York’s future hurricanes, especially as these advances should help ease the burden of high costs related to emergency response going forward.

[1] “FPL conducts annual storm drill; highlights new technology and emergency response partnerships in advance of 2016 hurricane season,” Electric Energy Online, May 2016, accessed November 2016.

On November 6, 2016, Ship Mate commented on Carnival Corporation: Greener and Cleaner? :

Interesting read! I am glad that the cruise industry is taking a step toward becoming more eco-friendly to help mitigate the effects of climate change, but I’m still skeptical of whether their efforts will significantly move the needle (currently cruise ships are the least eco-friendly mode of transportation in terms of waste per tourist). While Carnival, along with Royal Caribbean and other operators, are getting better at cleaning and filtering their smokestacks to reduce harmful emissions, would it not be better to start investing in new technologies that eliminate the need for the diesel engines that cause these emissions in the first place? These operators should be looking into alternative green energy sources such as wind turbines as power for their ships. In addition, I’ve read that Royal Caribbean is working with the University of Miami to monitor and measure oceanic and atmospheric data to better understand the impact of climate change. It would be interesting to see if Carnival is also using its ships to support research of climate change. Finally, I would be more inclined to believe the cruise industry is actively trying to prevent the effects of climate change if they weren’t taking advantage of it at the same time. Some cruise operators have decided to start trips in the arctic circle now that the glaciers are melting which is providing a pathway for ships. This to me sounds contradictory to the cruise industry’s efforts as they will now be adding ships that will contaminate the arctic waters and can have a detrimental effect on the biosystems of that region. While I don’t want to see the cruise industry go away, I would like to see bigger efforts in making substantial changes to prevent further harmful impact on the environment.