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On November 20, 2016, NS commented on No More Dashing Out To The Store :

I had heard of Dash but but wasn’t aware of exactly how it worked – super interesting. I wonder how the adoption has been so far and whether there’s any data around how well it’s doing relative to projections. If you look into the way payments work (http://www.popsci.com/youve-been-looking-at-amazon-dash-all-wrong), while a button is about $5, the amount is applied to a credit against the items purchased, so it’s essentially free – the sticking point is thus that Dash buttons seem to enhance “stickiness” through Amazon. Per this article I don’t think this connects to mobile devices, which it probably should so that households can better manage their Dash buttons. Lastly, how are consumers able to switch brands? For example, if I wanted to use a different detergent, what’s the process? I’m not sure how easy it is if this doesn’t integrate with mobile – do you need to purchase a new button? I think the fact that these types of products lend itself to less brand loyalty (I’m not loyal to my detergent, but rather look for the best price), this might be an obstacle that Dash needs to overcome. Lastly, I wonder how basic grocery stores will respond to this as well, and if they’ve seen any ramifications thus far.

Thanks for sharing Kamisha – I wasn’t aware of the extent to which Chase actually took smaller, start-up competitors seriously! One competitive advantage that Chase has which jumped out at me was the “global” nature of its products. With international travel and increased need for banking that works no matter where you are in the world, I view Chase as superior not only because it enables you to transact seamlessly abroad but also provides incredibly robust fraud protection and controls that consumers find effective and safe. One issue I have with one-off, smaller scale banking products as a regular commercial Chase consumer is that I don’t feel safe having all of my savings handled by a new technology that doesn’t (yet) have credibility, the same protection and capabilities. I might represent a particularly risk-averse consumer, but I believe Chase has the scale that inherently protects itself from small competition. Also, competitors would have to have a truly unique offering – one that Chase simply doesn’t have – to justify the time it takes to switch and any increased risk of fraud (through the use of technology with less robust infrastructure).

On November 20, 2016, NS commented on Is EZ Pass Poised to Take a Toll on Your Privacy Rights? :

Has there been any litigation against EZ Pass in this context? I’m curious whether the fact that this is a multi-state technology used by many governments has implications on how we should view the lack of privacy inherent in this issue. That is, is it justified to use the data EZ Pass provides in a more “secondary” way because it’s used by governments? I also wonder about Kapsch TrafficCom AG – they probably had a defined scope of use and terms with the government in order to construct this deal. Were they aware of the potential secondary uses and did they include them in the scope? Or even more troubling, did they promote them? In general, I think the increased penetration of digital technology blurs the lines of how we define specific uses of data and information.

On November 20, 2016, NS commented on Starbucks, mobile payments underdog, takes gold :

Thanks for sharing – this is great coverage! I’m curious to understand how Starbucks aims to monetize their payment app, beyond having another avenue to increase stickiness and offer means to order ahead. Are there further opportunities to monetize the use of the app itself? It would also be interesting to have detail around the various components of the app. Take Spotify, for example – how many users engage in that, and is it worth any fees Starbucks has to pay Spotify for a partnership (if any)?

On November 20, 2016, NS commented on Automating Technical Hiring :

This is really interesting, I wasn’t aware of the technological innovations emerging in the recruiting space – thanks for sharing! One dynamic that I’d add is that the candidates seem to actually be bid on (https://techcrunch.com/2013/09/17/developer-auction-is-hired-com/). Whereas in traditional recruiting scenarios candidates were forced to negotiate with each employer one-on-one, I view this as a shift in power – more toward the candidate – by introducing transparency and a bidding system. That said, I think it also de-emphasizes other aspects that a candidate might consider when selecting an employer, such as social fit/culture (as the article herein explains). I’d also be interested to see data around retention compared to traditional recruiting to see whether hires are actually “better” (stay longer) or at least the same.

Very fascinating, yet also frightening! I’m glad Partners is looking to precedent examples and implementing actual changes to ensure that they aren’t impacted to such a large extent. This also makes me wonder about increased widespread disease due to climate change – which potentially, like Zika, are new, exotic and thus treatments and long term impacts are largely unknown – and other impacts that it will have on the healthcare system and how we view climate change. Will we see major healthcare players become bigger advocates for climate change mitigation? Perhaps this will increase the momentum on pending regulation. Zika and similar diseases are perhaps one of the first immediate impacts that climate change has had.

Great topic! Can’t imagine a world with $20 hot chocolate! This makes me wonder what competitors are doing – perhaps those (if any, although I’m sure there are some) who have a larger local presence in the affected areas. I know you mention that Hershey can stand to maintain market share, but I wonder whether competitive dynamics have changed in favor of competitors with easier access (despite dampened supply, which I understand impacts the whole industry). Could they benefit from intervening locally by acquiring these operations?

On November 7, 2016, NS commented on From Chocolate Ice Cream to Deforestation in Borneo :

Van – thank you for the information! I didn’t realize Wilmar’s operations were changed so drastically. One interesting facet of the situation to consider would be cost structure implications – how has Wilmar’s bottom line been impacted? I realize many competitors are following suit with sustainable changes, but if one doesn’t and thus doesn’t have the negative consequences to their profitability in the short term, does that provide a short term competitive advantage? I find the transition to sustainable practices and its cost and competition implications to be a major factor in the decisions that companies have to make.

Piersten – this is really interesting, thanks for sharing. I was at an H&M recruiting event and they had a really big emphasis on their sustainability programs and the extent of the social impact they were making. A few things strike me as interesting. First, I think sustainability is a clear initiative to take given their young demographic, which cares about sustainability. As such, it seems to be an expected part of their strategy and also seems to be a bit of a marketing effort to appeal to this demographic. Second, as one of the first movers in fashion sustainability, I think H&M has the power to engage in certain initiatives, release some metrics and “call” it sustainable since there is no true frame of reference. That is, they may be “checking the box” for sustainability – especially relative to their peers – but still be engaging in detrimental emission-intensive and/or wasteful operations.

AS – thanks for sharing. I agree that the inequity between developed countries and developing countries with regard to climate change (the former causes most of it, causing the latter to suffer most of the consequences, at least in the short term) is troubling. Your suggestions all seem effective – another one might revolve around bringing this issue to global committees tasked with coordinating global government strategies around climate change. Perhaps this could result in increased funding from foreign governments?