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On November 20, 2016, orianne commented on Wearable Technology Moves From The Wrist To Smarter High Fashion :

Thanks for the piece Viktoria! The idea of smart fashion is a really interesting one. I want to challenge one thing though; until now, a lot of what is coming out under the umbrella term “smart fashion” has really been accessories. Apple watch, fitbit, Ringly, etc. are all products that aren’t themselves typical fashion. I’d even argue that Jacquard added to the jean jacket is just that, an add-on. Can technology or digitization really take over the core of fashion? Can it be the clothes, the style, the trends themselves? Now, I’m sure some would say the Marchesa x Watson dress is exactly that, but I’m not sure. I remember reading about it and watching clips and thought it was somewhat cool, but it was so gimicky. I would most certainly never wear any article of clothing that changes colours with sewn in bulbs. Is there really a place for this kind of fashion-meets-technology apparel in the near future? Would it be something that the high-end brands experiment with or do you think it would appeal to a more mid- to low-range consumer?

Thanks Paul for the piece! I love the concept for Houzz and I think that it has huge potential especially if the algorithms to “web scrape” become more powerful. My only question/concern with this type of app is on accessibility. Is it linked in any way to geo-location? My reason for asking is if I’m using this tool to furnish my apartment in New York City, I might come across an image with a couch I really like. If it links me to a page with that couch but the store is a boutique based in California that could cause issues. Either I’d have to pick it up across the country or they would send it to me. Chances are shipping will be the option an app like this would use, but shipping single items of these dimensions and weight can be costly. As a customer, I would not want to pay the massive shipping fees to get that couch, I’d probably look for something similar in NYC to save myself some money. Do they have a way to ensure they don’t lose customers for these logistical reasons?

Thanks Laura for this piece! As a pianist, it is heart-breaking to know that the value of Steinway is diminishing with the rise of the digital era. We have already seen other brands disappear or change completely because of the market (e.g. Baldwin stopped all production and moved their entire manufacturing to China). You raise a lot of good options that Steinway should consider, yet there is one that I’d like to also suggest. Yamaha and other such brands already have a huge advantage in the digital instrument market. They target the mid- to lower-scale clients and the value proposition they sell is entirely different to Steinway. Personally, I don’t think Steinway has a shot in that market. With that said, I think that the value of a Steinway will still be appreciated by a (diminishing, but still present) small subset of buyers. As such, I would suggest Steinway remain the brand that it is. It should, instead, start producing digital instruments targeted at a different market under a different brand. This would allow the Steinway name to maintain its brand image and brand value, and also opens the overall company to a larger market.

On November 20, 2016, orianne commented on A Way for All Consultants to Stay Healthy on the Road :

As an ex-consultant, I can’t begin to agree enough on how huge these types of apps are becoming. I appreciated your in-depth discussion on the pros and cons of this app. With that said, I’m not sure if your two considerations are actually the concerns DailyBurn should be focused on. People who would be interested in an app like this probably don’t have to concern themselves with access to internet. As for the second concern with a “team motivation” element, I do agree that there needs to be a more interactive aspect to the app, however, I’m not sure if competition is necessarily key. People who want to get into fitness or get healthy aren’t necessarily going to be motivated the same way by not performing as well as their peers (e.g. Stickk). I’d take inspiration from fitness communities like Kayla Itsines (created the BBG and is now arguably the biggest amateur fitness community in the world). It’s essentially a community that allows members to communicate, share progress photos, and motivate each other. If the biggest selling point is that people can do this on their own time, it seems odd to bring a team aspect. Wouldn’t that necessitate coordination and finding a time that suits everyone? Additionally, I’d say that DailyBurn need to invest some time in figuring out how they are going to differentiate themselves as a lot of apps today exist to do exactly what DailyBurn does.

This is such a great post, Nikki! As a (very frequent) user of Dubai’s e-gate, I can attest first hand to how incredibly amazing this technology is. Not only does it make for a faster, smoother, and overall better traveling experience, it actually sways me to pick DXB as a favourite airport. This may not mean much alone, but essentially, whenever I have options in layover, I will often choose Dubai. Even when ticket prices may be slightly higher, knowing how simple transits and movement is with e-gate increases my willingness to pay for the ticket. Right now, the e-gate is only available for residents of the UAE as well as members of Emirates’ frequent flyer program. My concern with this technology is its potential in terms of expansion. Is it possible for all 70+ million passengers to use this? Or should it be available to them? As I see it, e-gate is a paid-for benefit (even if you meet requirements, you do pay to have one). If everyone had an e-gate card and iris scanning were available for all 70+ million people, would it actually successfully decrease the ridiculously long immigration lines? If not, how far can this technology expand in this industry?

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this matter!

I think that food security is absolutely something that needs to be prioritized as the effects of climate change become more and more apparent. I agree with your observation that in certain parts of the developing world, the impact of climate change is felt in a unique way. It is very interesting to consider how Indigo can play in this space. Your suggestion of partnering with agriculturally-focused academic institutions in other parts of the world is a great one, but I do think there would be a few obstacles that would present themselves. In the US, the idea of looking into the microbiome and potentially modifying seeds to improve crop yield is already controversial. Do you think developing countries would be more open to accepting this? If not, would Indigo invest in educating (e.g. awareness campaign) or promoting this type of research? Although I think it is a good idea, I worry that there may be a gap in understanding or perception of this type of microbiome study that would require additional steps in execution for Indigo.

I think that thinking about climate change in the framework of healthcare is extremely important, so thank you for discussing this!

I agree with most of the comments above about the third option. Although on the short-run investing in infrastructure may be less costly incase the effect of climate change on malaria is small, I see that as an argument to just cut-to-the-chase and invest more to find a cure. I also like the idea proposed by Dean, though. My understanding of that research is that it is far too early for us to really understand the effects of that degree of genetic modification, especially on that scale. That being said, I think it is a pathway that carries a lot of potential and more research should be done. RBM may want to consider funding some of the exploration into gene drive solutions as part of a long-term eradication strategy. I guess I’m torn between where investments should be allocated. Is there a way to split investments between drugs to cure malaria and technology that can eradicate it? Both seem equally important to me at this point in time and it could decrease the effects of wrongly over- or under- assuming the impact of climate change.

On November 7, 2016, orianne commented on Carnival Corporation: Greener and Cleaner? :

I strongly agree with many of the points that Ship Mate made on this article. Although it is great that Carnival is making efforts to be greener, I think it pales in comparison to the impact they could potentially make. Cruise ships are the worst polluters of all modes of transportation and putting in place these high-level (borderline “fluffy”) initiatives looks like a way to draw attention away from a much larger problem in their fundamental operations. Why would they try to push initiatives onto onshore counterparts when there are so many gaps in their own processes? On the same note, this is why I loved EDRM’s suggestion of basic changes like the LED lights. I do think, however, trying to imitate the classic hospitality model of pushing responsibility onto guests to be eco-friendly may not necessarily work. With hotels, a point system is a good incentive as generally people stay in hotels frequently enough. Cruises are a far less frequent indulgence so I’m not sure that getting some points would incentivise the behaviour we are looking for sufficiently. I suggest that Carnival focuses on upgrading their ships to become as energy-efficient and eco-friendly as they can be before spreading their “green program” outwards.

On November 6, 2016, orianne commented on Ecofriendly Fast-Fashion: A Real Possibility or an Oxymoron? :

I think that the title of this article captures perfectly my problem with this industry. I feel like fast-fashion is fundamentally set up so that it cannot be eco-friendly. With that said, I will have to caveat my own statement with one exception: fast-fashion moves into luxury. My opinion is that today, fast-fashion is almost synonymous with cheap fashion where most consumers purchasing fast fashion expect it to come at a low price. If Inditex tries to move towards a more sustainable operating model, it would need to invest more along various processes in its’ production line. This would translate into higher costs for the customer which may or may not be something that they are willing to pay. I think this is especially true given the very nature of fast-fashion as it signifies a fast turnaround of clothing. I don’t see a way to argue or convince customers that it makes sense to pay more for a product that is not of higher quality and that customers expect to use for a short period of time. Although studies have shown customers are willing to pay more for sustainable products, customer behaviour in the realm of fast-fashion may be more difficult to change. As such, although sad to say, I don’t think that fast-fashion as of today can become a sustainable industry.

On November 6, 2016, orianne commented on Unilever – Changing the business model of a $125B giant :

I agree 100% with your last point that in an ideal world all the global movers would join forces for real, large-scale impact to occur. With that said, I believe that Unilever is such a significant player on the global market that investments in more sustainable practices on just their end would already show many signs of positive change. They should leverage their position as a market influencer to bring to the forefront methods of creating a sustainable future. I draw potential parallels with the hotel industry, the topic I wrote on, where Accor engaged with guests so that both the company and the consumer bear shared responsibilities for sustainable practices. I can imagine scenarios where Unilever sends the right message to the huge number of people they reach – action from even a fraction of those people who be a step in the right direction.