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Fascinating read. Thanks Mike. One thing I would like to see Medtronic do is visualize the data for the patient. As described, the MiniMed currently regulates T1DM by monitoring glucose and injecting insulin as needed. But what if the device also illustrated to the patient what their glucose levels were at any given time and how much insulin they needed? This would help the patient self-manage sugar intake and perhaps reduce the need for heavy insulin injections (and to BJF’s question, maybe improve the value proposition to the payor). Perhaps the device could also give feedback as sugar levels were too high or too low, prompting the user to change behavior going forward. Maybe this data could also be shared with physicians, caretakers, and family members, all of whom could encourage the patient to maintain good behavior.

On November 20, 2016, PM commented on A Hospital’s $1.2 billion Digital Transformation :

Thanks for the great read! @Mike, @BJF – sounds like its time for us to start an interoperability company.
I hope that the EMR players can find a way to aggregate their data in a meaningful way. If we can put more sources together, data scientists will be able to draw connections between patterns of disease that can be used to help prevent illnesses instead of our current sick-care framework. Right now, insurance companies and life sciences companies are attempting to work through this, but no unified data source exists with information as rich as what is stored in EMRs. To Mike’s point, I do think individual patients should be the ones to consent to sharing data, even if it is de-identified. However, I think patients should also be educated on how this data can be used to improve medicine and bring better treatments faster.

On November 20, 2016, PM commented on Sephora: Who wants a virtual makeover? :

Nice post! Good for Sephora for both leading the in-person interactive experience 60 years ago and now the digital interactive experience.

Another option Sephora may want to consider is allowing users to upload photos onto the mobile app and then recommending products to recreate that look. This reminds me of the Mink makeup case from marketing, where customers can take photos and then use that to print 3D makeup. However, unlike Mink, Sephora’s approach of using its own catalogue of makeup requires less upfront cost in buying a 3D printer and less friction in changing how customers obtain their makeup.

On November 20, 2016, PM commented on Digitization Gets Cooking in the Restaurant Industry :

Awesome (and very funny) post! At the end of the post, you discussed restaurants engaging with their members in a digital way e.g. hashtags. Another ways for restaurants to engage would be to promote geolocation e.g. FourSquare/Swarm and similar features on Facebook and Yelp. Similar to the Yelp impact, this promotion would promote interest and perhaps flow through to revenue. I haven’t seen many restaurants engaging with checking-in, but restaurants may want to consider offering something to the user to increase this “digital word-of-mouth”. Companies like Foursquare / Facebook / Yelp can also use this to track consumers’ eating habits and then guide them to new places they may like (perhaps forming another acquisition funnel for restaurants).

On November 20, 2016, PM commented on Optum-izing Healthcare Delivery & Service :

Great post. I agree that Optum is uniquely well-positioned for the future of healthcare – aligning providers and payors to keep patients healthy and out of the hospital.

I think Optum’s digital / data-driven approach has been powered by their scale. Many healthcare constituencies – whether providers, payors, life sciences companies, or patients – are highly protective of their data, making it extremely difficult to put together all the pieces to do something value-add on the data side. The combination of Optum with United Health, as well as Optum’s standalone scale ($68B) in revenue, has enabled the company’s data-based approach. This reminds me of the challenge we discussed IBM Watson may face in the healthcare arena – I wonder if Optum is considering developing similar machine learning / natural language processing technology or partnering with IBM Watson to leverage the scale they have on the data side.

On November 6, 2016, PM commented on Tesla is great, but what about trains? :

Really thought-provoking post. Given how highly politicized Amtrak’s funding can be, I think it’d be fascinating for the government to quantify how much Amtrak reduces the carbon footprint. The government could then compare this to tax credits the Tesla’s of the world receive – I wonder if that would help put a dent in the criticism of Amtrak’s yearly losses.
Perhaps Amtrak needs to also do a better job of showing its commitment to sustainability to its customers. As a semi-frequent traveler on Amtrak, I have always been struck by the lack of recycling receptacles onboard. From paging through the company’s 2013 Sustainability Report, it seems like this is because the passenger cars have been in service for many years (which also seems to be impact efficiency compared to European trains, as you mentioned). I think Amtrak should come up with a makeshift solution here – even just adding recycling options on certain cars e.g. the cafe car would be a start. This would help customers associate Amtrak with sustainability and perhaps be part of a broader campaign contrasting Amtrak’s carbon footprint with that of the airlines or driving.

On November 6, 2016, PM commented on Delta Airlines and climate change: one-way ticket? :

Fascinating post. I really liked your point about Delta’s lack of investment in new travel technologies, which is a relevant question when looking at the timespan of climate change. Currently, Delta’s sustainability framework focuses on incremental improvements: how can it improve fuel efficiency? How can Delta cap emissions? But to your point, even if they are successful and use their market power to convince all other airlines to adopt similar policies, the reduction in GHG gases will only be 1%, seemingly not enough. Perhaps Delta should partner early with Hyperloop or one of its competitors and offer to be a “carrier” of such a transportation method. This would be a significant step at creating a sustainable supply chain – essentially choosing suppliers based on their carbon footprint.

On November 6, 2016, PM commented on Barry Callebaut: I’m in love with the cocoa :

Really enjoyed this post! Strongly agree that raising awareness, grafting more productive trees, and reducing deforestation would go a long way in combatting this issue. Per the NOAA,/NPR perhaps one more way of mitigating the impact of climate change is “cabruca [which] involves retaining, or in some cases replanting, other rainforest trees, which provide cacao trees with shade”. Cabruca provides protection from wind and soil erosion; it also stores more carbon. Most importantly for the farmers, it can also double production in a climate friendly manner. Perhaps this is another argument for carbon credits – farmers would get money for both growing cocoa and preserving trees.

On November 6, 2016, PM commented on Who Insures the Insurers? Hopefully, Themselves. :

Very thoughtful post. I agree that AIG is adding systemic risk (again) by concentrating its portfolio in the US. It’s possible that AIG is reinsuring some of this risk and perhaps that reinsurer is helping spread risk in the system, but nonetheless, AIG can take some steps itself.

AIG’s mitigation against climate risk falls squarely in the “maximize profit” framework – improving pricing methodology, incentivizing insured to build resiliency, and increasing premiums all improve AIG’s bottom line. Given this approach, AIG also has room to expand into the carbon credits business to support some of the cap-and-trade rules in Europe. For example, AIG could potentially insure against the failure of a project to generate carbon reductions. AIG could also provide brokerage services to AIG’s clients that have compliance obligations. Perhaps this will not only impact AIG’s bottom line, but will also help them diversify away from geographic concentration risk in the US while still taking a stand to mitigate the risks of climate change.

Nice post! While I agree that JetBlue has taken significant steps to reduce its carbon footprint, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has identified the carrier as having room to go with its commitment to adopting aviation biofuels. In particular, the NRDC claims that JetBlue has not shown the same level of commitment as other airlines (1) to have broad involvement in creating fuel supply chains and (2) to use and purchase sustainable fuels and monitor and disclose performance. An easy win for JetBlue would be to disclose the total volume of biofuels it uses and where these are sourced from. Going back to our “save the world” and “maximize profitability” framework – I think adopting biofuels has the possibility of increasing passenger volume by showing commitment to sustainability while also helping reduce carbon footprint.