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On December 1, 2017, R commented on Why Wal-Mart will Beat Amazon in E-Commerce :

Thanks for such interesting post Andrew!

I wasn’t aware of Walmart’s so many acquisitions of e-commerce websites in order to build presence online and compete with Amazon.
I’d argue that Walmart is a retail business and Amazon is a technology company, at its essence. The way that Amazon operates its business –
selection, merchandising, distribution channel etc – whether it’s books, e-books, AWS cloud space, Amazon Instant video, Amazon Wardrobe etc. is pretty much the retail mindset, just moving from offline traditional brick-and-mortar stores to online virtual stores. Amazon completely changed and shaped customers’ shopping behavior.

On the other side, while a clear leader in online retail, Amazon has also stepped up its presence in the physical retail world thanks to its purchase of Whole Foods and opening of Amazon Books stores in many big cities. The retail world is really going to remain a battle of just Amazon and Walmart (excluding international players), and the question as to whether Walmart can catch up remains to be answered, so far looking at the past Thanksgiving holiday weekend, more than three-quarters of those surveyed said they shopped at Walmart (online or at the store) and nearly 70% bought something at Amazon. The next closest retailer was Kohl’s, with about 56% of consumers shopping there. [1]

[1] http://money.cnn.com/2017/11/27/investing/cyber-monday-online-retail-stocks-amazon-walmart/index.html

Thanks for such interesting thoughts Christina!

The health insurance system is indeed undergoing a digital revolution that will profoundly affect the health care of Americans. I share some of the concerns that Ruksi mentioned, that an overall challenge is that is actually quite difficult to share information between electronic records systems, so the promise of having data follow patients has so far proved elusive. Also, some electronic health records are complex and difficult to use. This is frustrating for doctors and nurses, slows them down, and can even cause safety issues. Still a third problem is that comparatively few records have added on the software – so called decision support – that could help process digitized health data and make it useful for providers and patients. [1]

[1] https://hbr.org/2016/02/speeding-up-the-digitization-of-american-health-care

On December 1, 2017, R commented on Digital Content Delivery – Can AMC Theatres survive? :

Thanks for such interesting post!

I agree with you that in front of the digital content disruption, movie theaters need to stop competing on “convenience” and start focusing on “experience.” They need to offer more than just a way of watching the latest movies, that’s why I think they should avoid going down the route of becoming a hub for all PVOD and offline content delivery but an elevated viewing experience. Here are some ideas that might work to add value to the whole experience:

– Smell-o-vision. Many people don’t know that smell preceded sound in the world of film production, probably because no contemporary theater actually uses smell-o-vision of any kind, but Smellable VR is coming! [https://www.engadget.com/2017/11/13/smellable-vr-is-coming/]

– Kinetic seats are another area worth exploring. Some amusement parks, such as the Six Flags franchise, have custom-built theaters with kinetic seats that tilt, spin, and rumble according to what’s happening on the screen. Would be interesting to try it out on some family movies for the kids to have a more entertaining experience.

– Private Screening Rooms. Think of it as karaoke but with films instead of songs, where you can invite friends and family to view a movie that everyone likes from the PVOD library. This idea would be to stop appealing to the lowest common denominator and start offering individualized movie screening experiences. No more big open spaces with hundreds of attendees watching the same film. Instead, a person — or a group of people — could rent out a private room at a per-person-per-movie rate.

On December 1, 2017, R commented on Will Inditex be alive in 10 years? :

Thanks for the interesting thoughts Javier!

The app concept is interesting, I wonder whether Zara might already be doing some of the predictive analytics based on the delivery retail store customers choose on Zara.com, like “Just-In-Time” delivery to reduce inventory cost. Also, I’d be curious to see how effective – aka honest – customers are in indicating their Willingness-To-Pay for certain clothes.

Zara’s key competence is its time to market with affordable fashion fresh off the stage, I wonder whether they would need to compete with Amazon PrimerWardrobe head-to-head, or whether they should leverage technology to focus other part of the value chains to understand customers’ need better (big data), manage logistics & supply chain (JIT delivery, virtual reality to let customers try on clothes at home and order online).

Thanks for the interesting post Trevor!

The auto industry is facing a trio of disruptive technologies: electric batteries, autonomous vehicles, and the mobile phone. The first two have been long-standing threats, relatively speaking, and are embodied in one company, Tesla [1]. Carmakers have been dealing with these disruptors in different ways and Ford is taking the most interesting approach.

As you alluded to in the post, it launched a spinoff company, Ford Smart Mobility, LLC, which will try to tackle these three potential disruptors at once. Ford claims this is part of their evolution to be both a car company and a mobility company. But the new company is not one designed to meet that challenge. Instead, Ford should go in the other direction: toward integration. Fujifilm, for example, outlasted Kodak not only because it changed from being a film to an image company two decades ago but because it built its entire organization around its new approach.

[1] https://hbr.org/2016/04/if-ford-wants-to-beat-tesla-it-needs-to-go-all-in

Thank you angieslist for the post!

I found drones in the strikingly similar dilemma as Google Glass few years back, where the public and regulations were not ready to accept it from the consumer market perspective (even today). However, I do see that drones could be useful/helpful in niche deliveries where speed is critical for business use cases – although not sure what kind of role can UPS play – for example:

– Delivering vaccines that need to be refrigerated to regional hospitals
– Delivering replacement parts for Oil rigs
– Deliver key supplies for residents in remote Alaskan towns
– Deliver disaster relief food/water/clothes… life necessities to victims who are stuck in inaccessible affected area

In these cases, for cargo that is small, light, valuable, and time-sensitive, cost is much less of a factor. A drone delivery may save a life by getting delicate medicine to a rural patient, or keep an oil rig running by delivering a key piece of machinery.