Raphael Kohlberg

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On November 20, 2016, Raphael Kohlberg commented on Stripe Emerges from Global E-Commerce and Mobile Boom :

Digital technologies are changing the way people exchange money with friends and with merchants. Technology is making payments so customizable that payment gateways and processors need to adapt faster than ever before. If I want to pay a merchant using my digital bank, I have PayPal. If I want to pay a merchant using my phone, I have Apple Pay. If a merchant wants to instantly receive a payment and instantly pass some of that along to a provider, there’s Stripe.

It’s amazing how digital payments are catching up to how we ideally want to move money: instantly, conveniently, and securely.

I agree that Stripe has been able to build tremendous success on ecommerce brands looking to own the digital payment experience within their own brand. I also agree that Stripe should “differentiate itself from competitors by innovating on products that deepen the value proposition for existing and new users.” Others in the field are already doing this: Shopify and Square have built out robust payment systems alongside their own ecommerce platforms [1] [2]. Klarna has built a payment system that makes it easier for customers who use Klarna to shop with merchants who process payments using Klarna by pre-filling out their shipping and payment details [3].

[1] http://thenextweb.com/insider/2013/06/26/square-branches-out-into-ecommerce-with-new-square-market-virtual-stores-for-us-businesses/

[2] https://techcrunch.com/2013/08/12/shopify-debuts-fully-integrated-credit-card-payment-processing-for-its-e-commerce-platform/

[3] https://techcrunch.com/2015/10/28/klarna-a-unicorn-is-coming-to-the-u-s-and-going-after-u-s-credit-card-companies/

On November 20, 2016, Raphael Kohlberg commented on Burberry’s Digital Transformation :

In the HBR article you reference “Burberry’s CEO on Turning an Aging British Icon into a Global Luxury Brand,” Angela Ahrendts states that “In luxury, ubiquity will kill you—it means you’re not really luxury anymore. And we were becoming ubiquitous.” [1]

I believe she was speaking to Burberry’s scattered product line, but if you extend that statement to the brand’s promotion, then I find this tension between creating a strong online presence (you mention Burberry’s own social networking site, The Art of the Trench, as well as 17 million Facebook likes and 5.3 million Instagram followers) and the danger of ubiquity difficult to navigate.

I also found Burberry’s use of RFID fascinating! Retailers initially thought RFID would improve supply chain operations, but it turns out RFID has been very promising, especially for omni-channel retail and for managing in-store inventory. Retailers like Macy’s have used it to track apparel inventory on the sales floor, where keeping track of each item’s many variants (size, color, etc.) is extremely complicated [2]. I love how Burberry has actually found a way to use RFID to create a unique, high-tech, and luxurious experience that further differentiates it from other brands.

[1] https://hbr.org/2013/01/burberrys-ceo-on-turning-an-aging-british-icon-into-a-global-luxury-brand

[2] http://fortune.com/2014/04/16/can-rfid-save-brick-and-mortar-retailers-after-all/

On November 20, 2016, Raphael Kohlberg commented on CHOPCHOP – Smart Cooking Backed by Artificial Intelligence :

This is a rich and delicious example of how new digital technologies can transform industries and create new opportunities. I love how CHOPCHOP actually augments the demand for recipes, groceries, and cooking appliances by empowering more people to cook at home. I also love how the audience could easily be novice chefs who need more guidance, to competent chefs looking to take on a much more complex task of cooking several courses for many people.

It’s extremely clever how CHOPCHOP handles the entire process, from recipe discover, to ingredient aggregation, to ingredient delivery, to sequencing all the cooking instructions.

Next steps:
I would argue some low hanging fruit CHOPCHOP should bake into its app:
1. Convert units to each user’s preference. (User craigers66 reviewed CHOPCHOP on the app store on Jan 3, 2016: “One thing I might add is a conversion chart for us non-metric users.”)
2. Add videos that help users learn different prep and cooking techniques. These can be sourced from YouTube for free.

Uber has used its technology to become more than a ride hailing app, and is now a logistics powerhouse. CHOPCHOP could become the ultimate planning and sequencing company for much more than cooking. The outlook is looking pretty sweet.

This is a truly fascinating post. I love the comparison of Kodak and Fujifilm. I agree that for a business facing a dramatic shift in technology, it must evolve to avoid extinction. Fujifilm’s strategy and execution were both very bold. From the point of view of leveraging its existing technologies and expertise, I see the logical paths Fujifilm took into medical devices and even cosmetics. I wonder how it was also able to evolve its operations to establish divisions that shared knowledge, technology, and resources, but faced such different customers.

On November 19, 2016, Raphael Kohlberg commented on Drones to the rescue! :

I love this post and agree with you! Drones are fun for capturing action sports footage or wedding panoramas, as you mentioned, but they also open up a wide category of life-saving applications by being able to reach places faster and by providing new vantage points. It is important governments realize the vast beneficial potential drones have. To further support your post:

Drones are being used for:
Avalanche search and rescue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doC71R1wp-k
Avalanche control: http://www.theinertia.com/mountain/drones-are-changing-avalanche-control-for-the-better/
Avalanche control: https://www.outsideonline.com/2027266/newest-tool-avy-control-bomb-carrying-drones
Zika research: http://www.popsci.com/microsoft-drones-are-fighting-zika-outside-houston
Saving swimmers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=5&v=s4OTVoYqv4s
Preventing shark attacks: http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/australia-drones-patrol-sharks

On November 6, 2016, Raphael Kohlberg commented on Green Aviation at Airbus :

Stefan, great job explaining Airbus’s efforts and opportunities towards developing more efficient aircraft. How will Airbus (and its competitors) balance new technology with the long life cycle of each aircraft? When a plane can be in service for 20+ years, there’s a tension between the environmental impact of building a plane (meaning you’d want to use it for as long as possible) and the environmental cost of not using a newer (more sustainable and efficient) model. Are you aware of how this tradeoff has been playing out or what you think will happen going forward? Are airlines retiring planes sooner? Are there ways to retrofit existing planes with the new technologies? You’ve peaked my interest!


On November 5, 2016, Raphael Kohlberg commented on Science Fiction Will Save the World :

I completely agree that climate change is an important topic for the film industry to focus on. The creative writers and directors in the industry wield tremendous power in influencing how the public views certain topics. Furthermore, I believe that they do have the power to actually change our behavior. An episode of the Simpsons (where Lisa becomes a vegetarian) has stuck with me for years and influenced my eating habits. More recently, Avatar (as you mentioned) moved me to be much more involved in recycling and buying sustainably produced products.

On November 5, 2016, Raphael Kohlberg commented on Floods swoosh through Nike’s supply chain :

I agree that Nike should require the factories it works with to comply with high standards of energy efficiency. Nike has historically concealed its commitment to sustainability from its customers, worrying it would negatively affect their products’ perception. Perhaps it’s time to make sustainability a part of the customer-facing Nike story. Nike should create an advertising campaign to convince customers that sustainability is an important part of the Nike they love. This might help Nike further mitigate the risks associated with climate change as it relates to their supply chain. If a product is in short supply because sustainably sourced cotton wasn’t available, the customer might be more willing to wait for the product to become available again than switch to another brand (because they love that Nike prioritizes sustainability).

Speaking of another brand, Adidas is using sustainability in its marketing. Has Nike lost its chance to use this as a part of its messaging?

On November 5, 2016, Raphael Kohlberg commented on From Evian to Naïve – it’s time to throttle the plastic bottle :

I agree that Evian’s product is largely unnecessary, and therefore its carbon footprint is especially abhorrent. However, there are people who would argue that mineral water (like Evian’s product) is superior in taste and/or health to tap water or bottled tap water that is treated. For an extreme view, watch this entertaining video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QDMaTGsOBo

In addition to what you outline in your post, Evian could pivot towards creating products that make tap water taste better and compete with companies like Brita. This, however, would run the risk of cannibalizing their own product.

I worry that mistrust in tap water supplies (especially after incidents of contaminated water like in Flint) will keep demand for bottled water high. It’s critical for governments to ensure citizens have access to clean tap water.

On November 5, 2016, Raphael Kohlberg commented on Cashmere Crisis: How Climate Change Threatens Luxury Products :

Fabulous article — I love the EP&L idea. I’m interested to know if other companies have implemented EP&Ls in Kering’s footsteps. If not, this might not be enough.

You highlight a great issue: how do companies continue to make their products when the raw materials aren’t sustainable? I think luxury brands should consider alternatives to cashmere, such as alpaca. This Quartz article “Why your next sweater should be alpaca, not cashmere” touches on some of the points you make and discusses some of the advantages of alpaca over cashmere. According to the article “Brands such as Louis Vuitton and Versace have already showcased the fiber on runways in Paris and Milan. Numbers on this year’s alpaca sales aren’t yet available, but some designers say their alpaca yarn orders are on wait lists.”