Rob Parsons

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On November 20, 2016, Rob Parsons commented on “Google Preferred”: from Cat Videos to Premium Content :

I hadn’t heard of Google Preferred before this post, but I had heard of the search engine optimization and also paying for keywords. I suppose I always assumed Google did this for their YouTube videos.

I wonder how effective this will be. I hear a lot about targeting very specific audiences with YouTube videos, but now more than ever it is easy to just tune those out. I know when I personally watch a video, if an ad pops up, I’ll just flip to a new tab for a section until I hear the video has transitioned. I’m sure that YouTube is able to track (via clicks, gmail, etc) what the conversion rate is for these videos. I’d like to see some stats to support making the investment.

On November 20, 2016, Rob Parsons commented on Inovalon: health insurers’ secret weapon :

As soon as you mentioned the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the push to digitize the health records, I immediately thought of what the future would hold with president-elect Trump. I couldn’t help but wonder if he will push to repeal the act and the penalties associated with not moving to electronic health records. With increasing pressure to deliver value-based care, I would be interested to see how hospitals will justify spending millions of dollars to update to digital systems (which are often not compatible with each other). Will the value still be there? Or will this be kicked further down the road and further strain our healthcare system?

On November 20, 2016, Rob Parsons commented on The future of banking through cell phones :

It sounds like M-pesa is serving a valuable purpose a country with less than reliable means of exchanging money. I suppose in this case the risk of fraud or failure in transferring goods or services is much higher than the risk of fraud through cashless payment platforms.

When I first read this, I thought “would the developed world ever go cashless?” Then I remembered something I read about the Scandanavian countries: . It’s exciting to imagine a world where I wouldn’t have to worry about hitting up an ATM before going to an event. However, this brings me back to my original thought. In the US, as more things become digitized, the risks posed by fraud, hacking, or a security breach in general plays an increasingly large threat to our way of life. I’d like to know what type of security measures M-pesa takes to make sure that the entire economy of Kenya doesn’t collapse if they are hacked.

On November 20, 2016, Rob Parsons commented on Britannica’s quest to survive :


I opened your article because I couldn’t help but take a trip down memory lane to read about encyclopedias. When I used to get a project as a kid, the first place I would go was my dad’s office to snag the appropriate book to take a first pass at it. Then when i didn’t understand anything in there, I would ask my mom to explain it to me.

But seriously, I didn’t have a positive reaction to this article. I don’t understand what Britannica is could hope to accomplish with going online. Wikipedia is increasingly being accepted as a peer reviewed source and the content trumps what Britannica could hope to assemble. Like EBS, I think the tactics Brittanica is putting together is too gimmicky and hurts whatever credibility they have left.

What I would like to see Britannica do is play a more active role in writing and preserving modern history. Perhaps they could become a journal for publishing scientific and fresh takes on history. I have long lamented having to pay for access to journals and wanted to have a reliable free online source. I think Britannica could get ahead of the game on this one and offer a free service that generated revenue from ad listings rather than the subscription services that have dominated medicine, science, and the likes for decades.

On November 20, 2016, Rob Parsons commented on Ziosk: Digitalizing the Fast-Casual Restaurant Experience :

I didn’t see it mentioned in the article, but I imagine this also cuts down on the waitstaff needed. Additionally, I imagine the cut the restaurant takes of the waiter/waitress’ tip also increases since the tablet is “helping” with the service. Also, I couldn’t help but notice that Ziosk is targeting large chains that don’t take reservations. I assume this is a tactic to gain traction with restaurants that aren’t using a potential competitive platform like OpenTable.

I share the same sentiments as abcedfg regarding the hardware focused long term solution. While I like Ziosk getting exposure and getting in with the tablets, I don’t think it’s sustainable. I think it will cost too much to consistently update your sites with new tablets when the old ones become obsolete or wear out. I also think the tablets limit the integration they can have with the business. I imagine the restaurants listed as partners for Ziosk would love to have somebody manage their online orders, pickups, deliveries, automatic payments when the meal is over, etc. I wonder if that is part of the long term vision once this initial phase of testing the customer’s willingness to interact with a digital platform as opposed to a human is over.

On November 7, 2016, Rob Parsons commented on Are Cows the New SUV? :

Ameg, I want to build on a couple of posts made earlier. I think there is a significant movement towards eating organically, being more environmentally friendly, and generally being healthier. Studies have shown that excessive red meat consumption is bad for your heart. It’s even right on WebMD [1]. I was wondering if alternatives such as growing red meat in a lab is the appropriate direction to take? Should the focus rather be on removing red meat from our diet entirely? If the push toward these “meat substitutes” is a result of people becoming aware of the environmental impact of raising animals, why would the goal not be to end meat consumption entirely rather than build a new industry that may or may not prove to be viable?

On November 7, 2016, Rob Parsons commented on Redefining the Considerations of an Automaker – Volkswagen :

I love the idea of using aluminum in the body of VW cars. Many manufacturers have started to move that direction, like Toyota. It is true that making aluminum is a very energy intensive production process. However, aluminum can be recycled! This is where all of your old soda cans can be put to use. About 75% of all the aluminum ever produced is still being used today. Also, the process of recycling aluminum requires 5% of energy required to mine and make new aluminum [1]. I think that including recycled aluminum in concert with freshly minted aluminum could serve VW well as they look to create a more fuel efficient vehicle. Also, I think using another source of recycled metals could help boost their reputation after the “emissongate” scandal.


On November 7, 2016, Rob Parsons commented on Quicksilver and The Fight for the Great Barrier Reef :

I think this is a phenomenally well written and researched article. I was worried when I clicked that it would be filled with quotes like “scientists pronounce Great Barrier Reef dead at 25 million years old”, like I have seen so often in the last month. I was happy to see that you steered clear of mentioning that, but I think it is important to note that while 90%+ is bleached, only around 30% of the reef is dead. The rest is just very very sick.

I find the issue of the Great Barrier Reef perplexing. As it continues to get sicker and sicker more tourists are flocking to catch a glimpse before the once great wonder of the world is lost forever. Each dive will continue to inflict damage to the fragile reef, it actually seems that this is a necessary evil. With tourism dollars (dollariedoos?) feeding into the local economy, the potential lost revenue from a dead reef may help push the Australian government to passing meaningful reform to try to save the environment.

On November 7, 2016, Rob Parsons commented on Is Tyson Forcing Itself Into Sustainability? :

One argument I hear in favor of red meat is the amount of protein introduced into your diet. Beef contains about 26 g of protein per 100 g of meat. However, it takes 8 grams of feed for the cow to increase weight by 1 gram. I wonder if a mainstream brand like Tyson started working to develop products that contained more efficient and better sources of protein, if that could also be an alternative. For example, crickets contain 21 g of protein per 100 grams of cricket. More importantly, a cricket increases 1 gram in weight every 2 grams of feed it consumes – significantly better than beef [2]. The disadvantage insects have over red meat is in packaging. Nobody in America wants grab a fist full of crickets and chow down. I wonder if Tyson could take advantage of it’s processed food capabilities to 1. supplement food on the market with more efficient and less environmentally damaging sources of protein or 2. make insects more appealing to the general population through breading and deep frying.


On November 7, 2016, Rob Parsons commented on Christmas without Christmas trees? :

Gorick, I feel like my mind has been blown. My family has been using the same fake Christmas tree for the last 30 years. The whole time I thought it was environmentally responsible for us to go fake and save a young tree’s life. I had no idea the carbon footprint of a fake tree was so significant. I did a little reading to understand why and was fascinated to learn that they are made from PVC and are non-recyclable. Further, the process of making PVC release carcinogens [1].

As the holiday season approaches and I look to purchase my first Christmas tree to decorate, I will definitely look to “go green” and ditch the artificial tree.