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On November 20, 2016, Ross commented on Bright Cellars: The Pandora of Wine :

This is a noble effort by Bright Cellars and certainly an interesting one. My question is – how valuable or revolutionary is their algorithm to novice wine drinkers, who might take any higher quality wine and say that they like it? That is to say, if this app tells a novice wine drinker to taste an esoteric Chilean wine, and the user likes it, how much of that can be attributed to the algorithm and how much to the fact that it is simply a better wine than the Franzia they are used to? I think that will be an important value proposition for them to crystallize as they venture further into this space.

On November 20, 2016, Ross commented on Dare to dream: A world without lancets :

This is a very interesting article. I would wonder if anyone in this sector has looked at nanorobotic solutions to this issue – that is, implanting a glucose monitor in the blood stream via a small instrument. While this of course elicits a whole new level of ethical concerns and concerns about invasive therapy, it would potentially minimize the risks of infection and the inconvenience on the patient. The below linked article gives some details about how this has been explored to targeted drug delivery in the human body, but has yet to really be implemented. Perhaps there is a happy medium that would enable this kind of robot – which does not need to deliver a drug which needs to be FDA approved – to leapfrog the robots that are currently being considered for use in human bloodstreams.

On November 20, 2016, Ross commented on Tigo Energy: can Smarter Solar go Mainstream? :

Leveraging data for solar energy production will be a huge aspect of making solar more cost-efficient and popular for all sorts of customers, so Tigo’s work in this regard is worthy of praise. The whole solar industry is predicated on the idea of a costly upfront outlay with increasing returns over time, so I don’t think that Tigo’s issue should necessarily be this premium. Tigo should consider teaming up with others in the industry working on reducing pain points and increasing value for consumers across the value chain to try and forge a united strategy which will once and for all enable solar energy to be cheaper and more cost effective than other forms. By doing this in a fragmented, piecemeal fashion they will just elongate the process and risk becoming insolvent in the meantime.

On November 20, 2016, Ross commented on Hacking the TOM Beer Challenge :

I actually do think that there is some value here for the breweries. For large breweries it is always useful to understand how their beer brands are being consumed across geographies and time. These things change over the years as well – a certain kind of beer could be out of vogue and then suddenly have an uptake by urban young professionals. It can also help them match their sports marketing to actual consumption – i.e. if they sponsor a certain sports team, how does that play out in the actual bars where the fans are watching? For microbreweries, this can help them determine the brand identity of new beers that they produce. So all in all I do see some marketing value here for the breweries.

On November 20, 2016, Ross commented on The Great (Digital) Outdoors :

This is a very interesting post. One of the points that makes OOH advertising so difficult is the quantification and measurement of results. This post touches on the use of digital in targeting customers but another large challenge is making sure the customer is seeing the right ad and actually converting to buying whatever product is being marketed to them. Based on the “beacons” discussed in this post, I think that this space could move further into using the connection with mobile phones to offer customers the ability to convert or move further down the funnel, without having to remember what they saw, type it into a browser, etc. When this contact has been made, it will be possible to attribute a much larger amount of the impact of these signs on purchases.

On November 6, 2016, Ross commented on Intercontinental Hotel Group: Making Sleep Sustainable :

I agree that their efforts are laudable but largely cosmetic, as you put it Caroline. One thing that alarmed me was that they measure these by “occupied rooms” which seems like an easy way out of looking hard at inefficiencies across the system and whether, for instance, they need such a big hotel in that location, or whether they are dealing with low occupancy in the most efficient way. They should definitely look into green building techniques for new and renovated hotels in their chain. I think that creating energy efficient infrastructures will be the best way for them to reduce emissions as a global brand while not harming – in fact, possibly enhancing – the customer experience.

Ayhan, this is a very interesting post and something I think about often as well, as a consumer of Uber’s product. Your article made me think that in fact Uber should, as you argue, double down on sustainability as it may in fact be a better path to convenient, sustainable transportation than large-scale public transport systems. While governments may claim that Uber threatens public transportation which is a “more sustainable” alternative, public transportation faces a lot of challenges and huge inefficiencies that Uber can leapfrog. Uber has already built out in a couple of years a transportation network that rivals (or at least complements) the MBTA in Boston. Their current investments in emission-free vehicles are to be applauded and supported by government and not inhibited for political reasons.

On November 6, 2016, Ross commented on Life in a Box – How Klabin Reinvented Itself :

This is very interesting and I am particularly glad to see the statistics about decreased levels of deforestation in recent years. I wonder what Klabin is doing about its downstream supply chain – i.e. transporting finished products to customers in the U.S. and elsewhere. Perhaps by controlling more of the shipping process directly, Klabin could find synergies that would enable lower carbon emissions throughout the supply chain. I also wonder whether increased levels of recycling in different parts of the world will cut into Klabin’s market potential and in fact hinder sales, despite the growth in consumption of paper and cardboard. Is Klabin truly incentivized to take daring steps to reduce waste from paper products on the customer side?

I think that Waikiki could use its particularly threatened position as a lever to convince the millions of tourists that come visit that they need to impact climate change in their home communities (whether the US Mainland, Japan, or elsewhere). They need to turn tourists into advocates and show them that this beautiful place that they admire may be gone and it isn’t because of Hawaii, but rather because of larger population centers elsewhere in the world.

On the other hand, Waikiki is itself a huge contributor to global warming – that is to say, the flights that people take to get there are hugely detrimental to the environment. A flight to Hawaii emits about 3 tons of carbon into the atmosphere per traveler, and the average total emissions per person in the US (in 2013) was about 19 tons – meaning that not flying to Waikiki at all could be much more helpful to Waikiki than flying there! More information can be found here:

I think there needs to be a more holistic solution to this issue for Waikiki.

On November 6, 2016, Ross commented on Levi Strauss – Taking the Water Out of Jeans :

This is very interesting and eye opening, Alex. I am interested to know how jeans compare to other types of clothing such as khakis or sweatpants. Are jeans particularly bad, or are they just as bad as other types of clothing? The future changes in global demand for water are also going to be driven by a boom in population growth – people who will also need clothes. How does Levi’s not only prevent costs from going out of control but also make their products continue to be an accessible product for millions of new consumers? I would want them to look into the process and see where there is more water being used (if it’s actually the finishing process, or if it is just based on inefficient farming practices) and see what low hanging fruits they can pick.