• Alumni

Activity Feed

On November 20, 2016, RT commented on Amazon Dash: Riding the Data Wave :

Nice post. I see some challenges with Dash in that it would seemingly exacerbate the problem of small order sizes. Having not used Dash, I understand that when I click the widget, Amazon processes an order for that item. Sure, this would lead to finer demand forecasts on a per-item basis, yet it would eliminate the natural batching that I do for Amazon (waiting until enough needs pile up for me to go on Amazon and place an order). If I were the extreme “single-item orderer” that placed an order for every individual item I needed when I needed it, then I would imagine Amazon already has my demand information for that product in similar form to what Dash would provide. In essence, I see them as already have access to this information for users whose purchase behavior mimics that of a Dash user. For users that order less frequently, I think Dash adds finer demand information, but at a cost to Amazon.

On November 20, 2016, RT commented on Greetings from Hallmark :

Interesting post! More than once, I have browsed the greeting card aisle at a convenience store and thought of how difficult of a business it must be. Tons of competing designs trying to appeal to all sorts of people with different tastes during different seasonal cycles, many of which impose an inventory expiration date… all on top of the limited barrier to entry and obvious attractiveness of the e-solution model. Never seemed too attractive to me. However, when you reference Hallmark’s legacy and the immense database of information they have accumulated over the years, I start to see why perhaps they have legs. I was particularly interested by the legal settlement you referenced where a multi-million dollar value was implied for a small subset of this information. I am very interested to see how Hallmark leverages this competitive advantage in the digital age and whether it will have a creative e-solution. While Hallmark does have a brand and a chest of consumer insight, it also has a major problem with competitors who can easily do what they do.

On November 20, 2016, RT commented on Robotic surgery: revolution or gimmick? :

Great post! I find it interesting the difference between investor enthusiasm and the skeptical comments of the doctors you quoted in the post. Though not a comprehensive view of all opinions, it does lead me to question precisely where robotics’ place is in surgical care. Sometimes fancy does not always mean better and in this case, the surgeon still seems to have a major role in the operation itself, bringing into question the extent to which a robotic system adds value and whether the expense is justified. A few supporting sentiments can be found in the WSJ link below, where in addition to highlighting the positives, some question the rapid adoption of robotic technology due to: “wow” factor, industry’s fascination by new technology, hospitals seeking saleable competitive advantage.


On November 20, 2016, RT commented on Omada: preventing diabetes through digital therapeutics :

Very intriguing post. Preventative health care is compelling because of the obvious value proposition yet also challenging because of the difficulty in measuring its impact unless the effort is sustained and consistent. As with the general digitization trend in medical care, I believe a sustainable solution will require buy-in and cooperation across multiple stakeholders – medical practitioners, patients, insurance companies, and government – to take the necessary steps forward. As I was reading your post, I was thinking of how beneficial this sort of offering would be to everyone in some fashion and not just sufferers of a particular disease.

On November 20, 2016, RT commented on Technology in Transit :

Very interesting post! WMATA seems to be in a tense position in that the technology it seeks to improve its offering is perhaps the technology that will make it obsolete in the future. Specifically, I think this comes up in financing decision for the future. Should WMATA just focus on overdue maintenance and improvement costs or additionally invest in new technology for its “future” platform. I imagine that it will be difficult for the government to secure the funds for the latter and doubly so since there is no guarantee of the train system’s solid place in the future of transporation.

Page 17: https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/ch/Documents/public-sector/ch-en-public-sector-transport-digital-age.pdf

On November 7, 2016, RT commented on Southwest Airlines Buckles in for a Bumpy Ride :

Interesting read! I researched Delta for my post and am seeing a similarity – airlines are not advertising the steps they are taking to be greener. I think you raised a good point that perhaps airlines do not want to be associated with burning fuel, though as we know they are heavy users of the stuff. It must be difficult for airlines to manage what to do next. Biofuels offer such an attractive solution, yet at present are prohibitively expensive and are not supported by most airports (http://www.airport-technology.com/features/featurethe-rise-of-bioports-a-new-trend-for-biofuels-in-aviation-4864551/). The problem of how to improve is compounded by the global scale of the airlines and the varying levels of government regulation, technology maturity, and projected expansion of business regionally. I am curious to see how the biofuel utilization ramps up at Southwest.

You raise an interesting issue around when company cooperation is appropriate. Assuming best intentions, I believe coming together to solve issues bigger than the company’s themselves is a noble thing. GE has expressed the sentiment that it is necessary for large companies to work together to tackle major challenges in society (http://www.gereports.com/lessons-in-collaboration-ecomagination-is-partnering-with-the-worlds-biggest-companies-to-solve-societys-toughest-resource-challenges/). I believe this sort of thinking will persist and so long as there are third parties monitoring such partnerships, this type of behavior should be encouraged.

On November 7, 2016, RT commented on What Can Brown Do For You? Innovate! :

Your article really captures how much UPS moves… and with that movement, has a major energy appetite. I can see how UPS can be a good proxy of our progress toward global warming reform since its business includes nearly all methods of transport and various levels of technological advancement across the transportation spectrum and global markets. In addition to common areas of focus like fuel type and energy sources (i.e. electric), I thought your mention of logistical improvements was important (ORION). I drew a similarity to the airline industry, where inefficiencies in air traffic control can lead to over 10% additional fuel consumption per flight. Looking forward, I wonder what impact autonomous vehicles, particularly electric autonomous vehicles, will have on carbon emissions in the logistics industry since they can potentially address both energy type and logistical efficiency simultaneously.

I am simply fascinated by the level of complexity of this problem. Global warming aside, forecasting weather is an extremely imprecise practice especially over long time horizons. Just try to look up the local weather on day 10 of the 10-day forecast. Add to that the issue you raise of the present funding gap between insured assets and insurance premiums and the future acceleration of destructive weather caused by climate change and you end up with a worryingly unstable flood insurance market. I am curious to see how flood insurers respond to their increasingly risky exposure and at what point communities in flood-risk zones move in response to increasing flood probabilities. These questions are related and will involve civilians, insurance businesses, and local governments working together to address entirely.

I particularly enjoyed your focus on a city instead of a typical business institution. Your post highlights an interesting issue that is uniquely Detroit’s – climate change is a present threat to an already troubled city, yet at the same time could be an opportunity for its resurgence. Having had many co-workers in Detroit and clients in automotive, I have seen the resilience and spirit of those who have stuck with Detroit through the recent troubled years and are committed to its promising future. I see this supported in the non-government channels that are rising up to advance the green initiative in Detroit (https://dwej.org/2016/04/detroit-fighting-hopelessness-climate-plan/). With so many policy issues facing the legislature in Detroit, it is refreshing to see the residents and local businesses rising up to take this issue on. I like to imagine movements like this will lead to the future health and potential leadership of the city.