Sam Long

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On November 20, 2016, Sam Long commented on AccorHotels: Battling against Online Travel Agents :

Piriya, what an interesting post! It had never occurred to me to think of the customer journey of a hotel occupant. It seems that AccorHotels has begun to “crack the nut” with respect to digitizing its methods for monetizing various parts of the hotel value chain. If Accor and similar corporations are to survive the onslaught of AirBnB and similar upstarts, they are going to have to continue to innovate along these lines. I too, however, question whether allowing the independents access to the Accor platform will prove to be worth the massive investment that Accor has had to make.

On November 20, 2016, Sam Long commented on Hasbro Is Not Leaving Monopoly to Chance :

Gregor, I am inspired by the adaptive nature of such a titan of 20th century amusement. Hasbro’s partnership with EA sports appears to have yielded fruit, and it is interesting to hear about the receptiveness of Monopoly’s leadership to identities that are more inclusive and modern, such as the feline character you discussed. I agree with you that virtual reality is the next logical frontier, and I, like you, think it would be wonderful to slide on an Oculus headset and be transported via the Short Line to Park Place and watch my hotels be constructed in front of my very eyes. Given the costs associated with developing such technology and the hardware that individual consumers will required to purchase, how do you think that a virtual reality Monopoly experience should be priced? This article contains some interesting information on the financial requirements of participating in the VR universe, and as you can see, they far outstrip the $29.99 Monopoly board.

On November 20, 2016, Sam Long commented on How is Kroger Fending off the Attack of Grocery Delivery Companies? :

Adam – highly stimulating post. I cannot tell you how many times I have forgotten to buy items that were on my grocery list! With this technology, I will never forget the Grey Poupon again, and Kroger will never again miss my Grey Poupon-related revenues – a true win/win. Do you think that Kroger will have to convince its consumers to install a Kroger related application on their devices? This seems to me to be a significant obstacle. I also wonder if the Company will be tempted to use its data to oversell products. For example, if the data shows that I purchase Grey Poupon every 9 weeks, will the Company adhere to this pattern or will attempt to sell me mustard that I do not yet need after 6 weeks? The ethics of big data-generated insights are fascinating to consider.

On November 20, 2016, Sam Long commented on Is Your Next Burrito an Emoji Away? :

Addison, great article and thank you for the insights on how digital technology is changing the world both for the QSRs as well as the individuals who consume their products. I think you identified a particularly interesting dynamic in your discussion of the competition not only between QSRs, but between the platforms (i.e. Slack, Facebook, iMessage, etc) that will ferry these orders to the restaurants. I too wonder about the automation of food preparation and wonder in particular if machines are used to prepare food, how QSRs will minimize errors given that a machine error can result in dozens or hundreds of faulty orders.

On November 20, 2016, Sam Long commented on Ready to become an energy prosumer? :

Corina, fascinating article on the transition to smart grids and the decentralization of control away from traditional utilities into the hands of consumers. The connection you make between historic customer inflexibility and the ability of utilities to pass the associated costs on to consumers leads me to wonder how companies targeting individual consumers for participation in the smart grid educate their customers. If I am required to purchase and/or install some sort of control node of command mechanism at my residence or office, how do I become convinced that this is going to worth the upfront cost? Are there immediate cost savings, or do I see a long payback period (i.e. as in the case of residential solar), or is it some combination of cost savings and tax credits? I think that the future for smart grids is bright, but I wonder about the consumer (or prosumer as you say) education and awareness process.

On November 7, 2016, Sam Long commented on Will COP21 put traditional utilities out of business? :

Jose, fascinating question and I enjoyed your methodical and thorough analysis. IBERDROLA is an interesting case study (and while you exclusively focused on Spanish assets, they have also been active in M&A in the northeastern US, as you may know). I think its ironic that in a heavily regulated industry, the actions of the government may result in the bankruptcy of many utilities, but I suppose that is a minor cost to bear if we are to stave off the worst effects of climate change. How do you think CEOs and executives at large utilities such as IBERDROLA should view transitioning to renewables and nuclear? Should companies commission new greenfield projects in order to develop the expertise of operating these assets, or should they view wind, solar, etc assets as acquisition targets to diversify their asset base in preparation for the carbon pricing scheme?

On November 7, 2016, Sam Long commented on Coca-Cola: Sugar water and climate change :

Very interesting article on the Coca-Cola triumvirate of water, sugar, and plastic/glass. I also enjoyed your analysis of whether or not Coke goes far enough in its efforts to improve its sustainability and environmental impact in these three areas. Your highlighting of transparency and crowdsourced innovation is both timely and relevant. Many MNCs are increasingly reliant on externally developed technologies and are de-emphasizing traditional R&D spend, especially in industries like manufacturing and energy, and it seems like Coke would do well to follow suit, but only if it properly incentives innovators who could help it meet its goals.

On November 7, 2016, Sam Long commented on ExxonMobil: Solution to Pollution Dilution? :

Very interesting article on the most well resourced and cash rich energy company in history. Its not for nothing that authors like Steve Coll have written extensively on ExxonMobil, which has been studying the impacts of CO2 and other emitted gases on the atmosphere for years. I question whether ExxonMobil will ever move away from hydrocarbon production – it seems as though it is too diversified and too protected against downturns (i.e. the downstream segments do quite well in low oil price environments) to ever seriously consider renewables. However, I do know that companies like Total have been investing in solar and wind technologies out of their corporate venture groups, so potentially there is hope!

On November 7, 2016, Sam Long commented on Shake Shack – Please, give us the burger of the future. :

This is an interesting post on some of the lesser known consequences of beef production. I wonder what the difference (in terms of CO2 output and other harmful environmental effects) is between cattle and other protein forms when you factor in fertilizer, diesel fuel required to power the tractors that till fields and dig irrigation ditches, etc. Also, have you examined the different variants of insect protein? I know that cricket protein is becoming more popular among some fitness enthusiasts. A friend of mine co-founded this startup that sells cricket protein and advertises its environmental benefits on his website. (

On November 7, 2016, Sam Long commented on Planet Labs: A Satellite Startup Takes a Flight to Feed the World :

This article provides a new perspective on how Internet of Things technologies can have wide reaching implications beyond asset surveillance, with some particularly interesting use cases in the field of agriculture. I wonder how technology companies tackle the cultural gap that exists between Silicon Valley and farming communities, a gap that it is even wider in developing countries. As a previous comment pointed out, there are infrastructure problems that will need to be solved to harness the technology’s potential, but the greater challenge seems to be finding ways to change behavior and attitudes and address knowledge gaps. This question is not new, but finding an answer is becoming increasingly more urgent. For an example, see this debate on the topic: