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I am a great fan of FlyWheel and am a big believer in its use of data and the gamification that Fay mentions for avid athletes who are interested in taking their performance to the next level. Your suggestion of furthering this experience through enhanced tools is spot on and in line with this goal.

One downside to the FlyWheel model, however, is that it is often self-selecting to existing high performance athletes and less amenable to novices or the more than half of the country whom you rightly mention is considered to be obese. Nobody likes to be last TorqBoard! and many may be turned off to FlyWheel for this reason.

With this in mind, I was building on your idea for further innovation to wonder if it would make sense to leverage the data collected from classes (as well as the app you mention they are developing) to create a resource to ‘jump start’ getting into shape. Providing stats on the benefits of beginning exercise as well as an at home how-to guide for getting active could help lots of people get in the habit of exercise, thereby opening the door for them to later on, increase the intensity of their physical activity and eventually reach the level of being a FlyWheel customer.

This could both help to further the aim to reduce cases of obesity in the country, and also provide a steady stream of loyal FlyWheel customers.

Maria, you raise a number of interesting points in the innovation that FPL has undertaken. In addition to what you have identified, I see one additional challenge and one great opportunity for the company. The challenge (one that Ward mentioned in my post on IoT thermostats as well) is that as the connected home market grows to its projected size of $122BN [1] utility companies in their promise to deliver increased efficiency inherently decrease the revenue that utility companies can charge their customers. This can become seriously problematic to energy companies bottom lines unless they are able to cut costs at an equal or greater level.

This does open the door for another huge opportunity for FPL and its peers in the form of power storage. Largely viewed to be one of the greatest limiting factors in advancing energy today, investing in the ability to store excess electricity at off-peak times using products like FPL’s smart meters so that the energy can be tapped into during peak hours can not only provide the needed cost savings to make their business model work, but could even provide a secondary revenue stream for the company.

[1] “M2 PressWire.” Smart Home Market worth. N.p., n.d. Web. .

On November 20, 2016, Stephen commented on If this, then that! :

As a self-proclaimed IoT nerd, I loved your post Denzil. What I find so beneficial about IFTTT is that it solves (at least temporarily) the current battle for which platform will be the hub for internet connected household devices. While Google/Nest and Amazon/Alexa and Apple/ Apple Home and GE/Quirky [1] , to name a few, have been battling it out to see who will be THE platform for the connected home, IFTTT has snuck in under the radar to work across multiple platforms and devices, irrespective of the manufacturer.

In IFTTT’s approach, I’m reminded of our Uber case and the creation of a two sided platform that is supercharged by an apparent network effect. The more IFTTT partners with different API’s the more useful the service becomes and the more users will be attracted. The more users, the more likely partners will want to work with the company.

The biggest risk I see to this business model is if one manufacturer/platform (ie Google/Nest) does prevail in becoming the preeminent connected home manager, then the IFTTT service loses the majority of its value overnight. The company will have to work to create switching costs with their existing user base if they hope to maintain their current valuable market position.

[1] Wakabayashi, Daisuke, and Nick Wingfield. “Google, Lagging Amazon, Races Across the Threshold Into the Home.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 03 Oct. 2016. Web.

On November 20, 2016, Stephen commented on P&G: Bringing CPG into the Digital Age :

There are some really interesting implications of this cultural shift to a data-driven mindset that you mention in your post. Having lived P&G’s data driven culture for a few years, I found it to be both incredibly empowering but at times limiting to have access to such seemingly limitless data.

One often overlooked downside to having access to so much data is the way in which decisions are made in some companies. In my experience at P&G, the ubiquity of data genuinely changed the way in which decisions were made – if there was data to back a decision, it was often approved; if it was more intuitive or experience-based recommendation it was often dismissed. This proves particularly difficult in fields of consumer advertising and product innovation, areas in which extreme amount of creativity are required.

Fast forward a few years and interestingly, P&G has begun to pilot in certain business units removing data-based testing entirely for certain pieces of advertising, and instead relying solely on the intuition and experience of the Brand Manager and then relying on in-market sales to determine if the campaign was effective or not. Time will tell which approach (or perhaps a blend of the two) will ultimately drive greater sales.

Rohit, what an interesting area you have chosen for your research. As a few other commenters have suggested, the area of digitization in high end retail is fascinating and is all but guaranteed to be the testing ground for capabilities that will eventually cascade down into shopping experiences across mass retail.

One interesting capability that I came across in my work before school was tracking shoppers foot traffic inside a retail location via heat mapping. [1] This capability was increasingly helpful for store managers because they could understand not only how many people came into a store, but in what sequence they visited different departments, and even how long they stood in front of an item before deciding whether or not to purchase it.

This information can help companies decide which types of in-store layouts are optimal, determine what new products to introduce, and better predict inventory needs. I would expect companies like Polo to adopt this technology if they have not already, as it helps them to further many of the business development goals that you mentioned in your post.


Fascinating concept being discussed here- it seems unreal that a city as prominent as Miami could be underwater in our children’s lifetime! I agree fully with the dire need to address climate change on a macro scale, as well as put into place some of the micro measures needed to ensure Florida’s continued existence as a state.

But in the spirit of (trying to) turn lemons into lemonade, I wonder if there are any positive opportunities for the tourism industry in Florida. The first that comes to mind is that elevated temperatures could draw more visitors each year in addition to the 105 million tourists. For a beach centric tourist culture, even slightly better weather be a meaningful draw that could attract visitors who currently prefer the Caribbean or other warmer beach destinations. A second possible benefit for Florida tourism is that higher sea levels are proven to result in an increase in fish populations (enabling both recreational and commercial fishing). A third potential positive outcome for Florida tourism is the increased possibility for water sports (sailing, kayaking, swimming, surfing, etc.).

While I don’t think that any of us would agree that these possible benefits would ever outweigh the damage done by rising sea levels, it is worth noting that there could be some remote upside even in the worst of circumstances. Rick Scott can sleep a little more easily tonight…

On November 7, 2016, Stephen commented on Winter is not coming… :

As an avid skier myself, this post hit close to home for me. Snow sports are not only a multibillion dollar industry but a source of recreation and joy for millions of people each year.

I quite liked the business opportunities that this post addresses, making summer activities at ski resorts more popular as a means to balance out the seasonality of the ski and snowsports business – but this alone isn’t enough.

I agree with the author of this post that there are two primary ways in which ski resorts can do their part to improve the problem of climate change.

First, is to take advantage of the unique position of having a captive audience of people in nature in its purest form. Inherent in having consumers in some of nature’s most beautiful surroundings enables them to not just tell – but also show them – what is at stake with climate change. Using that captive audience to drive awareness of the problem and articulate show in very clear, specific ways how avid skiers and snowboarders can get involved in improving climate change themselves.

Second, is to invest further in improving the environmental friendliness of snow blowing equipment. Millions of gallons of water and copious quantities of electricity are used each season to fabricate artificial snow, resulting in a negative impact on the environment.

On November 7, 2016, Stephen commented on Climate Change in Commercial Air Travel :

One of the things that I find most encouraging about greenhouse gas emissions in the airline industry is that it is one of the better examples of having financial incentives aligned with environmental objectives. Often times factories have to go through costly capital projects to filter the gasses emitted from their facilities in order to become more sustainable. In the automotive industry, consumers have to pay more for expensive electric vehicles. The cost of electricity from renewable energy sources is more expensive than that from fossil fuel derived sources. But when it comes to the airline industry, this financial misalignment isn’t an issue.

Jet fuel is the second highest expense for airline companies so there is a massive incentive for the industry to reform. As the author of this post rightly points out, work has already been done by Boeing and Airbus to improve the fuel efficiency of their aircraft. But the space is ripe for innovation in creating hybrid or full electric airplanes.

This work has already begun in some unmanned aircraft (and a recent test with piloted craft). This set of scientists successfully circumnavigated the globe in a solar powered aircraft. Technology like this, scaled and made safer with the requisite funding, has the potential to truly revolutionize the industry. As the previous commenter points out, 6% of GHGs emitted today come from aircraft so improving this can make a meaningful impact in climate change prevention. And what better place to start than an industry where incentives are much more closely aligned.

On November 7, 2016, Stephen commented on Amazon and Climate Change :

I agree with the previous commenter that improving the environmental sustainability of Amazon’s web services will prove far more straightforward than improving that of the traditional eStore. That said, I would argue the urgency lies in improving the latter.

While consumers have already begun to criticize most shipping intensive businesses for the excessive amounts of cardboard used (Google Fresh, Blue Apron, Trunk Club, etc.), without a doubt Amazon bears the brunt of this criticism. This has, in turn, begun to taint the company’s reputation. As climate change becomes an increasingly salient issue globally, without a doubt the company will receive much more serious criticism, in extreme cases putting at risk Amazon’s loyal customer base.

One possible solution to mitigate this proliferation of extreme cardboard usage is Amazon Lockers – local pickup locations where consumers can go and retrieve their purchased items from one of a number of convenient locations, thus replacing the need for cardboard shipping receptacles. While the program has slowly been rolled out, further scaling this can have a meaningfully positive impact on the company’s carbon footprint and help assuage many consumers’ concerns.

I appreciated your organization of choice for this post. So many of our classmates’ posts were about ‘why’ companies should change their global warming related practices or ‘what’ they should do to improve, but few have touched on ‘how’ to incentivize this change. I’m a big believer that what gets measured gets done and hadn’t previously thought about the measurement outage in the increasingly salient conversation around climate change.

I agree with Amrita that it is comforting that such a significant percentage of companies recognize they will be impacted a by climate change and global warming, but the cynic in me is skeptical that widespread progress will take place, absent measurement mechanisms in line with what SASB is advocating. I think you have outlined some of the important next steps, but I would push even further to say that ‘adoption’ of this standard and ubiquitous integration into mandated accounting standards should be priority #1, #2, and #3 for the company. After successfully reaching this milestone, the door becomes wide open for SASB to further commercialize their expertise, selling honed investor tools and eventually offering consulting opportunities to maximize success within newly introduced standardized sustainability metrics.