The Bouncer at Club TOM

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On November 20, 2016, The Bouncer at Club TOM commented on Unlocking accessibility to the stock market, even for the visually impaired :

This is fantastic! I really enjoyed your point on the importance of visual aesthetics. I don’t think enough people in retail finance realize how importance it is to look and feel accessible in order to mitigate customer’s concerns about getting involved in the risk of the stock market. I think it is important that more Americans get involved in investing at least a part of their own money in the markets– maybe the platform of RobinHood could be used for the inbound marketing we’ve learned about by including more education on investing personal finances. I also really like, as you say, that individuals are finally benefiting from technology that institutions have been using. I hope there become cheaper ways for RobinHood to show individual traders how past strategies have worked and why and how to adjust their future plans.

On November 20, 2016, The Bouncer at Club TOM commented on Modernizing the Girl Scouts for the 21st Century :

I thought the point about the lower number of stay-at-home moms was so interesting– its funny thinking about how you balance the happy fact that more women are working longer in their careers with the effect this might have on the number of weekday volunteers — I never would have thought of that. This makes it more salient of a point that we need more efficient and cost-effective ways to maintain important charitable programs like the Girl Scouts. Digital Cookie seems like a fantastic way to get girls engaged in the skills that will be important to them in the future. I wonder if they should continue to focus more on integrating digital ways for Girl Scouts in specific regions to interact with ones all over the country. Getting to see Girl Scouts throughout the USA could encourage the conversation and understanding that appears to be lacking in our country and world right now. I hope the Girl Scouts takes advantage of its platform and awesome culture and new technology to push these messages forward!!

On November 20, 2016, The Bouncer at Club TOM commented on The new Thanksgiving weekend activity … “Spying Saturday” :

This is so cool, anonymous! It is certainly a pretty scary time for big box retailers. I think they need to focus on their relationships with suppliers as a way to potentially get an edge on Amazon if their demand side with customers is going to be harder to compete with. Perhaps if they can optimize for better JIT delivery of each specific product on order they will be able to service their clients in a more efficient manner. To be honest though I’m not optimistic– maybe if they have cheaper and faster delivery some customers will stick with them but I think the ubiquity and massive product selection of Amazon is much better. That being said, while our generation does not care as much about touching and feeling things in the showroom, maybe big box retailers should focus on converting ppl to that side of shopping before its too late for them.

On November 20, 2016, The Bouncer at Club TOM commented on Machine Learning for Student Learners: Pearson attacks digitization in education :

This is an awesome post, Alex!

Education seems like one of the best industries where digitization can have an enormous positive impact. It seems like data can be combined with personalized learning– data can be used on a high level but also on an individualized basis to see how teachers and courses should adjust to tailor to specific students and divide them into groups of kids that learn the same way. I agree that Pearson will have some competitive pressures but I think at the same time, the fact that they are printing fewer physical copies means they will have more capital on hand and fewer upfront costs and be able to pivot midway to adjust their online products. Additionally, cheating is definitely an issue, but I believe and hope that it will only be a small number of kids who engage in that while the rest get more captured by learning via new online technologies!!

On November 20, 2016, The Bouncer at Club TOM commented on Why Technology is Causing Your HBS Degree to Depreciate :

Really hope my degree is valuable in 20 years or I need to recalculate a few NPVs!

I do think the place of technology in education is a really valuable question. How do you balance efficient delivery of information and knowledge while also teaching kids how to think and analyze — the part that normally comes from human interaction or discussion. I wonder if even digital, interactive learning will ever replace looking someone in the eye and learning from them. Also, it can be argued that having a personal relationship with someone outside of the classroom also helps in learning with or from them in class later.

Other questions I have include how does Khan Academy make money outside of ads and how does it stay self-sustaining? Can Khan Academy be paired with real-interactive learning – ie you watch lessons online then take class – or can it all be done online? Should schools invest in designing classes and having their professors provide lessons to Khan Academy in order to up their publicity?

I’d imagine the target audience for expansion is people looking to supplement their education. I think it would be good to also target students on the cusp of going to school or not, as a way of looking to change the world, and convince them to go to school. And finally, I think it would be good to get these classes in the hands of lower-income schools that can’t afford to have professors for all the different classes.

On November 7, 2016, siyer commented on Amazon Web Services: Greenhouse Gases in the Cloud :

Awesome post, Alex– I thought this was really clearly laid out, from the context to their operations to your opinion. Further, I never knew that electricity was the biggest source of carbon emissions — I totally would have guessed transportation or industry first. Finally, on the compliment front, I’m really impressed by how much you clearly know about the industry and the analysis you did in the last paragraph. RECs haven’t been brought up much in our blog posts but it is clearly a relevant and top-of-mind marketplace.

Building wind and solar farms is a pretty impressive move on AWS’ part– I just wonder how ready they are to manage this exposure to brand new economies within the construct of their business model. Hopefully, they succeed and can instigate other companies to do the same.

Finally, I wonder if many consumers of cloud computing, especially major companies (a lot of investment banks now use it), are aware of how much electricity goes into the infrastructure and thus, how it might have an impact on their costs were AWS forced to raise prices as a result of the factors you discuss. It would be very impactful for AWS to publicly discuss this impending issue, as I think a number of individuals and corporations would be incentivized to get involved in clean energy, if just from a monetary protection perspective. In the meantime, I hope the government keeps incentivizing major capital investments in these clean energy farms through programs like the PTC but I also hope that they and maybe conscientious investors also think to incentivize this behavior through upfront cash injections that help companies who are more capital-constrained than AWS.

On November 7, 2016, siyer commented on JetBlue: Clearing the Air :

Thanks for asking a question at the end of your post, Ann! It made this comment easier! I definitely think that improving utilization of planes, especially the large ones on longer routes that take up a lot of fuel, is the most low-hanging fruit. Additionally, this is simply efficient from a profit standpoint. As far as mitigating the effect of climate change on its operations goes, I like the idea of investing in alternative transportation, but I wonder if that is too far off from JetBlue’s core business capabilities. I think your idea about diversifying fuel types is great. To deal with air patterns, maybe they should invest in building predictive technology and/or aircrafts that can deal with turbulence in a more stable manner.

Thanks for writing about this relatable and interesting topic!

On November 7, 2016, siyer commented on The Death of the Ski Industry? :

Great post, Tiana! You clearly put a lot of effort into researching this and reading the Annual Report, which requires more stamina than I’ll ever have.

I didn’t realize how much snow-making equipment the ski resorts use– that number is enormous. One of the questions I would have is around how much of a risk there is, if any, of the volume of long-term skiiers dropping because of climate change (and lower natural snow + more fake snow). To some extent, I wonder if skiiers will really just go skiing less or they will just have to adapt to the new normal because they have no choice. Maybe the industry should focus on marketing and convincing their avid fans to stick with it as much as they have before. This doesn’t solve the problem of the waste they create and the encroaching problem of global warming, nor the fact that fake snow itself causes more climate change issues also, but it might at least buy the industry some time (but for better or worse– negative externalities could be that the problem is kicked down the road more).

On November 7, 2016, siyer commented on Mortgages: Not the Only Thing “Underwater” in Miami Beach :

This was such a cool read! I had no idea this was happening in Miami, much less the measures they are taking to mitigate the problem.

This is more of a political comment, but do you think they should be doing more to engage the industry in helping to fund the construction elements of this project, in addition to using city-wide funds?

On a more operational level, I wonder if they should be doing more to tackle the problem of flooding head on, as opposed to just changing their current construction which might serve as more of a “temporary” (meaning 10-20 years) solution. Would there be a way to change how water management works in the city and would it be worth the investment? I think there might be a way to incentivize private companies to tackle these long run problems while the government of Miami works on dealing with the avoiding the short-term ramifications coming in the immediate few years.