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Great post, ATN. I think there is another opportunity where Airbnb could leverage its technology, and that is to help reduce regulatory and legal challenges that are currently threatening its business model (see here for quick description on legal challenges – Airbnb, much like Uber, could provide the prices of its competitors if legislation was enacted to outlaw the company. By providing these prices alongside its own at the time of booking, Airbnb may help create grassroots political support that could strengthen the company’s ability to influence policy makers.

Whatever happened to owning your own medical record?? It is your own, most-private information that comprises that record after all, and I think an argument could be made from an ethical standpoint, as well as financial, that Athena should offer a universal EHR. Financially speaking, a non-proprietary EHR system would most likely increase the conversion rate of attracting would-be customers shopping for a new health care provider. Ethically, patients would likely provide more accurate medical information to any new provider if they could bring their electronic medical record with them, which in turn would allow higher quality of care with the new provider.

On November 19, 2016, TOM commented on Macy’s: America’s Omnichannel Store :

Great post, ARS. Through a hybrid click and mortar strategy, it seems like Macy’s has done a great job of improving its value proposition to customers that use digital technology, while at the same time not alienating an older, less tech savvy segment of its consumer base. I wonder though if Macy’s was to enter new markets, say China and its rising middle class consumers, if the company would be best served by adopting a much more online-centric approach since there are no already established brick-and-mortar customers to serve.

On November 19, 2016, TOM commented on The next quantum leap and the end of business as we know it :

Great post, Mark. I completely agree with you in that D Wave needs to find a clear avenue to commercialization of quantum computing technology if it wants to accelerate its growth. I’m sure the tech has thousands of applications, but without demonstrating to the world at least one concrete example how D Wave has driven profitability, the technology is more of an academic pursuit.

On November 19, 2016, TOM commented on Rest Devices Inc. – Will They Deliver Nursery 2.0? :

Great post, ConcernedCitizen. I think Rest Devices has created some outstanding ideas for new products, but I wonder how its business model will survive against the competition of larger, more established competitors with greater resources for investment in R&D. For example, IoT-enabled sensors in a nursery are probably rather simple and easy to replicate, which could mean stiff competition for similar products. One way around this might be to offer a suite of products that work on a proprietary, common system. It could be harder for a consumer to switch brands if they have to replace all of their tech, sort of like Apple homes vs. PC homes.

On November 6, 2016, TOM commented on Is Big Green Doing Enough to Reduce Emissions? :

Great post, Merkel. While I think it’s great that Deere has begun to adopt more climate-friendly approaches to its manufacturing and sales, I wonder if the greater obstacle is convincing their consumers that hybrid or electric-only technology is robust enough to handle the demands of the job site and farm. Having worked on a farm, I think many would be resistant to the change, fearing either inadequate equipment or not being taken seriously by other farmers or tradesmen. For many farmers, buying a Deere tractor or implement is a huge capital investment, second only to the purchase of actual land. To make such a jump to a new technology, I think that the farmer is really going to have to be convinced that they’re not buying a lemon. In that regard, I think Deere’s marketing efforts may be just as important as their R&D to ensuring a successful “green” transition.

Great post, Carl. I especially liked your suggestion of C&S dropping off refrigerated food containers prior to a major storm in order to reduce the likelihood of stock outs for disaster-stricken communities. While the other suggestions seem to address a long term reduction in the C&S carbon footprint, the food containers are a great direct response to climate change. I wonder if C&S could leverage data analytics of the storm track and intensity with consumer shopping behavior just prior to the storm to better predict exactly what groceries might be needed for delivery to individual stores to prevent stock outs.

On November 6, 2016, TOM commented on Only The Resourceful Will Survive :

Mark, great post and a very impressive organization. It does seem very likely that as the frequency and severity of storms increase, the most vulnerable populations will be the world’s poorest. Have you considered making climate change response a strategic initiative for Kutamani? For example, selecting candidates for support that are likely to create a disaster response capability in their hometown (I.e. Medical training) or farmers who raise crop varieties that are resistant to drought or flooding.

On November 5, 2016, TOM commented on SolarCity: Powering the Climate Change Revolution? :

Great post, ConcernedCitizen. I definitely agree with you that SolarCity’s merger with Tesla can yield operational synergies, especially with regards to the development of complementary battery storage technology, but I think it will not clear some of the greatest hurdles ahead–grid management and utility regulations. One of the technical issues with distributed solar (like rooftop solar installed by SolarCity) is that the vagaries in solar generation strain base load power generation. If a cloud passes overhead, and all of a sudden power demand spikes because rooftop solar is not generating as much, power companies have a difficult time instantly matching power output at the plant, potentially leading to power brown outs or worse. That’s one reason why some solar-heavy states like Hawaii have begun to deny permits allowing homeowners to install anymore rooftop solar.

Another issue is regulatory. Many utilities argue that rooftop solar allows consumer-generators to freeload on the grid, reaping the benefits of cheap power when the sun is out, and paying only for grid upkeep through energy charges when the sun is obscured. But the grid must be available for use 24 hrs a day, hence the argument for freeloading. I think SolarCity needs to find a solution to the regulatory issue, which may include designing systems that can provide enough power to completely remove someone from the grid, and thus avoid any responsibility for grid upkeep.

On November 5, 2016, TOM commented on Under Water: The City of Miami Beach :

Great post on Miami. I think this is a topic that has begun to affect many other cities around the world, but Miami may be a vanguard for how cities can effectively respond to rising sea levels. I wonder if the city leadership studied New Orleans and what has worked/not worked as another very low-lying metropolis. For example, the post mentions the use of flood valves at the city’s sea walls, but these systems require pumps that can potentially fail during widespread electrical outages (such as during a hurricane). New Orleans uses these types of pumps, and many of them failed during Hurricane Katrina, despite electrical backups, and even during subsequent tropical storms, which led to sewage and toxic water back flows. Moreover, these valves probably fall into the short-term solutions category, which seems to accurately match the 30-50 year “temporary fix” timeline that you mentioned in your post. I wonder how scientists will address the “long-term” fix. Floating buildings and roads?