W. Zhang

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On December 12, 2015, W. Zhang commented on Aldi: no frills grocery shopping :

As a child, I made many trips to Aldi with my parents, so I really enjoyed reading this! I had never really considered the intentionality of so many of these choices (e.g. leaving the items in the boxes, having customers pack their own stuff to decrease cycle time and labor cost). I’ve also noticed that at the Aldi we went to, the cashiers were always seated, which reduces the fatigue element that comes with standing cashiers. They also charged for plastic/paper bags, which I imagine helps keep costs low — Another thing that seems to not have caught on broadly in the U.S., even though it is beneficial for both cost-savings and environmental sustainability.

On December 12, 2015, W. Zhang commented on RPX Corporation: First Defense Against Patent Trolls :

This is so interesting! I knew about patent trolls like Intellectual Ventures, but did not know that there were companies in the business of building patent portfolios in defense against them. It’s interesting to me that, in a sense, they’re doing the same thing as patent trolls by buying up a lot of patents.. it’s just that they’re using it as a defense strategy.

It seems to me that what results is a race between companies like RPX and patent trolls to acquire potentially valuable patents. One question that comes to mind is whether the RPX’s of the world have deep enough pockets to compete effectively with the Intellectual Ventures of the world. I am also curious how patent troll companies have responded to the creation of RPX and similar businesses, and whether they have adjusted their patent acquisition and litigation strategy as a result.

On December 12, 2015, W. Zhang commented on In-N-Out: A Fast Food Cult :

Very interesting about the distribution centers and daily delivery, and the low employee turnover stats are impressive.

It’s also interesting to me that their slow geographical expansion is somewhat intentional, which I hadn’t really considered before. It definitely helps them maintain control over quality as well as preserve the West Coast allure of the brand, but at the expense of the volume that comes with faster geographic expansion. I’d be interested to see what their expansion plans are for the future. I’m also curious about their expansion within the geographies where they already exist – In these areas, have they been expanding to achieve a denser concentration of In-n-Outs?