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Rohit – this was a fascinating post! It is very interesting to learn about how Ralph Lauren is using digital technology to improve customers’ retail experience. I wonder though if Ralph Lauren is investing in the right technology to drive retail sales. For instance, while the smart fitting rooms sound like a fascinating idea, I do think customers have lots of concerns about privacy and a certain “creepiness” factor to having a fitting room track their every movement, which you also mentioned in your post. Some smart fitting rooms, such as the ones Neiman Marcus experimented with, also have video and photo capabilities, which introduces additional security and privacy risks [1]. I also wonder if smart fitting rooms would truly improve a customer’s shopping experience, as it takes away a personal element of interacting with the sales associates.

[1] Lonnie Shekhtman, “Who benefits most from digital mirrors in fitting rooms: stores or shoppers?,” The Christian Science Monitor, November 18. 2015, http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/2015/1118/Who-benefits-most-from-digital-mirrors-in-fitting-rooms-stores-or-shoppers, accessed November 2016.

On November 20, 2016, yz2236 commented on Yellow Pages: Evolving to Survive Mass Extinction :

Nancy, this was a very interesting post! I agree with Milkman and HBS2018 that Yellow Pages needs to find other ways to remain relevant if the Company is going to survive long-term. I actually wonder why Yellow Pages decided to transition from directories to a becoming a multi-channel marketing solutions company, which seems to be a far cry from their core competency. I actually think a key growth area in the industry right now is developing platforms to help businesses with multiple locations manage all their content accurately across various data sources (i.e. company’s websites, Google, Facebook, Yelp, Foursquare, etc.). For instance, Yext is a startup in New York that does exactly this, and has generated $88.8 million in revenue as of January 2016, a 48% growth compared to the prior year [1]. For a company like the Yellow Pages which built its business on providing directories to a large consumer base, this seems like a more logical next step compared to marketing solutions.

[1] Katie Roof, “Yext sees $88.8 million revenue, 48% growth for location data,” TechCrunch, March 10, 2016, https://techcrunch.com/2016/03/10/yext-sees-88-8-million-revenue-48-growth-for-location-data/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter, accessed November 2016.

On November 20, 2016, yz2236 commented on Conquer Disney World with a Flick of Your Wrist :

Lynn, this was an incredibly articulate and well researched post. As I was reading your post though, I kept wondering why Disney had gone through the effort of designing a personalized wristband with RFID technology rather than building a mobile app for customers to download to their phones to accomplish the same things that the wristbands do. At the March 2016 shareholder’s meeting Disney’s CEO Bob Iger said, “Because technology keeps moving onward and improving, we’re looking at all different ways to expand the program, both in Orlando and our other parks around the world. It won’t necessarily be through physical MagicBands, since mobile technology and personal mobile devices can offer a lot of the functionality that a lot of the bands we created offer [1].” I’m not sure how much Disney spent on designing the wristbands themselves, but I imagine the capital outlay required to build the wristbands and roll them out to every Disney park is significant compared to having customers use a mobile app to accomplish the same thing.

[1] Sandra Pedicini, “Phones, not MagicBands, will be the future of Disney’s MyMagic+,” Orlando Sentinel, April 9, 2016, http://www.orlandosentinel.com/travel/attractions/the-daily-disney/os-disney-magicbands-phones-20160408-story.html, accessed November 2016.

On November 19, 2016, yz2236 commented on Digital Innovation is Brewing at Starbucks :

Thank you for this interesting post! As a daily Starbucks customer, I really appreciate the simplicity of Starbucks’ app, as well as the ability to earn rewards. Of course, one of the key concerns with mobile payments is always cyber security, and Starbucks has been victim to this. In May 2015, it was reported that hackers were draining people’s bank accounts via their Starbucks apps [1]. In light of this, I wonder what Starbucks has done in terms of improving cyber security related to its mobile app, and whether they are doing enough to protect customers against hackers. In addition, since more than 21% of transactions at U.S. company-owned stores now come through its mobile app [2], Starbucks will need to focus more of its energy on becoming a technology company. In your post, you talked about the benefit of the mobile app to Starbucks’ operations on a store level, but I think that digitization will fundamentally change Starbucks’ operations at a company level as well as the company shifts from being a retail and coffee company to becoming more of a technology company.

[1] Jose Pagliery, “Hackers are draining bank accounts via the Starbucks app,” CNN, May 14, 2015, http://money.cnn.com/2015/05/13/technology/hackers-starbucks-app/, accessed November 2016.

[2] Olga Kharif and Leslie Patton, “Starbucks Takes Its Pioneering Mobile-Phone App to Grande Level,” Bloomberg Technology, March 30, 2016, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-30/starbucks-takes-its-pioneering-mobile-phone-app-to-grande-level, accessed November 2016.

On November 19, 2016, yz2236 commented on Supermarkets, going the way of the dodo? :

Thank you for such a fascinating post! I completely agree with you that supermarkets are facing many challenges today, and really liked the examples you gave of what retailers such as Tesco and Coop are doing to digitize their businesses. I do wonder though, if large supermarket chains will be able to move quickly enough to be able to compete in the future. For instance, over the past two years, three U.S. supermarket chains have declared bankruptcy: Fairway, A&P and Haggens. With the digitization of supermarkets, and the ability to order groceries online, I think that supermarket of the future will need to be much smaller, and provide services in addition to groceries, such as entertainment and dining [1]. For large, established supermarket chains, I wonder about their ability to fund and move quickly enough to embrace a digital “supermarket of the future.”

[1] “Top Trends in Grocery Shopping for 2016 Announced,” PR Newswire, December 28, 2015, http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/top-trends-in-grocery-shopping-for-2016-announced-300197266.html, accessed November 2016.

This is a very interesting post that highlights the impact of climate change on small businesses. Reading this post, it’s hard for me to imagine what the Beach Club Hotel can do to impact climate change and slow the disappearance of the Great Barrier Reef – they seem helpless while climate change destroys the Great Barrier Reef and therefore their business. On the other hand though, one of the greatest threats to the Great Barrier Reef is coastal development. According to the Australian Government, there are currently tourism resort developments on 27 Great Barrier Reef islands [1]. This makes me wonder if perhaps decreasing tourism will be beneficial to the Great Barrier Reef in the long run. I feel like actions taken to combat climate change always involve tradeoffs, and the Beach Club Hotel should begin to look at ways to diversify its business away from tourism for the benefit of the Great Barrier Reef and for the longevity of the business.

[1] Australian Government, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, “Coastal development and protecting the Great Barrier Reef,” http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/managing-the-reef/threats-to-the-reef/coastal-development-and-protecting-the-great-barrier-reef, accessed November 7, 2016.

On November 7, 2016, yz2236 commented on Coca-Cola: Survival in an Era of Climate Change :

I agree with Ward that water scarcity is one of the key risks to Coca Cola. Given that soda is between 89% to 90% water [1], I think that Coca Cola should be heavily incentivized to seek out solutions to water scarcity through preservation and recycling. One of the key challenges facing Coca Cola in the future, however, will not only be how it can combat climate change in general, but also what the company can do to justify taking a scarce resource from developing countries to make soda. For instance, in the past few years, Coca Cola has had to shut down a number of their Indian bottling plants because local farmers blamed the company for using too much water during a time of water scarcity [2]. To combat these issues, I think that it may also be in Coca Cola’s best interest to partner with local governments to find solutions to drivers of water shortage, such as improving India’s water irrigation practices.

[1] The Coca-Cola Company, “Why water is one of our most important ingredients,” http://www.coca-cola.co.uk/stories/why-water-is-one-of-our-most-important-ingredients, accessed November 7, 2016.

[2] Avantika Chilkoti, “Water shortage shuts Coca-Cola plant in India,” Financial Times, June 19, 2014, https://www.ft.com/content/16d888d4-f790-11e3-b2cf-00144feabdc0, accessed November 7, 2016.

On November 6, 2016, yz2236 commented on Snowboarding without Snow? :

I enjoyed reading Shantanu’s post, and think that he makes a really good point by noting that most of the measures the Alpine Convention is taking are short-term and reactive, and may not get to the root of the climate change problem. One of the questions I had while reading this post through, is just how expensive and logistically complex is it to implement the steps the Alpine Convention is taking to maintain ski lifts, such as making artificial snow and moving ski areas higher? For example, I imagine that previously, many ski lifts did not spend much money on obtaining snow. Now, however, to make artificial snow for the slopes, ski lifts need to invest in machinery and labor to buy equipment to make snow, determine how much snow to make each day, when and where the snow should be distributed, monitor actual snowfall, etc. At the same time, revenues for the snowboarding and ski industries have fallen in recent years due to fewer skiers because there is less natural snow. The financial pressures on the ski and snowboarding industry seems enormous.

The use of machinery to make artificial snow also seems like it would exacerbate the issue of climate change. As it becomes warmer, more snowmaking equipment will be needed to make snow which will only contribute to climate change. To Shantanu’s point, I think that unless the industry can find sustainable, long term solutions to climate change, they may only be making the problem worse.

Sonja’s post was very well written and thought-provoking. In her post, Sonja mentioned that one of the main reasons for diverting water to almond crops even though California was facing a severe water shortage and almonds are a water-intensive crop was because “it is critical to the California economy….valued at $4.5 billion” Recently though, almond prices have dropped steeply due to the surge in supply, from $4.00 per pound in 2014/15 to $2.84 per pound in 2016/17 [1]. Even with the sharp drop in prices, almonds will still be one of the largest components of California’s economy. For me, however, this does bring up an interesting question on how water distribution should be determined. During California’s water shortage, many farmers were blamed for shifting so much of California’s acreage to a thirsty permanent crop, and diverting water from other crops to produce almonds [2]. In addition to developing new technologies to reduce water usage for almonds, I wonder if it is Blue Diamond’s responsibility to weigh the social impact on California against its desire to grow.

[1] Agnes Perez and Gustavo Ferreira, “Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook,” United States Department of Agriculture, September 30, 2016.

[2] Dale Kasler, Phillip Reese and Ryan Sabalow, “California almonds, partly blamed for water shortage, now dropping in price,” The Sacramento Bee, January 30, 2016, http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/water-and-drought/article57432423.html, accessed November 6, 2016.

On November 6, 2016, yz2236 commented on Nike: A Poster Child for Climate Change? :

I think that Lynn’s post is very well thought out and interesting to read. One of the most fascinating aspects of Nike’s strategy that Lynn raises in her post is how Nike is using climate change to drive innovation in the industry. Through new technological innovations such as “ColorDry” and its partnership with MIT on “Climate CoLab,” Nike has been able to reduce costs in the company while being socially responsible. One of the things that amazes me most about Nike’s story is how the company went from being one of the most hated brands in the 1990s – facing boycotts and public anger amid allegations of child labor and sweatshops – to becoming one of the most socially responsible corporations in the 21st century and a leader when it comes to innovating around climate change. Nike is proof that companies can be socially responsible and profitable.

Another aspect about Nike that I find fascinating is how dedicated the Company is to being eco-friendly in its facilities. Nike’s campus is about a 15 minute walk away from my parent’s house in Oregon, and they are currently undergoing a massive renovation to add 3.2 million sq. ft. to their campus [1]. Nike is aiming for LEED Platinum Certification – the highest level of certification – which is very much in line with their focus on sustainability [1].

Elizabeth also makes an interesting point in her comment above about whether or not consumers will think that Nike products are lower quality or overpriced if we know that it is also sustainable. I would argue that Nike has overcome this challenge already by making being eco- friendly and sustainable synonymous with being innovative. A good example of this is Flyknit, a shoe technology Nike introduced during the London Olympics that was designed to be more environmentally and cost friendly, but which was high performing and enormously innovative.

[1] “Nike, Inc. Reveals Design for World Headquarters Expansion,” Nike, Inc. press release (Beaverton, OR, April 1, 2016).