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On November 19, 2016, zachsarnoff commented on TaskRabbit: Say to No to Chores :

Thanks, Tracy. I think TaskRabbit is basically creating market efficiencies for everyday tasks – allowing people to put a price on every minute of their day and then trade off with those who have different values. It’s the Uber for everything else besides car rides. I think an app/website like this could really penetrate the market in terms of tasks like furniture moving, dog walking, grocery shopping, or picking up basic goods.

At my internship this past summer, we planned on using TaskRabbit to do bring in anonymous users (remotely and in-office) to test our live video platform. However, there simply was not enough people on the TaskRabbit site to bring in. We found exponentially more people on CraigsList and Reddit. How is TaskRabbit going to differentiate itself from these other, established platforms? There’s not much true additional value TaskRabbit is providing, which gives me concerns about their future prospects.

On November 19, 2016, zachsarnoff commented on Grocery Delivery: 2nd Time’s the Charm? Instacart vs. Webvan :

Thanks, Brian. I agree with Margaret that having an asset-lite model is the only way to succeed in this space. I have used FreshDirect, a similar company that only serves the New York metropolitan area. FreshDirect has taken a much more conservative strategy, having been around since 1999 without expanding beyond their base locations. I don’t really see how FreshDirect makes money from anyone except high income people who are willing to pay huge markups on certain produce. Some of FreshDirect’s products are reasonably priced, and the convenience of the delivery made it worth my while to order these particular items. I just don’t see the margins on these products making it profitable to cover the enormous overhead from delivery in NYC, especially since they frequently offer free shipping and will have to keep much of the produce refrigerated or frozen. This is not cheap or efficient.

I don’t see this business model ever succeeding except if they charge a large delivery fee or have huge markups on their products. In this case, they will have to cater to wealthy, price insensitive individuals to whom convenience is the only parameter.

On November 19, 2016, zachsarnoff commented on Wimbledon: Technology Meets Tradition :

Thanks, Nicole. As an avid tennis fan, I’ve found the technological innovations in the sport quite interesting. I am hugely in favor of the “shot spot” instant review – it provides clarity, removes controversy, and quickens the game by reducing arguing with umpires. I’d also like to see more advances in terms of equipment and player development (see: the post on the NBA) through the use of technology.

However, from a business perspective, I’m not a particularly big fans of using technology at Wimbledon. First, and most importantly, it goes strongly against the traditional values of the Wimbledon tournament (a tournament which still requires players to wear all-white). Second, the incremental value-add does not seem to be there at the moment. It’s pretty obvious who the most popular players are in the tennis world – I don’t see any technology improving our perceptions here. Also, tickets at a tournament like Wimbledon will likely sell out regardless of marketing techniques. Pricing strategies might be more useful for lower-level tournaments that are struggling with attendance.

Thanks, Matt. Do you know if the study of the 119 players is statistically significant? It appears to have incredibly high variability with data all over the place.

Also, I wonder why exactly the number of missed games has increased so much over the past several years – there haven’t been any structural changes in the season (same number of games, etc.) and players actually take more rest days in the regular season than in previous decades. I suspect that trainers are just being even more cautious than before.

Regarding Whoop’s plan, I think this type of product is the future of sports and athletic training. I am hopeful that technology will be developed which is small enough to eliminate any safety/sponsorship concerns and players can begin using these types of products during games. It has the potential to protect players and also significantly improve the level of play on the field/court. People will be able to have data supporting changing their technique, form, or speed – no more “traditional” guesswork about what is right and wrong.

On November 18, 2016, zachsarnoff commented on The NFL Goes Digital :

Thanks, Billy. Do you think the NFL has any concerns that digitization could actually be a bad thing for the league’s future? Sure, the viewing audience experience could be improved – but ratings are already sky high and they have lucrative sponsorships coming from everywhere. I’m thinking the digitization of the helmets may shed even more light on the dangers of concussions and attract more regulation from governing bodies. While this could help player safety, I’m not sure the NFL has shown compassion for player safety over the past several years. I wouldn’t be shocked to see them try to restrict use of this technology or perhaps conceal its results. The NFL’s main objective is to protect itself legally and politically and more evidence of the dangers of football will only be a detriment to this goal.

On November 4, 2016, zachsarnoff commented on Landfills: Just Another Smelly Hill? :

Thanks, Bruna. You mentioned that WM should be educating consumers about the benefits of consumers more eco-friendly products. I think that responsibility should really lie with the product creators, not WM. Perhaps WM should work with the companies themselves to help them understand the benefits of creating eco-friendly products. Unfortunately, many consumers just don’t care about where their products end up once they dispose them, but I feel that the onus should be on the product creators to be more cognizant of the environmental impact of their creations.

On November 4, 2016, zachsarnoff commented on Ferrero’s ingredients to climate change success :

Thanks, Daniel. While I’d imagine Ferrero has fairly high margins on Nutella, I’m concerned that some of your suggestions might be quite costly for the company to fully implement. Regarding the potential tests/development on alternatives to palm oil, this could be a long and arduous process. Perhaps there is no equally inexpensive alternative and that Ferrero will just have to accept lower margins. I also think plantation auditing, while effective to ensure compliance, would add a fair amount of overhead with no real addition to the bottom line.

On November 4, 2016, zachsarnoff commented on Answering Climate Change with a Meaty Disruption :

This is a fascinating idea. I would have two main concerns about the concept, however. First, and most importantly, this has to be very cost effective to have any chance of working. Consumers aren’t going to pay double the price for meat just to make it more sustainable. I think it could take many, many years for this to scale to bring costs down to acceptable levels. Second, I am curious about the response of consumers to this meat which could be viewed as “unnatural”.

Thanks, Daniela. Does the weather volatility decrease the overall anchovy population or do they just move to other, more suitable climates? If it’s the latter, perhaps the company could follow the anchovies to their new locations. Obviously this is not ideal, but it seems that alternatives are quite few. I also wonder why Exalmar has not created fish farms to date – perhaps the cost is too high. Unfortunately, I don’t really see many options other than hoping for a more favorable climate moving forward.

On November 4, 2016, zachsarnoff commented on Impact of Climate Change on Vail Ski Resort :

Thanks for the interesting post, Wissam. I wonder if these ski resorts have invested R&D into finding different variations or chemical compositions of snow that would be able to withstand higher temperatures. If so, they wouldn’t have to worry about producing as much snow (they could actually produce less). On the contrary, it’s important to consider snow quality, since Vail attracts high level skiers who might tend to be pickier about their snow.