Smart appliances have the potential to improve our lives, but the current suite of products do not enable increased convenience. Until these appliances are able to operate autonomously without human interaction (load the laundry, etc.), demand for these products will be limited. Another issue to consider is the safety of running appliance with no person present to monitor them. The idea of remotely preheating the oven seems like an unsafe act until the appliances have their own fire suppression systems built in.
 John Sciacca. “What to do when the stove talks back (and other problems with smart appliances.” http://www.digitaltrends.com/home/get-ready-to-talk-to-your-refrigerator-and-your-washing-machine-dish-washer-and-garage-door-too/ Accessed November 20, 2016.
Is Silk Road ripe for disruption as countries decriminalize and legalize drugs? Roughly 25 countries have decriminalized drugs, but none have legalized everything yet. As long as drug dealers are still prosecuted, Silk Road has a market. If countries implement legalization strategies to end their wars on drugs, Silk Road would need to change their service. Weapons trade seems like another market to serve, but the supply chain is more difficult to manage with increased distribution challenges.
 Mark Provost. “How Portugal Brilliantly Ended its War on Drugs.” http://www.attn.com/stories/995/portugal-drug-policy Accessed November 20, 2016.
Interesting perspective on this company. I’d have to disagree with your advice to close the brick and mortar locations. This proves an excellent opportunity build trust with the consumer. This is also an opportunity to offer consumers the chance to be professionally fitted so there is no question as to the right size to choose when renting an outfit.
As for their price point, that same $150 rental dress would cost over $1k to buy. I think you are underestimating consumers’ willingness to pay for special occasions. There is research that shows the American middle class is willing to pay premium prices for luxury fashion. Besides those exclusive dresses, in going through their website I found numerous outfits that cost $50 or less.
 Ian Yeoman, Una McMahon-Beattle. “Luxury markets and premium pricing.” Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management. Vol 4, No 4. http://www.tomorrowstourist.com/pdf/luxury.pdf Accessed November 18, 2016.
 Rent The Runway. Wedding Guest Dresses. https://www.renttherunway.com/shop/wedding_guest_dresses/products?act_type=events_hp_feature&sort=newest Accessed November 18, 2016.
I agree that Venmo has reduced some barriers to spending, but I see a threat to its business model. Venmo relies on maintaining the money in its ecosystem until the users actively transfer their funds back to their banks. This can be cumbersome for users. Square offers a service called Cash, that has the same function as Venmo, but transfers the money bank to bank. Additionally, banks are offering mobile intra-bank transfer services. It is only a matter of time until they begin to offer inter-bank transfers.
 Square Cash. https://cash.me/ Accessed November 18, 2016.
This analysis was great, but I have an issue with your recommendation to focus on short term contracts to remain flexible. I understand the logic. On the other hand, as other teams grow their analytics capabilities and try to poach the best players per their KPIs, how can you expect the Astros to continue their success? As of 2015, there were nine teams that fully subscribed to using analytics, with others moving in that direction. Players are motivated by guaranteed, long term contracts. It would seem to be easy for other teams to offer better terms and take your talent if you cannot lock your high performers into longer term contracts.
 Nick Lampe “2015 playoff teams and the use of analytics.” SB Nation. http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2015/10/8/9470427/2015-playoff-teams-and-the-use-of-analytics Accessed November 18, 2016.
The OptiRC sounds like an incredibly practical innovation. Has it been employed in any towns or cities yet? In older cities such as Boston, I could see a project to install this technology taking a significant mount of time, and meet roadblocks based on the city plan. I wonder is this technology would work better in a more organized city with a grid system such as NYC. It was great that you mentioned that future city planning needs to take these factors into consideration.
This seems like a very exciting field, but I am concerned that farmers will over-react to the data they receive. I feel that as climate changes, this resource could lead to the overuse of fertile lands for the sake of short term livelihood. Obviously moving plots of land isn’t as simple and picking up and moving, but owners of the best land in emerging markets could be tempted to neglect the long term in favor of over-using their land for near term profits. With climate uncertainty, a land owner may not be certain that their land will still be favorable in the future, leading to impatience in leasing out rights.
Will the expansion of their Egg program improve the effects on the environment? If so, great, but how can that scale to improve the entire salmon industry? It seems unlikely that self contained units could support the worldwide demand, and to continue along that train of thought, could this be applied to other species of fish? It seems like a short term fix for a long term problem.
I agree with SLA. We see other companies make an effort to speak out on behalf of the environment to try and persuade other members of their particular industry to change practices. Luke’s Lobster seems to only care about promoting their own small role. It feels like a gimmick. Additionally, is Luke’s Lobster controlling their supply chain for sustainability reasons, or as a means to capture more profit.
I wonder if Patagonia would be able to employ these same methods if they were a publicly traded company. My guess is that the add would not have gone over so well. While, I agree with the message they are trying to promote, I think they may be going too far with the “Don’t buy this jacket” advertisement. Instead, they could offer rebates for people who return old jackets to be recycled. This could help drive sustainable practices without neglecting revenue.