Charles MacBain

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On December 13, 2015, Charles MacBain commented on Warby Parker: Affordable Fashion That’s Easy to See :

Interesting choice of company! I agree that online distribution is a key enabler to WP’s low cost strategy that allows them to keep their prices low. However, the purchasing of glasses is very difficult to do online as every person has a different head shape and comfort preferences that are very difficult to assess on a 2D screen. As a result, in order to succeed WP must have a very generous return policy that enables customers to order many different pairs of glasses and return all but one. This must be very expensive for WP as even for glasses that are returned, each prescriptions glasses have to be fitted to your prescription and then must be sent to you and then returned. How does WP reduce the number of returns to ensure that its assembly costs and shipping costs do not eat up their margins?

This is a wonderful success story. Thank you for sharing it. I was especially impressed by the fact that they were focused on the assessment and continuous development of teachers and wanted to learn more about it. My main question was how can you effectively assess the performance of a teacher? At first, I thought that a teacher should be assessed based on the outcomes (ie grades) that he/she generates for students. However, this is not a very easy to measure given that all students at Brooke must arrive with very different knowledge and ability levels. Thus, to what extent can the teacher be accountable for the grades of their students if one of the most important variables that affect the final grade at the end of the year, the student’s knowledge at the beginning of the year, is a variable that they do not control. How does Brooke assess the performance of its teachers?

On December 13, 2015, Charles MacBain commented on PICARD, French gastronomy everyday for everyone! :

Picard has developed a very compelling business that is clearly very successful in France. Its focus on frozen foods is a huge operational advantage vis a vis traditional supermarkets as frozen foods have longer shelf life, thus, Picard must have much lower waste, which is a huge cost burden for traditional supermarkets that stock fresh produce.

One of the key points that you highlighted in your post was Picard’s focus on product innovation. In France, Picard has clearly been successful in creating products that suit the tastes of France. However, I would be interested to see if Picard would be successful in expanding to other countries given the different tastes in those countries. Would Picard have to develop local R&D hubs in each country it enters to create a more appropriate catalog of products that are specific to that country?