This was super interesting! I’m one of those people referenced by Terry Lundgren who needs an in-store interaction before buying online so I loved reading about how Macy’s is using technology to transform the in-store experience. A few questions that I had after reading your post:
1.) Adding RFID and beacons to stores sounds exciting! What are the secondary spillover effects? For example, do you think there will be changes to Macy’s staffing models?
2.) In the case of Macy’s, what are ways in which you see the online site and in-store experience complementing or cannibalizing each other? Should Macy’s target different types of shoppers with these mediums? How should they decide what the store displays should be versus products featured on the website?
3.) Do you think other department stores will follow suit? Should they? What other approaches are available?
Pippa, I loved this post! I also am sad that it has been forever since I’ve received a hongbao, wonder if I should be more active on WeChat to remind my relatives that I am not yet too old to receive money on Chinese New Year…a few questions:
1.) The appeal of electronic hongbao for companies such as WeChat seems to be driving more people to its platform. Do you think there is room for companies to profit off of this though? Should they eventually start charging for certain types of transactions (e.g. certain monetary amounts)?
2.) Given the privacy concerns, are electronic hongbaos something that only a large company like Tencent or Alibaba would be able to successfully full off? Or could a niche player enter the market (maybe something like a Venmo that is focused on sending money)?
3.) What are the biggest risks facing electronic hongbao? How likely do you think the government will intervene and what would trigger such an intervention?
Interesting post! In college, I used to spread the NYTimes out and read it over breakfast, but my college eventually stopped buying paper copies and switched to online access for students. A few thoughts:
1.) One of the NYT’s key strengths is the quality of its reporting and the fact that they have foreign correspondents who are on the ground reporting on events and their stories are fact checked. I know you mention blogs and online companies that have a presence in the news space, but do you think the industry will fundamentally change? Who will become the major players? Will it become harder to discern who the reputable news sources are?
2.) You recommend decreasing resources allocated to printed newspapers to shift more to digital platforms. How would this look? I would think that there are a lot of synergies in terms of article sourcing, so would this just cutting down on the printing staff? Do you think the NYTimes should go completely digital?
3.) Should the NYTimes start pricing its digital ads comparably to what it charges for print ads?
Yes, democratizing education is awesome! It’s great to think that individuals of all backgrounds will be able to access Harvard lectures. A few questions:
1.) Is there anything that you see as being fundamental to an in-person education that can’t be replicated online (e.g. case method classes)? How does this impact your view on online education?
2.) Do you think Harvard could eventually move to a model where degrees are offered completely online and where someone who views all of the lectures and submits work could receive the same degree as someone who took the courses in Cambridge? Is this a viable business model? What would it do to the education landscape?
3.) If Harvard were to ramp up its online education (which I believe it will), what investments in technology and teaching will it need to make?
Loved this post! Personal assistant services have gotten pretty hot in the tech space. My partner swears by Fin (https://www.fin.com/), which seems to work like Amy AI but is also tailored toward non-business users (which you suggested Amy AI branch out into). He uses FIN to schedule meetings, send reminders to people, return Amazon items, make restaurant reservations, and look up random facts. Most services are included in the monthly fee, but some cost extra. A few questions:
1.) Who do you think is the ideal Amy AI user? Are there certain companies that are more attractive as target customers?
2.) Who do you see as Amy AI’s biggest competitors and what is Amy AI’s point of differentiation?
3.) Are you concerned about data privacy? How do you think Amy AI can protect data when businesses are giving access to their private servers?
Love the blog post title! And the whole post actually. I’m surprised Whole Foods hasn’t done more to combat climate change. A few thoughts I had after reading your post:
1.) When you say that Whole Foods should commit to specific, transparent targets, what would that look like? What product lines do you think need to change? How would they assess targets for individual stores or products? How difficult is this to implement and track?
2.) You mention that Whole Foods should join other corporate giants in lobbying for policies to combat climate change. Sometimes I wonder if the lobbying is out of a genuine desire to combat climate change (probably at least partially true) or if it’s just to look good to the public. And do these policies hurt small business owners since the corporate giants are the ones with the resources to implement more sustainable practices? I’d be interested in learning more about how effective the lobbying has been and what their priorities are.
3.) Would love to learn more about what they’ve been on the distribution side and if you have ideas for how they can improve.
Super interesting! I had no idea all of these initiatives were going on at Logan. A couple of thoughts I had after reading your post:
1.) What is included in the waste per passenger rate? How do you think Logan Airport will be able to reduce waste? I’ve noticed that they still have paper towels in the bathrooms and when bottles are tossed during the security check process, they don’t go into recycling. Do you think that it’s feasible and cost effective for Logan to start composting?
2.) How could Logan incentivize people and companies to reduce meat consumption? In theory it sounds nice, but I don’t see how this could actually work in practice. Tons of people love meat and the restaurants at the airport live to cater to passenger needs. What are your ideas for implementing this kind of program?
Interesting post! It seems like Apple has significantly ramped up their environmental commitment. They’ve recently issued a green bond, been building a more sustainable campus, and Tim Cook has spoken publicly about the importance of protecting our world. Reading your post about what they have done on the product side was fascinating. I would push back on your thoughts about Apple’s warranty policy. I know it’s frustrating that the free warranty is only for a year, but you can buy AppleCare which extends coverage to three years. It sounds like for many consumers, having the insurance is worth it. At the end of the day, Apple is a for-profit company and AppleCare is a strong driver of revenue, and they need money to pay the people working on repairs. I also think that given Apple’s commitment to product excellence, even with these design changes that promote sustainability, they won’t compromise on product quality so there isn’t a perception problem. I do agree that it is problematic that the manufacturer is in China. Seems like a lot of energy and money could be saved if Apple had regional repair centers.
Also, sorry to hear about your MacBook!
Thanks to your post, I really want ice cream. But I’m sadly stuck on this plane for another three hours and feeling pretty bummed…but anyways, this was really interesting and I love what Ben & Jerry’s has been doing! I can’t believe they have an internal carbon tax, what are they doing with that money? Some other things I’d be really interested in learning more about:
1.) What vegan/non-dairy options reduce greenhouse emissions (similar to Ann’s question) and are there innovations that could help this?
2.) Is investing in more factories feasible for them? Does it conflict with some other aspects of their brand and contribution to society (for example, staying true to their New England roots and creating jobs in their communities)?
3.) Are there other ice cream companies who have followed their lead? Or other types of companies? Would love to hear more about how others have incorporated their ideas.
Bananas are great! This was super interesting. I had no idea there were over 500 varieties of bananas. A few questions I had after reading your post:
1.) You mention that the largest challenge to banana production results from an increase in pests and diseases that are linked to temperatures. What has the research been in combating this problem and do you really think it’s a larger challenge than what seems like a necessary shift to subtropic areas? I would argue that moving areas, which will disrupt economies, require building a new supply chain, and require compliance with new regulations might be most challenging. In addition, if the trends continue, will the subtropics eventually also become unsuitable for banana production?
2.) What were the results of Dole’s carbon neutral fruit experiment and do you think it’s scalable?
3.) How was Dole able to cut water use and were there any downsides to this?