I think one way Fitbit can stave off Apple and Android is by positioning themselves as the most accurate wearables company for serious athletes. As a Division I athlete, I would work with wearables a lot during my rowing workouts. We would do heart rate workouts at least twice a week and I found that all wearables, Fitbit included, were often wildly inaccurate. Nothing can quite do the job (yet) of a heart rate monitor, but wearing one is not the most comfortable thing in the world. If Fitbit can somehow figure out how to get more accurate heart rate results in real time, I think many athletes out there will jump to buy a device.
Another feature that Fitbit should consider adding is determining your hydration levels based on your sweat. I would often forget to drink water throughout my workout and I would really suffer the next day. If I had a watch telling me exactly when to drink water, based on my own body and not a generalized statistic, I would buy a wearable in a heartbeat.
I recently went to Austin and stayed in an amazing Airbnb, and it would have been great to have some sort of concierge service to help me get fully immersed in the culture. However, I think Airbnb’s competitive advantage is that they ARE 1/4 less than hotels on average. To me, an Airbnb is a cheaper alternative to a hotel. If Airbnb were to offer a concierge service, I think that would have to be baked into the existing price and not added on. Perhaps one way to solve this is to offer a similar “TravelGuide” experience through their app but curated by the Airbnb hosts rather than the actual company. In my experience, my hosts have always been eager to share their favorite brunch spots nearby, so I can’t see them being resistant to this type of content creation.
I think a big reason why the NYTimes is struggling is because their social media strategy is terrible. Their articles are always so poorly packaged for Facebook: the photo almost always a stock image, the headline is generally too long and confusing, and the Facebook copy is never eye-catching or controversial. They do social all wrong. If they really want to capitalize on the digital trend, they need to invest heavily in training their marketing team on how to package their stories for social. You can’t simply take a newspaper headline and expect it to work on Facebook. It’s an entirely different playing field. From my experience, people typically only read the first 3 words of a headline on Facebook. That means you need to put the most important words up front. A recent NYTimes headline on Facebook read, “High in Tower, Trump Reads, Tweets and Plans”. “Trump”, the most important and “click-baity” word in the headline, is hidden in the middle. If they want to maintain readership, they need to figure this out.
I am a huge fan of HBX, but the thought of developing an online MBA scares me. I truly do not think you can get the experience we are getting online. A huge part of getting an MBA is learning how to interact with others that are different than you and getting exposure to different management styles so you can decide what yours will be. I’m not sure you can achieve that online. I wonder if there’s a way to incorporate negotiations or group work into the curriculum via online cameras to get students from different parts of the world engaging with each other. That might be a way to incorporate the invaluable group work we get here at HBS.
What a great post, Nelly-Ange. I completely agree that video surveillance needs to play a role here. It actually blows my mind that this hasn’t already been adopted on a national scale. Resistance to full transparency seems like an antiquated excuse at this point.
My one concern when it comes to body-cams is that police officers will be able to pick and choose which encounters they record. If that’s the case, the videos will be entirely useless. I think it’s very important that these cameras are continuously recording and police officers have no ability to turn them on and off. I understand that this would be a double-edged sword because continuous recording may mean that rape victims get caught on camera and that brings up a slew of privacy issues. But, I firmly believe that in this case, the benefits outweigh the costs.
While I agree that McDonald’s has done quite a bit to address climate change, I do think they’re missing one essential thing: a veggie burger. Chipotle recently added Sofritas, or tofu chilli, to their menu, and Burger King has been offering a veggie burger for several years now. Why hasn’t McDonald’s done the same? My guess is that they probably don’t think it will be a profitable addition to their menu, but I believe that view to be extremely short-sighted. According to the U.N., shifting to a low-meat or meatless diet “will reduce monetary costs of climate change mitigation by 2050 by between 70% and more than 80%.”  Clearly, they have a lot to lose financially if they don’t bring a veggie burger to the table. McDonald’s needs to get on board with this before it’s too late.
 Flexitarianism: flexible or part-time vegetarianism
Great post, Priya! Some of the commentators suggest clothing recycling. In fact, H&M has been pushing clothing recycling for over 3 years now. In 2013, they launched their worldwide “garment collecting initiative” where you can drop of any garments, not just from H&M, in any H&M store and they will recycle it for you. I think this is an incredible and noble strategy, but I also know from our Marketing class that consumer behavior is extremely difficult to change. I wonder how many H&M customers are actually taking them up on this garment collection initiative. There may need to be some sort of incentive for customers, like a 10% discount off their next purchase if they recycle their clothes, to actually get them to participate.
As an avid snowboarder, I think about this issue a lot. I wonder if virtual reality can play a role here. Perhaps we can create a way for people to experience the thrills of flying down a mountain head first on two pieces of carbon fiber without further exacerbating our carbon footprint. I understand that this doesn’t solve Vails problem; in fact, it might even take business away from them if people are able to “ski” from the comforts of their own home. But, I think it would be in Vail’s best interest to consider ALL alternatives given that skiable snow may be non-existent in 2100.
A world without Nemo sounds like a terrible, terrible place!
According to a report by the Australian Government , not all coral reefs will be equally affected by climate change. Perhaps government agencies like the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority should focus on protecting the areas that will be least affected by climate change, as some reefs may already be too far gone. The same article cited above states that 16% of the world’s coral reefs are already seriously damaged. By pooling resources around the most protected coral reefs, we may be able to better allocate our dollars towards an effective attack against climate change.
Additionally, I suggest building out your first initiative of awareness and education by also teaching people about what coral reefs do for animals. So many animals and organisms depend on coral reefs for shelter and food. Our entire underwater ecosystem will be thrown off if any more damage is done. People need to be aware that this is a huge problem, and it’s not just about the coral reefs.
 Australia’s Biodiversity and Climate Change
I completely agree that the standard set forth by the RSPO is way too weak. During my time at The Dodo, we wrote many articles and videos about the terrible effects the palm oil industry has on animals, particularly orangutans. I still remember this harrowing statistic: every hour, 300 football fields of forest are cut down across South East Asia to make way for palm oil plantations. Every single hour. Every hour, orangutans’ homes are completely destroyed all because of how lucrative the palm oil industry is.
While I appreciate the effort to put forth some sort of legislation that helps prevent this type of mass deforestation, it’s debatable whether or not anything has really changed. Forests continue to be cut down and animals are the ones who pay for it. I sincerely hope that Ferrero takes your advice and signs the public letter put forth by Starbucks, Walmart, PepsiCo and others. The more companies that can take a hard stance against the unsustainable palm oil industry, the better chance we have at protecting the lives of thousands of animals.