Hi Margaret, thanks for this great post! I’m a big believer in blended education and I think that evolving traditional textbooks will be wonderful for both students and teachers. I was curious to learn about how Front Row Education is able to sell to individual teachers rather than districts–I had assumed that curriculum decisions would need to be made top down. I hope that digitally savvy teachers are able to help drive this shift across their schools and districts.
I am concerned about implementation of a shift to digital textbooks for traditional players like McGraw Hill. Once McGraw makes the shift, they will likely need to educate a lot of teachers, including older, less technologically savvy teachers rather than just selling to early adopters. How do you think McGraw Hill can effectively train so many customers at scale? And what about helping parents understand the new learning materials?
Hi Daniel, thanks for this fascinating post! While I have a hard time keeping up with all the Kardashians (and their side businesses) I think there’s a lot to learn from Kylie!
I agree with your conclusion that perhaps Kylie isn’t trying to build a beauty brand but instead a collection of niche businesses — in fact, I’d go as far as to say that the brand she is building and selling is herself! Celebrities have long been in the business of creating products (think Paul Newman and Newman’s Own dating back to the early 80s) and I think you can categorize celebrity businesses in 2 buckets: (1) celebrities who are the brand themselves and they may sell various products and (2) celebrities who build strong brands and companies, independent of their identity. In the first bucket, I’d include the entire Kardashian klan and others like Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP. On the other hand, celebrities like Jessica Alba (Honest) and Kate Hudson (Fabletics) have built more traditional stand alone companies that are less associated with their persona. (http://www.forbes.com/sites/chancebarnett/2015/01/09/the-top-10-celebrity-companies/3/#cd063fc74405)
Given these two different approaches to monetizing celebrity, do you think there are significant operational implications depending on the model a celebrity chooses?
Thanks for turning the microscope on HBS itself! You raised some important structural tensions with CPD resources and the use of technology across the campus, but you avoided the elephant in the room: the case method itself. Do you think that learning via the case method in groups of 90 can adequately prepare students to thrive in the new digital workplace? Stanford GSB and MIT Sloan both make frequent reference to smaller team experiential learning (groups <10) and the ability to customize your learning path. Are there aspects of other top business schools that HBS should be willing to adopt?
Thanks for this great post. I’ve always admired Disney’s ability to take technology and build magical human experiences with it.
Disney has stated that they won’t be rolling out MyMagic+ to their California theme parks nor was it incorporated in their newly opened Shanghai park (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-10/why-disney-won-t-be-taking-magic-wristbands-to-its-chinese-park). I suspect this is because the majority of the functionality can now be easily performed using visitors’ mobile phones (as you also alluded to in your suggestions). How do you think Disney can stay on the true cutting edge of technology and forecast how technology will develop so it avoids multi-billion dollar investments that don’t get used globally like this?
I read this post with great interest. As a lifelong Warriors fan, I’ve been particularly interested (and pleased!) with their “pace and space” strategy and I appreciated the comparisons with how the Rockets implemented a more extreme strategy. You mention how ignoring team chemistry may have damaged the Rockets ability to perform, have you thought about how digital analysis might be applied to solve those problems? I know there is data about completed passes (http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-nba-players-no-one-passed-to-this-season/) but can this go even further to see which players passed to each other and then perhaps use this statistic to infer chemistry? Figuring out a digital way to assess teamwork would be broadly applicable in fields beyond basketball.
Hi Avatar, I was very interested to learn about peach — I hadn’t heard of them before! While I agree with you that it would be difficult to help consumers overcome how uncomfortable a virtual bra fitting would be, I also think that this shift in behavior is possible.
My bigger concern is about the business model of the company as a whole. You describe two ways of making money: “ they can sell bras that actually fit people, or  they can recruit women to become bra salespeople themselves.” To me, this sounds like a classic multi-level marketing pyramid scheme. Of course there are inherent PR and regulatory risks in MLM business models, but I’m also curious to know if peach has digitally transformed this pyramid to change the way they operate given the digital nature of their bra fittings.
Jordan, thanks for this great post. I’m so interested in GM’s investments into future-facing technologies. They also recently invested in Lyft, citing the very long-term potential for changing car ownership and (hopefully/eventually) driverless cars. Did you come across anything in your research related to GM’s opinion on the subject?
Billy, I’ve long been a Maersk fan (they have an awesome Instagram account!) and this post further makes their case. You made great points about the environmental unfriendlyness of aviation and I absolutely agree. However, I don’t think the switch to freight shipping is entirely straightforward. To me, the biggest barrier to switching air cargo to shipping is the speed component. Obviously, there are environmental (and safety) tradeoffs if cargo carriers were to sail at a higher speed–by some estimates reducing speed can reduce pollution by half (http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2012/ship-speeds). How would you approach those tradeoffs?
I’m glad to hear about the steps Coca-Cola has taken in their water initiatives. One aspect of the Coke business that I’m curious to learn more about is how they approach making greener packaging. While their bottles and cans are recyclable, a large portion of their business is in developing markets where recycling isn’t an option. Coke’s share of the international soda market is estimated to be about 25% (http://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2015/12/22/will-emerging-economies-drive-coca-colas-growth/#3610d34e1be9) so anything they can do to promote recycling would have a real impact on a lot of consumers. I remember seeing an ad about Coke bottle’s second lives (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1d8ePXioIs) and I wonder if this approach has been adopted more widely. I hope so!
Craig, thanks for this piece. As a very loyal SPG member, I’ve been watching the Marriott-Starwood merger with great interest. This environmental piece adds a new lens: Starwood has complimentary focuses in water use reduction and managing energy consumption but they also have additional initiatives in controlling supply chain (http://www.starwoodhotels.com/corporate/about/citizenship/environment.html?language=en_US). I’m curious to see how their initiatives impact Marriott and vice versa.
One thing that neither company has address (to my knowledge) is the building of its properties. I’d like to see the combined company focus more on LEED certification in addition to the other initiatives they are already pursuing.
Bad Hombre, thanks for this informative piece on Verizon’s emergency preparedness infrastructure. I’m curious to understand more along two aspects of their business: (1) how Verizon’s infrastructure / business operations contribute to climate change and (2) how specifically they have been able to reduce their CO2 emissions per terabyte.
Additionally, I’d be curious to see if Verizon has done any work around recycling or re-using materials. I assume they are only of the largest distributors of devices in the United States and image that they could help prompt millions of consumers to make more green choices when they upgrade their phone.