Thank you for selecting on a business near and dear to our hearts. I find it very interesting that Wine & Spirit Wholesalers acquired a minority position in Drizly. Their investment would seem to violate the arms length principle; W&SW is best positioned to spur adoption of Drizly amongst its member organizations, which in turn increases the value of its investment. I am sure W&SW is also well connected to local regulators which will help protect Drizly from some of the political risks you have outlined. The deal seems like a major coup for Drizly and a significant impediment to its competitors.
Hi Riley – what an interesting TOM “winner”, thanks for picking it. CAH feels very reminiscent of Threadless in their ability to generate momentum amongst their customer base with very little effort. However, even more impressive than Threadless, CAH has managed to partner with a mainstream e-commerce player without losing their aura of anti-establishment authenticity. One could argue it is quite hypocritical to benefit from Amazon’s Cyber Monday sale while holding an anti-consumerism Black Friday sale, but CAH is able to sustain its image largely in part to the brashness of its content and its solicitation of input from the imagination of its customers.
David – thank you very much for writing this. I am a bit skeptical on how HBS is leveraging #3 – Campus. Walking around our grounds, it appears as if the utilization rates for some of the buildings are very low, with some buildings appearing to be empty altogether. However as you point out, influence may be a more appropriate metric for these assets, as they greatly contribute to the beauty of our campus and herald the legacy of our alumni.
This was a very timely and surprising choice for the TOM Challenge, and I appreciate you picking it. I am sure you would agree that a thorough understanding of ISIL’s operations is necessary for exploiting its weaknesses.
While I found your assessment above to be thorough and well-researched, I have a different perspective regarding the true value of ISIS’s financial operations. Putting aside income from oil, arguably the easiest target for the Coalition, the other sources of income (bank and civilian asset seizures, business extortion, highway checkpoint “tolls”, and prisoner ransom payments) are not sustainable. If ISIS is contained geographically, these funding sources are finite and will rapidly diminish.
Hi Azeem, thanks very much for your note. I finished the post impressed by both Shake Shack’s momentum and its ability to connect on a meaningful level with a wide variety of consumers across the world. One piece of the Shack’s operational model I would love to learn more about is its beef supply chain. I bet it is an enormous challenge to source a reliable, hormone- and antibiotic- free supply of beef for a growing number of stores without either high prices or high supplier concentration. I read online that beef comprises about 30% of Shake Shack’s COGS. Do you have concerns about Shake Shack’s ability to maintain its margins given its exposure to changes in the beef market?
Danielle – I really enjoyed reading your report on jet.com and look forward to trying it out as a customer. I’d be interested to better understand what jet.com is offering retailers. You mentioned retailers can reject unprofitable orders, or offer additional discounts in exchange for a customer’s e-mail address. While retailer acceptance appears critical to the viability of jet’s business modem (in light of its relatively thin discounts (4-5%) to consumers), it seems there is an inherent tension between jet.com’s ability to retain control over its customer relationships and pricing and the retailer’s involvement at the point of sale.