I really enjoyed reading about Foodora. It sounds like they are doing everything right to position themselves against competition that might soon enter the European markets. I believe their first mover advantage will give them a boost and insulate them as long as they continue to be price competitive and partner with the right restaurants. I especially think their corporate partnerships are a means of true competitive differentiation. I believe that if their corporate partners are happy with their service, they will not switch away if competitors enter the market. Great company. Great idea. The founder must be a genius 😉
I absolutely loved this post. I had no idea these MagicBands existed, but they make a tremendous amount of sense. With respect to making Disney World “a little more magical” (as you mentioned), it is amazing to think that when a child hugs Mickey Mouse, Mickey Mouse can greet the child by name. Incredible! I really enjoyed their mechanism for diverting traffic / moving guests to other areas of the park. If a long line starts to form at one specific ride, it makes a ton of logistical sense to alert riders via a push notification of other rides with shorter lines, maximizing throughput throughout the park. I love this idea. I did a little googling and it seems as if the mastermind behind the Disney MagicBands is next in line to be CEO of Disney… no wonder!
Sarah – I really enjoyed this post. I actually spent a fair bit of time researching edtech companies in my prior job. We found them to be highly defensive companies to invest in, due to the ways in which they provide cost savings to the educational industry. I wonder how much HMH uses cost savings in its pitch to schools. I agree, costs to switching are incredibly high in this industry and therefore it is paramount to have a service with proven results. Cost savings matched with results is an unbeatable combination for a company. Also, I wondering if HMH is planning to move into any other adjacent categories such as dropout recovery.The state will actually pay edtech companies to find highschool dropouts and educate them via online platforms so that they can pass their GED tests.
I really enjoyed this read! Although the thought of AI replacing radiologists is alarming, it does make a lot of sense. I found the statistic you referenced in the post rather astounding… “the number of images radiologists have to interpret has increased 100 fold in t he last 20 years”. This seems rather unsustainable, yet I do not see this slowing or changing. I worry about the lawsuits / backlash that might stem from a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis when we add the AI element to the mix. It will be very interesting to watch this unfold!
Great post, Ross! I really enjoyed reading about Netflix and the Company’s rise to power. I must admit I was shocked that Pay-TV has only declined at a 0.43% CAGR between 2011 and 2015 (I would expect the decline to be much more significant!). You highlighted this in your post, but I believe that Netflix’s consumer data is a true competitive advantage. It is impossible for cable to compete with them on their data/predictive analytics because it is true, cable really only has access to basic demographic data that is generally much less helpful. I hope ESPN is ready to handle this type of pressure and competition 🙂
I really enjoyed this post! I couldn’t help but tie this to the sustainability signs that are currently in every hotel bathroom re: cleaning of towels and sheets. I wonder when that started and whether it was fueled by said government imposed fuel/energy and carbon taxes. Regardless of of the impetus, it is great to see a hotel chain like Marriott taking initiative. I appreciate the lofty goals they have set for themselves (hoping to reduce energy and water consumption by 20% from 2007 to 2020). As a prominent force in the space, I hope they lead by example and encourage others around them to follow suit.
This makes me like Hanes even more! I wonder the true extent to which their reputation as a socially responsible manufacturer has improved their sales. Personally, knowing this about Hanes makes me more likely to purchase their apparel over that of equal competitor but I can only imagine the average consumer has no idea about the measures Hanes is taking with respect to energy management. It would be interesting to learn more about the true advantages gained by their vertically integrated process. I must admit I am rather naive and am unsure as to whether this is common practice, but I imagine it provides Hanes with more power and control to shape the future sustainability practices of their business.
In my prior job, one of my portfolio companies was in the insurance space. We spent quite a bit of time thinking through the effects of climate change on the business as a whole and how to best shield the company for future growth. The price paid by the consumer is one lever that can be utilized to compensate for the increased risk undertaken by the insurance firm. I also believe that climate change has in part contributed to the consolidation we see in the industry. Interestingly enough, companies like Allstate are trying to cut costs by implementing middlemen who are sent to visit the home after a natural disaster and can more easily triage the situation. I enjoyed reading about the six ClimateWise principles. This was new to me. Great post!
As a Dig Inn lover, I was impressed to learn about the ways in which they are conducting their business in order to improve their overall sustainability levels. The fact that 55% of Dig Inn’s weekly produce comes from local farms is a rare yet noble statistic. I appreciate their decentralized system, hedging their risk against idiosyncratic shocks to specific geographies. I do understand the complexities that the business is facing and understand that by employing sustainable practices, they are not necessarily making their lives easier. This seems to be the struggle facing most companies today.
Charlotte – great post! Venice is one of my favorite cities and therefore it was hard to read this post and accept what is happening there. The flood statistic (~10 to ~100) is fascinating. 10-fold in just over a century! I am also saddened by the inaction taken by the cruise ships, yet understand why they are acting in the way that they are. As we’ve seen in so many classes thus far at HBS, misaligned incentives are at the heart of so many problems. The cruise ships are able to leverage Venice’s “scarcity factor” in order to boost their own profits in the near term, and leading to the destruction of the city in the long term. I suggest we plan a visit ASAP? No cruise ships though 🙂
I really enjoyed this blog post! Having spent four years in Vermont for college, it is easy to draw parallels as warmer winters have affected ski resorts in the northeast as well. The scale of Vail Resorts gives it a true competitive advantage, especially with respect to its ability to diversify its “portfolio” of ski destinations. The Whistler Blackcomb acquisition is a perfect example of this. Unfortunately, local ski resorts (like those I visited in college) do not have the balance sheet to diversify in the same way. It will be interesting to track the conditions of ski resorts across the country. Perhaps certain destinations will gain in popularity as others wane.
Paul – highly enjoyable read. I had no idea that the salmon farming segment is better positioned than the commercial salmon fisheries to withstand the effects of climate change. I must admit that I worry about the public perception of the “Egg”. Although highly impressed by its innovative features, I could see this backfiring. It is also interesting to compare this to other fisheries (lobster, cod etc.). It is evident this is an industry in turmoil.
Mary – I really enjoyed this blog post. As someone who went to college in Vermont, it is interesting to think of the parallels between the struggles facing Vail Resorts and successful Vermont ski destinations. I had no idea that Vail Resorts had acquired Whistler Blackcomb, but the geographic diversity makes sense. Vail Resorts is fortunate to have the power / financials they do because I do not believe any of the Vermont ski destinations would be able to pursue similar strategies. I actually think that this diversification may be the only real way to hedge against disaster.