It’s really interesting to think that Disney has invested so much in trying to come up with new technologies to stay competitive among other theme parks and other recreational experiences. It seems that they may have been a little premature with their strategies, and taken a scattershot approach by buying up a lot of patents and waiting to see which one will be the most successful. You ask, “Is mobile the best strategy as it requires less infrastructure?” I think yes. Having to ship a separate RFID band to customers and making sure they return it seems like an added hassle and infrastructure investments. It’s interesting because Universal Orlando recently launched a mobile app that can help you buy tickets, get real-time wait times for rides, etc. (https://www.innovationleader.com/universal-orlando-exec-on-deploying-tech-to-theme-parks/) They claim to take a more measured, systematic approach to implementing new technologies. So while Disney may be a first mover when it comes to implementing new technology, will consumers appreciate it?
You pointed this out in your article, but it is really interesting that the online version of the Daily Mail seems to have nothing to do with the print version. Most other newspapers, such as the NYTimes, have similar content on their print and online mediums. Perhaps that is why the Daily Mail website has been so successful, since people who read the newspaper will also go online to access totally different content, in addition to drawing in new readers.
A common issue across all newspapers is figuring out how to monetize their websites. I wonder if over time newspapers will be unable to figure out how to monetize without destroying readership, and the industry as a whole will just have to settle with smaller revenues. I think we’re already seeing a bit of this, as newspapers and magazines are doing massive layoffs and bringing in newer, smaller teams of young leaders who are good at digital.
Interesting article! It’s interesting how digital technology is transforming every single industry out there. The new data company that Kroger created, 84.51°, is interesting because it is giving Kroger so much new data that they didn’t have before. Since we just did the IBM Watson case, it got me wondering what Watson could do if it had all this information. Perhaps it would just be smarter about predicting purchasing trends and quantities? Giving Kroger total efficiency? I’m sure we’ll see AI influencing grocery stores eventually.
In the article you pushed for Kroger to focus more on the grocery delivery industry, but I wonder if that is the best move for them. It seems that most of the people who use grocery delivery services live in urban areas, and Krogers are mostly in suburban areas, where it might be easier for people to drive to the grocery store.
Despite being one of those millennials with a short time span, I actually caved a few years ago and paid for the full NYTimes online subscription. For me, it really was the “integrity of its journalism” and “content worth paying for” that got me to finally sign up. I like your suggestion of the NYTimes creating an advertising-supported app aimed at millennials. However, I’m wondering if enough millennials would sign up in order to maintain enough revenue from advertising, since it seems that millennials often turn to other sources for news, such as Twitter, Facebook, Buzzfeed, etc. Either way, I would love to see the NYTimes succeed and figure out a way to monetize in the digital world so that it can stick around for a while!
I remember hearing about Playboy removing nudity from its magazines, and wondering how that was going to play out for them. Thanks for enlightening me! I never thought I’d think of playboy.com as “sexy and safe-for-work,” but it looks like it’s trying to get there. I think your suggestion for them to re-position themselves as a classier, gender-neutral Cosmo magazine would be a great way to attract a female readership.
Your comment about porn driving the adoption and innovation in technology reminded me of this article I read about the Oculus Rift and virtual reality (http://fortune.com/2015/07/31/porn-virtual-reality/). Apparently “adult entertainment will be the number three driver of all VR content behind movies and games, and the porn VR business will grow into a $1 billion industry by 2020.” I wonder if porn is the motivation behind inventing these new technologies, or if porn merely helps these new technologies be developed and adopted quicker?
Prior to coming to HBS, I worked for a startup in Boston that was founded on the basis of trying to cut out the greenhouse gas emissions required to ship drinks to the consumer. The startup manufactured a machine that drew in tap water, and turned it into a variety of sparkling and flavored waters, which consumers would then dispense into their own water bottles. I’m glad to hear that Coca-Cola is working to reduce the carbon footprint of its commercial fleet by adding more eco-friendly vehicles.
However, one are Coca-Cola can not control is what happens to their products after the consumer purchases it. Will the consumer recycle the bottle or can? As the price of oil decreases, many recycling facilities are shutting down, as it is not worth it to recycle (http://www.wallstreetdaily.com/2016/02/18/cheap-oil-recycling-industry/). It would be great to see Coca-Cola working with these facilities to try and increase recycling rates, or coming up with an alternate solution.
It’s really interesting to learn that for AB InBev 90% of the water used in the production process is at the agriculture stage. Since that’s the case, it makes sense that they focused their efforts on working with their farmers and suppliers through the SmartBarley Benchmarking system, which allowed them to reduce the amount of water used to produce one barrel of beer from 3.5 barrels to an impressive 3.14 barrels.
However, I would argue that there are still additional steps needed. Why stop at 3.14 barrels? Just because they beat their internal benchmark of 3.2 barrels ahead of schedule, why not continue to try and improve? Global warming will not stop just because they met their goal. Additionally, the beer production process contributes more to climate change than just through water consumption. For example, there is a brewery in California that built a CO2 recovery system to capture the gas that’s created during fermentation and recycle it back into operations (http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/06/24/415538451/survival-of-the-greenest-beer-breweries-adapt-to-a-changing-climate). Also, shipping beer from the factory to the consumer requires a lot of resources, another area AB InBev could focus on.
This is perhaps the most unique blog post on climate change I have come across. While it seems unusual to mention the Catholic Church in the context of climate change, it is actually rather brilliant. As the head of the Catholic Church, the Pope has an enormous influence on the opinions of Catholics. As mentioned by Corina, 53% of US Catholics do not believe humans play a role in global warming. After hearing the opinions of the Pope, I have to imagine at least some of those people will be swayed. Additionally, I completely agree that having the Pope speak out on the issue of climate change will draw more millennials back to the church. Many millennials view the church as out of touch, and this is a strong step towards connecting with the younger generation.
I could not agree more with this article. Beef consumption is a huge driver of global warming. Fun fact, cow flatulence contributes to about 20% of human-related methane in our environment (http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=2569). While it is going to be hard to change consumer preferences away from consuming meat, there are many things Shake Shack could do to encourage this behavior (many of which you’ve outlined in your blog post). In my opinion, meat in this country is too cheap, and does not fully capture the negative externalities it creates. While it would be highly controversial for Shake Shack to do so, I believe they should raise the prices on their meat options, in order to encourage more consumption of their vegetarian options. Additionally, you mentioned creating more vegetarian options, which I definitely agree with. If more restaurants would invest in creating delicious vegetarian options, perhaps more people would be inclined to consume less meat.
I really enjoyed this article. Hotter weather does equal more ice cream, so it is interesting to think about the different incentives of a company like Ben and Jerry’s. Also, it surprised me that they still source most of their milk from family farms, since they are now owned by Unilever. While it is clear that Ben and Jerry’s does care about the environment, they still put consumer demand first. Earlier this year they released non-dairy ice cream made out of almond milk (http://www.benjerry.com/flavors/non-dairy). While this allows them to not rely on milk as an input, almonds are not environmentally friendly either. California produces 99% of the almonds in the United States, and has experienced a serious drought in the last few years. One almond requires 1.1 gallons of water to produce, making it not a very environmentally friendly input either (http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/02/wheres-californias-water-going). Perhaps Ben and Jerry’s will try making ice cream out of hemp milk next?