While I certainly agree with some of the advantages of Whole Food’s partnership with Instacart, I am also concerned about the potential for negative spillover effects. Having used Instacart, I am aware that there is a certain level of trust placed in your Instacart shopper that requires him to exercise a significant amount of judgment when selecting produce or finding a substitution when a requested product is not available. As noted in a recent article (http://qz.com/627605/inside-instacarts-fraught-and-misguided-quest-to-become-the-uber-of-groceries/),”the average American hasn’t been taught how to choose a ripe banana or avocado” resulting in an Instacart shopper who may provide subpar produce to his client; Whole Foods often ends up bearing the blame for these mishaps rather than its middleman. In short, how will Whole Foods guarantee that Instacart is presenting it in the best light possible and maintain strong quality controls?
One of the largest challenges in wearable tech has been the battery life of products. As consumers we have become increasingly accustomed to superior battery life in our products– each subsequent iPhone release has made significant strides in battery life and set the bar for what we expect from our most portable and essential technology. As one industry analyst noted “anything short of all-day battery life for wearables… is unacceptable” (http://www.businessinsider.com/biggest-problems-with-wearable-tech-2015-2). How has UnderArmour gotten around the issue of battery life or how does it plan to?
From your post, I worry greatly that the Business School derives the majority of its revenues from two sources (case production and Exed Ed) that are ancillary to the core offering of the school: the MBA program. The greater investment in digital learning that you have outlined further cheapens the MBA program from both a financial perspective and an incentivization perspective. While you have noted that the success of these revenue generators ultimately depends on the success of the MBA program (a phenomenon which prevents too much investment from being divested from the latter), do you worry that further investment in the ExecEd program, and digitization in general, will begin to devalue the traditional MBA model and divert future investment away from it?
To build off of Dave’s point above, another value that accrues to the consumer through a broker is, arguably, an exhaustive awareness of the full supply in the market. While you would know FAR more about this than I would, any startup wishing to disintermediate the broker is (at least initially) going to be limited to showcasing the few options that have not signed contracts with large brokerages. The consumer wants and needs to know that she has access to all available options. Uber was able to overturn the taxi industry because it 1) provides undifferentiated supply (i.e. all driving experiences are arguably the same and fungible) and 2) found suppliers (drivers) who were not beholden to the Taxi Commission in the same way that building management/developers are beholden to brokerage firms. In short, do you think this disintermediation is possible without a sea change in the industry that allows for the full breadth and variety of residential supply to be available to the consumer online?
Many schools (Harvard included) differentiate themselves from peers through the quality of their post-graduate network and the career offerings that stem from that exclusive community. As Handshake arguably standardizes this process across universities and makes, what I understand to be, moat of the same job opportunities available across schools, will this decrease the competitive advantage of the Harvards of the world? Lord primarily invented this software to minimize “the challenges students from lesser-known schools faced” in the job search process– is he helping these sorts of institutions at the expense of others? And should this even matter?
You have addressed the fact that H&M may have to adjust its actual design process and inventory turnover around the fact that winters will become truncated and the spring and summer seasons will blend and become elongated. As a “fast-fashion” retailer, H&M relies heavily on the variety of seasons to spur inspiration for its designs. Over the next few decades, will H&M be able to continue rotating its stock as its current pace without the concurrent change in seasons?
You have outlined alterations Clif has made to its sourcing and manufacturing practices (in addition to opportunities it has to further its impact through sustainable manufacturing). The health and sports bar industry is a vast and fragmented one with many small and large players. Do you feel that there are significant opportunities for partnerships across the industry to scale some of Clif’s initiatives (along with others)?
With the understanding that snow sports are the primary attraction for the winter through spring season at Vail, is the resort taking any steps to promote its alternative offerings (i.e spa packages, nature walks) or its summertime season in order to alter consumer behavior and decrease its dependence on sufficient and reliable snowfall?
You have noted the marked inconsistency of 21st Century FOX and its subsidiary, FOX News, in their respective approaches towards combatting (or denying) climate change. While you have noted this conflict, do you truly think it’s possible for a company with such internal and external disagreement can actually bring positive awareness to the issue of climate change? Put another way, will the credibility of 21st Century FOX always be undermined by that of its subsidiary?
You have mentioned numerous initiatives which H&M has undertaken to combat climate change and its contribution to climate change. Has H&M taken any steps to establish board oversight of its practices or incorporate sustainability as part of its corporate mission (as we saw with IKEA)? Do you believe that it is truly possible for a firm to earnestly strive for sustainability without doing so? How genuine are these efforts?