The Wimbledon challenge - changing everything in order to remain the same

Reading through a recent Financial Times "Business School" newsletter, one article in particular stood out, about Wimbledon's efforts to reproduce the (traditional) customer experience year after year even as things like technology and the rules of the game change. Andrew Hill, the FT's management editor, posed a challenge for ideas from other older, traditional, venerable organizations who are having to change everything in order to remain the same. I thought it an interesting question for insurance in particular, and sent my response below:

Though much of the insurtech disruption and players have been in property and casualty to date, life insurance will see more of that in due time. What’s interesting to me in your question of ‘what should they do to ensure continuity for existing customers, even as they update everything behind the scenes?’ is that it assumes there is enough to continue from a (good) CX perspective. Insurance I think is being forced to evaluate and update/change both the front end experience and back end operations simultaneously, and many are not doing it well. Which is what had originally attracted me to make the move from innovation consulting, to working in an innovation role within a client – there’s a lot to be done!

The main thing that carriers with agents (or at least captive agents) are doing to maintain continuity is to keep relying on the importance and influence of the agents in the sales process. Little by little there is effort to better digitally enable agents, recognizing that target customers have more information at their fingertips and will be doing more research on their own, coming in to a meeting with an agent with at least some semblance of what they want, or with more detailed questions. Agents can’t only operate at the top of the funnel, they need to be able to plug in to wherever the customer is in their research and education process.

What this type of digital enablement looks like, I don’t think anyone has fully figured out. Is it providing agents an iPad tool to plug in information as they talk to customers that then spits out a “customers like you” profile, to further guide the discussion? Is it a voice assistant app that agents can talk to in their office to pull up information – or that customers can use from their home to connect to an agent remotely? There are discussions happening here at my company and I’m sure at other carriers, but it remains to be seen how quickly anyone can move on it. In the meantime, smaller players are figuring out how to plug the gaps left open by agents/carriers who rely on agents - and though they likely won't be seen as real competitors by incumbents, customers are taking note.

FT: Wimbledon's antidote to the cult of disruption

How the NBA helped England compete in the World Cup

In many of the human-centered design trainings, workshops, and projects we run, I am often introducing the concept of creative analogies (or precursors as my old firm called them). It has been surprisingly hard to do, or rather, surprisingly hard to make the concept stick. I suppose I sometimes saw this with my consulting clients, but I also wasn't operating at the scale or breadth of reach as I am now, being on the inside of the client.

As with many large corporates, there has been prolonged historical success that has come from doing what you do best, keeping your head down and working, and to a certain extent acting as a fast follower, versus sticking your head out in the market. In my role as an innovation execution lead, part of my job is getting employees to look beyond our four walls to both be aware of the change happening around us, and to be inspired to drive change here.

The concept of creative analogies has been one way to start to open up the dialogue - how have others facing analogous challenges found innovative and impactful solutions? Yet making that leap to examples beyond insurance or financial services has been harder, and I am always looking for new examples to use.

"England's Soccer Team Needed Help So They Stole From the NBA" - WSJ

This article highlights a great example of how seemingly disparate "industries" can provide inspiration to each other. For Gareth Southgate, this meant looking to the NBA and borrowing their set plays, adapting strategies for corner kicks in particular. He likely framed the question as "how might we create space for our players to execute on a goal?" starting with a broader question like "how might we win more games?" and continuing to ask "how" until getting to a design challenge that was constrained but still open enough to allow multiple solutions.

Philadelphia 76ers vice president Daniel Medina summed it up as, “he used to look at not only basketball, but other sports like handball and indoor football,” Medina said. “Similar collective ideas with different constraints can lead to different solutions.”

England has performed surprisingly well in this World Cup, set for a match today against Colombia. Even if they don't advance, it will be interesting to watch Southgate's continued use of multi-sport applications, and see if other coaches follow in suit.

Designing for voice in a systematic way

Last night I went to an event that featured five women leading AI startups (RAIN, Convrg, The Difference) and AI-focused teams within larger companies (Google, NPR), where they led a discussion on the need for inclusive design in AI. We questioned why so many digital assistants have feminine names, and discussed how you can better design usability testing for voice assistants to account for bias - which, as it turns out, can be really hard because you lose the traditional richness of ethnographic research where you can see the contradictions of saying one thing and doing another.

At one point the CEO of RAIN noted there are some experiences that just aren't right for voice, but that it's easy to get lost in the hype and excitement around the channel/medium. One thing that brands can do to design the right opportunity for voice, is to recognize that the capability or goal for that experience should be built within a system, and not as a standalone solution. It's about creating a holistic, omni-platform journey in order to optimize for what voice can do. For instance, even ensuring that if I order an Uber through my Alexa as I'm getting ready to leave, the mobile app is already updated once I get in the car. Or if I order a pizza through the Domino's app, I can later ask Alexa for a status update on delivery time.

This got me thinking about the implications for insurers and how we (as New York Life) might use voice in the future. Where does voice make sense for us? And how do we ensure that it fits within a systematic offering for customers, or how might we leverage voice within the omni-platform environment to place the agent at the center of the customer's financial wellness?

And finally, as the traditional brand voice in marketing truly becomes a 'voice' it puts a greater burden to really ensure the right attributes and personality comes through. Which makes you wonder, what is the right voice that captures our brand trust and reliability, with hopefully some friendliness as well? Why and when would customers want or need to talk to their life insurer? 

Designing for all drives real business impact

Several weeks ago I heard the Chief Design Officer for Ellevest give a talk about their "design origin story" and someone in the crowd asked how the company's business model and design strategy resonated with men. In her response, CDO Melissa Cullens said that it's funny, "when you design for women, men end up loving it too."

That got me to thinking about inclusive design, and wondering where else there might be missed opportunities with real business implications. For instance, the algorithm that many office buildings use to regulate temperature was designed in 1964 for a 154 pound male. Women, who typically have less muscle mass and are not wearing full suits, feel colder. And being colder could impact worker productivity - a 2004 Cornell study found “that when ambient office temperature [was] increased from 68 degrees to 77 degrees Fahrenheit, typing errors fell by 44 percent and typing productivity increased by 150%”

Coming back to the financial services world, the insurer Northwestern Mutual recently hired their first CMO, Aditi Gokhale. She started digging in to the data and saw, likely not surprisingly, that women are generally the main decision makers in big life decisions and are the daily money managers for the household. Yet NW Mutual's advisers were largely targeting men. When they did a study, 71% of women said, “Financial firms are not in touch with my real needs or concerns. They’re not connecting with me emotionally and rationally.” Seventy-one percent!

Through a website redesign, new marketing efforts, and smarter matching of advisors to potential clients, the company has seen 400%+ more leads. It would be interesting to dive into all of the work they did, and what else is in store. I hope to hear more from Gokhale in the future.

WSJ: Northwestern Mutual Gets Results from Ads That Talk to Women

That's Interesting

I am a huge fan of Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist, Wharton professor, TED speaker, and NYT best-selling author. As if he wasn't busy enough, he recently launched a podcast called WorkLife that addresses the fact that although we spend a large chunk of our lives at work, we devote too little time to thinking about how to make it better. In the podcast he profiles "unconventional" workplaces, highlighting what works well there, and thinking about how others can take back learnings, tips, and tricks to their own jobs.

While I would obviously recommend subscribing (most episodes are about 30 minutes, perfect for a commute), I wanted to note the most recent episode which featured an interview with Malcolm Gladwell at the 92nd Y.

I'm part of a new team within NYL Ventures, focused specifically on creating the capabilities and conditions to drive innovation across the company. Part of that is training, part is running human-centered design projects. Throughout our work we're helping employees to ideate on problems…thinking of things in new ways, taking a new lens to an old issue. A quote from this episode stood out, and also addresses another tactic I've tried to use - that of orthodoxies, and challenging industry, company, and customer long-held beliefs.

Adam references a paper by Murray Davis called "That's Interesting," saying that "ideas survive not because they're true, but because they're interesting…what makes an idea interesting is when it departs from conventional wisdom." There's some surprise to it. And that people need to understand that "an interesting idea is one that challenges your weakly held assumptions. Whereas if you challenge someone's strongly held assumptions" they don't respond well and will label the idea uninteresting, or worse.

I would take this one step further in thinking about corporate innovation - the ideas that become innovative concepts and create impact are those that are both interesting and useful. Depart from conventional wisdom to be interesting, and challenge assumptions to be useful in a new way. But of course, easier said than done! And hence the work is just starting for our team.

 

Corporate innovation - don't hit it and quit it

Two recent LinkedIn pieces came out regarding corporate innovation and innovation labs. Eric Ries shared an excerpt from his book The Startup Way that discusses how the lean startup method of constant iteration and experimentation more often than not runs into the corporate inertia of execution vs. experimentation. But this is a good thing and not always an occasion to lament - entrepreneurial management should give way to general management in order to help an internal startup take root within a business unit and thrive off the resources that come with execution activities.

Another piece entitled "Innovation Labs Don't Work" actually focuses on the tenants of successful corporate innovation rather than debunking innovation labs. I agree that more often than not, innovation labs (and maybe corporate venture arms?) are not set up to succeed - but I do think that having a separate arm/division/group that has the space and freedom to focus on new problems, processes, and players, can be a beneficial way to bring innovation into a corporation. But work has to be done to integrate innovation and not keep it as a standalone prize. And for that the principles of the right team (though not always an external hire), commercial intent (though it's hard to project exact numbers for a truly innovative business), structure, external collaboration (I am a consultant, after all), and consumer insight (consumer needs should always be first) are keys to success. Add to that market timing and things get exciting. 

Every Company (Should Be) a Design Company

I am often asked the role that designers play on my teams, and what makes a "design and innovation" consulting engagement different from other consulting work. Here I think Nelson Kunkel, Chief Design Officer for Deloitte Digital and whom I recently met while doing digital customer experience design for a luxury client, explains the role of design very well. In the future I hope that not only do more companies see the value in design and elevate its role in the organization, but that more and more employees are trained in design (and design thinking) as well.

"Design is fundamentally the discipline of making thoughtful decisions that create better outcomes for people... When businesses see design as merely the craft of making things look nice, they leave value on the table. The more lucrative role of design is in identifying a better set of problems and finding ways to create better outcomes for individuals and, thus, businesses."

Ad Age: Every Company Is a Design Company

FastCoDesign: Design jobs of the future (or not)

As a professional newbie to the design world, I do have to agree with some of the career-path predictions made in Fast Company's article, 5 Design Jobs That Won't Exist in the Future. And yet, I don't think the future is as dire as the title or tweets make it seem - though it will require some repurposing of one's own design toolbox. 

Some predictions seem more near-term than others. For instance, design researchers won't exist, as ethnographic research skills should be a key part of every design project (agreed). Others seem a bit more wishful thinking, i.e., Tim Brown's suggestion that "CEOs will need to be designers in order to be successful." 

The second half of the article goes on to point out which design jobs will grow in the future. Having spent the last few years moving into the design strategy space, it was interesting to see this role held up as one for that potential future growth:

Design researchers may find fewer opportunities in the next 15 years, but Artefact's John Rousseau thinks design strategists will be indispensable. "The importance of design strategy will grow," he says. "Future design strategists will need the ability to understand and model increasingly complex systems"—for example, social media networks or supply chains—"and will design new products and services in a volatile environment characterized by continuous disruption and a high degree of uncertainty." In other words, a future defined by political, social, business, and tech disruption that can happen overnight. In such a future, Rousseau says, design strategists will be like ballerinas, dancing their companies in and out of trouble. "It will be more of a dance, and less of a march." 

Quartz: A Life on the Road

Recently I was contacted on LinkedIn to be part of a story series on Quartz about business travel. Sponsored by Delta (whom I love), the focus would be on the technology used while on the road and how it helps you get your job done, stay connected, and simultaneously disconnect. After speaking with the interviewer, I was concerned that I had made either myself or consulting sound boring, but I think in the end it provided an interesting view into my "routine" while traveling - with the caveat that nothing is routine in consulting. 

Thank you Quartz (which I also love) for the opportunity!

Quartz: How this NYC consultant manages 40 weeks a year on the road

Hermès' Search for Growth

Around two years ago I visited the brand's New York office and flagship store through Columbia's Retail & Luxury Goods club, and met with the US CEO, Robert Chavez. Comments he made during that visit - control of brand growth, focus on current markets vs. new, strategic/targeted/slow and steady investments in Asian locations - are echoed in this piece with Axel Dumas. It shows Hermès' leadership is closely aligned on overall brand strategy, reinforcing the confident and strong position the brand holds in the luxury world.

Dumas also had some interesting insight on what digital means for the maison:

Hermès is also making investments in its digital presence. Currently, the company’s brand website is divorced from its e-commerce platform. In mid-2016, the company will integrate the two. “E-commerce is important, but also it’s about communication, telling your value,” Dumas says. “That’s why we are really thinking hard on re-launching the new website in 2016. I view digital as a great opportunity and something that is going to become more and more important.” Indeed, according to Solca, digital is expected to drive, on average, 40 percent of projected luxury sales growth from 2013 to 2020. “[E-commerce] is one of very few ways luxury goods companies can now grow,” he says.

When Dumas was named co-chief executive three years ago, he spent a lot of time looking at the archives, and quickly drew a correlation between the international expansion that happened in the 1970s and the digital expansion that is happening today. “There was a discussion in the 1970s, should we go international or should we not? People were saying, you don’t need to go international because everyone is coming to Paris. Going international will be risky and costly. Fortunately for us, we took the step to go international. I think it’s the same subject about digital now.”

Business of Fashion: Giving Digital a Seat at the Table

The article out this morning on Business of Fashion, "Does Digital Finally Have a Seat at the Table?", points out both interesting data points and insightful analysis (often from the trusty resource Luca Solca from BNP Paribas, seemingly the only luxury expert in banking). As someone interested in luxury, but aware of the opportunities in digital, the numbers look good.

Article highlights:

  • Digital is where the consumers are, making up for slowing growth in China
  • eCommerce is expected to be 9 percent of the global personal luxury goods market by 2019, with a value of $27 billion. More pressing is the fact that online currently influences over 60 percent of luxury purchases
  • Chief Digital Officers need to merge the marketing and IT sides of digital in order to permeate the entire organization (hint hint, consulting firms)
  • Those who have outsourced eCommerce to companies like Yoox Net-a-Porter will have to reclaim customer data in order to glean any insights and find correct attribution
[At] digitally mature companies, digital strategy is fully integrated into overall business strategy, negating the need for a specific chief of digital. “As in the case of Burberry, the alternative is to have the CDO and the CEO roles coincide,” says Luca Solca.

“In the 1920s businesses had chief electricity officers because it was such a new thing,” adds Ashley Friedlein. “This feels like that; a moment in time that will pass.”

Fashionable Conversations: WWD & Decoded Fashion

Today in New York the WWD Apparel and Retail CEO Summit wrapped up just as Decoded Fashion's annual NY Summit took off, making me wish I had been able to take time off from work to attend at least one. Last year while in school I did work with Decoded to plan and execute their summit, and it was fascinating to be able to listen to the different speakers talk about all things #fashiontech. This year, I was forced to follow the conversation on Twitter, but was still able to glean some interesting pieces from the conversations.

One quote in particular caught my eye, that of Tim Kendall, Pinterest's GM of Monetization. He said that 37% of mobile transactions are focused on fashion and luxury goods. That to me is very high, and I wonder if the quote was taken out of context - as brands are able to link a Pinterest post directly to an ecommerce link, allow purchase of items on a brand's Pinterest board. Either way, that is very encouraging for the fashion industry, and ties to McKinsey's prediction that luxury's share of online sales will double from 6 to 12 percent by 2020. After working on a mobile commerce/mobile app project with Yoox last summer, I find that area very interesting and clearly ripe for growth. I only wish I had been at the summit to hear in person the full discussion. Kudos to Decoded for driving such interesting conversations.

"But as luxury companies are increasingly forced to acknowledge e-commerce as a driver of sales — it is projected to grow 20 to 25 percent over the next five years, according to the Boston Consulting Group, while the industry as a whole is growing at only 3 to 4 percent a year — digital transformation, still relatively rare in fashion, is going to become more common."

- NY Times

Apple + Hermes: Surprising?

"It looks first like a luxury watch, and second like a gadget" - Quartz

With the announcement of the new Hermes collaboration with Apple, even hours later there are scant articles about the new device from fashion, style, or luxury news outlets. In one respect, this is because tech blogs and news sites abound, so they will cover an Apple event with more gusto. Yet, given that such a rarefied maison has taken on the tech scene, one would have assumed more articles would be out there talking about it (waiting for The New York Time's Vanessa Friedman to weigh in, post-"break up" with its previous version). 

It is no surprise that Apple is interested in moving its design upscale, with the recent-ish hires of Angela Ahrendts of Burberry, Paul Deneve of YSL, and Patrick Pruniaux of Tag Heuer. These are impressive hires, brand-wise, but it's hard to say what can be more upscale in the world of accessories than Hermes - and for this, I think the saying "if you can't beat them join them" goes both ways. I am certainly not as attuned to these worlds as others, but it still seems a surprise that Hermes, or any traditional luxury house, was persuaded to partner for the techy watch. With the prices more affordable than I would have expected, it is my assumption this will help Apple sell more watches, and move past earlier knocks on the watch design. For Hermes, it could be a surprising entry item for aspirational buyers, retailing for essentially the cost of two traditional enamel bracelets, and even arriving in the signature orange Hermes box. It would have been interesting to hear the discussions surrounding that "final mile" decision. 

 

Instagram leads the "natural" charge

The popularity of Instagram and its influence on the wider spread use of photograph filters is well-known. Today AdWeek noted that "design teams are beginning to see the benefit of moving away from over-lit, over-staged and generally over-edited photography for their campaigns" in favor of photos that look and feel more organic - to use both on and off the mobile platform. These types of images often resonate more with customers, and indeed I remember when analyzing Pinterest metrics at Moda Operandi one of the most pinned posts was that of an Instagram photo. 

Yet another, smaller, point made in the article caught my attention. One art director said that the huge network of designers and photographers on Instagram, and their portfolio-like profiles, means that trends catch on much more quickly and it is a race to adapt to new styles before they become worn out. "Now Instagram especially is responsible for speeding up the rate that we try to push aesthetics and try new things," said Alex Nassour of McKinney. This is likely both a threat and opportunity, pushing creatives to stay ahead of the game and constantly experimenting with novel ideas. It will be interesting to see if there is a future backlash to a faster-paced environment in the already competitive advertising industry. 

Adweek: How Instagram Is Changing the Way Brands Look at Photography, Online and Beyond

 

XRC Labs: bringing innovation to retail

As a strategy consultant with time spent in luxury retail and startups, I find the launch of XRC Labs a particularly interesting and exciting new entrant into the (crowded?) accelerator space. Based in New York, XRC Labs is "an innovation accelerator for the next generation disruptors in the retail and consumer goods sectors" that aims to create an ecosystem of entrepreneurs and investors to identify the next big opportunity in the industry. The lab is a joint venture between Kurt Salmon and Parsons School of Design, with additional support from the Harvard University Innovation Lab

There are two interesting things here. One,  members will focus on combining technology and data with design to help move the shopping experience beyond its current form, which hasn't changed much over the past several decades (Rebecca Minkoff is one example of a brand that has done an excellent job of experimenting with new tech to update and upgrade in-store customer experience). Note the technology exists, but designing it well, for a (personalized?) customer experience is the trick.

Two, the alliance of a large, traditional management consulting company with a design school and university - for the purpose of entrepreneurship in retail - is unexpected but very welcome. Each brings something unique to the table, and it provides a spin on the growing trend in corporate venture arms. I'm looking forward to seeing what the first class brings to the table, hopefully the first of many to come!

Bem Vindo a Portugal: Beautiful, Delicious, Kind

I recently returned from a two week European roadtrip through Spain, Portugal and France, that was an escape from the city as well as a last ditch effort to enjoy my free time before starting work again. Graduating from undergrad is a much sweeter, more exciting experience because you don't know what you're getting into, and future opportunities to take time off (i.e., grad school) still await. Now, many of my classmates are on long journeys in far flung locations, grasping onto what little time we have left to gallivant about before rejoining the real world.

Portugal was a new country for me, therefore I spent a decent amount of time reading various articles in the Times and Vice, as well as finding various blog posts and Anthony Bourdain episodes. Our itinerary included driving along the coasts of the Algarve (southern) and Alentejo (western), then cutting in for the Alentejo countryside before heading to Lisbon and Porto.

 Cabo da Roca, western most point of Europe

Cabo da Roca, western most point of Europe

In short, Portugal is a beautiful country full of wonderfully nice and inviting people. My friend and I were often staring in silence, taking in the scenery that was delightfully free of hoards of tourists. Portugal is a country of only 10 million, therefore there were stretches of road that we would drive for an hour and see only one other car, and as we were there in early June, summer holiday crowds hadn't yet poured in. The food was cheap, but great, and we struggled to find a bottle of wine that cost more than 10 euros.

In just over a week we were able to drive almost the entire coastline, and I would highly recommend our route to anyone else looking to escape to a quiet, cultured, and well-fed destination.

  • Day 1: Sevilla - Olhão: stop in Tavira, Santa Luzia, eat at Tasquinha O Galo in Olhão
  • Day 2: Olhão - Vila Nova de Milfontes: stop in Praia da Marinha, Sagres, eat at A Sagres and Patio Alentejano in VN de M
  • Day 3: Vila Nova de Milfontes - Herdade do Vau: stop in Cabo Sardão, Zamujeira do Mar, eat and sleep at Herdade do Vau
  • Day 4: Herdade do Vau - Évora: stop and eat at Herdade do Esporão
  • Day 5: Évora - Lisbon: drink at The Insolito, eat at Ramiro's, Buenos Aires Cafe, and Casa Pasteis de Belem
  • Day 7: Lisbon - Coimbra: stop by Cabo da Roca, Sintra, Obidos, see Coimbra University
  • Day 8: Coimbra - Porto: eat at Cafe Santiago for the francesina, sunset byob in Jardim de João Chagas, drink at Gaia's port houses, stop in Duoro Valley

What's Your Gutsy Move?

It's been almost two weeks since I graduated from Columbia Business School, and while it felt surreal, exciting and yet anticlimactic, a definite highlight of the ceremony was Sallie Krawcheck's commencement speech. A graduate of CBS herself, Sallie has had a pretty diverse career path and overcame obstacles that probably would have couched others. 

Below is a link to the transcript, very worthy of a read.

salliekrawcheckcbs2015


" I have a friend, Vernice Armour, who asks a question that I always love: “What's your gutsy move?”

I would add to that, on this day of graduation and new beginnings: “What's your impact going to be? What's your meaning and purpose? What’s your point of difference? What’s your gutsy move?” "

Transcript, Ellevate Network            

Aiding the Travel Planning Experience

Last night I gave my final presentation in a class entitled “Launching New Ventures,” expanding on a travel idea that consolidates travel itineraries into an online database. The idea driving Ripe Travel is that many of my friends in graduate school create vacation planning documents, often in Excel, that contain extensive details on everything from flights to hotels and transportation options. These documents too often end up sitting on their computer, or sometimes mailed around to others who are planning to travel to the same destination. It is easy for all of that leg work to go be lost in the depths of computer folders, and for future travelers to go it alone in their own planning.

 

Knowing that this is not something that happens only at Columbia, I want to create an online database for all of these travel documents. A place where itinerary creators can go to share their experiences, and others to benefit from the knowledge of real and proven plans. While it’s still in the pre-beta stages, I’m excited to see what Ripe Travel can become.

amazon-destinations.png


In talking to potential future customers (a la Lean Startup, a class I took with Steve Blank last year), many said they often used TripAdvisor because they are seeking user reviews, but that it still was not an easy site to use; one ends up sifting through too many pages, the top recommendations are not relevant, or the reviewer profiles are too dissimilar to their own. In perhaps a bid to overtake TripAdvisor, this morning Amazon Local launched their revamped travel site, Amazon Destinations. While it is too early to tell if Amazon Destinations can compete with the over 200 million reviews on TripAdvisor, Amazon’s existing review system, and the data and algorithms behind it, is probably causing some concern within the veteran site. And though there are other hotel booking and review sites - Hotels.com, Trivago, Expedia, etc. - Amazon Destinations is a focused customer proposition. Very localized, the site targets destinations within driving distance from major metropolitan areas, for overnight or long weekend stays. Amazon is taking an iteration on a previous business model, and avoiding offering everything at once. Yet I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before a much greater expansion of the product is announced. I only recently signed up for Amazon Prime (I know, very late to the game), but as my free time to travel dwindles when I rejoin the real world post-graduation, this new Amazon offering will be greatly appealing. I’ll become the loyal Amazon customer their data is likely already predicting.

The Columbia Experience

Recently I was lucky enough to be interviewed by Accepted.com on my experience at Columbia Business School. The interview is now live on the site! Over the past two years I have counseled several former colleagues through the application process, and this was another great opportunity to share my thoughts on CBS and what makes it a unique place to get a MBA. Here is the link for the full interview, and please feel free to reach out if you have questions about CBS!

Accepted.com: Experiences & Advice from Columbia MBA Student Kendall Miller

Yoox Swoops In

Yesterday Yoox announced a merger with Net-a-Porter on what seemed like an offensive move against rumors that Amazon was going to purchase NAP. I haven’t seen much more speculation on the Amazon rumblings, but nonetheless, it proves that Amazon will have to continue to search for their entry into the luxury market. As a former intern of Yoox, I couldn’t be more excited for them in this next venture and believe it will give them even greater power to become the luxury ecommerce powerhouse Federico has always meant for them to be. After spending time there, I think one of the biggest benefits (as laid out in a Bloomberg article) will be NAP’s editorial prowess. It was my understanding that Italian laws were holding back Yoox in this regard, but with publications like The Edit and Porter, there will be a ready-made outlet and talent pool from which to draw and grow Yoox’s presence in editorial.


I’m envious of any interns who will be in Milan this summer, as I can only imagine how interesting it would be to work in the office of the CEO post-merger!