Instructor: David Schuff, Section 003

Quyt to Thi Van

I’m Gonna Pop Some Tags (online): ThredUp Changes the Way People Thrift

Changing consumer trends towards more cost-conscious spending has enabled companies to carve a space for themselves in the sharing economy. ThredUp in particular aims to change the way that buyers shop for second-hand clothing. It has grown to become the largest online thrift/consignment shop in the country. ThredUp doesn’t utilize peer to peer transactions to sell items. Instead, ThredUp collects and organizes the clothing it receives then photographs, sells, and delivers the items on their site. ThredUp is a new market innovation because it changes the process of shopping for second-hand clothing and makes it more convenient. Instead of spending hours sifting through racks of unorganized clothing, users can simply search for an item or brand they’re looking for, and all relevant items will populate their screen. Users can benefit from the cost savings of buying second-hand clothing, without having to spend a lot of time searching for desired items. Creating an easy to use, online platform for thrifting makes it more appealing and could attract customers who wouldn’t be keen to try it otherwise. Do you think that ThredUp will gain more popularity over traditional thrift/consignment shops? Do you see it being a different type of innovation when applying a different incumbent, like eBay? Are there any other retail innovators you can think of?

Click Here to Read More about ThredUp

Netflix and Chill…Organizational Structure


Netflix is well known for its flat, organizational circle structure. Employees are given more freedom and responsibility than those at other companies, which is evidenced by the unlimited vacation days and lenient expense account policy. Netflix avoids top-down decision making and seeking management approval for everything. These practices are characteristic of a traditional bureaucratic organizational structure. Instead, the company values high employee performance and excellent work. The company believes that in order for employees to perform well, they should be given the freedom to make their own decisions and dictate their schedules. Even though the company may be less rigid about certain policies, the work environment at Netflix is not as “chill” as one might expect. According to Netflix’s former Chief Talent Officer, Patty McCord, the culture is “intense” and there is a lot of “pressure” (View the Source Here). Employees are expected to perform at an exceptionally high level. Managers are required to periodically perform a keeper test. For this test, the manager imagines that one of their team members is thinking about leaving Netflix for another company. She then must assess whether she would fight hard to keep that person. If she answers no, that person is promptly removed and offered a severance package. Netflix doesn’t support keeping “B level” employees. So even though Netflix may have a flexible organizational structure, there is a trade-off between freedom and stability that employees face. Would you like to work in a Netflix type of environment or would a job that offers more security and stability appeal to you more? What would be the benefits/drawbacks of each?


When School Systems Don’t Work

Image result for school to prison pipeline

Systems thinking extends beyond just a framework for approaching IT solutions because almost everything we interact with is a system in some aspect. Systems thinking is crucial in The U.S. Education System yet this form of analysis is not always implemented. With any system, there is a chance that it will break if the parts are not viewed in an integrated manner. For example, the school to prison pipeline phenomenon arose due to “quick” or “easy” solutions that ignored the interrelated components of the system. The inputs of the education system—access to quality teachers, proper funding, and the opportunity for growth and counsel are necessary to produce the output—educated and skilled individuals that will contribute to society. Not all schools have an adequate amount of these inputs, which lessens the likelihood that these students will succeed. Additionally, certain practices cause unintended consequences. Many schools in poor and urban areas, with a predominately black and Latino student population, have reverted to zero-tolerance policies and increased police presence to combat issues within the school environment. With these policies in place, more kids are expelled or arrested. As a result, they are more likely to become involved in criminal activity and not complete their schooling. These tactics focus more on removing the problem instead of implementing a long-term and beneficial solution.  A more systems thinking approach would incorporate programs that focused on social, cognitive, and behavioral skill building for students at risk of violent or illegal behavior. This solution would better recognize students, especially those of color, as valued members instead of as disposable parts of the system.


Click Here for More Information about Zero Tolerance Policies and Police Presence in Schools

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