Aaron Schmidt

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Thanks for bringing such a critical topic to our attention. Like many of our classmates, I too did not realize how many of America’s pharmaceuticals were being produced in Puerto Rico. To your first question — I also agree that large inventories of life-saving drugs should be kept in multiple locations around the United States. I would also extend the storage to other critical drugs that are difficult or expensive to manufacture, or whose manufacturing process, should it be disrupted, would require significant investment to restore. However, I would also be cautious potential costs this method may incur, specifically regarding drugs that pass expiration. Life-saving drugs are typically very expensive with shorter than average lifecycles. Higher churn rates for these drugs would bring significant cost burdens to someone… who pays that bill? And at what volumes are these drugs kept? Because the disruptions caused by Hurricane Maria seemed to be a first for this supply chain, I would caution against overreaction to a worsening, but not immediate, problem.

On December 1, 2017, Aaron Schmidt commented on Let It Snow? :

I like your topic and the implications you raised. To your first question — 1) I don’t believe Alta’s management should try to evolve and sustain long-term viability. First, Alta is a small- to mid-sized resort whose value proposition rests on allowing only skiers to purchase lift tickets. (Alta is 1 of 3 resorts in North America to offer this value) This unique trait makes Alta standout among elite skiers in North America since it is the only major resort in the Rocky Mountains to offer this point of difference (POD). Translating Alta’s POD elsewhere would be challenging as Alta would be essentially prohibiting half of its potential consumers from purchasing lift tickets. (skiers comprise roughly half of the winter sport consumer base) Second, Alta’s mid-tier size and moderate revenue stream would force it to incur debt to finance a shift north. Securing such funds would not be cheap, especially when regional impacts due to climate are so uncertain. Thus, I see Alta as a dying asset — management should treat it accordingly.

On December 1, 2017, Aaron Schmidt commented on A Perfect Fit: 3D Printing Custom Medical Devices :

Thanks for an interesting read. 3-D printing is an exciting frontier, and I’m surprised the technology hasn’t infiltrated the healthcare industry more quickly. I too see the potential for the products to be revolutionary but wonder if companies will still be incentivized, or even able, to patent their medical devices and/or designs? Because 3-D printing offers unparalleled flexibility and design options, I have doubts that medical implant patents will remain relevant. If assumption holds true, how will medical implant companies be incentivized to fund their new products? Will a few major 3-D printing players dominate the market and operate on razor-thin margins? Or will a different dynamic emerge? Your mention of the technology’s pros are valid: reduced costs, global availability, JIT delivery, patient customization, etc. However I am curious what cons we may be missing: Sterility? Product durability? Decreased product innovation?

Great synopsis of the AV issue at hand for Uber and Lyft. It is exciting to watch science fiction spring to life and gain traction in a relevant and advancing market. However, I am skeptical of the optimism surrounding the implementation of AV and the associated capital expenditures required to achieve marginal gains. Some technological innovations, like the iPhone, immediately transform the mediums by which we interact. Yet other innovations, such as the internet, take decades to demonstrate their full potential. To me, AV adaptation resembles the latter. It will take decades for AV transportation systems to fully integrate into urban areas since the complexities surrounding transportation number in the hundreds, if not thousands. Urban driving requires hundreds sensory inputs coupled with other variables, all compounding into thousands of ‘what if’ scenarios. Thus, what is the net benefit of this development to Uber and Lyft and are the costs justifiable? How much is each willing to spend for seemingly marginal gain? While AV is exciting, I hesitate to see the correlation between AV’s long-term potential benefits and the large costs required to achieve those benefits.

I found this article fascinating. The concept of protectionist policies applying to cloud infrastructure was new to me and I think it raises some interesting talking points. However given the plethora of data storage and fairly simple software development, dare I say data storage is a commodity? To me it appears fungible and thus, is differentiation even possible? I don’t think it is, and if points of difference can be created, I don’t think their impact is noteworthy. Thus, how can Azure best compete in a global market? You mentioned quality, but what does that mean? Customer service? Speed? Reliability? Pricing? To me, Azure can best attack their “commodity” problem by creating interdependencies between Azure and other Microsoft products. These may exist through pricing strategies or perhaps technological synergies. There are inherent risks – customers may migrate to other services if the interdependencies don’t create significant value. Still, given the maturing data storage environment and the challenges Azure is facing, I see few alternatives.

On December 1, 2017, Aaron Schmidt commented on Boeing Navigates Nationalist Winds :

This is an interesting take on Boeing’s predicament. While I don’t believe Boeing should outsource the current production of the F/A-18 to India, it’s clear Boeing’s current model isn’t working. But why? Why isn’t Boeing competitive in defense aerospace? With recent contract losses of both the long-range bomber and the F-35, I find it challenging to justify why U.S. defense aerospace is an area Boeing should continue to explore. Further, I find it unreasonable that a company reliant on globalization for its commercial business should be constrained to U.S. defense. If the company can guarantee U.S. national security secrets will remain secure and potential technology creep between Boeing programs will be isolated, then I think it is reasonable for Boeing to develop and build aerospace defense assets for U.S. allies inside that nation’s borders.