Great read Kevin! I’m curious about what the future hols for M-PESA, especially around the API access you mentioned. The Kenyan government has been boasting and heavily pushing the idea of a “Silicon Savannah” around Nairobi, to tap into and build the country’s start-up and technology ecosystem. My suspicion is that much of the innovation in the country will likely be off the back of M-PESA and related digital services that have sufficient broad uptake, awareness, and trust. It’ll be interesting to see how willing Safaricom is to support that, though I suspect the stake that the Kenyan government owns may compel it to play somewhat of a supporting role as well!
Interesting read Ambuj! Based on the efficiency gains that Schlumberger expects to see from much of this work, do you think the company will actually hire back anywhere near as many employees as they laid off? It sounds like many of these changes will be systemic and long-running, both permanently reducing the cost curve and number of employees required to operate the firm. Do you think / has it had a commensurate impact on the number of people looking to go into the oil sector as well? I’ve always anecdotally heard that the sector was severely short of talent, even in good times (due to the boom / bust making people pause before wanting to enter the field). I wonder if that’ll remain the case?
Great read! One of the ways I’ve seen government increasingly working is leveraging both technology and a focus on efficiency to bring a range of government operations under one roof / one-stop shop for all your government services. It’s something that hasn’t taken off as much in the US (likely due to Federal / State disputes, and the dislike most people have for the DMV). One of the main challenges I suspect most governments will have is creating those positive impressions for people engaging with government, rather than feeling as if it is impersonal, distant, and only aggravating. Hopefully technology, and an increasing degree of customized, close, and rapid interaction can serve to change that.
Great read David! To the points of why it worked in Kenya and not elsewhere, I’d definitely concur with the lack of an alternative and large nascent demand for the service. It’s notable that credit cards and bank accounts were (and still are) not widespread, which definitely negatively impacts this service. I wonder what happens to M-PESA in the long run though, once the country develops and those both become more widespread. The commissions charged throughout the system alone give me some cause for concern once the nation’s financial system does develop more.
As a former frequent (and grumpy) user of the WMATA system, it’s personally fascinating to see that it actually has been a technology leader in the past. Seeing as how their main problem nowadays seems to be one of reliability and neglect, I wonder how much additional technology they’re able to bring to bear to address and fix many of the long-festering issues of neglect and basic safety that have arisen? A few other countries and systems (e.g., the Dubai Metro) have also transitioned entirely to non-driver operated cars. I wonder if the technology improvements on the WMATA system in the near future will allow them to make that move as well?
As a frequent user of the “Make a Green Choice” program, I can definitely testify to the benefits of a simple bit of customer behavior modification. That said, I find the point around Element, and wider integration with Marriott, to be especially interesting. I didn’t realize that Starwood was even using Element as such a test-bed for new ideas, but for such a large company (and as part of a much larger one now), that makes a ton of sense. What I think will be interesting going forward though, is also what risks the Marriott deal poses. Integrating climate management approaches will likely be seen as important, but I wonder if it’ll be at the top of the integration team’s agenda (especially with so much else on their plate). Hopefully the end result is that this effort doesn’t get derailed in the short-term, though I will profess to being a tad concerned.
Incredibly interesting read, especially since I had no idea that Miami was even substantially at risk due to rising sea levels. One thing I’d ask though is how large the risk is to the wider city (i.e., how bad is it likely to be for the city, given baseline expectations for sea level increases)? I imagine that if flooding becomes a wider issue for the city, there will need to be a major conversation around what investments the local and state government need to make to retrofit and protect city assets. Related to this, how old are most of the passenger terminal assets, and when will critical investment decisions need to be made for replacement? I imagine that is when we’ll really start to see the hammer come down, as you’ve mentioned.
Interesting read, though it does make me wonder what is stopping most companies, including ArchelorMittal, from relocating steel plants outside the EU and thus the ETS? The main impediments I could imagine to this (outside the obvious major time delay / fixed cost of new facilities) would be that they’re expecting more stringent regulations similar to the EU to come into force in other major markets (primarily Asia) in the near term, or that the EU bars imports of steel from foreign markets that isn’t accounted for under an ETS system. Is either of those things the case? It’ll be interesting to see how such ETS systems evolve however, since the ramifications are both huge for companies like ArcelorMittal, but also so many other manufacturers.
Echoing the prior comment, this is a fascinating issue and challenge for the airline to address. There are two issues that in particular stick out – the first, your mention of “NextGen”, and the second around the deployment of new technology. On “NextGen”, I recall from prior work in the airline industry that one of the most absurd and unnecessary wastes of fuel (and thus increase in emissions) was around air traffic congestion (and thus flights circling over an airport waiting for landing clearance). How “NextGen” evolves / gets implemented will be key to hopefully reducing this in the US. On biofuels, and the wider question of engine and airline efficiency, how much is Delta working with the manufacturers? I assume almost all of this likely comes from manufacturer work, but I wonder if there is more of a role Delta (and other major airlines) could play in support here?
I’d like to re-visit Shiv’s point a bit, around investing in renewable energy, though from a more macro / KSA policy angle. One of the more interesting debates in the Kingdom over the past few years has been the ongoing turf war between KA-CARE and Saudi Aramco over who exactly has mandate authority to develop renewable energy in the Kingdom, especially since one is explicitly charged with developing renewable energy products, and the other is national crown jewel hydrocarbon company. It seems, and your post (by not mentioning KA-CARE), more or less acknowledges that Aramco has won this dispute. It’ll be very interesting to see how the rights and responsibilities for renewable energy development in the country evolve, and what role exactly Aramco is allowed to play.