Alan Du

  • Alumni

Activity Feed

On November 20, 2016, Alan Du commented on Nordstrom: Balancing Bricks with Clicks :

The correct retail strategy needs to combine online and offline presence. As I have seen with the case of Bonobos and Warby Parker, a retail / consumer business will always struggle with a pure online presence. But I agree that online will be the main mode of distribution go forward.

Online consumer / P2P lending is potentially contributing to yet another risky asset bubble. However P2P market was only around $100 billion last year, a small percentage compared to the entire credit market, so it remains to be seen how the larger institutional investors and banks react to this product.

On November 20, 2016, Alan Du commented on Netflix and Chillin’ in the Mile High Club :

Download and watch offline is probably a feature that will come soon – the biggest hurdle is obviously the copyright agreement. Some ways to get “work around” it is creating content that can be downloaded and viewed for a 24-hour or 48-hour period, similar to iTunes allowing users to “rent” movies online.

On November 20, 2016, Alan Du commented on Uber’s Bet on Self-Driving Car :

Uber’s driverless car sounds promising but I do believe the real at-scale adoption of the autonomous cars will be in the transportation industry, especially in the long-haul trucking industry. Certain state highway systems already have dedicated truck routes/lanes so the infrastructure is more ready for such technology.

On November 20, 2016, Alan Du commented on Fishing for Fish Data: Digitizing Aquaculture :

Interesting stuff – I wonder if confining a large population of fish to a floating cage would lead to 1) buildup of fish feces, which in turn could potentially affect the chemical makeup of the surrounding ocean environment and damage the local ecosystem; 2) vulnerability to infectious diseases that could kill off the entire population inside the cages.

On November 7, 2016, Alan Du commented on NuScale – Revitalizing Nuclear Power :

Great article. I have been a long time believer in nuclear power as the ultimate solution for global warming. As nuclear power plants become smaller and safer, and storage / disposal technology for nuclear waste improves over time, nuclear will surely emerge as the safest, cleanest, and cheapest form of energy.

On November 7, 2016, Alan Du commented on Blue Apron: Delivering an efficient tomorrow :

Interesting connection between BlueApron and reduction in waste. Never really thought of the company’s business model in that light. I do wonder if the waste is simply being shifted from the consumer level to the distributor level (ie. BlueApron themselves) – BlueApron has previousl had some serious issues with spoilage. Not to mention the materials used in packaging and additional transportation costs associated with delivery probably lead to additional carbon footprint. Lastly, the economics of this model remains to be proven – at current scale, I believe BlueApron is only close to breakeven or marginally profitable. Similar businesses rely heavily on the “subsidies” from venture capital firms – so it’s unclear who might happen to these firms once the music stops for the VC world.

On November 7, 2016, Alan Du commented on Change the game :

Great article. Nike has certainly taken the initiative on incorporating sustainability into their supply chain. I share the concerns expressed in some previous comments regarding the company’s ability to embed the idea into their entire corporate philosophy. Cynical as it may seem, Nike’s current consumer demographic might not prioritize sustainability as a key decision factor. Additionally, pushing for sustainability might also create some degree of tension with the shareholders as it likely might not lead to shareholder value maximization. Curious to see how Nike’s initiative will develop in the future.

On November 7, 2016, Alan Du commented on Tesla’s $7 Billion Climate Change Problem? :

Great article on supply chain risks. Given the high tech components that go into a Tesla EV, the company does have significant reliance on certain highly specialized suppliers. A similar case can be observed in the aviation industry – Boeing and Airbus both rely heavily on specialized parts manufacturers to deliver components ranging from jet engine fan blades to advanced avionic systems. Some measures can be taken to hedge against geographical/financial risks: for example, Boeing provides cheap financing for its suppliers in order to guarantee an uninterrupted supply chain. Going forward, Tesla can provide similar financing options to help its at-risk suppliers diversify geographically to protect themselves from climate events.

Agree that Uber/car-sharing services in general are transforming the way people travel. However, I share the same skepticism as to the net positive environmental impact of UberPool. Given the trade off between price and convenience, I speculate that most current riders of UberPool would have used public transportation instead. I do believe in the long run, as capacity grows, UberPool will be a significant supplement to the current public transportation systems. As availability grows, more people might be convinced to switch from driving their own cars to using some form of public transportation, obviously including UberPool.