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On November 18, 2016, Alejandro commented on Walmart: Ummm…a tech giant ??? :

In the fully digitized world, there must still be a place for traditional retailers with traditional models. If anything they still offer an experience to consumers that digital marketplaces cannot offer. With that said, Walmart will still head into the digital world in full force, building out their ecommerce capabilities and perhaps extending into other aspects of the digital economy, such as investing in marketplace models or social media. Many retailers are facing this digitalization pressure and determining how to best respond. It will be interesting to see whether the pendulum swings too far in one direction, where retailers over-invest in ecommerce strategies despite their lack of competitive advantage in that arena.

On November 18, 2016, Alejandro commented on Venmo – Should Banks be Worried? :

Venmo’s network effects are extremely strong, and contribute to much of my optimism for the platform as a user. It will be interesting to see how long it takes the banks to catch on to the ease of these transactions. Chase and other banks have created “Quick Pay” platforms which enable the transfer of funds between customers, but there is still an enormous amount of friction. There are few if any functions that a bank controls that have network effects, so a platform that does could offer an enormous amount of value to a bank.

On November 18, 2016, Alejandro commented on Programmatic as a driver of digital sales :

Programmatic ad buying is a great example of the profound effect the digital economy can have on industries. In this case, software has been designed that has disintermediated sales teams. In an automated sales world, the market is able to match buyers and sellers in a way that creates for a market nearer to equilibrium. It also reduces frictions and evens the playing field for all buyers regardless of size of spend or sales force. It will be interesting to see what other industries may be able to benefit from a programmatic marketplace matching buyers and sellers. The stock market and digital advertising have both been transformed with this technology. What is next?

On November 18, 2016, Alejandro commented on Can Magazines Survive the Internet? :

Magazine publisher very well may need to re-evaluate their business models going forward. As television and video content has moved to on-demand streaming, it will likely bring other forms of content along with. Perhaps the magazine providers will need to begin delivering on-demand digital subscriptions of magazines in order to keep up with the consumer shift to different forms of content consumption. Digitalization just may provide different avenues for monetization as well. Opportunities such as digital advertising, data collection, and social media integration could provide the necessary boost to reinvigorate the industry.

On November 18, 2016, Alejandro commented on Misunderstanding the American Electorate :

Not only has digitization been really obstructive and counter-effective in this case, but perhaps it has had an external effect on the messages which the polling is meant to measure. When there is more accurate polling, then messages are constructed to reflect the sentiment of the American electorate. When polling is influenced by digital inaccurate results, perhaps the candidates change their message to reflect the inaccurate measurements. There is likely a compounding effect when polls are inaccurate in this regard as politicians begin to further reflect their polling results, leading to stronger polls reflecting those messages, and so the spiral continues.

Incorporating climate-change models in premium pricing is a fascinating concept. It appears as though climate change effects on insurance premiums are based on previous outcomes as opposed to current knowledge on the rate of climate change. This concept raises a few questions:

1) Should insurance companies begin to increase premiums to reflect climate change variables, will these models be dynamic to take into account ongoing changes in climate change?

2) Will climate change mitigation programs enacted throughout the world have an effect on insurance premiums, or will it remain outcome based?

3) What would the long-term effect of the climate-change variables be should there be a small number of highly impactful natural disaster events, even if overall climate change indicators are improving? What about the reverse, where climate change indicators are declining, but there haven’t been any large scale natural disasters? Will these indicators increase costs to customers?

On November 7, 2016, Alejandro commented on INDITEX: FROM “LOOK GOOD” TO “DO GOOD” :

Great post on a very interesting topic with broad impact across the planet. Apparel is a fascinating topic because it touches so many different consumers, businesses and countries throughout the supply chain process. Further, the high volume nature of the apparel business creates a massive opportunity for apparel companies to shape the impact they are going to have in the future. It is easy to identify opportunities for cost savings with rising commodity prices (such as cotton) as an opportunity for these companies to reduce their footprint, but the difficulty will come from identifying key operational changes that might have a negative impact on some parts of the business such as using building into their stores a recycling program for their customers.

On November 7, 2016, Alejandro commented on Honeywell: Advancing the Global Effort to Phase Down HFCs :

Fascinating topic. The use of HFCs in consumer household products such as air conditioners and refrigerators has a substantial impact on the environment. Innovation in high volume, high use consumer products is likely going to be a large source of pollution mitigation. It is very interesting that you focused on the cost issue here which is the crux of the issue that these alternative compounds face in terms of broad adoption. It would be interesting to contemplate a point at which a material difference in cost, still offers a strong net benefit to society. Perhaps there is a point at which a government subsidy could help overcome price differences, but would make sense from a broad perspective in converting Americans to using more efficient appliances.

On November 7, 2016, Alejandro commented on American Water Tackles Climate Variability :

Fascinating review of American Water! The NPXpress is particularly fascinating as a 50 percent cost savings is an enormous opportunity. Innovations such as this can have really profound impacts should they be rolled out on a national or even international basis. I am curious as to whether the public’s interest and ownership in this company will encourage them to share learnings from their Innovation Development Process in a similar way to what Elon Musk did at Tesla. Sharing of this knowledge can really make a difference, whereas a single company has a far narrower view.

On November 7, 2016, Alejandro commented on Japan Airlines, Climate Change and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics :

Fascinating topic! JAL has such a compelling opportunity considering the inherent synergy that exists between their environmental consciousness and their profit seeking. Their SkyEco program will not only diminish their contribution to pollution, but their fuel consumption as well, one of their largest variable costs. I am curious to learn more about the trade-offs that airlines such as JAL face when considering these programs. Does the SkyEco program make the airplane more expensive, or shorten the time that the airline loads planes creating complications on the customer side?