Ambuj Kashyap

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On November 20, 2016, Ambuj Kashyap commented on Emirates: Data and the Future of Air Travel :

Good read, Adam ! Having lived in the Middle East for a long time, I can safely say that while almost all ME airlines (Etihad, Emirates, Qatar..) offer superior flying experiences when compared to US airlines. However when I think back on what allows them to do this, I do think that the backing of the governments and the resources provided to them is instrumental in helping them achieve this. The lower cost of human capital is another factor that helps Emirates provide superior service. I am surprised that even with all the technology that is present in T3 at Dubai airport, there are still complaints over baggage handling. This makes me wonder if conventional devices such as RFIDs have reached a limit in terms of the volume that they can handle.

Dubai has increasing become a travel hub and will probably see even more passengers over the next few decades. Maybe there needs to be a change in the way Emirates and other airlines think about technology in customer service. To quote from a recent HBS case, incremental benefits can only get us so far. With all the backing and resources, Emirates has the potential to create the next big bang in technology and I for one would be disappointed if they are not able to be leaders of change in the airline sector.

On November 20, 2016, Ambuj Kashyap commented on Garmin- A Tale of Playing Catch and Copycat :

MC, thank you for a great read ! I first saw Garmin watches when I was out on the rigs in Abu Dhabi. Quite a few fitness enthusiasts and adventure seekers had it. I was so impressed with all the functionalities in the watch that I almost ordered one. This was at a time when Apple watches had still not been launched. I did not realize however that the company has not done particularly well. Your article has highlighted a few issues and the major one I think is that as a company in the technology business, Garmin does not have flexibility and ability to pivot at the right time. I was surprised by how low their R&D expenditure was. This gets accentuated due to their inability to integrate their offerings with other players in the chain ( Military, Car manufacturers etc).
I believe they might have an opportunity with the HUD device but time is already running out for them. They need to understand that standalone technology companies are almost a thing of the past. They need to invest into a relationship where the technology is developed in sync with car manufacturers. This integration will probably yield more value than simply creating products and hoping that they find traction.

Alex, thank you for letting me know that Daily Mail online is not representative of actual news in the UK. While their online articles might not show intellectual depth, someone somewhere in their planning team has done a brilliant job. Digitization allowed them to target a very different audience from their traditional audience and essentially have two different products. They have been part of a sweet spot right now where the readership of the online version and the print version probably does not have too much overlap. This has allowed the newspaper to be so “creative” on the online end and still retain its “beloved” ( racist, homophobic, anti-immigrant…) status in the print version. As the readership ages (and dies), I wonder how the overlap will affect Daily Mail. I am sure they will have to address the issue of having a consistent image across various versions and then we will see if the real Daily Mail shall stand up !?

On November 20, 2016, Ambuj Kashyap commented on BP and Oil & Gas: Embracing Digitization out of Necessity :

Alex, thank you for sharing information on this topic ! You have correctly mentioned that over the past few years E&P companies have done a good job at digitizing their operations. Unfortunately this has only been a recent trend with the industry being notorious about its reluctance to embrace technology and operations are still handled in an archaic manner in the upstream industry. Having seen upstream operations at close quarters, I feel robotics also have tremendous potential for increasing efficiency in drilling operations. [1] This will also help to reduce safety issues at rigs, not to mention reduce costs for operators. Maybe we will see more research and adoption of technology once commodity prices rise to a point where it will become easier for investing in technology.


On November 20, 2016, Ambuj Kashyap commented on Will your next running shoe be 3D-printed? :

Karan, this was a very interesting read ! I had heard about 3d printers but did not realize that this technology can be used to actually make running shoes. It does seem like a great idea to get a shoe which is exactly contoured for one’s feet. However, I am a bit skeptical about the costs that are involved. While the value that will be generated for Under Armour is immense, I am not sure how the costs will be passed on to the consumer. Technology innovation in manufacturing processes needs to create value for both customers and manufacturers for optimal benefit. I had a look at the their current collection of shoes and it seems that the price point mentioned by Sam above is much higher than the current prices at which they sell shoes. The soles itself seem to have added a premium to shoe costs [1] Maybe a starting point would be to ascertain how many consumers who bought Under Armour shoes, would actually like a better contoured shoe. This will help in estimating the demand and distribution of costs. The key point might be scalability here. If the costs of producing 3d printed shoes can be brought down to an extent where the premium is not so much for consumers, then we will truly see the athletic footwear market get disrupted.


MC, first off, I was really happy to come across an article related to agriculture in India. If there is one business/industry which is affected by climate change at a very primary level, it is agriculture in India. The problem is accentuated by the lack of irrigation infrastructure and also the vagaries and geographical location of the Indian Subcontinent. In this case the problem is more severe than just a company’s survival, it is the nourishment of a country which is at stake. Having seen poverty in my village despite the availability of fertile land, I cannot help but think that there lies an opportunity here to help farmers and then be a partner in the value added.

Mother Dairy has a great opportunity here to build a brand that can become iconic ( like Amul) in aiding the economic prosperity of the players in the supply chain. This can be done by becoming a partner in the production process and investing on a small scale in greenhouses, irrigation facilities and better technology for farmers. I am relatively inexperienced to provide a solution as to how the project would be financed but essentially the idea is to reduce the variability of conditions in the supply chain. This is related to both growing the produce and then storing it. The value added by this investment at all levels will help smooth out the cyclical effect of the increasingly erratic monsoons.

I don’t think that it will be wise for Mother’s Dairy to enter into the fragmented food grain business because this business too is affected by the problems discussed. It will be better to tackle the original business before expanding the portfolio.

On November 7, 2016, Ambuj Kashyap commented on Aramco: Oil Giant Feels the Heat :

Ahmad, this was an interesting read. From the outside and from hearsay it always seemed that like other NOCs, Aramco was not quite interested in climate change. I think this perception was based more on the energy habits in the Middle east than the actual operating strategies. I am curious about the self-imposed stringent regulation standards. It is surprising that as the largest oil company in the world, this is a future step. I am a bit skeptical about Aramco trying to penetrate other market and using their emissions related strategy as a lever.

I think it will require a change in the mindset of a lot of the stakeholders in the O&G industry before the benefits can be realized. Aramco is serviced by a number of service companies which also have a huge carbon footprint. It would be a good idea, especially considering the amount of control that Aramco enjoys, to augment the HSE team with an HSE Audit team which can audit the various suppliers and impose standards on them to reduce their respective carbon footprints also.

On November 7, 2016, Ambuj Kashyap commented on ExxonMobil: Solution to Pollution Dilution? :

AK2018, this articles highlights a widespread problem in the oil and gas industry. Instead of looking at their processes, they seem to be jumping to what they think will be the cleaner businesses. From personal experience of working with Exxon, it is amazing to see how inefficient they can get in different environments. The Sakhalin drilling campaign sets a gold standard for deep horizontal drilling but else where, for eg the Middle East, Exxon is not as efficient. There are major delays on projects and energy usage in the projects itself is huge but the low cost of energy does deters them from actually becoming more efficient. Even if they drill for natural gas, the same systemic problems will plague them.

I think it is more important for companies like Exxon to actually take a step back and reevaluate their processes. This will also help them gain operating efficiency and long term gains from projects.

On November 7, 2016, Ambuj Kashyap commented on Hunting for Methane Molecules: Hot on the Trail of Fugitive Emissions :

Sam, this is an excellent example of using a challenge and turning it into an opportunity. I have had the chance to work in upstream oil and gas but I knew that there are inefficiencies involved in the refining and collecting processes. What I did not know that methane has a much more detrimental effect on the atmosphere than CO2. It is totally understandable that there will be some benefit involved for SW Energy before it would go ahead and do this project. Based on the numbers, it seems that the investment is already making a lot of sense and once prices of gas go up, the investment will more than justify itself.
Natural gas does present a cleaner alternative but it seems that other producers have battened down the hatches for this storm. This makes me think that ultimately climate change will be more affected by what these companies do in the good times when the money is flowing. If they can be forward thinking enough to invest in technologies when they have the money to do it, they will be able to fruitfully use them when times become tough.

On November 7, 2016, Ambuj Kashyap commented on Tesla: Accelerating the Transition to Sustainable Energy :

Mundo, this was an interesting read and I liked how you ended the article by questioning the efficacy of the actions outlined by Tesla. Solarcity was an innovative project and it did incite a lot of interest. However it seems that operating inefficiencies have not made it the success that it can be. The company is run by Musk’s cousin (Lyndon Rive). Call me a skeptic, but I cannot help but feel that the buy out from Tesla is not going to yield the results that it should and might end up ruining Tesla’s business as well ? [1], [2]

Another thing that interested me was the amount of electricity that will be used to run a Tesla car annually and the source of electricity. I read up a little to get a sense of the estimates and found that the costs are around 25% of the normal fuel costs for the same mileage. I would like to see Musk and co. give an analysis of the actual carbon footprint. This will actually quantify the impact of putting these cars on the road and the subsequent environmental benefits of the same. [3], [4]