Really interesting! While reading this, I started to think about the other week’s climate change post, and how some of the newer advances in energy may help to mitigate the outage problem as well. While “install solar panels everywhere” would be too easy of an answer, I think there are some more practical (and likely less costly) options that could help. For example, Tesla and a few other US companies are now offering home battery units or “powerwalls” that draw power at off-peak hours (night time) and pump it back into the house during peak hours, as power companies often charge a higher rate during the peak. If a similar product could be installed in an economic manner in the areas of India that are most susceptible to black-outs, it may help reduce risk by smoothing energy consumption and also provide households/communities with limited power in the event of outages.
Here’s a link to the Tesla powerwall overview: https://www.tesla.com/powerwall
I thought this was really interesting in the sense that Suning determined not to challenge JD at the online retailer game and instead focused on their core competency, it was almost heartwarming to think that you don’t necessarily need to sell out and go for the “discount online retailer approach” if you have a good business to start.
Even more interesting was that they then decided to partner with Alibaba. It seemed as though they just determined their competency was offline home appliances, but then partnered with China’s biggest online marketplace, and repositioned as “walmart+amazon”. Seems like they reverted to core competencies and them immediately threw them out the window to expand again. Perhaps this was a great move because they’re able to take advantage of Alibaba’s infrastructure to enter E-commerce without distracting too much from the offline experience. I’m really interested to see how this works out in the coming years.
I was surprised by the notion that there are far more artists creating good music today because every time I turn on the radio I hear the same 5 artists. I looked into this, and it does seem to be true; one study claims a 510% increase in individuals with music as their “full time occupation”. I wonder if there’s a reason why Spotify and other streaming services may be looking to take advantage of such a variety of artists, while the radio only goes for the current hit songs. My guess would be that Spotify can get away with paying these independent artists a lot less, and will feature them because Spotify customers can always just skip past the songs the don’t like. With radio on the other hand, each station is always fighting for more listeners, so they have pressure to only play the most popular songs.
Interesting post! I found it interesting that security would be such a concern for big data related to LNG turbines. While of course a company should always pay mind to data security, it seems as though GE wouldn’t need to worry as much about security for this application as a healthcare initiative with PII involved. It just seems as though having performance data stolen wouldn’t be too disastrous for GE, and wouldn’t really be worth stealing to any outside parties, Of the 35% of companies that list security as a “barrier to entry,” I would imagine that a lot of those firms are dealing with more sensitive information, like health records, PII, or perhaps military/defense intel.
I had no idea that data centers used so much energy! Since they consume about 3% of global energy, I wanted to determine the percent of the global GDP that went through data centers or business that operated online (and thus would rely on data centers). The number I got to was roughly 2% (using this source: http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/real-time-ecommerce/499958, and a Global GDP of $77 trillion), but that seemed low; perhaps it is still just my disbelief that online business could be proportionally less energy efficient than other industries.
I’d be curious to see if anyone else is able to generate different values for the amount of revenue generation that these data centers/cloud-based businesses are responsible for, and how that might reflect on the overall efficiency of the business. Bottom line is that I can’t help but believe that an online business (a store for example) uses more energy than it’s brick and mortar counterpart.
I found it interesting that the state chose to go with the costlier option of desalination over the use of drip irrigation, so I looked around a bit as well. In an article by KQED (Northern California’s public news station) regarding a desalination plant in Santa Barbara, an interesting fact was highlighted: water in California is supplied by a for-profit organization, in this case it is California American Water Company. This being the case, it is clear that to some, there is great advantage to increasing supply of water (through desalination) as opposed to reducing demand (drip irrigation). Where there’s a corporate interest, lobbying efforts are likely to follow, and politicians can also claim that they’ve created jobs through the construction and operation of a desalination plant. While this may not be the ideal situation for the environment, it certainly helps explain why California might opt for the costlier method of desalination.
Interestingly in the same article, the author mentions that the Santa Barbara plant may eventually powered by methane from a local landfill, which is another technique that claims to be environmentally friendly but is shrouded in controversy. The KQED article can be found here: https://ww2.kqed.org/science/2015/12/18/why-isnt-desalination-the-answer-to-all-californias-water-problems/
This is incredibly interesting, and I wonder how this product will do alongside the current trend toward more “natural/organic” foods that you contrasted with in the title. In addition to claims of “greater sustainability”, naturally raised foods are also commonly considered to have greater nutritional value. For example, grass fed beef has been shown to have higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (both of which are considered to promote heart health), than the grain-fed alternatives. If we are able to grow this new salmon more efficiently, but it is lacking in nutritional value, is it really a step in the right direction?
It seems as though the military has defined plans regarding infrastructure, supply chain, and training, but it doesn’t have much to say regarding the tactical dilemma posed in the “megacities” video. As cities become increasingly complex with increasing populations, the difficulty of conducting tactical operations will increase exponentially.
Further, if this threat of climate change toward our global resources is realized, and we do see the increase in global instability coupled with higher costs of force projection, it seems like the scales quickly start tipping toward a no-win scenario. If the challenges posed in this article actually become a reality, the current plans outlined by the DOD will be vastly inadequate, as costs would simply be too high to maintain our current level of global presence. I would argue that the majority of our operations would then be centered along Base Realignment and Closure as we drastically reduce our international presence.
I think one assumption you make here is that McKinsey & Company needs to maintain its current margins in order to keep employee wages at their current levels. It’s been discussed in class that top management consulting firms may charge significant margins on their employee costs (a number that’s been thrown around for total revenue is $40k/week for 1 consultant), so I would imagine that their margins are large enough that they could be slightly reduced without a devastating effect to the firm.
Regarding your recommendation for improved telecommunication: I think it’s generally accepted that even the best means of telecommunication are still not preferable to in-person communication, especially in a business where the consultant may need to actually walk around and view the client’s operations in person. When you say “changing the expectations of what their client’s are getting,” do you think that the clients should expect a decline in service quality with this new communications method?