Bill Booth's Profile
I recently came across an article in which CEO executive, Mark Zuckerberg, explained why he covers his lap top camera (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/23/technology/personaltech/mark-zuckerberg-covers-his-laptop-camera-you-should-consider-it-too.html?_r=0). Privacy at home might be in question, but I still personally find the Roomba unbelievably innovative. It may not be entirely effective yet, but the fact that we have automated devices patrolling our homes while we are away is awe inspiring. Yes, the Roomba is relatively “dumb,” but after our TOM case on IBM’s Watson, I can’t help but imagine the possibilities that are undoubtedly just around the corner.
Great post, RB! I’m personally concerned that the issue of utility efficiency is not going to make any steps towards improvement until a non-regulatory entity, such as Tesla, takes control of the way that the grid is operated. I consider the Tesla Powerwall (2) to be a fantastically disruptive and inspirationally effective technology. I look forward to the day that Powerwall owners openly publicize the benefits of owning a personal grid efficiency device, and the general public takes control of operating an efficient power grid. (https://www.tesla.com/powerwall)
“While fundamentally the mining business model may seem relatively simple…”
Thank you for this thoughtful post, COG. Regarding the quotation above, I simply want to argue how complicated the minding industry is, not because of the business model, but because of the execution risks. Chevron exited the mining game in 2011 after recognizing just how difficult it is to eliminate or mitigate the risk associated with extracting minerals (http://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2011/03/08/chevron-picks-a-fine-time-to-leave-the-coal-mining-biz/#3f57b0a85e14). I wonder if increased automation and standardization will ever reduce the risk associated with labor intensive efforts such as mining and manufacturing…
Thanks for the thought provoking post, H! I’ve been a big fan of Blizzard products for as long as I can remember. As far as moving to mobile goes, I want to point towards the success of their digital collectible card game, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. The smartphone version launched in April 2015 and several sources estimate that the game brings in over $20 million in revenue each month (http://mashable.com/2015/08/12/hearthstone-success-20-million/#G4IIi9O4PkqI). Such impressive financial results immediately call to attention Andrew’s questions above: are consumers simply paying to win? In fact, upon running a google search for Hearthstone, one of the most popular returns reads, “Is it possible to play Hearthstone without paying money?” The “freemium” model is tricky, and one must consider the failure of companies such as Rdio before racing to the bottom of a pricing scheme in order to satisfy consumer demands.
I considered writing my post on Twitch, the Amazon-owned streaming platform that has seen healthy organic growth since its creation in June of 2011. I consider the success at Twitch to be an indicator of strength and future opportunity within the video game industry (https://www.twitch.tv/year/2015).
Imagine the disruption. What happens to the market for water? What happens to the market for all other fuels?
Jules – I appreciate the post. Regardless of feasibility and time-horizon (which are obviously both extremely important) this is still a thought-provoking discussion and one that deserves attention. Six years is most likely too optimistic, but we also currently live in a world that contains technologies which were previously reserved for the Jetsons. I also appreciate your ability to utilize descriptive analogies while navigating a truly mind-boggling phenomenon.
594 kilometers after 3 minutes of charging is mind blowing! Great post, Jaden. I think you make an interesting point about subsidies associated with fuel efficient, fuel cell, and gasoline powered vehicles. I believe that positive subsidies, such as a benefit for driving a low emission vehicle, are much more effective and less disruptive than a negative incentive such as a premium on top of gasoline prices. Although I have been working in oil and gas for the last four years, I plan to make my first car out of business school an emissions free vehicle. Given the rate at which batteries have been improving over the last two years, I am anticipating that the market will include several economic and efficient models by 2018.
Great post Cathal. My biggest concern here is the ability to reliably measure on-farm emissions at the source, which I believe is the first step towards emission reductions. An automobile very clearly has an exhaust pipe. A refinery has the flare. Acres of fertilized land populated by grazing livestock though? As an energy enthusiast, I have always appreciated the fact that the agriculture industry has its own challenges associated with GHG, but I always found it difficult to compare relative emission rates because of functional differences in the system value chains. I have a hard time wrapping my head around any potential mitigation systems that don’t require a massive adjustment to the traditional agricultural infrastructure.
A similar example of methane emissions that I always found perplexing is associated with hydroelectric power generation across dammed waterways. If you can believe it, the turbulent flow generated by releasing damed water through a hydroelectric turbine typically releases methane gases into the atmosphere that were previously created by the algae systems that occupy stagnant water sources such as lakes on the upstream side of dams. Here we are trying to produce clean, hydroelectric energy, yet we’re still somehow emitting harmful greenhouse gases.
I agree, Curtis. Typically, this is where we see a government entity step in and subsidize a product to make it a more viable choice economically. Unfortunately, the challenges associated with the adoption of the briquette don’t stop at the issue of pricing. The bigger challenge here is that the briquette producers must influence the behavior of each and every end user that is currently using less sustainable fuel sources. The transition away from coal-fired electricity has been relatively simpler in the western world, as the innovation can take place at the epicenter of a network, and propagate out to all the users. The end user feels no different switching on their light whether it is powered by coal, natural gas, or hydroelectric sources. In East Africa, we’re having to change the behavior of thousands of users, instead of just one central coal fired power plant.
Great post and concise summary. I appreciate your acknowledgement of the long game, and the understanding that natural gas is not the foolproof solution to the carbon emission problem.
That being said, I am incredibly bullish on natural gas as an energy source. While it might not be the end all be all, it is overtaking coal fired power plants as the primary provider of electricity. The adoption of natural gas power also paves the path for other forms of sustainable energy, and in that respect serves as a leading indicator for cleaner energy sources in the future.
I want to include one of my favorite graphs recently published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Note natural gas overtaking coal in 2016 as the leading fuel for power generation! http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=25392