Brian J. Franklin

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Thanks for the interesting read! I, too, was definitely unaware that RFID technology was being deployed in this context. Has Blue C conducted analysis to determine the magnitude of the cost savings (in better inventory management, more accurate demand fulfillment, potentially reduced labor needs, etc.), or is it too early to say? Also, it’s interesting that a restaurant operator itself (rather than a restaurant software vendor or technology provider) is the one building out this system. Has Blue C considered licensing or otherwise monetizing its expertise in food-service RFID solutions deployment? I am excited to see how this develops!

Thanks for the insightful read! With operating expenses at 8% of revenues for EZPass vs. 41% of revenues for manual collection, the business case for migrating to completely automated tolls is certainly clear. I was surprised that the payback period for this project is so long. With $474 in implementation costs and an annual savings in operating costs of only $23M, the payback period (ignoring time value of money) is nearly 21 years. However, that doesn’t take into account the substantial social/economic/environmental benefits you mentioned, which should clearly factor into the calculation. Finally, do you know what happened to the manual toll collection workforce? Were they laid off or were they able to be placed in other state positions?

On November 19, 2016, BJF commented on A Hospital’s $1.2 billion Digital Transformation :

Thanks for the insightful read! I definitely see the role of EMRs in standardizing care in accordance with best practices/evidence-based medicine (through standardized workflows, medication reconciliation, etc.). One concern, which Mike brought up above, is interoperability. While many large health systems like Partners are deploying Epic, other hospitals–and independent physician practices–are deploying EMRs from a wide variety of other vendors. The fact that the systems do not seamless exchange data with one another negates many of the efficiency and patient safety (all records/immunizations/medications in one place) benefits of these systems. EMR providers are not presently incentivized to make their systems interoperable, so it will be interesting to see the development on legislation and other action to progress toward that goal.

Super informative read! Since Medtronic received FDA approval only a few weeks ago, they may not have all the answer yet, but I would curious to know more about the revenue model. Will payers wholly fund the new device? Has Medtronic, through clinical trials, been able to demonstrate short-term or long-term cost savings, either directly (MiniMed 670G acquisition and ongoing costs are less than those for traditional insulin pumps) or indirectly (through improved outcomes/reduced complications)? Really cool development – thanks for the insight!

On November 18, 2016, BJF commented on The Digitization of Microfinance: bKash in Bangladesh :

Hi Mkful! Thanks for the super insightful post. I hadn’t considered how digitization might impact traditionally face-to-face transactions like microfinance. One basic question: Does Bangladesh have the mobile phone/data/internet infrastructure to service digitized microfinance? I saw that mobile phone subscriber penetration was ~40% as of 2013 ( Are the traditional customers of microfinance lending programs part of that 40%, or do they not have phones? Does bKash do something similar to ITC eChoupal or Uber by equipping either a centralized user or all users with a computer/phone? I could also be misinformed on who bKash’s target market is – when I think of microfinance, I think of farmers and rural populations, but it sounds like they cater to urban consumers, too. Thanks again for the insight.

Thanks for the interesting insight! This post gave me a lot of perspective on the mosquito abatement soundbites I have heard in the context of Zika. Your analysis makes me curious about several questions:

1. Do other companies sell Dibrom (Naled), or does AMVAC have the exclusive right to produce this agent? If AMVAC is (or will eventually be) subject to competitive pressure, how should it position itself?

2. I had heard about the Dibrom spray controversy because it contains a known carcinogen. Have there been, or will there be, longitudinal studies to evaluate the impact of Dibrom application on resident populations?

Thanks again for the well-presented info!

On November 6, 2016, BJF commented on Malaria: A Hot Mess in a Hot World :

Thanks for the analysis! It’s interesting that, in the case of malaria, climate change represents a profitable opportunity for GSK—although it’s admirable that GSK is forgoing profits for this vaccine by committing to reinvest margins in R&D.

It’s also admirable that GSK is working to implement sustainable practices across its supply chain. As climate change policy evolves, GSK’s approach makes me wonder how measures such as emissions taxation or offsetting requirements would be implemented across the value chain. For example, would a methodology such as that used for value-added taxation be appropriate, where each member of the supply chain is taxed for its incremental contribution to a final product’s or service’s carbon footprint? In the meantime, GSK’s supply chain-wide lens seems proactive and responsible.

Thanks for the JetBlue analysis! I was curious when you mentioned that Air France makes a CO2 emissions calculator available on its website. Air France’s methodology ( takes into account the actual historical passenger load factor (percentage of seats occupied) in order to calculate a single passenger’s offsetting requirements.

I like the spirit of what the calculator is trying to accomplish, but it does highlight the fact that if airlines or passengers are to be taxed to offset emissions at a per-passenger level, there is a lot to clarify, including:

-Who is responsible for paying for unused capacity? For example, if 50 seats are empty, should the tax be levied on the passengers who are flying, or should the airline pay the tax on those 50 seats since load factor is not under a passenger’s control?

-Should there be differentiated pricing for first class vs. economy seats since each first class passenger uses space that could otherwise accommodate multiple economy class passengers?

-In Air France’s current methodology, it appears the average weight of cargo/baggage is also allocated equally to passengers. Presumably a more precise version would charge passengers by the actual weight or their carry-on and checked baggage, with cargo shippers paying for the weight of their own shipments.

On November 6, 2016, BJF commented on Delta Airlines and climate change: one-way ticket? :

As a fellow airline enthusiast, it was interesting to read your analysis of another carrier’s climate change positioning. Thanks for the info! You mention that “true sustainability will require significant reduction in total GHG emissions from operations.” But won’t Delta always be a net emitter of greenhouse gases by virtue of its core business? In other words, can Delta ever achieve “true sustainability,” or will it always need to rely on purchasing emissions credits, generating its own credits by deploying projects in other areas of its operation, etc.? Is purchasing or generating emissions credits to achieve carbon neutral status necessarily an inherently bad thing?

On November 6, 2016, BJF commented on Tesla is great, but what about trains? :

Thanks for the interesting analysis! I agree that there is significant untapped potential in trains as a more environmentally responsible mass transportation option.

I was taking a closer look at the data behind the “Our 2C Travel Challenge” infographic and noted that, for any mode of transportation, the average passenger-kms per ton of emissions depends a great deal on (i) load factor (i.e. the percentage of seats occupied), and (ii) seating density (i.e. whether passengers travel in first class or coach).

The infographic site suggests eliminating first class seating on airlines, reasoning that could presumably be extended to trains. Whether planes or trains, I wonder if, rather than eliminating first class products, pricing might (or should) just become substantially more expensive in the future to account for the incremental emissions credits that would need to be purchased to offset the higher per-passenger emissions in those classes of service.

Thanks for the insight in this post! I wasn’t aware of the magnitude of climate change’s potential effects on coffee yields. You mention that Starbucks’ margins are at stake. Since coffee supply challenges would affect nearly all retailers, do you think Starbucks’ margins would take a major hit, or do you believe consumer coffee prices worldwide would increase, resulting in a new equilibrium price and demand quantity? In other words, absent an effective solution to overcome the effects of climate change on coffee yields, could the size of the industry simply shrink as a result of needing to charge higher prices, but with equivalent margins as a percent of sales?

Finally, I thought it was interesting that the MIT article you cited ( noted that Starbucks is (perhaps quite admirably) openly sharing its formula for breeding the rust-resistant coffee plants. Do you think there is a risk to Starbucks that it could make major investments in coffee growing technology (e.g., these plants, the heat-resistant beans, etc.) while other players freeride on its work? Should it look to patent any of its protectable intellectual property, or is sharing the right thing to do?