Another fantastic post, Kelly. I am having a really hard time with folks not being completely on board with this plan. For a forward looking mining company, I don’t think it’s out of the foreseeable future that the cost of human life will far outweigh the cost of running an automated mine. And ultimately I hope that society starts to move away from needing humans to perform the most dangerous tasks. I fail to see how reducing the number of people in dangerous mining positions is ever a bad thing. Obviously, it is not ideal for those who are currently in the mining field, but the idea here is that future generations will not have to resort to this kind of dangerous labor. This feels like, to me, an area of short-term friction for the benefit of the future of mining and of energy.
While I think the technology that Starbucks has implemented in its business over the past few years is really impressive (25% of all sales coming from Mobile Pay? Incredible!), I worry that Starbucks is taking its eye off the ball by looking at things like drone delivery for coffee. Some part of me feels that this is chasing a new fad. Starbucks has already invested tremendous amounts of money into having a presence on (seemingly) every street corner in every major city across the US. I exaggerate, but my point is that I don’t think people aren’t buying Starbucks because it’s inconvenient.
I believe Starbucks is a brilliant company, and their Mobile Pay product is a great example of that, and I don’t think these trials will end up in a full roll-out. Rather, I think this will be a cute marketing scheme for the rest of the calendar year.
Bad Hombre really went in on the math for cents per view — very impressive. My overarching concern for this acquisition is that the strategy seems to hinge on the hope that these YouTube power producers (like PewDiePie) will be able to continue their current level of engagement with their dedicated fans while also promoting Disney products.
As an avid YouTube viewer, I’ve seen the quick decline that YouTube stars go on once they start to monetize their efforts. I don’t know why fans are so sensitive to the issue of “selling out,” but I think it’s very real.
I’d be curious to see how subscriber count declines once the promoted materials come out. It would make sense that Disney tested the fan sensitivity to “promotion” videos, but I would be surprised if that decline in subscribers wasn’t a large one.
I will admit, I’ve tried a couple of Coursera classes and didn’t stick with it. Some of the commenters above had good hypotheses as to why this has been the case. For me, personally, I feel that if I didn’t pay a large sum of money in it, I might let it just “slip.” One of the things I love about being at HBS is the mandatory attendance. It forces you to really commit to the reading, conversation, and, thus, the learning. I have a hard time believing that the current model of Coursera will be successful because ultimately it requires a student’s commitment to have that student reap the benefits of Coursera… and if a business can’t deliver its value proposition to a student (no matter whose fault it is), then that business will ultimately fail.
I like the idea of having Coursera classes count toward a degree, but I’m not sure that’s a full fix. After all, my understanding is that many people take Coursera courses because they aren’t currently working toward a degree!
Gamification has been a popular topic among many kinds of online services, and I think perhaps Coursera should be focusing its efforts on using gamification as a way to get their students to more strongly commit.
What a neat company! I think a solution like this that assists drivers rather than tries to supplant drivers will have a much easier time hitting the main stream — and that’s a great thing. I echo Alan’s concern that driver’s might be more worried about the “Big Brother” impact than we might suspect. After all, it’s my understanding that long-haul drivers view their truck as their home, and I know I certainly wouldn’t like it if there was a camera tracking my every move.
One thing you’d mentioned is that “erratic” driving can actually be the right decision for a truck driver. I wonder how this solution would take into account those types of decisions, rather than just hitting the brake and causing more trouble!
Given the strategies you’ve outlined (which I totally agreed with), I was so surprised to see that ESPN shut down Grantland. Personal conflicts between ESPN and Grantland aside, it really seemed like the Grantland was the perfect foray for ESPN into the digital world.
In addition, I wonder if ESPN’s physical location could be a problem with this pivot. Being in a small city could limit the kind of talent needed to implement some of the changes you’ve suggested, and I love the idea of partnering with smaller, more nimble, technology companies.
Thanks for the article, Zach!
What an insightful post! I think the most interesting piece is that the Navy has thought about the indirect effects of climate change, specifically conflicts that will arise as a result of more scarce resources. The other really interesting facet you brought out is just the sheer scale of the Navy. It intuitively makes sense that a small change carried out across such a massive organization would have a massive impact, but putting the actual numbers out there really makes it an eye-popping fact.
The other great part about what the Navy is doing is that they’re demonstrating the cost savings that come along with being more conscious of the environment. That will set a great example for the rest of the world.
What a well structured and well thought out post. Of all the industries covered, I think Marriott definitely has one of the strongest direct incentives to start reducing its environmental impact.
I’m shocked to hear that only 4% of Marriott’s properties are LEED certified. That seems like a huge opportunity, and one that’s right in front of Marriott. It seems that for each hotel refurbishment that will occur as a natural course of business, it would only be a relatively minor incremental cost to make sure that hotels become LEED certified.
I love that you’re thinking outside the box with virtual reality — I never would have thought of that! I imagine that if Marriott feels that VR is truly the wave of the future, then investing in VR would make a lot of sense. I imagine its similar to how Kodak should have invested heavily into digital photography rather than watch its business become the way of the past.
The Tsunami of 2011 was absolutely devastating and horrible, and I do think it’s even sadder that it takes a horrendous event like that to make the world stand up and pay attention to the impact of climate change. It’s extremely encouraging to see that the TMG has been proactive to do its part to reduce the impact of climate change. I fear, however, that just one country’s direct impact will not be enough to stem the oncoming impact that’s already down the pipeline.
I wonder if the greatest impact that Japan’s actions will take will be the example that Japan and its government sets for the rest of the world. I think if Japan can demonstrate that its businesses thrive and its citizens don’t suffer any decline in quality of life, then other companies will be happy to follow Japan’s lead.
I’m so surprised by how proactive Coca-Cola has been about water conservation! Compared to many other industries, it seems that Coke has actually gone above-and-beyond what’s been just mandated of them, and I think that’s commendable.
On your point of “greenwashing,” I frankly don’t think that criticism is valid as long as the impact is a positive one. I may be cynical, but I think that for-profit companies still need economic reasons to do anything beneficial for the environment. And if greenwashing (convincing consumers that Coke is a sustainable brand) is what’s getting Coke to make these types of investments, then I’m all for it!
Thanks for the great article, Rajit.
This was a really interesting article — I was shocked to see how large the airline industry is, both from a dollars and cents perspective, but also from a contribution of CO2! My biggest fear when thinking about a company like United actually instituting real change is the fact that retail air travel is a relatively captive market. For instance, it would be very hard for me as a consumer to choose United over another airline solely because of environmental concerns. Much higher on my list of priorities is route availability and price. Therefore, I don’t see too much incentive for United to change its consumption habits from just a marketing perspective.
I wonder if perhaps it’s going to take regulation from the government to enforce changes for a company like United.