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The article presents some very challenging trade-offs that must be faced when resources are scarce and the country is heavily dependent on the export market. Considering the already highlighted imperfect information, I believe that Vietnam should pursue trade deals with countries that are growing, that have complementary needs and that perceive the exchange between them as an opportunity for both sides. In addition to that, Vietnam will need to engage on agreements with several countries to add up similar benefits as it had under the TPP. It will definitely not be an easy task, but, in the end, the Vietnam will have a more diversified set of alliances and consequently be less susceptible to pressure from one single country. In that context, trade deals with the EU and the MERCOSUL seem to be a good option.

Its was very interesting to learn how the ESEIEH technology enabled the company to reduce energy requirements by 75%. This is a great example of how new standards can really push companies to invest on innovation and achieve great improvements. Contrary to governments that will be in the office for only 4 years (sometimes even less) those technologies are assets that the companies will keep with them and, on the long run, will definitely become a significant competitive advantage.

For that reason, I believe that companies that fail to recognize how important a sustainable operation is and continue to operate under old standards (conformists) will ultimately be held accountable by its customers, competitors, or even its own community. Lack of governmental support is likely to slow down the progress, but I do not believe that it will be enough to deter it. A signal of that trend is that despite Donald Trump’s efforts to revive the coal industry, the coal’s industry long-term growth and hiring prospects remain weak [1].


On November 30, 2017, Bruno commented on BMW’s supply chain in the face of isolationism :

The challenges to be addressed by the Auto industry do not stop to pile up! Isolationism, electric engines, and self-driving capabilities just to name a few. On the isolationism front, I see the auto industry being able to adapt itself to new taxes incentives and the fact that BWM already owns plants in the US is a good starting point. On the other hand, I do not see the big auto manufacturers being able to catch up on the self-driving capabilities fast enough to be competitive with companies that were born with a tech DNA (like Tesla, Google and Uber). In that context, I see as extremely positive BMW’s initiative of joining forces with companies like Intel/MobilEye to keep its competitiveness and speed up its progress towards the future.

Of the three concerns raised in the article, I believe that the most crucial challenge to BMW would be to need to shift its value proposition from sporty and innovative to economic and eco-friendly cars. Those values are so inherently associated to the brand that any change on that could offend its current customers and do not seem credible enough to new ones. I do not believe, though, that such movement will happen anytime soon and the fact that Tesla cars are on the premium segment is a prove of that.

On November 30, 2017, Bruno commented on Kellogg’s Leadership in Fighting Climate Change :

Great article! It is very reassuring to see that companies continued to invest and develop sustainability programs regardless of presidential (mis)governments. As Mrs. Marissa has already brought some mitigation strategies to minimize the impact of extreme weather events into Kellogg’s supply chain, I would like to bring to the table another perspective of this very same problem: Kellogg’s 500,000 farmers.

Very often, extreme weather events are localized (hail, frost, floods) and individual farmers are impacted into very different ways. Kellogg’s portfolio of suppliers is likely to provide a great level of protection to those events, and as Mrs. Marissa highlighted: if your main supplier gets hit with a hurricane, you will want to have a secondary supplier in place. But what about your Florida supplier? Is Kellogg simply going to move on and let the Florida supplier by itself?

Farmers, specially small ones, are very dependent on yields from one harvest to be able to fund next year’s one and disruptions caused by such events can severely compromise their ability to sustain the business. Accordingly to the Food and Agricultural Organisation [1], farmers absorbs 22% of cost of disasters in developing countries and, when Kellogg thinks about sustainability, she cannot request its supply chain to follow sustainability guidelines and at the same time ignore the impact of clima change on its very own supply chain.

In that sense, companies like Kellogg could, for example, leverage its scale to develop farmers cooperatives and help their suppliers when they need the most.

On November 30, 2017, Bruno commented on An End to the Walmart Era? :

There is a phrase attributed to Jeff Bezos (Amazon’s founder and CEO) that says: “Keep our competitors focused on us, while we stay focused on the customer” and the article touches on this central point that, in my opinion, is the main reason why Amazon has gained so much share in the recent years while retailers like Walmart lost ground. The most efficient supply chain, the most capilar distribution network, or even the most diverse assortment of goods loses much, if not all, of its value if customers have a poor shopping experience. Therefore, I would argue that customer experience should be the first, second and third priority for Walmart.

As highlighted in the article, though, Walmart has a huge potential to further leverage its network of stores, its negotiation power, and its offerings expertise to compete on a level playing field with Amazon and avoid the referred (and extremely dangerous) downward spiral pricing-game. The e-commerce war is far from over, Walmart still have a dominant market share of the US retail market, but it is time to Walmart start fighting the right battles before it is too late.

On November 30, 2017, Bruno commented on BP: Blockchain Petroleum? :

I strongly agree on the huge potential that lies ahead and it is interesting indeed to see how “traditional” companies decided to be early adopters of such a disruptive technology. Clearly, the new (and less favorable) commercial landscape played a major role on speeding up such process, but I am still skeptical if transitioning contracts into blockchain will have any real impact on Oil & Gas companies’ bottom lines.

In addition to that, looking deeper into the main challenges ahead, I believe that regulation tends to be the major roadblock to be overcome. As highlighted in the article, companies will need to invest a lot of time and money into adjusting current regulations to be able to benefit from the new technology and, considering all the lobbying that exists on Oil & Gas industry, we should expect the disintermediated companies to fight fiercely against any change. On that sense, and building now on top of Mr. DGessese’s comment, leveraging partnerships with parastatals would not only speed up diffusion, but could also greatly facilitate the deployment of the regulatory adjustments that are needed. Those parastatals hold huge influence over governments and, consequently, over regulating authorities becoming, therefore, great allies to the Blockchain Petroleum initiative.