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On November 18, 2016, COG commented on Finding the New York Times’ Lost Subscribers :

A great summary of the challenges facing The New York Times. I wonder whether the recent election has illustrated the importance of having fair and balanced media sources? How has the commercialisation of these institutions has been to the detriment of our collective understanding of the world? I do wonder whether there will have to be government regulation implemented in order to ensure this industry survives and I wonder how that can be done without interfering in the quality of the news.

On November 18, 2016, COG commented on Transferwise: No kiosks needed :

It was so interesting to read about how TransferWise works. As you alluded to in the article, this application is a key part of every international student’s experience and not only was I impressed with how cheap it was, one of the main attractions is also how EASY it is to use. For those who haven’t used the application, every steps is laid out simply and clearly. Given the requirements to track money for anti-laundering purposes, TransferWise is required to validate your passport. However, this was simple with the app allowing a photo upload which was validated within a few minutes. This is a company with enormous future potential.

On November 18, 2016, COG commented on Self-Driving… You Out of Business :

Great article Regan! I have to say, while I agree that local government revenue will decrease due to reduced numbers of speeding tickets, I suspect that would pale in comparison to the reduced cost of care for those injured in car accidents. As a result, I think the would have a net positive impact on the books of local government.

I agree the auto repair shops also face a severe threat but wanted to expand this to reduced car ownership. Given that driverless technology will mean transport through methods such as Uber will become the norm, less people will own cars and the cars in use will be much more highly utilised. As a result, there will likely be less repair work required for everyday wear and tear.

It’s great to see that Europe is in a similar position to Australia when it comes to banking. I too was very surprised by the poor customer service and lack of digitisation in the US banking system and have been wondering what is behind this. Is the reason based on a lack of demand for these services from customers? I think that is unlikely. Could it be due to the US banks using older and incompatible IT systems which make the costs prohibitive? It’s possible. However, I suspect what is the main driver is the lack of regulatory interference from the US government to force the banks to work together and allow basic functionalities without excessive fees.

It is great to read about this outside of the Australian mining company context I am used to. I tend to agree that they are moving far too slow relative to Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton. And then again, even those companies are considered to be moving very slow relative to other industries such as banking or telecommunication. I can’t help but wonder what it will take to speed things up – perhaps a competitor moving into this space and reducing costs to well below that of the existing miners. However, given the commodity price is set by the costs of the marginal producer, this is not really likely to have an impact on the mining giant’s profitability.

On November 5, 2016, Cathal commented on Would you pay for the environmental impact of your jeans? :

A great article which focuses on an everyday item which we often may not think about having a negative impact on our planet. I think the idea of internalising costs is extremely valuable and believe that the practices being perfected by Everlane would be applicable to many companies across almost all industries. To me, the key challenge is helping consumers not to get swamped in receiving too much information and therefore not being able to distinguish between companies which are having and impact and those which are not.

The company is in a interesting predicament, caught between a business opportunity and environmental exploitation. I tend to agree that they could do more. In particular, I wonder whether there are entirely carbon neutral methods of powering the ship? If not, I think they should offset the emissions of all passengers. Backing out of the market entirely is not the right strategy as this would simply open it up to other competitors, many of whom are likely to be even less focused on environmental sustainability.

On November 5, 2016, Cathal commented on In the ring with Tyson :

Interesting article – I tend to agree with your recommended next steps. However, from reading what Tyson has done to date, they strike me as a company which is only paying lip service to the issue of climate change. Very little of what they have done would have added any cost to the business and it many of the steps seem to be publicly visible but without any clear link to a reduction in the amount of greenhouse gases produced. If anything, the amount of reports they seem to have produced probably increased their carbon footprint!

On November 5, 2016, Cathal commented on Coral Bleaching Threatens Luxury Travel Company :

I too am a keen SCUBA diver so it is great to see companies paying attention to this aspect of climate change. Having spent significant time in Australia and visited the Great Barrier reef a number of times, I have seen the impact coral bleaching can have on the enjoyment of divers and therefore future revenues of the company. However, I wonder whether the company can really drive a significant impact in this area, given how global the climate change issue is. Personally, I feel that some of the suggestions for next steps may put the companies financial strength at risk while having little impact on the problem as a whole. Instead, I would suggest taking high power / wealth individuals such as mining CEOs and politicians on trips to see the damage first hand, as that would be likely to influence them into making changes.

A very interesting post. I wonder what the difference in environmental impact between dairy and almost milk is? Given this and soy are most likely the main competitors to almond milk, that could be a great comparison to make. All three options seem like good directions to take, I would also have been really interested to know whether WhiteWave or any of their competitors have already made any moves in that direction?