Dany El Khoury

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On December 15, 2015, Dany El Khoury commented on Palantir: The Hottest Startup You’ve Never Heard Of :

Nate – this is by far the best article I’ve read so far! – it’s past D/L so I’m writing this comment because I’m intrigued rather than getting the work done :).
– YES, companies that contract for other orgs are engaged in labor arbitrage. As you “brain drain” all intelligence to top notch consulting and PE firms, you end up “starving” traditional organizations from this talent, leading them to become more dependent on you. In addition, such jobs invest a lot in training their employees and have tremendous amount of knowledge and skills which are passed on to the next generation of “leaders”. As a consultant gets to work with 10s of Gov institutions, he’ll develop more know-how than working at only one.
– Brain Drain is also done at country level (US!!)
– Booz Allen Hamilton and Monitor Deloitte rely more on business judgement for decision making while companies like Palantir focus more on analytics driven decision making. I see them as complimentary services for NOW rather than substitutes. BAH would use the data to make strategic decisions from CEO/ Minister perspective. Palantir services would get this data flowing through the org/ Gov department to make sure middle managers are using data to drive their decision making rather than gut instinct

Thanks all for the great comments. Below my thoughts:
1) Feiran:
a) AI is still in very early development and still needs to replace many less thought heavy industries before reaching consulting
b) Within upcoming years, repetitive Analytical work can be replaced with AI. The org structure of McK has such analytical work in a support function (special department). I’m guessing as AI becomes better, this department can be down-sized leaving some people to tailor the technology to the consultant’s needs
c) McKinsey currently invests in Technology break-throughs through its “Digital Labs”. IMO, this doesn’t enable to develop moonshots, but allows us to leverage moonshots to improve our Operating Model.

2) BT (Tyler Biddix?): I don’t see HourlyNerd as a competitor. I see them as a competitor to GLG or AlphaSites as they get you in touch with an expert who can provide industry trends, industry breakthroughs and insights into competitive landscape. Couple reasons:
a) I really doubt a company would be comfortable sharing confidential data with someone on HourlyNerd. McKinsey relationships with client are very very long-term and trust-based
b) I’ve worked on projects remotely, and, as a consultant, you gain way more insight by being on-the-ground and interacting with client on daily basis

3) Kchoo: As mentioned to Feiran, McKinsey is using its “McKinsey Digital Labs” to leverage such technology. I fully agree with you that “Big data” will become THE key driver of decision making and McKinsey hasn’t focused as much as needed on that.

4) Teti: In all cases, I guess our value is HOW we analyze data and strategies, not WHAT data we have
– We keep client data confidential by masking client names and sharing either average numbers across multiple companies or sharing qualitative info. More and more companies are becoming public and are sharing info, which makes our database less valuable with time
– Feedback loop is a bit messed up at the moment. While I worked at Booz & Company we did a better job of codifying our knowledge from every project, by creating IP pieces (which is basically a “masked” version of the final presentation, where we hide company name and remove all company specific numbers)
– You’re always part of the McKinsey family even after you leave 🙂 As long as I have the expert’s name, I’ll reach out to him whether or not he’s left the Firm. On a more serious note, there are multiple people working on same project over time and chances are super high one of them is still at the Firm (from Director to Experts to Research analysts to managers to consultants)

Thanks again everyone!

On December 14, 2015, Dany El Khoury commented on Dangote Cement: A Story of Market Dominance :

Fantastic article! great to see how Dangote went from a mere importer to an integrated producer/ distributor. The following are my questions:
1) How much of its higher profit margins are attributable to the Nigerian Government’s 2002 Industrial policy of backward integration? What kind does this program provide them and what prevents other players from receiving similar incentives?
2) I see that the revenue growth of Dangote over the last year has been 9.69% as compared to 106.29% for Lafrage. Any ideas on how Lafrage is expanding so much faster? I don’t see how it can capture market share from Dangote given superior product and better prices. Any ideas? Is it leveraging 1st mover advantage to other geographies?

On December 14, 2015, Dany El Khoury commented on AutoZone: Bringing Customer Focus to the Wild West of Auto-Parts Retailers :

Very interesting article! It’s amazing to see the cult-like customer-centric culture they have and how it’s boosted their sales. I was comparing them to their competitors (e.g. Advance Auto Parts and O’Reilly), they seem to have better similar gross margins (52% vs. 45% and 52%) but better EBIT margins (19.2% vs. 10.3% and 18.9%). However their revenue growth has been the weakest (6.96% vs. 10.26% and 10.02%). Was wondering the following:
1) Do you think their move to “hub” type distribution will hit their EBIT margins? (given lower turnover due to need to store more decentralized inventory)
2) Do you see the expansion to outside US geographies as a solution to their sub-optimal revenue growth?

Great article! One of the biggest pitfalls of such media companies is overemphasizing turnover and speed of production at the cost of quality. Vice has indeed managed to balance both by the Emmy nominations/ awards. 3 thoughts on this:
1) Question: What % of its media is crowd-sourced vs. in-house? I see crowd-source as a huge potential (like the Threadless case), but was wondering if it maintains same level of quality/ engagement
2) Given the move into traditional distribution channels to target older generation, I was wondering:
a) Do you see any frictions between the 2 target segments (older vs. younger age groups)? Was reflecting back on the marketing Starbucks case we’ve done and where you see reverse network effects
b) Another pitfall I see here is the increased Fixed costs in maintaining 2 distribution channels. Do you expect this to take a toll on their margins?