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On November 20, 2016, Dcarpenter commented on How Many People Are Killed by Police? :

Ari, thanks so much for sharing on this important topic.

It is horrifying to me to think that in a time when we have an abundance of data on so many asinine topics for commercial purposes, we cannot get a straight story on an issue as important as how many people are killed by our government each year. I think Jason raises a very interesting point on figuring out how to make this data useful to police departments by showing how it might improve their day-to-day through better community relations. I think its a nice idea, but I do not think its acceptable that we feel the need to provide incentives for such basic and critical reporting that should be a minimum expectation of our public officials.

I would be curious to understand what private sector solutions we can create to streamline data recording and push onto police departments via legislation. I posted for this assignment about the ways Palantir is using all disparate data to help police departments eradicate crime, perhaps they could use the same (traffic / police cruiser / body) cameras to hold police accountable? I read an interesting post about IOT, perhaps police weapons of the future could automatically generate a report when discharged to prompt involved officers to enter necessary data?

Thanks for the interesting post DS.

I am curious to learn a bit more about the economics of installing / operating a system like you describe, and what the front line change process looks like.

Having had some similar experience in a heavy manufacturing environment, I share Rocky’s number one concern above. I think that the front line (and consequently much of the management who came from the front line) frequently believe that “it sounds like its going to blow” is more reliable than the data they are getting out of this computer, and if they don’t inherently believe in the system, they are unlikely to make the tremendous capital and resource commitment required to get a program like this off the ground. I fundamentally believe that an IOT system is probably the right answer in applications where maintenance failures are very expensive, but do we have some good publicly available case studies from equipment manufacturers to help us sell that story to the front line?

On November 20, 2016, Dcarpenter commented on AMAZON IS BUILDING BRICK AND MORTAR BOOKSTORES. SERIOUSLY. :

Spencer, thanks for the interesting post.

I am fascinated by the idea of “Digital Fatigue” driving Amazon to do this. The chart you presented where the desire to move away from e-reading is strongest with the youngest age group makes alot of sense to me and I am interested to see where else we might see this play out. It reminds me of an article I recently read about a study that showed that staying off facebook was a secret to happiness (http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/2016/11/16/quitting-facebook/#.WDJlNNUrKM8). The idea that some of these technological advances that have changed our lives in such fundamental ways may not be the be-all and end-all answer to a better life is interesting. In a world where we are increasingly connected, plugged into the world around us and turned on 24/7, some of us are craving physical stores and paper books and Amazon is hearing that call.

On November 20, 2016, Dcarpenter commented on Disrupting Wealth: Bettering the Wealth Management Industry :

Thanks for the interesting post.

I am interested in Ari’s second point about the need for a human in addition to Roboadvisors to accommodate specific individual circumstances that may deviate from the norm. I guess, following on from the Watson case, it is possible that AI will be able to tackle even the most specific and nuanced situation in the near future?

I think it will be interesting to watch the growth in roboadvisors as we watch population demographics shift from mostly baby boomer investors to largely millenial investors. I would imagine that one of the biggest hurdles for our parents generation is trusting that a computer can really manage their money to meet their needs and would guess that the older population is more willing to pay the higher fees to a human wealth manager just for some peace of mind. As investor demographics shift to include more of our peers who have more comfort with computers and higher value sensitivity when we buy, I would imagine this barrier goes away and the pace of roboadvisor growth accelerates tremendously.

On November 20, 2016, Dcarpenter commented on Nike’s Play in the Digitization of Fitness :

George, Thanks so much for the interesting post.

I agree with your assessment of the FuelBand. It seems crazy to me that they deviated from tracking steps or calories like every fitness tracker. Why add an additional barrier to adoption and comparability to other products by straying from the metric of energy exertion that everyone already knows (calories), it just added an additional hurdle that created no incremental value. I actually think the fuel brand was a much better looking wearable and with the Nike cool factor, I would have thought it would be a no brainer.

Another aspect of Nike’s foray into the digital transformation that you did not discuss is the NIke + Run Club app. I find it to be the most useful run tracking app on the market and it is available for free in the app store. I think its an interesting strategy to provide such an excellent app for free to a population that otherwise uses none of their products (I have never bought nike running shoes)- I would be super curious to learn what their plan to monetize that app is? It seems that their strategy in digital is a bit mixed up…

Nice post, thanks Casey.

As you mentioned in the post and several people have said in the comments above- the problems with Beef are not just limited to the energy and grain consumption required by traditional factory farming. Beef farming is also a huge methane emitter (A greenhouse gas 27x more potent that CO2) and a massive water consumer. “Sustainable” beef farming, will address the energy, grain, and water inputs but cannot address the methane impact.

I went to an interesting speaker on campus a couple of weeks ago from the Good Food Institute (http://www.gfi.org/)- a trade group promoting “vegetable based meats” and “cellular meats” which are made from processed soy or lab grown meat from stem cells respectively. The Good Food Institute posits that it is impossible to mitigate the impacts of meat production and therefore,m order to feed 9Bn global population and protect against climate change, we must switch to one of these alternatives. The alternatives seem pretty odd to the average consumer of today… but if anyone could make them mainstream quick, maybe it could be a company with the scale and buyer power of McDonalds.

On November 7, 2016, Dcarpenter commented on The Bitter Truth for Beer :

Hugh, thanks for the great post.

I think it shows incredible maturity that so many of these breweries are going so far upstream to address their problems. The investment in solar power generation is not an obvious choice for breweries whose chief concern is water shortages driven by global climate change. The only way investments in for solar panels can directly solve the immediate problem they are facing is if they become a role model for business more broadly, more companies decide to invest in solar, therefore curbing greenhouse gas emissions and resolving the drought that is being caused by climate change. This is the ultimate long game. It would be interesting in addition to learn about how much they are investing in solutions to their immediate short term problem: e.g., development of drought resistant hop varieties, investments in water storage, irrigation, etc..

Thanks again for the great post- hope they continue to push as a leading example for all businesses.

On November 7, 2016, Dcarpenter commented on Drink Up! That wine ain’t cheap…and it ain’t getting cheaper. :

Ronnie, thanks for the interesting post.

It is a very interesting topic for northern california where drought has become a reality of every day life. Interesting to see all of the good that constellation has done to reduce water consumption / unit of output, and I would be curious to understand how much more opportunity there is on the table? Are there examples of how to get down to 2/3 liters of water per liter of output?

In addition to understanding how much opportunity there is to push wine producer water consumption lower. I would be interested to learn how we prioritize water consumption across industries and how we as a society invest in wine water consumption reduction vs curbing almond production, consumer water use etc. Is there a place here for a cap and trade program for water consumption like we implemented for Carbon, SOx etc. ? Do we need government involvement or is this a problem that the free market will solve?

On November 7, 2016, Dcarpenter commented on The Crossroad faced by state-owned China Coal Corp :

Thanks for the interesting post Olivia. I think its interesting to contrast the developments at China coal with what has happened to the US coal industry and to try and understand how, having coal be a state run industry will contribute to more rapid progress than in the US. In the US, most of the major coal companies have filed for bankruptcy in the last few years because they were unwilling to accept the realities of climate change and didnt invest in evolving their business ahead of the changes in the industry. China coal may have a different future because they are run by the same bodies creating environmental regulation and may have no choice but to invest for a sustainable future.

Is this an argument for heavier state involvement in industries that are being forced to change by government regulation any way? Is it better for the chinese people that the government help China coal evolve, or should they follow the american model, let China coal respond to market forces and be OK with the outcome even if it means widespread bankruptcy?

On November 6, 2016, Dcarpenter commented on SolarCity: Powering the Climate Change Revolution? :

Interesting post, thanks Concerned Citizen.

I agree that the manufacturing / R&D synergies between the vehicle and home battery products will be substantial. Both products are actually manufactured by Tesla at the Gigafactory today. I think the most interesting new synergy may come from combining the existing retail footprint of Tesla with the existing distribution/installation network of SolarCity. If the merger happens, you will now be able to walk to your nearest mall, go to a Tesla store and learn about putting solar panels on your home- currently not something available anywhere in the consumer solar industry. Additionally, if you are in a Tesla store today, looking to buy a powerwall, there is no straightforward way to get it delivered and professionally installed- you have to find a 3rd party provider, the solarcity merger could solve this.

I think the biggest problem however, is that cost is still prohibitively high and payback periods for installing one of these systems are still longer than most consumers (and institutional investors) are willing to accept. Will the new Tesla plant in Reno and the new Solar City plant in Buffalo be able to achieve sufficient scale to reduce cost to a point where we can get institutional capital to finance solar+battery systems across the country? That would be exciting!