Donald Duck

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On November 16, 2016, Donald Duck commented on Volvo: Making People’s Lives Easier, Safer, Better :

In terms of autonomous driving I see the legal and even ethical risk as one of the key barriers over the coming years. If we assume that the zero harm goal is a vision and not 100% achievable the system will at some point need to make decisions on how to react to an inevitable situation. Do I risk the life of the driver/passenger or that of the pedestrian? Who would be liable in such situations: The manufacturer, the programmer, the driver. There will be massive changes and a lot of work is still required from a legislative side.

Another interesting aspect to look into would be Volvo Trucks. Given that they drive long distances on motorways I predict that they will be first to drive autonomously with great benefits to the economy: Sleep breaks will be reduced, safety increased and delivery times shortened. What do you believe is a realistic timeline to see autonomous trucks on European or US motorways?

On November 16, 2016, Donald Duck commented on GameStop: its all fun and games until someone gets disintermediated :

Interesting post. I 100% agree with you that Gamestop does not face a very bright future. The main question is what they can do about it now? It may be late but from your post it looks a lot like the company could shut down immediately. Are there any assets that could be used to pivot into another business area?

I believe that they will never be able to grab a share from mobile given Apple’s and Google’s dominance in the space. Hence, it would be interesting to see what its Technology Institute came up with. Its already two years since it was created.

On November 16, 2016, Donald Duck commented on The Digitization of Microfinance: bKash in Bangladesh :

I agree with the post above. There is an inherent risk that the use of technology (and thus limitations to face to face contact) will have a negative impact on willingness to share financial responsibilities. Especially in the micro loan segment this may become an issue if default rates increase. The systems relies to a large degree on trust established through personal interaction. So this will be an interesting development to follow.

On November 16, 2016, Donald Duck commented on e-Estonia: How Estonia is digitalizing an entire country :

Love the article! What do you believe is the impact of size here? Maybe it is important that Estonia has barely 1.3m people, which might make the implementation easier. Another factor that contributed to the successful implementation was the independence from Russia and hence the fact that Estonia and its bureaucracy had to be rebuilt from scratch. It is easier to rebuild than to change an existing bureaucracy.

I highly doubt that bigger countries will be able to replicate any time soon and I believe your point towards jobs will be decisive here. Resistance will be high as entire governmental departments will get closed down. So let’s see whether the digital government will disrupt the paper version.

On November 15, 2016, Donald Duck commented on Netflix and Chill? The Rise of a Tech Media Powerhouse :

Great post! What exactly could the active involvement with the user look like? Would that be in the form of social media? By now what do you think is Netflix’s key competitive advantage versus for example Amazon? There could be several angles to look at it: a) the amount of deals it can close to get licenses for existing blockbuster, b) the Netflix original content produces, c) global expansion, d) technology and user interface.

From my experience relatively few people truly cherish the Netflix recommendations and so far a lot of the content on streaming services is old and partly outdated. Do you see this changing in the future? What will be the impact on the film industry as a whole? How can film studios, cinema operators and others respond and may Netflix expand into any of those areas? The entertainment industry is super interesting and it remains to be seen whether in the future all my needs are dealt with through Spotify and Netflix.

On November 7, 2016, Donald Trump commented on Stylish and Sustainable: Can Zara’s Fast-Fashions be Both? :

Thanks for sharing your very interesting and skeptical view. I totally agree that many of their initiatives barely scratch the surface of the responsibility for and impact on our planet that these kinds of companies have.

An interesting topic that sparked my mind was actually how government regulation can help to push these companies towards more sustainable business practices. What could this regulation look like? More importantly, how could it be coordinated internationally? At the moment it seems that Inditex is actively hunting down favourable regulation and cheap labour environments. Can we exert more pressure from first world countries?

Furthermore, in what way will these practices eventually come back to haunt Inditex, for example through rising raw material costs? I believe that the size of the industry makes the debate extremely interesting in a way that through the shear environmental impact it has these might even be less of an externality.

On November 7, 2016, Donald Trump commented on Can MTN Keep Shreddin’ the Gnar in the Face of Climate Change? :

What I would like to learn more is how ski resorts themselves can reduce their impact on the environment. In many ways it seems like a vicious cycle: Winter’s become warmer, less snow falls, the need for artificial snow arises and ultimately energy consumption increases, which again contributes to the environment. What are the ways MTN has addressed this issue?

On another note, how do you see the potential of replacing winter tourism with summer tourism? The numbers I found were pretty disappointing in the way that potential is very limited with over 90% of revenues generated during the colder months. Nonetheless, it might be tricky to diversify into beach destinations given that they themselves will face many struggles with climate change.

I believe that a key challenge would be to look more closely into how and at what level, ski resorts can preserve the customer experience they currently offer. What are the improvements necessary to make artificial snow a full substitute and would it even be possible for it to melt only at higher temperatures. What can science do to mitigate the effects of climate change on the skiers’ experience?

On November 7, 2016, Donald Trump commented on “Club Med”: from (non)economical tourism to eco(logical)-tourism :

I am looking at this from a different perspective. In the short and medium term travel costs are predicted to decrease. Furthermore, the trend towards budget holidays seems to continue. However, even if Med’s business model is unlikely to become obsolete over the coming years I believe increased instability in weather may mean that Med needs to offer “flexible” holidays such that customers can shift between different destinations around the globe at short notice. In fact, such curative solutions will be much more important to the company than any preventive solutions. Med remains a small player in terms of global eco footprint and will most likely simply have to cope with whatever is coming their way. A lot of this will be done through diversifying locations and “moving” buildings away from the sea.

On November 7, 2016, Fritz commented on AB InBev: Brewing Initiatives to Fight Climate Change :

More generally I am wondering about two trends in the industry.

As InBev’s issues focus mostly around water shortages in farming of its main ingredients may it be possible that the future for InBev lies in upstream integration. With fewer resources available can InBev, as an absolute heavyweight in the industry, develop a competitive advantage by securing supplies by directly owning and managing them. This way climate change could potentially help them to drive smaller competitors that may find it harder to do this out of the market.

Relating to this I would like to entertain the thought how these developments could drive a further consolidation of the industry both nationally but especially internationally. With weather patterns becoming increasingly unpredictable it may make sense for InBev to diversify away some of these risks spreading its breweries and sourcing activities even further around the globe.

I believe these two could be high level strategic considerations InBev needs to make beyond the above coping mechanisms.

On November 7, 2016, Fritz commented on IT’S TIME TO PLAY BY THE RULES :

Given that Mattel is already falling behind on achieving its sustainability goal I see a bleak future for the company. Sustainability might not be a major concern for most parents in their purchasing (relative to Barbie’s enormous brand value) I believe that further government legislation through landfill quotas or even a “plastic” tax will impact Mattel’s bottom line in the future.

European competitors (e.g. Lego) facing stricter government regulation may build up a core competency outside of their core space that may come to benefit them hugely in the medium to long run. Mattel, facing fewer regulatory pressures, may seemingly be better off in the short run but might risk missing this trend altogether. Once negative PR and consumer consciousness will impact the top line it may be too late to shift with competition having pulled ahead. So the key question is how Mattel can portrait the required urgency in this matter without facing the same regulatory pressures.