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Interesting read! My overarching question is, even had Digg retained its users, would it really be any less of a failure? Call me old fashioned, but I see generating revenue and *gasp* profits as the true measures of success (unless I’m undervaluing the true societal benefit of Digg and Reddit). It just seems like VCs invested in these websites (Digg, Reddit, etc.) believing they could somehow monetize the strength of their communities only to find out that Internet users are fickle beasts (we all owe Ellen Pao an apology). Do you believe that any of these sites will one day be truly lucrative or are they all part of the fintech froth and Digg’s bubble just burst quicker?

On November 20, 2016, Emma commented on Airbnb: My host wants to be my roommate. What does this mean? :

Great read! I love AirBnB and have used it a number of times, but I am cognizant that there has been considerable criticism of the company and its model. How would you respond to critics who say that AirBnb is causing rents to spiral in certain areas as ‘entrepreneurs’ rent out apartments solely as AirBnB spaces and can thus afford to pay higher leases than many locals looking to live in the area? It seems that AirBnB intended for the service to provide this immersive experience of staying in someone’s actual apartment or spare room but quickly many of the listed properties have essentially become AirBnB hotels. And it’s not simply a matter of AirBnB driving up rents – as someone who lived in a building where a unit was converted to an AirBnB flat, guests tend not to always be on their best behavior. How do you think AirBnb can step in to ensure that negative externalities are not borne by locals?

On November 20, 2016, Emma commented on Live Music in the Digital Age :

Interesting read, AG! You mentioned that Live Nation managed around 350 artists through its talent management arm. Given the digital revolution has really changed the ecosystem for music, I’d be interested to hear how you see the current landscape and where you feel Live Nation is best suited to play. For artists who are under Live Nation management, do they still work with traditional record labels to produce and release albums? Or is this paradigm now dying with the rapid growth in digital music services such as Spotify. Furthermore, do you see these digital music services as potentially posing a threat to Live Nation? Thanks!

On November 20, 2016, Emma commented on The NFL Goes Digital :

Interesting read! Given that this season has actually seen a decrease in ratings and viewership, do you see this as stemming from the NFL failing to adapt to these digitization trends or are there more secular headwinds that the league needs to address? Given that teams now maintain heavy social media presences and the number of mid-week games have expanded, is there any concern that digitization is actually just leading to oversaturation? Thanks! Now I’m going to go watch my team lose to the Seahawks.

On November 20, 2016, Emma commented on The NFL Goes Digital :


On November 20, 2016, Emma commented on M-Kopa: Disrupting African Retail Banking :

Interesting read! It sounds like M-Kopa has found a unique way to serve the underbanked. By offering financing to customers for a discrete list of hard goods, the company is able to garner significant data on borrowers and repayment habits. It sounds like from your article that M-Kope is leveraging this data when making follow-on lending decisions. However, do you know whether there is any push for M-Kopa to offer more traditional banking products (e.g., savings account) or even to expand the array of reasons consumers may borrow money? Hopefully M-Kopa will prove to be a step toward a more robust financial market in developing countries and will push further banking penetration.

On November 6, 2016, Emma commented on Thanks To Climate Change, The World Is Not Your Oyster :

Definitely craving some oysters after this article! In recent years, there has been a big push to inform consumers of which types of fish are more sustainable than others. I know this initiative has had a major impact on my purchasing decisions and I believe many others. Given that you mention there may be other types of species of oysters that are more resistant to increased acidity, do you think an initiative to inform consumers about the benefits of these species in the hopes of shifting consumer demand? Or are oysters commoditized enough that it is not necessarily demand which is informing the farming decisions of Island Creek and instead they are simply reacting to ocean conditions?

On November 6, 2016, Emma commented on AXA: “the cost of climate change is too damn high!” :

Interesting piece – I hadn’t realized AXA share price had been hit so hard! I completely agree with your assessment of potential next steps including revisiting buffer size and prediction models. However, I’d like to push back on the increased use of reinsurance. Is this not simply passing risk further down the line? There is perhaps an argument to be made around increased diversification of the risk pool. However, I don’t think this measure really removes the risk inherent in the system. Regardless, I’m glad to hear that AXA is actually taking steps to help reduce the risks stemming from climate change rather than simply revisiting risk models and buffer sizes!

On November 6, 2016, Emma commented on MAERSK – Feeling Slow-Steamed by Regulators :

Great article! I hadn’t realized that Maersk engaged in slow-steaming with such regularity. I am curious as to how costs associated with slow-steaming are passed on in freight rates. You mention that benefits from reduced fuel costs were offset by increased need for vessels. Given the extremely thin margins with which vessel companies are currently operating (with time charters near, or in some cases even below, operating costs), how do you see the trade-off between profitability and eco-conscious initiatives? Similarly, while low vessel values have led to increased scrapping of older, less fuel efficient vessels, how will companies such as Maersk be able to continue to invest in ECO product tankers and other more environmentally-friendly vessels? It seems a major re-calibration will be needed in the industry to bring supply and demand in-line enough to generate attractive returns for investors before any real investment can be made in the pursuit of green goals.

Great post! Given the major run-up in share prices of solar companies, such as SunEdison and Solar City, followed by a significant market readjustment, I am curious how investors view these companies long-term potential. Personally, I see obsolescence as one of the major risks facing the industry. Companies such as SunRun typically do most of their business through PPA or lease agreements, rather than outright sales of systems to customers. As such, SunRun retains a risk of default or non-payment, particularly if systems don’t meet performance standards. Given the limited history of residential solar, it seems there is significant risk of obsolescence as efficiency continues to grow exponentially while costs decline dramatically. Additionally, there is uncertainty around performance of these systems over such a long time horizon. How do you see SunRun addressing these risks?

Great post – I find the shipping industry super interesting, especially given the current climate. That being said, how do you see the current pressures facing the shipping industry impacting investment in new technologies and eco-conscious initiatives? Vessel values along with time charter rates across multiple vessel categories are at all-time lows, putting pressures on cash flows of shipping companies such as Maersk. Additionally, many banks are exiting the space resulting in limited lending availability to vessel owners. How do you see Maersk and others balancing near-term profitability concerns and lack of financing with the capital requirements of the initiatives outlined in your article?