Thanks for the interesting article on AGCO’s move into digital farming. I would be curious to know how competitors in the agricultural equipment space are responding? It seems like AGCO will face competition from players such as Monsanto (http://fortune.com/2016/08/17/monsantos-climate-corp-to-expand-digital-farming-platform/) as well as startups. I agree with you that as sensors decline in cost and continue to improve in quality, farmers will rely more and more on precision farming and software to maximize crop yields. I also thought your point on locking in customers was interesting. If AGCO creates valuable software that is enabled by their hardware it will create additional stickiness in customer demand for their equipment.
Very interesting article on Philips’ move into the healthcare IoT space. I think you correctly highlighted under “A path forward” bullet (2), that one of the primary difficulties in this space is patient adoption. Philips could have the best technology in the world, but if patients refuse to use that technology then it won’t matter. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on how Philips can focus on designing products that drive patient adoption, and how Philips can work with healthcare providers to get them to explain the benefits to patients.
I would imagine that a large number, if not the majority, of the patients that Philips is focusing on are in the 65+ category, and may be adverse to utilizing new technologies. How do you think Philips will be able to drive adoption of COPD monitoring technology in the 65+ category among non-tech savvy users?
Great post Gregor. Glad to see that Hasbro is innovating and moving into the digital space with the classic game Monopoly. I was surprised to see the 99% global brand awareness stat. I wonder if Monopoly’s brand recognition is partially enabling the move into digital, and whether lesser known board games would have the same kind of success. As you mentioned, virtual reality does seem like a logical next step for Monopoly that may open new opportunities for the brand and for Hasbro.
Interesting article. One question I have is how companies can tell when they are going down the path to bankruptcy and how to mitigate that. Should Kodak have done more spin-offs and asset sales prior to bankruptcy to manage value for shareholders? Does it make sense for companies with an old business model to try and pivot into something entirely new, or should they try to manage the decline as best they can and distribute cash to their holders? Would be interesting to hear your take on how Kodak is doing today and whether you think some of their new initiatives will be successful.
Very interesting post Sam. I would be curious to hear your thoughts on how the future of net neutrality might play into future negotiations between Comcast / Netflix, and other cable providers / content providers. Some commentators (such as the LA Times below) have speculated that the Trump administration might try to undue some of the FCC’s regulations on net neutrality. While it is still unclear what the new FCC’s stance will be on net neutrality, the risk of cable providers like Comcast being able to price-gouge content providers like Netflix has certainly gone up. Netflix may view deals such as this one as an opportunity to hedge against net neutrality dismantling.
Fascinating article on Southwestern Energy and how they are leading the natural gas space in new methods of fugitive emissions detection. Southwestern Energy demonstrates how long-term thinking can prod corporations to embrace sustainability initiatives. As you noted, the EPA is taking a closer look at natural gas production and is imposing more stringent regulatory requirements. Because of their foresight, Southwestern Energy will have a head start against its peers on compliance.
One concern that I have is natural gas producers exiting the space entirely over fears of not being able to profitably meet compliance costs. However, as new technology is developed the costs of adoption will likely continue to decrease. Additionally, if natural gas prices increase for a sustained period of time it could draw companies back into the sector.
Thanks Brian, excellent article addressing Dow’s need to reduce its footprint. It does seem likely that Dow will continue to face more stringent regulatory requirements into the future and will have to continually adopt new sustainable technologies. However, I would be interested to know whether Dow’s R&D department is capable of creating next generation carbon capture technology on its own? It seems possible that they might be able to purchase this type of technology from a third party vendor rather than produce it in house. It also seems that they could potentially benefit in this area by partnering with other companies who are working on similar issues. For instance, on Dow’s website they note that they are partnering with Alstom Power to jointly develop new CO2 capture technology. (http://oilandgas.dow.com/applications/power/co2_capture.htm).
Excellent article that accurately highlights government hypocrisy at the State level. While policymakers like to claim that they are in favor of PEVs, and want to do everything they can to combat climate change, it is much easier to pay lip service to green initiatives than to override laws that will greatly anger a small group of vocal constituents (the auto dealers). Auto dealerships also ingratiate themselves in local communities by sponsoring local little league, football, and basketball teams to further increase protectionist support. (http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/a9265/do-we-really-need-car-dealerships-anymore-15748322/).
This is a case in which unnecessary paternalism has morphed into a serious impediment to the adoption of more sustainable technology. These laws were implemented to protect auto dealership owners at the expense of manufacturers (and consumers!). Faced with limited competition, consumers are often forced to pay excess prices and deal with a lower quality experience. It is certainly time to allow Tesla and other auto manufacturers to sell directly to consumers.
This was a very interesting post that explored both sides of whether or not B&J’s should support climate change initiatives. From their website it appears that B&J’s also contributes $1.1 million annually to various nonprofits and community groups through employee led corporate philanthropy (https://www.unileverusa.com/brands/our-brands/ben-and-jerrys.html).
I thought you made an excellent point that “66% of global consumers say they are willing to pay more for products that come from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact.” However, I think it would be interesting to see whether consumers actually act this way in practice. For one, consumers may not know about B&J’s (or other companies) philanthropic missions. Even if consumers are aware of these missions they may not remember them at the point of sale when they are differentiating between two competing products. However, it seems possible that corporate philanthropy also serves to boost employee morale and retention rates, particularly at a company like B&J’s that has an employee led giving program.
Thanks RM for a comprehensive look at how Whistler Blackcomb is responding to changing conditions. I would be curious to hear your thoughts on what changes Vail Resorts might implement after acquiring WB and whether you think they would engage in more or less sustainable practices? Also would be interesting to hear your take on what opportunities Vail / WB should look at to continue to consolidate the industry and whether they are better off sticking with acquiring resorts in North America or if they should look to Europe or other regions?