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On November 20, 2016, Eugeniu commented on Wechat – Cleaning up your mobile screen :

Very interesting post Haibo. It is curious to consider how different app markets are across countries and continents. I am also impressed on how could a single company manage to create an app that provides so many different services. While this app must represent a gold mine for Tencent in the Chinese market, I wonder whether they have the capability to expand beyond China. If the company were to aim for such a pursuit, I would have two concerns. First relates to the fact that each market has its peculiarities and as such the WeChat app with all its various features might need to be adjusted to embrace local market needs. I wonder if Tencent has the capability to undertake such a complicated and complicated task. Second, how will such an app be able to compete with the likes of Facebook and Skype while creating the best products?

On November 20, 2016, Eugeniu commented on Mining May Become the Safest Job in the World :

Thank you for the interesting post Kelly! I must confess that when I initially read the title, I though a new safe way was invented that would simply eliminate all or most of the dangers facing employees in the mining industry. And it is indeed the case, but at the cost of the mining employees losing their jobs. Your post and the comments received address the challenges that such as shift in the employee structure for mining companies will bring.
At the same time, given the immense capital expenditures required for such projects, I wonder whether companies operating in parts of the world were regulations relating to employees safety are not so stringent will adopt this type of technology? And related to Anglo American LEAD case study we had, do you think Rio Tinto and all the other mining companies will invest in such technological changes ready to take a financial hit and make the work environment safer or will they invest only if this provides a better financial outcome?

On November 20, 2016, Eugeniu commented on How to become the next Leo Messi :

Exciting article, Cristina. As a sports fan, particularly football, I would very much like to have the opportunity to see how some of the best players move on the field. It will inspire millions of small kids who aim to better their skills and become professional athletes. I remember the excitement around this technology when it was the first time used by a referee during a match between Barcelona and Real Madrid in 2015.
I wonder whether this technology will also provide benefits for the players themselves, whether they will be able to use the accumulated data to improve their own game? And do you think this technology will move beyond just video streaming and actually track the physical condition of the athletes during the game (like for example heart rate beat).
I was also intrigued by your last question and to play devil`s advocate will attempt to answer it: maybe a Cristiano Ronaldo fan? 🙂 In any case, FirstV1ision will have only to gain.

On November 20, 2016, Eugeniu commented on The answer is YES! Welcome to HB..X? :

Angelica, I like your post and love your title!

I believe all industries are exposed to the perils and opportunities digitization offers, and the education industry is no different. I agree with the idea that digital learning is one of the ways to go forward, including higher education. To me, e-learning extends beyond online open courses and education programs. Technology can also reshape teaching methods and let students personalize their educational experiences while address the escalating education costs. I consider that digital learning will be especially disruptive for (1) schools that are not in the top in terms of education quality (and here platforms supported by “ivy” universities will monetize the opportunities) and (2) those education programs the value of which is not significantly based on social interactions. I also share Kelly`s view point that it will be rather very difficult for HBX to match the quality and value of a full time good quality MBA experience. I consider that one possible solution to partially mitigate this gap would be to have the HBX students meet for 1-2 weeks every few months, to ensure they can hear and see each other in reality.

On November 20, 2016, Eugeniu commented on Banking on Digitization :

Interesting article Sebastian! As a former banker, I can definitely agree with the major impact digitization has on the operating model of banking industry. You mention that as the society adopts more and more technological changes, the retail business of the banks should keep up with these and move towards online and mobile solutions. I remember that during my time in Netherlands, the bank`s board was pushing hard for this transformation, to only be confronted by the reality that millions of people are still physically visiting branches every year. I checked whether the same holds true for the US market, and it appears that about 45% of the Americans visited a branch during the previous 30 days, with millennials visiting a branch in a proportion of 41% ( I am definitely on the same page with you that retail banks should move towards online / mobile banking. And I also believe that this transition has to be matched in terms of speed with customers` ability and desire to make the switch.

On November 7, 2016, Eugeniu commented on Can banks save the world? The case of Bank of America :

Thank you for your comments amals. I definitely agree that for BoA, and the banking industry in general, there is a long way to go before they make a real impact on the economy / society. At the same time, we have to bear in mind that these are entities owned by shareholders who want their companies maximize the profits in both short and long term. So finding the real balance between lower short term and long term sustainable profitability will indeed be the challenge.

On November 7, 2016, Eugeniu commented on Can banks save the world? The case of Bank of America :

cjt111242, thank you for your comments. I totally agree that the incorporation of climate change & environmental criteria should not lead just to a binary outcome of doing or not doing business but should rather be ultimately reflected in the loan price, which if too high, will simply result in high carbon businesses becoming unattractive.

On November 7, 2016, Eugeniu commented on Can banks save the world? The case of Bank of America :

Thank you for your comments and question Graham. You touch upon two very important topics: first, whether there is a clear initiative across the entire banking sector to work towards combating global warming and two, whether banks just hide behind these big numbers.
To answer your question, as far as I know, there is no strong initiative at the banking community level. However, there is an emerging trend in the banking industry to move towards business opportunities that help society switch to a low carbon economy. In order to gauge the extent to which the banks are doing so, there are indexes like DJSI (Dow Jones Sustainability Index) – which simply gauge how much banks are invested into making our economies greener. The real question to me here is, however, how much are banks (and their shareholders) ready to sacrifice in terms of profits / opportunity costs to support the transformation of the economy.

On November 6, 2016, Eugeniu commented on Cruising to the Arctic? That’s Ironic… :

Thank you for the insightful and thought provoking article. It is sad to read how much negative impact these type of vessels have on the environemnt and how much harm we humas produce to just enjoy a few days of holiday on a ship in the sea. Your post on Crystal Cruises shows than not only this company is polluting the world, it intends to seize the business opportunities climate change offers it to pollute us even more. So I wonder what can be done to limit this huge amount of CO2 emissions generated by the cruise industry as a whole? A few initial thoughts come to my mind:

1. Impose strict regulations that would require cruise these companies to reduce their emissions to a specific amount. I suppose it will be a challenging task as such restrictions might need to be imposed on Shipping industry as well, thus resulting in a much higher impact on the world`s economy.
2. Building on 1 above, force these companies to cooperate with the renewable energy developers to find ways to significantly cut the emissions. For example, would it work to build the vessel from solar panel materials (similar to what Solar City wants to do for rooftops) and thus become more efficient?
3. Make people aware of what happens to the environment every time they on-board such a ship. For example, regulators can require companies to say that the journey of each passenger is equivalent in terms of CO2 emissions to 12 years of driving a car everyday [13.1m/3000passengers/365days]. And then link this amount of CO2 to the number people who suffer because of that. I believe people do not necessarily have a link yet on how pollution results in real health and social problems.

Happy to discuss any other possible solutions.

Graham, your post regarding Duke Energy is a great reflection of the challenges utility companies are generally facing in the current environment. On one hand the company has a long standing profitable track record based on conventional power generation activity and on the other hand it feels the clear regulatory and social pressure to diversify away and invest in renewable electricity sources, which, up until now have not necessarily been more cost competitive than nuclear, gas or coal plants. I agree that the regulatory risk companies like Duke Energy face are huge – they can end up with obsolete assets that can`t be used anymore and thus write them off of their balance sheets.
In addition to the 3 goals you mention Duke has to work on, I would also suggest that the company needs to fundamentally acknowledge that going forward a cultural switch has to occur towards sustainable, more efficient, renewable sources (despite these only now becoming cost competitive). The world is changing and unless big utility companies swiftly react and incorporate this change, they will, as you say, “go up in the smoke”.

On November 6, 2016, Eugeniu commented on ExxonMobil: Carbon Capture and the Fight to Stay Relevant :

Thank you for the insightful post, Anto. Companies such as Exxon Mobile can indeed tremendously help humanity collect the carbon reduction low hanging fruit by investing in gas extraction, processing and distribution, things that will ultimately eliminate the usage of coal, a mineral which produces twice as much carbon dioxide as gas does.

Nonetheless, even after taking into account focus on gas, I find Exxon Mobile`s underlying business model to be at odds with what long-term fight against global climate change means. Why would a company extracting and selling products that are by definition polluting, help society switch to a low carbon economy? Or do you think such companies have enough resources and will ultimately switch and produce renewable type of energy?

Thank you for the interesting post, Sebastian. As a ski fan, I am saddened by the fact that Mont Sutton resort has to suffer because of global warming but also by the fact that all the other ski resorts spread across 66 world countries are negatively impacted.

While I understand that the ski industry is trying to find solutions such as artificial snow machines that mitigate the impacts climate change has on their profitability, I wonder if the industry as a whole undertakes any action to contain global warming? In the US alone, this is a multi-billion industry, something that might suggest the industry taken as a whole has some resources to fight against global warming.

On November 6, 2016, Eugeniu commented on Rebuilding a Reputation :

Thank you Philip for the post which I found to be very interesting. It seems that one way in which climate change impacts pharma companies` business model is that these companies have to introduce new medicine to fight against epidemics such as Zika virus which is the result, in big part, of global warming. At the same time, it is curious to consider that these type of epidemics represent business opportunities for companies like such as Merck as these ultimately end up selling more products and be more profitable.

The question I have is how do these companies balance the trade-off between their inherent responsibility to act on climate change and at the same time their shareholders pressure to be more profitable? Should these companies limit themselves at minimizing their greenhouse footprint or pro-actively engage and combat climate change at global level?