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A really interesting article, Janice. It does make one think that the methodology and working of the banking sector hasn’t really changed much since its inception. The modality remains the same, and the way of operation relies mostly on a physical base. With the advent of technology and internet which has revolutionized banking so much, the core concept of banking, i.e. lending is still done through inter-personal methods, primarily at branches. This part of banking has begged for a paradigm shift for a long time. Cutting out the intermediary (banks and financial institutions) would seem to be the right way to go. The idea that Lending Club and various other players in this market space has is good, but it has a long way to go. In an era where digitization is occurring everywhere even this deeply-entrenched sector will have to follow suit. It is just a matter of time. I completely agree that till the time that this direct online financing industry gets traction, it will be a pawn to economic movement, with default rates being directly affected, but once issues of fraud are dealt with using more sophisticated algorithm and testing parameters, regulations are put into place protecting the rights of all parties, and the user base increases, this could be the next staple in the financial lending sector.

On November 20, 2016, Greta commented on Prepare for Takeoff: Digital Farming with Drones :

Drone technology in agriculture will usher in the next Green Revolution, that is plain to see from your article, Alan! Automation of agriculture will have a long term cascading effect all across the globe, especially in developing nations, where so much of the population is engaged in farming. Integrating all aspects of farming, automating it based on scientific methods and scientific data will not only boost yield and production but will also help in shifting the agrarian population to pursue work in other sectors of the economy over time, thereby increasing overall productivity and hopefully driving innovation.
Even now, in India, the government has tasked indigenous teams to develop similar drone based mapping systems to solve a very fundamental problem. Every year India is forced to import a substantial amount of cereals and pulses. Because there is no accurate data of expected harvest, India imports food grains and distributes it inefficiently causing several instances of deficiencies and surplus in the various regions, causing wastage and a loss to the treasury. By deploying these drones for data collection, the government hopes to better understand the area under cultivation, and expected harvest for several crops and food items that will help them assess their import requirements and distribution patterns with a certain level of accuracy. As you can see, this technology has a far reaching impact already.

This is a grave topic of global importance and impact, and I thank you for writing about it. Not only is it thought provoking, but also educative about the work that is being done in helping people and providing rescue to millions suffering because of this despicable practice. What the Polaris Project is doing is worthy of the highest praise and commendable. Considering the scope of this criminal activity, and how human traffickers use country hopping to escape scrutiny and capture, this Project should be unified under a singular international charter, encompassing all associated public and law-enforcement agencies across the globe, with a single help-line number. Not only will this broaden the scope of data analytics instantly, it will also help in capturing and curtailing the vast network of these criminals and stop their activities eventually. I understand that an undertaking of such a magnitude would require a collaborative effort globally as well as monetary and human resources, but it should be tackled along the same lines as other Global challenges being faced. The framework is ready, only the deployment is necessary. The sooner the better, for the sake of all affected victims.

On November 20, 2016, Greta commented on e-Estonia: How Estonia is digitalizing an entire country :

This is a brilliant direction for a country to take. Sure, as the previous comments have suggested, the size of the population has been a driving force in nation-wide adoption and implementation of this e-form of government, but let’s not take anything away from what has been achieved. There is no doubt that this is the right direction and needs to be adopted across the globe. From a citizen’s perspective, the amount of time saved and ease and intuitiveness of use is brilliant. For the government, it is a direct access to data from and of its people. Furthermore, data analytics would help in governance. I can see a lot of possibilities for this model in developing countries where bureaucracy is akin to a stone wall and corruption is rampant. The e-residency program is also a breakthrough in investment promotion. Like Nicklas replied in the comments, positive effects of such a program are already visible, and in a time where ease of business is the driving force behind investments, it will reap more and more benefits as the program is expanded. Kudos Estonia.

A great job summarizing the usage of data analytics in a very interesting sector of the market. This is one of those examples where technological and information development has a drastic impact in decision making for the business in streamlining and making their internal processes so much more efficient and cost effective. The consumer cannot visibly see the innovation in play but realizes the changes through increased efficiency and ease of use, which would definitely want them coming back for more. Making the processes easier and more accessible across the board for the consumer is a sure way to get repeat customers, and this can clearly be seen in MiniLuxe. Furthermore, the incentive method just mentioned will attract more technicians and retain the quality performers. All in all, I do believe that this kind of innovation in a very traditional sector is sure to give an edge to the company, which could allow it to become and retain position as a market leader.

On November 7, 2016, Greta commented on Tesla’s $7 Billion Climate Change Problem? :

JJ – thank you for a great and insightful article!
It is a coincidence, because since the launch of the Tesla Solar Roof, I too have been thinking about the Value Proposition of Tesla products. You have identified two concrete issues with Tesla and in extension all electric vehicles. The weak links or high risks involved in their supply chain is definitely a concern. I hadn’t thought of that before how climate change has a cascading effect that reverberates in even the automotive industry. The most viable and long term solution to this problem has to be, like JJL suggested, vertical integration. With the foresight and vision that Tesla has, I don’t doubt for a second that they’re not thinking of taking most/all of their component manufacturing in-house. This would also give them the value addition of quality control and not to mention lower their carbon-footprint by drastically reducing their supply chain (to a single link). The other problem hinted upon in your assessment is, in my opinion, a more serious one. That reflects towards a paradigm shift rather than just an adaptive or mitigative measure. Mining of the resources required to make electric cars or similar products a reality is energy intensive and the technology basis used today has not changed in decades. This is a part of the process that Tesla doesn’t have any expertise in and would probably remain beyond their control. And if the emission cost for production per electric vehicle remains high, it doesn’t answer the problem they were manufactured to solve. What this conundrum require is a complete overhaul in the technology, basing it more on the elements and materials of tomorrow rather than base and rare metals mining.

Nathan, thank you for a great article and for bringing to light the steps taken by MillerCoors!
What they do is a commendable effort. The methodology utilized by them in resource conservation is well-thought out and how far they have proceeded in implementing them is outstanding. What I do believe the future for most breweries and distilleries, and what is being done already by some of the bigger names such as ABinBev, is complete backward integration. Breweries and distilleries are in the rare position where nearly all their by-products and waste products have some utility. By capturing spent wash and other waste matter from the brewery/distillation process, and bio-digesting it, it can be utilized as good quality organic fertilizer. thereby further reducing waste discharge across the board. This also means that MillerCoor will be able to take the agricultural process in-house, further reducing their costs and increasing their sustainability factor. Like in the previous comment, Carbon Dioxide too can be captured for refrigeration and/or preservation process. Overall 100% of process output would drastically reduce their climatic impact and combined with their other initiatives, make them a revolutionary green company.

Thank you for your post, Farha! It was a very well-written and detailed assessment about the valuable work being undertaken by BRRI. Considering the dependency of Bangladesh and many other countries on agriculture as a primary source of livelihood, any steps taken to combat the adverse effects and repercussion of climatic changes and global warming is welcome and much needed. Agriculture is commonly perceived as a green economy, often overlooked as a contributor to the issue of global warming itself. I think that BRRI along with the activities it currently undertakes (strengthening the rice crop itself for weathering the harsh climate brought about by global warming), should also probably focus on the fact that rice paddies themselves are a contributor to Green House Gas emissions, primarily methane.[1] Certain agricultural practices can be incorporated to lower these emissions.


On November 7, 2016, Greta commented on The Ecological Impact of Feminine Hygiene Products :

Shreya – what a great and interesting post, thank you!
And yes, I completely agree with you. Social stigma has been and is still playing a detrimental role in development and advancement of a basic necessity of 50% of the world population. With a market size this massive, one would assume that, there wouldn’t be a dearth of options. But somehow in this one particular case the world has let profitability take a back seat.
Coming to the issue at hand, I too was unaware the carbon footprint left behind in production and disposal of female hygiene products. The need of the hour, it is clear to see, is a more sustainable, low-emission impact option like those being provided by Natracare. Acceptance and initiative by the larger brands like J&J and P&G, who already have ecological sustainability and combat global warming initiatives, and would hence target even these products through those lens would be the medium term goal. And in the long run, for the sake of 50% of the population, eliminate this ridiculous stigma and make it the commonplace thing that it is.

On November 7, 2016, Greta commented on Sunny Days Ahead for SolarCity? :

What a great post, Joey!
After just reading about the recent solar roof launch by Tesla, their partnership with Solar City makes a lot more sense. The problems you’ve outlined that maybe faced by Solar City on the tapering off of Solar Power tax incentivisation is something being echoed all over the world. In several countries, especially the developing nations, government tenders are not upholding their own laid out tariff structures and in fact, these inflated values aren’t sustainable for any government in the long run. Unfortunately, the investments done in Solar at the turn of the millennium were based entirely on these lucrative numbers and schemes and will not sustain the shift in policies over the next decade. What Solar City and Tesla are proposing is, in my humble opinion, so simple yet so revolutionary. Advancement in PV cells and storage solutions (in some cases led by Tesla itself) has made their concept of “off-the’grid” a reality and when clubbed with retail sale to private consumers and the established concept of net-metering, their economic structure is sound for a long time to come.