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Great article on Oxford in a period of isolationism. I believe one of the solutions could be a shift to more online education that leverages the strong brand of Oxford. This step would be similar to what many institutions have done here in the US through Coursera, edX, and 2U to provide their content and insight via internet classes with specific degree programs. Leveraging their brand could grow their influence and further strengthen the brand of the university. In fact, 2U just announced plans to launch its first international graduate program in 2019 (1).

(1) https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/2u-inc-reports-third-quarter-2017-financial-results-300551237.html

Great article. One of the concerns I have with the responses to the more isolationist policies is the fact that more companies may focus on automating which could significantly reduce the utilization of the current labor force. Furthermore, many individuals who are out of jobs are older. In fact, 1.3 million Americans age 55 and older are looking for work but unable to find it, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (1). I believe this trend is going to create significant issues around unemployment and retraining that are going to be difficult to navigate as automation becomes more prevalent.

(1) http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/economy-budget/335896-workers-wanted-skilled-labor-shortage-hinders-business

On December 1, 2017, j commented on The End of Consulting as We Know It? :

The digitization of consulting is something I would become more and more concerned about with the rise of artificial intelligence. With increasing power of AI, I think that firms will be able to draw additional insights from the wisdom of crowds rather than a set of consultants. For example, Unu.ai leverages the wisdom of crowds in order to source answers to questions. The belief is based on the idea that a crowd is more likely to reach the correct answer, harkening back to the idea of Watson’s approach to certain questions (1). This technology would enable companies to quickly gather key insights from their customers on a broad range of topics and could potentially help drive innovation at the company. Of course, there are always risks to relying too much on data, but there is also risk to relying too much on consultants!

(1) https://www.diplomacy.edu/resources/books/reviews/wisdom-crowds-why-many-are-smarter-few

On December 1, 2017, j commented on Fall Without Pumpkin Spice Lattes? It Could Happen :

Thanks for the great article on the coffee supply chain and the effect climate change has had on it. One of the other interesting programs that Starbucks has invested in in order to insure that their supply chain is sustainable is to provide 100 Million trees to farmers by 2025, of which they have already provided 35 million through 2016 (1). Astoundingly, the rate of coffee consumption is expected to increase to 160 million 60kg bags by 2020 (2).

(1) https://www.starbucks.com/responsibility/community/farmer-support/social-development-investments
(2) https://www.theatlas.com/charts/Bk9obKfkl

On December 1, 2017, j commented on Kellogg’s Leadership in Fighting Climate Change :

Very interesting insight into Kellogg’s work to reduce its impact on climate change. My worry is that their efforts, while powerful on given their scale, may ultimately not be enough by themselves. However, it is clear that other players likely General Mills are following suit as seen below (1). Ideally, these efforts would be combined with broader policy actions from the government through focused lobbying efforts to improve the industries in a more rapid manner.

“The companies’ goals as stated, are fairly straightforward:
General Mills will cut absolute GHGs by 28% by 2025 “across the entire value chain.” By 2050 it will slash emissions up to 72%, with the exact number TBD, but at a pace that will keep them “in line with scientific consensus.”
Kellogg’s 2050 target is to cut its own and supplier emissions by 65% and 50% respectively.”

(1) https://hbr.org/2016/06/how-general-mills-and-kellogg-are-tackling-greenhouse-gas-emissions

Juan Carlos, thanks for the great read. I think the last mile problem is fascinating, and I actually believe that one of the solutions will be further leveraging the network of vehicles that Uber/Lyft have on the road. These drivers could be routed more efficiently (similar to how UberPool works) to better match drivers with routes that may actually be more cost efficient than sending a good through the typical shipping channels. The article linked below highlights how the UberPool model actually increases the utilization of the driver on the road, and although it is talking about increasing driver earnings, it highlights the ability to streamline individuals on the road to fulfilling more tasks if you assume that a driver could pick up a package rather than a passenger at one point.