Javier Fernandez's Profile
Quinn, great article!
I recently learned more about Bitcoin and Blockchain during a presentation by a recent Harvard Alum who has started a bitcoin exchange startup in Mexico. The company is called Bitso, the recent alum is Daniel Vogel ’15. One of the things I was most curious about was the actual use case for bitcoin outside of facilitating transactions between banks. He explained one such case that I found fascinating. There are many teenagers in Mexico who do not have access to credit cards, and whose parents will not allow them to use their credit cards to make purchases online. These teenagers want to pay for access to video-game portals such as Valve’s Steam store which we recently learned about. It turns out that Steam accepts bitcoin, so every month, several thousand Mexican teenagers go the the local convenience store and buy Bitcoin which is placed in their Bitso account. They can then use their Bitcoin to make purchases internationally. This use case was an unintended one, and i thought it was fascinating how people find ways to leverage technology and sometimes find new creative uses for it.
Hi Jon, great article.
It was both fascinating and somewhat funny to me that parents are able to see exactly when their children fell asleep, or went to the potty. This takes the term “helicopter parenting” to a whole new level in my opinion. Having said that, I think that the correct application of this technology in day-cares or kinder-gardens could be extremely useful if it was devoted more exclusively to the developmental side of things.
I recently learned about a Mexican startup called “Advenio” that identified a serious gap in Mexico’s child-care space. As more women are brought into the workforce in Mexico, the need for this kind of service has skyrocketed. What I found interesting is that from the get-go, Advenio implemented a technology-centric approach which allows parents to look at cameras in their children’s day-care centers, send messages to care-takers, and recieve updates on developmental progress. I just thought it was very interesting that these kinds of innovative approaches to child-care are sprouting all over the world, in countries at different stages of economic development.
Felipe, as a fellow Mexican this issue is near and dear, as I have known many people who depend directly on remittances sent from family members who emigrated to the US looking for better working opportunities. I would be very interested to learn how companies like Remitly are thinking about the expanding popularity of Bitcoin as a “currency bridge”. On one hand, leveraging the fluidity of Bitcoin could help Remitly lower operational times significantly while retaining exchange margins, on the other, it exposes them to further scrutiny and risk from regulatory agencies. As Bitcoin becomes more accepted, and if regulatory bodies ponder the trace-ability and security of bit-coin transactions, companies like Remitly should think of partnerships with budding Bitcoin startups, such as Bitso, now the largest Bitcoin exchange in Mexico, which was started by an HBS Alum just a couple of years ago. Here is a link to their website if you are interested in learning about them!
As someone looking into working at a traditionally brick and mortar supermarket chain this summer, this article was both terrifying and exciting! On one hand, there may not be much these retailers can do to survive, on the other hand, when their back is against the wall is likely when they will have to innovate the most to stay alive and relevant. As I look into working at one of these retailers over the summer, I will definitely be looking out for projects that involve this digital transformation. I think you are right that it is not a matter of if they will look into this space, but whether they will do it soon enough and well enough to survive!
Great post Sonja, the use of technology to monitor and mitigate the high water usage in the Almond crop industry is promising! It is sad that these types of solutions tend to come up only when the problem becomes critical. In a way this is a reflection of the climate change problem as a whole. I fear that until we begin to feel the effects of climate change on a broad and real scale, we won’t put forth the efforts needed to fix the problem.
Another interesting effect of the California drought is the domino effect that it can have worldwide which can make the climate change problem even worse! This article talk about how the stresses on California Avocado growers have led Mexican Avocado growers to deforest more land in attempts to capitalize on the higher avocado prices in the US:
I definitely agree that Australian and QLD need to be at the forefront of attacking the global warming issue. Which is why i was extremely saddened to find this article which details the government’s unwillingness to admit the depth of the problem:
The Guardian – Australia scrubbed from UN climate change report after government intervention. Accessed 11/2016.
Another way of attacking this issue could be through visitor education. Considering that a majority of Australia’s tourists come from China, one of the world’s major contributors of carbon emissions, educating these tourists could go a long way towards encouraging them to reduce carbon emissions back home.
Ryan, I thought your post was very interesting and It definitely hit a personal nerve for me, knowing how important tourism is for the Mexican Economy. One of Mexico’s best performing publicly traded companies over the past few years is Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico GAP, which operates the Cancun Airport. You can read a bit more about their performance here:
If the resorts along the Mayan rivera are affected by rising sea levels, then GAP will likely be affected as well. The ripple effects of climate change are astonishing when we begin to dig a little deeper. Thanks for the thought provoking post!
Thanks for your comment Saurav! I was really surprised when I read the article that talks about the government stepping in to block the UN report. The short term cost / long term value trade off is a difficult one, I think governments need to find a way to better balance incentives so that this type of trade off is not so difficult to justify from a budget perspective…
Eric, I’m glad to see that Marriott seems to be aware of the climate change issue and has begun to take steps to try to mitigate. I wonder about the impact that will be possible by focusing on internal operations only, so the VR integration that you suggested sounds very promising. If Marriott’s sustainability practices can somehow “rub-off” on its customers and they apply them at home, where they spend many million more nights, the impact could be huge! Thanks for the thought-provoking piece.
Saurav you make an excellent point regarding Cargill’s dependence on climate change, and I agree that they should be doing more to address the issue. Food security is extremely important, and I think we can take a different perspective on what Cargill should do if we also take into account the mix of nutrients that they are producing. The vast majority of crop calories are in the form of carbohydrates, and if climate change begins to affect production of certain crops, we could switch to more calorie-dense crops to maintain overall calorie production stable. However the same is not true for proteins, we have far less flexibility in terms of protein production, and I would be very interested to understand what Cargill might be doing to increase efficiency and security of protein production.