Jim Holden

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On December 1, 2017, Jim Holden commented on Let’s Get Digital, Digital! :

Good job Kevin, Solid read! I think there is an interesting juxtaposition between the clear benefits of technology and the risks of being too absorbed in the digital, as the previous comments stated. However I see screen use just as another thing to manage – it must be managed just like food, exercise, work/life balance, risks that have permeated our lives since the start of humanity. We can learn to manage this one as well.

I see technology as a complementary good to physical toys, especially as the barriers between them are removed. Mattel has already released a 3D printer for kids (https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/27/mattels-thingmaker-the-3d-printer-that-let-kids-make-their-own-toys-delayed-until-next-year/), as well as a 3D scanner (https://gizmodo.com/hasbro-patented-a-3d-scanner-for-kids-that-uses-a-smart-1764720563). As the cost of these devices drop and ease of use increases, the barrier between the digital playground and the sandbox will become diffuse. The result is a huge opportunity – the success of combining toys with digital games has been demonstrated with Nintendo’s Amiibo series (https://gamerant.com/nintendo-amiibo-sales-splatoon/) but success in this area will require significant effort, and expertise in areas far outside of Mattel’s historical competency.

On December 1, 2017, Jim Holden commented on All Digital at ALDI: Fast Times in Supermarket Tech :

ALDI is in a wonderful position to displace higher-cost grocers who are located above them on the cost-to-service curve as per Clayton Christensen’s low cost disruption (http://www.claytonchristensen.com/key-concepts/). This makes it key to focus on R&D to find ways to increase service without sacrificing the price advantage.
Digitization of the supply chain is essential in grocery in how dynamic and responsive the company can be. Standard products can find the lowest cost supplier and deliver on reliable schedules, but significant changes in demand can be addressed with smaller, local suppliers or reshuffling of excess inventory at neighboring stores.
Digitization of supply also adds a significant feedback loop to improve quality – understanding exactly what product was sold to which customer resulted in a complaint allows ALDI to quickly isolated shipments or suppliers of concern, improving the quality of their offerings and closing the gap with incumbent grocers.

Interesting take! While I agree that strengthening it’s position in China is a necessary play for EH, and momentum for the graphite industry will further strengthen China’ hold on the material. Graphite has growing uses across the electronics industry (www.olmec.co.uk/graphite_and_carbon_use_in_electronics_industry.htm), and many bleeding edge technologies – carbon nanotubes, graphite based semiconductors – are dependent on the material. Given the proximity of electronics design and manufacturing to China’s material production base, expect graphite consumption to grow and become increasingly important to local industry and groundbreaking technologies. In response to this I would push EH to further expand operations in China, and diversify it’s customer base outside of the US.

On November 29, 2017, Jim Holden commented on The Little Smoothie Company that Could Faces the Big Bad Brexit :

Interesting read – I love smoothies, I hope Innocent can continue their success!

In the end I suspect that lobbying politicians will be ineffective. I would push for an aggressive move in the direction of the expansion into the European markets and Australia, and expatriate themselves from the UK. Brexit will prove to be a long, arduous process that not even Coke can fix, and the huge risk of UK’s ability to trade in the world market should not be discounted. A diversity of companies – banks, gaming companies, tech giants, clothiers – are leaving Britain for greener pastures (https://www.verdict.co.uk/which-companies-could-leave-the-uk-because-of-brexit/). Given the brand appeal, international supply chain and growth in continental Europe, it seems a natural place for Innocent to move to.

On November 29, 2017, Jim Holden commented on Walmart: From Supply Chain to Blockchain :

Very thought provoking article – well done! I agree that Blockchain is an important tool to ensuring the data is distributed and unmolested, and perfectly suitable to a supply chain tracking.

One item of concern in cryptographic blockchain is that even though data is physically held and confirmed by many parties, the encryption key used to access the data still lies with a single party – this consolidates risk in the firm handling the encryption. Even though the data itself is safe, access to it can be gained by targeting a single party (https://hbr.org/2017/03/how-safe-are-blockchains-it-depends). The value of distributed data to eliminate tampering when access is still consolidated into keys or encryptions owned by a single or few entities. A hacker only needs to target one location to gain access to all of the data. How can we address this added concentrated risk?

On November 27, 2017, Jim Holden commented on Smartmatic: the role of blockchain in enabling elections :

Wonderful concept! I agree with the concept of applying blockchain to elections, and see a number of technologies that could complement the technology and make it suitable for online voting. Numerous concepts are used in commercial applications today. Two-factor identification is an easy way to verify identities in real-time. The most common example is sending a text message to your phone to login to a bank website – it is one thing to steal an ID or hack an email, it is another to take another’s cell phone and keep it activated. Blockchain can also be combined with other novel security measures – biometric fingerprint readers or face recognition software on phones and laptops for examples. Combining 3 requirements for identification – encrypted decentralized blockchain ID information, real-time two-factor identification and local biometrics – could combine to create a robust system extremely resistant to hacking – the company Civic is commercializing this concept (https://www.civic.com/). Key concerns include ensuring all communities and socioeconomic classes have access to this technology, yet 77% of Americans own a smartphone – given that facial recognition only requires a camera, and fingerprint scanning has been prevalent since 2013, these technologies seem to be within reach of the general public (http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/mobile/).