John Harvard

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Thanks for a fascinating – if slightly terrifying – post! I’m thinking about this from a TOM perspective as a quality control problem. I wonder if the Cost Guard might invest more energy earlier in the process. Is there a way they could share some of the ship management tools that they have access to which potentially go though more rigorous security vetting? Given that shipping attacks are a serious national security concern, I wonder if they could help companies diagnose the root causes of security gaps, akin to the work of the NTSB. I also think there are opportunities for the Coast Guard to test security vulnerabilities. One extreme idea is that the Coast Guard could serve as a “Red Team” purposely attacking the digital infrastructure in an effort to uncover potential vulnerabilities before our adversaries. These areas of risk and potential mitigation could then be shared with the relevant parties.

Regarding your comment on Luca’s first point, I wonder how effective these tariffs are in capturing the full extent of the underlying subsidy? I two questions First, how quickly is the government able to adjust the tariff to account for changing levels of subsidization? I can imagine that setting the tariff is a long bureaucratic process and changes in production processes or government support could mean that the tariff fails to correct the price differential. Second, I wonder if trade regulators evaluate government subsidization of parts of the Bostd supply chain. While this product does not sound like it would have that many inputs, tracing the impacts of subsidies though the supply chain would quickly get extremely complicated.

I could also imagine the development of a more severe “America First” procurement policy at the state level that artificially increases the competitiveness of American manufactured products. I wonder how companies like Bostd are evaluating this type of local isolationism risk.

On December 1, 2017, John Harvard commented on Does a Trump presidency mean fewer free t-shirts? :

I did not realize the cheap T-shirt market was so concentrated! Thanks for a great post on the impact of trade uncertainty. One of the approaches you listed was purchasing American Apparel. To my mind, the higher price of the shirts produced in the US means that Gildan may be shifting to serve a very different customer. To get a sense of the price differential, I took at look at the relative cost of purchasing one shirt online. A Gildan shirt is $6 while one from American Apparel is $18. I’d be curious about the amount of substitution that occurred between their old T-shirts and those from American Apparel. One implication of globalization I had not previously considered is that as companies respond to potential trade barriers it may actually cause them to change their customer promise.


Thanks for a fascinating read! It’s exciting that regulatory agencies are trying to be aggressive about adopting new technology. As I think about the core problem you identified in credentialing, I wonder if block chain is just the attractive new technology that helps create excitement about solving the underlying data sharing problem. I imagine that a secure database not built on block chain could potentially address many of the same problems. It could allow all the relevant players in the healthcare system to update and access information on credentials. One major advantage of block chain, as you pointed out, is that it’s distributed. One entity would not need to be responsible for maintaining the integrity of the system.

On December 1, 2017, John Harvard commented on Tenet Health: Fighting the Climate Change Fever :

This was fascinating! Your post prompted two ideas. I’d be interested in the total possible impact of the entire US healthcare industry trying to reduce meat consumption. It makes sense that a healthcare company might be the right type of institution to implement such a change, given their focus health. One of the challenges with this plan is figuring out which supply chain changes would produce the most climate impact. It’s hard to optimize when you lack reliable data. This process would be made much easier if you either had an effective regulatory mechanism to internalize the negative externality of climate change. Failing that, I could imagine a system where every item sold includes information on the estimated climate impact of its production, allowing all consumers to make easier choices about how to reduce the environmental impact of their purchases.

On December 1, 2017, John Harvard commented on Robocabs Join the Fight Against Climate Change :

I agree that driverless vehicles represent a significant opportunity to reduce the climate change caused by of transportation. Thanks for sharing some stunning figures about the potential impact. However, I have two concerns. The first is that autonomous technology might just be applied to gas-powered vehicles, mitigating the possible energy savings. Electrification seems like the major opportunity, not just automation. The second concern is that automation might increase vehicle usage so much that it eliminates the reduction in climate impact from shifting to electrified vehicles. I can imagine that if I don’t have to drive my car and electricity prices are relatively low, I might have it circle the block for hours instead of paying for parking. I could also see autonomous vehicles shifting almost all commerce to automated delivery, since the cost would fall dramatically. The climate impact would depend on how much usage increases as well as the environmental impact of the energy source, but this is one of the potential complications from autonomous vehicles that regulators may need to address.