Terrific comment top to bottom. Thank you for the additional information.
I enjoyed this read. One implication that I think you had throughout is that the MOOCs are intended to replace a traditional university education. However, I don’t think that has been their purpose – MOOCs (in their current state) are being utilized more to augment existing skills, rather than a degree replacement. In fact, one study indicates that about 65% of all MOOC students already have a degree, either undergrad or master’s/professional. To bolster this idea, another study looked at the average age of HBX registrants, and there was a pretty even distribution from age 20 up to about age 60. As such, this reinforces my point that these aren’t being utilized as a substitute for formal education.
Great read Paul, but I’m not so sure the future is as perilous as you do. I believe GameStop is uniquely positioned to maintain (or even grow) it’s current customer base. As you mentioned, they claim a 30 percent to 40 percent market share in the sale of digitally licensed content. They’ve also created an in-store environment where they service the casual gamer, but cater to the hard-core customer. Their employees are deeply knowledgeable about the different products and titles, and their customers. It seems to be an almost coffee-house type feel where loyal customers come in, mill around, and spend time talking with employees who become ‘friends’.
Additionally, GameStop makes a ton of money (27% of total revenue, 44% of profit) on their trade-in business, and competitors haven’t been able to duplicate that success. And for the younger customers especially, who don’t have their own income and are relying on their parents to provide funding for their purchases, I think that niche is here to stay.
Great post, it was a very interesting read. ORION sounds like an amazing technology that is driving efficiency across their service offerings. I’d be curious though about how proactively the company uses this technology for staffing decisions. As you mentioned, ORION has eliminated millions of minutes of idle time. It seems reasonable to assume that if the drivers were getting all of the deliveries made under the old model (pre-ORION), then the drivers themselves would have more idle time when utilizing the tech, potentially leading to layoffs. That could lead to a unique predicament where the drivers don’t embrace the technology because they see the writing on the wall that the deliveries that used to take 10 drivers might now only take 9. Also, there would most certainly be issues with unions should they start laying off employees because they made their routes ‘too efficient’.
Great read MB, I enjoyed learning more about how IBM Watson is effecting change.
From your suggestion about how to best implement Watson, what do you think of trying piloting implementation plans in underdeveloped countries, so as to ‘get it right’ while still making a meaningful impact? For instance, India has such a scarcity of physicians (their shortage in doctors is about 16 times greater than in the US) and prevalence of new cancer cases (>1 million per year). This would provide an excellent opportunity to understand how best to leverage the technology in an environment that is behind from an EHR and labor standpoint. And socially, you could expect it to be more helpful in India than say the USA because of the lower availability of resources and tech currently on the market.
This was an interesting read. From a regulations standpoint, what do steps do you think will be required for widespread adoption of this technology? The way I see it, innovators will need to successfully influence politicians while fighting off some very strong lobbies and unions (taxi drivers, commercial truck drivers, etc.). Additionally, someone will have to solve what you briefly touched on, what do you do with these people? Will we introduce a form of universal basic income as adoption increases? This technology will eventually put millions upon millions of people out of work, and the ones that will lose their jobs aren’t usually a highly educated populace. The “good thing” about this problem is that implementation will likely take an extended period of time as new vehicles are made, rather than retrofitting old vehicles, so there is a good deal of time to work through these issues.
According to one study, over 85% of polled people have either a positive or neutral opinion on autonomous or self-driving vehicles though, so one would definitely expect to see a push for this in the coming years.
Commercial aviation, not “commercial regulation” in the first sentence.
Though livestock (and activities related to raising them) is responsible for generating 18% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, don’t you think that the value they add helps offset potential alternative uses for the land on which they’re raised? For instance, assume a farm decides to rid themselves of their herd of goats. Once this decision is made, goats will no longer be contributing to the ongoing maintenance of the land (eating grass, etc.), tasks that must be replaced by man and machine. As a result, emissions are still occurring, potentially at a higher magnitude than before. These animals do provide benefits, or rather the tradeoff of not having them would still cause greenhouse emissions to replace the roles they served.
Outstanding read! You mention that “Munich RE could consider increasing its on-the-ground presence ahead of extreme weather events.” This could obviously help reduce the claims they receive, thus increasing return to shareholders. For a business whose profit is almost entirely predicated on minimizing the occurrences of natural events occurring to their customers, do you feel that Munich RE is doing enough to prevent these events from happening in the first place? It seems like it might benefit their bottom line if they took a proactive approach to mitigate the causes of climate change, rather than simply address the effects of said change.
Fantastic read Cory!
At this point, commercial regulation is essentially unregulated when it comes to the environment. Boeing wields considerable influence politically due to their role as the USA’s largest exporter of planes (by dollar). Boeing has been helping write new aviation emissions guidelines that don’t have much bite. If Boeing was actually interested in driving sustainability and staving off climate change, as opposed to simply increasing their bottom line, why do you think they aren’t pressing the EPA to craft more stringent emissions regulations?
You mention that “As long as the professional baseball players prefer using wooden bats instead of metal bats, Mizuno would be confronted by a decreasing supply of raw materials.” In the USA’s Major League Baseball, only wooden bats are allowed to be used. However, that rule isn’t consistent through the amateur ranks – in the NCAA, high school, and younger, aluminum and other metal bats are the primary (if not sole) type of bats used.
Is it fair to ask the question “Is Mizuno doing enough to practice sustainability?” If they were truly in favor of helping the environment, why wouldn’t they lead the charge in lobbying professional baseball associations to ban wooden bats entirely? They’ve got a presence in the metal bat landscape already, so one could assume that they’d maintain a competitive position in the market.
Some restaurants (Chipotle, for instance) are providing financial incentives for farmers to transition from conventional to organic production. You call for Clif Bar to incentivize farmers to ensure the quality of their product – what do you have in mind? Additionally, for a company as predicated on the input received from farmers, might it make sense for Clif Bar to vertically integrate farms in order to guarantee the raw materials were sustainably grown?