Karen C.

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On November 27, 2017, Karen C. commented on The post-Brexit hangover: One big headache for Diageo :

Melissa — thanks for sharing your insights on how Diageo is navigating the uncertainties around Brexit! I’m interested to learn more about how restrictions on the free movement of labor will impact Diageo’s development of managerial talent going forward, as well as that of its key peers competing in the United Kingdom. It seems hugely punitive and detrimental to the company’s future competitiveness, as you mentioned, and could potentially impact even mundane day-to-day issues such as business travel restrictions.

On November 27, 2017, Karen C. commented on Sunrun: Confronting Solar Panel Import Tariffs :

Mike — thanks for sharing information about this topic, I found it super fascinating but also pretty concerning at the same time. There seem to be broadly negative implications for US solar panel manufacturers and their competitiveness in the global marketplace, and I’m wondering how many years of market growth this will effectively set the solar power industry back.

I like your suggestion that Sunrun should consider incentivizing one of its manufacturing partners to establish domestic operations in the US, if that would allow solar cells and panels produced within those operations to be exempt from tariffs. Under the proposal, is it sufficient that the products are made in the US even if they are ultimately owned by a foreign corporation? Another thing I was wondering is whether Sunrun should consider taking it a step further toward vertical integration by purchasing a domestic solar panel manufacturer. It seems that this strategy could help to insulate them from political and regulatory risk. One financial consideration would be whether the purchase price and ongoing operating costs (in the higher manufacturing cost environment of the US) would be less than the cost of tariffs on top of its current supplier relationships.

On November 27, 2017, Karen C. commented on Performance with Purpose: PepsiCo’s Sustainability Mission :

Landen — I thought this piece was really fascinating! I found it incredibly validating that PepsiCo has been able to prove that environmental sustainability is also beneficial for its bottom line, given its $600mm in savings since 2011.

In addition to your question about consumers’ willingness to pay for sustainable supply chain and packaging as part of the product itself, I also wonder to what extent PepsiCo has incorporated sustainable agriculture practices in its raw materials sourcing. I know you mentioned that they have a Sustainable Farming Initiative, but I’m not sure if the company mandates these practices to its growers or farmers. As one of the largest food & beverage companies in the world with a legacy of being one of the first to incorporate sustainability, it seems that PepsiCo should use its industry scale to impose better standards on its suppliers. Products manufactured with sustainable sourcing would invariably cost more, but I think certain segments of consumers would be willing to pay more for these products which are more sustainable and environmentally-friendly — the same way that certain consumers pay for organic and non-GMO competitors to PepsiCo’s products.

This article was really interesting to me in light of the strong criticism facing the city of Houston following severe flooding this summer — I remember reading a piece in the New York Times back in September (linked below) and wondering why the government and policymakers hadn’t done significantly more to prevent the flood damage that occurs so frequently in Houston. I’m not sure if this applies as much to Dallas given its geographic position, but one factor which contributed so heavily to flooding in Houston was the city’s rapid real estate growth, resulting in over-development in floodplains or other areas which were historically native grasslands providing a natural “sponge” against flooding. As a result, one additional measure that I think all city and municipal governments will need to take into account is potentially implementing policies to curb development in flood-prone areas, even if this may come at the cost of slowing down short-term economic growth.


I think the question you’ve posed is an intriguing one, regarding whether 3D printing for prosthetic production is better suited for developing vs. developed markets.

In developing markets, benefits such as cost efficiency, faster production speed, and improved patient access seem undeniable, but it seems that there is still a quality and durability deficit when compared to traditionally-manufactured prosthetics. I imagine that this gap will only continue to narrow in the future as improvements in biomaterials and biomechanical design are made. I also wonder whether there are any studies on whether the long-term cost of a 3D printed prosthetic is still competitive even after replacement costs and failure rates.

In developed markets, I believe there is still likely to be strong demand for 3D printed prosthetics among potentially underserved populations. One example would be children, who may need numerous expensive prosthetics as they grow up or may have a more favorable perception of colorfully- or playfully-designed prosthetics — 3D printing company Cyborg Beast is one such company that serves this market.

On November 27, 2017, Karen C. commented on A taste of their own medicine – GSK disrupted by 3D printing :

I had never heard of 3D printed pills before, so this was a super interesting article! You’ve provided a lot of evidence around the benefits of 3D printing for both pharmaceutical manufacturers as well as patients. I’m wondering if this technology has the potential to disrupt the broader industry value chain, for example on the part of players like contract drug manufacturers who are currently responsible for the majority of the drug production that occurs globally — some market research sources estimate that outsourcing accounts for two-thirds of global pharmaceutical manufacturing. It’s possible that 3D printing could now begin to disintermediate these players, much in the same way that the pharmaceutical industry moved towards outsourcing development and manufacturing.