Thanks, Pat. What an interesting article and very stressful video! It’s hard for me to see how the “wins” differ from the traditional taxis here in the United States. This feels very comparable to what we have seen play out in the U.S., save the ruling by Thailand’s Ministry of Transportation. I think it’s frustrating when government officials cater to entrenched organizations instead of allowing the market to function as it should and allowing the best and most cost effective service to win out. Hopefully the MoT will revise his or her decision and allow UberMoto to coexist with the “wins”.
I absolutely agree! Having used both TurboTax and a CPA to prepare my taxes, I can attest to your claim that TurboTax gets the job done for a large portion of tax payers, although the company likely needs to better market that its service can handle even complex sources of income taxes with ease. I am highly optimistic that SaaS offerings like TurboTax can free up a large portion of human capital currently deployed for consumer income tax preparation–there has to be a better use of these talents, in particular if a $100 software program can do it just as well!
Thanks for the interesting post on Wal-Mart. I was surprised to see just how extensive the company’s online presence currently is. Relative to Amazon, which I’d argue is more heavily merchandised towards non-perishable goods, I wonder if Wal-Mart will ever be able to compete on the same scale as its larger competitor in online retailing. That said, your point regarding curb-side pickup certainly rings true–this seems like a natural opportunity, particularly given the typical Wal-Mart customer likely goes to the store with the intent of using at least some of the items purchased that same day (e.g. food). Playing this forward, should curb-side pickup becomes a more meaningful portion of total sales, it would be interesting to consider the impact that this would have on the layout of Wal-Mart stores (add a drive thru?) and if customers’ baskets would decrease in size due to fewer in-store, impromptu purchases.
Peter – Thanks for the very interesting post on self-driving cars. I admit, I am a big believer in the potential impact for good that self-driving cars can/will have in the future. I appreciate that some may find the thought of giving up the role of driving their car to a computer as scary–I think in 50 years we’ll look back and marvel that we ever let humans, prone to bouts of sleepiness, intoxication, distractions, etc., to drive cars! I found your point regarding leveraging the Uber drivers to gather data in order to improve the reliability of self-driving cars to be interesting. While Uber does have a fleet of employees at its disposable, I do wonder if an otherwise self-interested Uber driver would be interested in helping to perfect the very system that will put him or her out of a job. I suspect only those who feel the adoption of self-driving cars is already inevitable and want to generate any economic value off of it in the meantime would do such a thing. Still, very interesting to consider how self-driving cars will impact Uber’s value proposition and cost structure, as we discussed in class last week. Thanks for the great post!
What an interesting article. I would never have connected the Catholic Church with climate change, but your post did a nice job highlighting the institution’s potential for impact. As you point out with the Catholic Church, given the size of the challenges in front of us with climate change, we need to rely on our largest, most powerful institutions to help drive the necessary changes before it becomes too late. It’s sad to read of just how many people still refuse to believe the many studies that have proven that climate change is real and is primarily a result of human-made greenhouse gases.
Interesting post. On your point regarding Google’s data centers and the energy that they consume, I’d argue that this will become less and less of an issue as more companies shift their IT workloads from private servers in data centers to the private or public cloud through services like Amazon Web Services (“AWS”). Through AWS, companies like Google will be able to share servers with other divisions within the company (private cloud) or with other companies entirely (public cloud). By so doing, Google will be able to minimize the energy used for servers that run only limited number of workloads per day. That said, this assumes increased security of cloud services, something that has thus far lead companies to only shift their least sensitive workloads to the cloud.
I fully agree with your stance regarding Vail’s efforts (or lack thereof) to combat climate change. At best, climate change will create meaningful variability in future year’s free cash flow, seriously impacting the valuation of the company, and at worst, poses an existential threat to the company’s existence. As a result, it’s truly remarkable that Vail hasn’t done more to pound the drum of the future risks of climate change! And while I appreciate the company’s acquisition of Whistler to expand its portfolio of resorts with less immediate term impact from climate change, the reality is the company likely paid a full valuation for that business which should do little to ease investor’s concerns regarding the future prospects of the business.
Thanks for the excellent post. It’s startling just how much energy and waste is produced each year for bottled, treated tap water. You noted in your post that Danone will be faced with increasing levels of regulation/scrutiny from legislators over time. I wonder if a plastic bottled water tax would be an efficient way to minimize the consumption of plastic bottle waters–we’ve done it with other behaviors that legislators have viewed as negative (smoking, etc.). Given the impact on the environment, it may be an appropriate response.
Thanks for your post. It’s fascinating to read about all that Mars is doing to insulate its business model from climate change and the resultant reduction in crops. I particularly appreciated your comment regarding carob and Mars’ attempt to use it as an alternative to cocoa. While we’re seeing alternative ingredients become more commonplace (almond milk, coconut oil, etc.), it will be interesting to see how companies and consumers respond as goods become less available / expensive to produce as a result of the changing climate. Hopefully we behave in a responsible, sustainable way.