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On December 1, 2017, larosed commented on Dark days ahead — SolarCity vs Protectionism :

Hi John, This is an extremely interesting article – I was especially interested in the price sensitivity of demand expected in the market for residential solar based on the 35% increase. I would love to know more about how the cost of the panels from the Buffalo plant and how they would compare to the current Chinese panels. I am also curious to know how SolarCity feels about this protectionist move given that they will be the beneficiaries in such a short time frame. This could give them some room to make a margin selling their panels to other U.S. installers or charging higher prices to end consumers. Playing some devil’s advocate here, but isn’t SolarCity also benefiting from subsidies from the Federal and State governments (on top of the $750mm tax break for the factory from the state of NY)? It could be argued that the Federal and State programs that reimburse homeowners who install solar panels are protecting the industry from more competitive alternative energy sources.

On December 1, 2017, larosed commented on Time, Tide and… Massive Capital Expenditures, Wait for No One :

Hi Scott – Thanks for the article. You raise some very interesting questions here. First off, I think it is not only acceptable for the military to be taking a stand on this issue, but is critical for them to do so. The military is responsible for the defense of the country and is expected to do so regardless of the current political climate in Washington. This includes being able to analyze and assess the risks from any event disrupting its ability to carry out its mission. Rising sea levels are not a new phenomenon the Navy is just starting to deal with, but is something that has been steadily occurring since the founding of the modern naval fleet. Having said that, I believe it is a major issue that the U.S. is not properly allocating costs that are resulting from this issue. Concealing or shuffling these costs around will only serve to delay the recognition of the importance of this issue and allow the denial of climate change to continue to linger in the political sphere. Finally, I am not so concerned about the Navy’s budget being used to combat a phenomenon that is affecting the entire world. While rising sea levels affect everyone, the improvements and investments being made by the military are primarily self-serving and in the interests of the American people.

On December 1, 2017, larosed commented on The Little Smoothie Company that Could Faces the Big Bad Brexit :

Thanks for a great read! I think it would be extremely difficult to measure with any precision how the intervening period of uncertainty will affect Innocent. That being said, some consequences of the Brexit decision could be Innocent delaying capital investment in the UK until it has the final numbers on what the world will look like after Brexit. This would be a clear negative for the company as they look to scale up their operations and increase market share across Europe. Many other companies in the UK will likely be facing the same uncertainty and may decide to delay any long-term decision making. This could lead to a slump in economic activity, which might cause consumers to cut out the expensive smoothie purchase, further hurting the company.
If I was Coca-Cola I would consider moving all of my production not consumed in the UK out of the country. Why should Coca-Cola import raw materials into a country for them to blended, bottled and shipped back across the channel? I don’t think it is worth the hassle especially if additional import and export fees are levied on top of what they currently pay to the government. The company may face the risk of some backlash based on its decision to move some production overseas, but I’m sure they will have more than enough company to get lost in the noise. I am less worried about the currency issues faced by the company in this instance given the ability of Coca-Cola to efficiently eliminate those risks through its hedging operations.

On December 1, 2017, larosed commented on Smartmatic: the role of blockchain in enabling elections :

Great article! In the U.S. so much can be done to improve the voting process and make voting more accessible and convenient to voters. The country has a lot to gain from better functioning elections and a higher voter turnout as people will feel less disenfranchised and a more accurate sample of the population will be represented. I think this is one of the most exciting and interesting applications for blockchain and one that will be a great test of the technology’s ability to be rolled out in a highly visible and high stakes setting. I agree with you that the technology should be rolled out in a piecemeal way, streamlining some of the more menial phases in the voting process while getting the public more comfortable with the idea and allowing other blockchain applications to be proved out. I also believe, however, that given enough time people will accept blockchain as a legitimate technology capable of handling the entire voting process and enabling online voting. In a world where blockchain is responsible for maintaining people’s financial accounts, there is no reason for people to not trust the same fundamental technology when going to the polls.

Very interesting article. It was great to read about the Chinese competitor to Tesla especially given how hard Musk is working to penetrate the market. I am very surprised by NIO’s willingness to outsource seemingly critical functions to third parties who are industry incumbents. I see this as a major disadvantage for them because the incumbent’s motives are likely to differ from NIO’s given they are trying to disrupt the status quo. If NIO is working to revolutionize the technology in vehicles, they should look to keep more functions under their control where they can observe and improve. I believe the success of this company will largely rest in the hands of the Chinese government who has control of not only the policy affecting EVs, but also the SOEs that the company must rely on when building out their charging networks. Finally, I am concerned that the company is not being aggressive enough in pursuing battery improvement and production. One of the key initiatives that Tesla has been working on to gain a competitive advantage in the industry is its joint-venture with Panasonic – the Gigafactory. It will be extremely difficult for NIO to compete with Tesla if the cost and efficiency gains from the Gigafactory are as significant as Tesla expects.

On December 1, 2017, larosed commented on German Railway “Deutsche Bahn:” Train-ing for the Future? :

Hi Sophie, Great article! I’ve spent a great deal of the past five years on the subway and hated every minute of it, so I really enjoyed reading about the Deutsche Bahn and what they are thinking about to improve the experience. I am curious to know whether the reduction in freight being shipped by rail is the result of a switch to a competing mode of transport, which can be addressed by further digitalization of the railway or if it is the result of broader economic conditions, such as, a decrease in aggregate material shipped. YoY freight carried by rail in the U.S. has increased slightly and has been largely flat over the trailing four-year period while the country’s GNP has been increasing. [1] This leads me to believe we may be seeing a move away from rail to other modes in the U.S. Matt addressed a great point that rail has always faced a “last mile” problem, which might be able to be mitigated through technological advancement; however, rail still faces a flexibility problem that stems from the fixed nature of the rails themselves. In a world where technology continues to make more flexible modes more appealing, will rail lose out simply due to its fixed nature?