Thanks Connor for this very interesting post. I didn’t know about the existence of Duolingo and will I certainly like to download it and start using it. I think that you make a very interesting point in your first question and I would say that as a reader of an article, magazine or book would feel less confident in what I am reading if I was told that the translation was done by a crowdsource translation instead of a professional translator. It is important to understand how they are certifying the quality of the translations and how they plan to maintain that quality after they start to grow at a faster pace. If they are able to do this well, then their value would be impressive and actually it could change the whole translations industry.
Very interesting post Sam. I didn’t know about Rhumbix and I found very interesting what they are doing in an industry that seems to be walking a couple of steps behind in the digital revolution. Similar to Jose, I was thinking on potential uses outside of the construction arena and I think that there could be many applications for this especially in labor-intensive industries, such as, the mining industry, oil & gas, agriculture and manufacturing. The only problem that I could see here is that the software relies on workers having smartphones, which I believe is a little bit expensive for the company to provide for all, especially in countries outside the US.
Very interesting post on a company that has changed the way we approach to music. I am a huge music fan and Spotify really changed how I find out, experience and share the music with my friends. It seems to me that the big problem they are facing right now is how to change users from the free service to the paid one. One alternative could be what they are just been doing the last couple of years, creating new content. Either the Spotify sessions, which are artists making special concerts for Spotify or their recent inclusion of Spotify videos in the app, such as Landmark, video-documentaries of important bands, Drawn & Recorded, videos that tell different stories and myths of important songs, and some more. Another alternative could be adding more value to the users in connection to the live music industry. They could associate more with concerts producers and offer discounts if you are a Spotify premium user, that way people would have more incentives to upgrade the service and make the numbers of Spotify finally turn positive.
Very interesting read on an industry that is suffering the effects of the digital revolution and piracy. I see a clear comparison with other industries that have suffered from piracy before like the books, music and movies industry. So as these industries have tried to fight back by innovating and creating new products that can’t be copied easily, what can Playboy and the Porn Industry do? As you say one thing could be leveraging more in their brand and creating more products that they can sell. It could even go to creating an intimate clothing sub-brand using the “bunny”. On the other hand Playboy could start investing more in R&D and try to create more new sophisticate products that can differentiate them form the other players of the industry, specially the “pirates”, and can motivate consumers to actually pay for something that they can usually obtain for free. For instance, I have heard that some companies are working in the adoption of Virtual Reality, so maybe this would be something that Playboy could be targeting as a new move to save their company from the negative effects of the internet in their business
Zach, very interesting article about the cocoa production and the difficulties it is having due to climate change. Reading the article, it came to my mind that Barry Callebaut is not addressing the climate change problem how they should. Is what they are doing sustainable in time? I mean, we know that the temperatures and rainfall in the cocoa producing countries are rising and therefore cocoa production is getting smaller and smaller. I understand what Barry is doing by getting closer to the farmers and working with them to improve their yields, but isn’t this a strategy to buy some time from clime change? At the end, whatever they do with the yields is not going to be sustainable if temperatures increase over a certain number in the next decade. Shouldn’t they look instead for some long-term changes that will assure them a successful operation in the future? In this case it comes to my mind to start looking for the next country in line that will have the conditions for producing cocoa (I would assume that that country would be immediately north or immediately south to the current cocoa producer countries) and start training that countries’ labor and developing the necessary infrastructure for setting operations there. This will secure the next stage of production after the current producing countries will cease producing due to climate change.
Very interesting article Shiv. Having worked in the mining industry before coming to HBS I understand the constraints and innovations that the mining industry have done to succeed in a changing environment. I know the Minera Esperanza case from very near, as I worked in Antofagasta Minerals, its parent company.
As you can see in my post (https://d3.harvard.edu/platform-rctom/submission/antofagasta-minerals-lets-change-the-mining-industry/) we addressed some of the same issues, regarding the innovations in the water uses and the new energy approach taken by miners to reduce CO2 emissions. Although “buying their way out of the water problem” sounds correct, I would argue that this is a simplification of what is going on. Miners have made enormous amount of research to look for the best options, in fact Antofagasta using untreated seawater is just an example of that, but in some cases even that is not possible. The case of Minera Escondida is very different from Minera Esperanza as for them is not possible to adapt their process and actually there are no more alternatives. The place where mines like Minera Escondida are located is the driest desert in the world and there is actually no water. Not doing that desalination project would lead to the shut down of the biggest copper mine in the world, which due to its size would inevitably rise copper prices.
Still, I completely agree with you that there are much more things to do. The mining industry is an industry with a very high impact to the environment and therefore things need to be taken seriously. Decisions taken today will last for decades. Every year new technologies are arising and the industry needs to be constantly attracting them and work to implement them so that they reduce their negative effects as much as possible and therefore the world can benefit from resources with the smallest possible impact.
Very interesting article. A couple of months ago I read something in line, as All Nippon Airways, Japan’s biggest airlines was spending around US$ 25mm to research and test algae as fuel. This is certainly the kind of trend that we would like to happened more and more in the future, as every form of fuel should come from sustainable sources and algae seems to be very sustainable one. But thinking on how much supply of algae we would need in order to satisfy all the energy needs in the aviation industry makes me look at it with a little bit of skepticism.
Are all the algae in the sea useful to produce energy? Actually the answer of this question is no, as there are some good algae but also some toxic algae, which cannot be used to produce energy. In addition, trying to grow them in nature can lead to difficult situations as apparently algae can suck oxygen out of the water, making an uninhabitable environment for underwater life, hence, the only alternative would be to grow it in a more controlled environment.
Having said that, is there there any cheap way to mass-produce algae? From what I understand, production of algae is still very expensive, so I guess this is one of the big challenges that algae production have nowadays, if researchers can find which energy-rich, non-toxic algae types are best and how to grow those specific types quickly, they can scale that up to mass production.
First of all congratulations, I think this is an amazing post, which I never thought to read when discussing about climate change. I feel that the Pope has made a very compelling case when calling humanity (Catholics and Non-Catholics) responsible for climate change and by saying that is our responsibility to fix it. As oppose to some that might say, I don’t think this represents an actual “evolution” of the Church’s message, instead I believe that the message is very well aligned with what the Catholic Church believes, that the Earth is God’s creation and as humans we need to use it wisely and take care of it. Having said that I think that the marketing component is crucial as we see that the Pope is “re-launching” an old truth in many different channels and utilizing this to get closer to a sector that has been walking away for a while. I totally agree that this could be an opportunity for the Church to get closer to the youngsters with this message. I think the complete idea is a great, with a great promotion!
I like your point of how they are reacting against climate change effects by diversifying in areas where there is less or none effect of climate change. So, in order to do this, do you think it would be interesting to expand the brand to the southern hemisphere? In some point they have done this buy acquiring Perisher in Australia, but maybe it could be a good opportunity to grow even more aggressively and acquire ski resorts in Chile, Argentina or New Zealand. They could certainly replicate their business model in those resorts, improving and expanding them, but with regards the climate change context, I can imagine many benefits: having a drought season in the Northern Hemisphere could be an opportunity for MTN to offer a new market to their North American and European consumers and vice-versa, exposing their customers to new resorts in a counter-seasonal manner and obtaining more benefits of their “Epic Pass”.