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On November 20, 2016, mdelaney commented on Digitizing the Grocery Store :

Thanks for the post, Joanna. Beyond what has been written above, another interesting dimension of our new local BFresh is the location, as you mention in your post. One nuance is that these new urban locations operate with significantly less square footage than traditional Ahold stores (Stop & Shop, GIANT, etc.). In addition to densely packed shelves, one implication is that these stores have minimal warehouse space. As far as the operating model is concerned, I imagine this has broad/deep effects on inventory management (e.g., safety stock) and the supply chain. As an example, the company may need to deliver goods on a daily basis in order to keep the shelves stocked, which requires increased coordination between suppliers and vendors. Perhaps the company leverages the point-of-sale (POS) data on a real-time basis to maintain appropriate inventory levels?

On November 20, 2016, mdelaney commented on GE’s Big Bet on the Industrial Internet :

Thanks for the post, Nate. Another interesting organizational/operating change at GE has been the formal launch of the Digital division. For one, the new office centralizes all of the company’s IT, industrial security and software initiatives under one roof. Second, the new office is in San Ramon, CA (East Bay), which certainly signals an attempt to attract/retain top engineering talent (i.e., human capital management). Finally, the division was not setup as an independent business with its own P&L. Instead, it was funded by a $1B investment and positioned inside of GE Global Research.

On November 20, 2016, mdelaney commented on Building the 21st Century Government :

Thanks for the post, Vinay. I would be very interested to learn how the GoI coordinates these efforts and resources across the federal, state and local levels. On the very local level, the government might consider a tool like PublicStuff (link below), which is billed as a “civic engagement platform” to connect residents and government agencies. As an example, if a resident sees a downed power-line, the resident can take a picture, submit a service request and track progress toward resolution. At the same time, the platform’s back-end routes the request to the appropriate government agency (e.g., department of public works), schedules tasks and reports back to all stakeholders.

Thanks for the post, DS. The advent of condition-based maintenance also has a number of interesting downstream effects. First, by pulling real-time data off of sensors embedded in their equipment, OEMs are actually able to optimize the design of future generations of the product. Said differently, OEMs are able to strengthen the feedback loop on products in the field. Second, armed with the data, service companies are better equipped to diagnose underlying issues, maintain inventories of replacement parts and determine if they need to roll a truck (i.e., send a costly technician into the field). Finally, companies like PTC (link below) are leveraging the sensor data to deliver augmented reality applications/experiences that can effectively walk service technicians through repairs (think: digital training manual).

On November 20, 2016, mdelaney commented on Out of print :

Thanks for the post, Sophie. I suppose it makes sense for a post covering the NYT to be so well-written. In any case, I’d be very curious to hear how the NYT management team thinks about its budding competitors targeting millennials: BuzzFeed, Vice, Vox, Mic, etc. I find Mic to be particularly interesting as they ultimately aim to accumulate 40-50 million monthly unique visitors, compared to the open-ended strategy at the Huffington Post (~90M), Buzzfeed (~80M), Washington Post (~75M) and NYT (~70M). Mic argues that they would lose their ability to charge premium advertising rates at more than 50 million monthly unique visitors. With that in mind, I would be interested to learn how a legacy newspaper like the NYT considers the pros/cons of targeting specific segmentations of the market.

On November 6, 2016, mdelaney commented on Big Data Could Mean Big Problems :

Thanks for the post, Jessica. In the spirit of out-of-the-box ideas, I came across a few creative ways that data center operators are trying to reduce their energy consumption. One idea is relocating to the parts of the world with the cheapest electricity, such as Iceland, where they have more geothermal and hydroelectric power than they know what do with and are not able to export (1). In fact, the Icelandic government is even considering changing their tax code to incentivize more foreign companies. Another radical solution is to actually launch the servers into outer space, where they could be powered by solar radiation and cooled by low temperatures. I am not an expert, but I read that zero gravity also has some benefits w/r/t any moving parts (i.e., less friction) (2). Given that Bezos from AMZN also owns Blue Origin, which is expected to provide a variety of spaceflight services, I wouldn’t put the next generation of “cloud” computing passed AMZN…


Thanks for the post, Dima. To be honest with you, I had not previously considered / appreciated how warmer temperatures will not only make the poles more accessible but also more relevant w/r/t commerce. After doing a bit more research, I’ve also come to learn about some of the many emerging geopolitical debates, particularly as they relate to who has rights to what territory and by what definition. As an example, the US and Canada disagree on whether the Northwest Passage (which connects the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans via the Arctic Ocean) is legally considered internal or international waters. Russia aside, I’ve also come to appreciate how important the Northern Sea Route is to China, as they will likely rely on it as a supply route for raw materials going forward.

Taking a step back, the emergence of new sea lanes can have a monumental impact on the balance of economic and political power, so I definitely think we should all pay close attention. Thanks again for starting the discussion.

On November 6, 2016, mdelaney commented on Ratings agencies and climate change: The next financial crisis? :

I’m a big fan of this post as well. Thanks for starting the conversation.

Considering how only a handful of companies (S&P, Moody’s, Fitch) are largely responsible for defining the way the world thinks about credit quality, perhaps this is an opportunity for the three competitors to embrace the fact that we collectively need to address how climate change impacts credit worthiness and risk. Said differently, I would advocate for the three companies to collaborate with one another and start a public dialogue on ways to properly account for relevant risks. It is not as if any of these three companies are quietly sitting on the answer right now. In reality, I think the markets have a lot of learning to do. I would hope these organizations can appreciate the need for transparency and thought leadership, especially following the recent financial market collapse, and lead the charge.

To add on to Sophie’s comment re: the large annual audience, I would actually think it would be in everyone’s best interest if all of the national park organizations across the globe partnered together as one united front. Beyond the audience, these organizations are responsible for protecting and preserving a material amount of the world’s most valuable property — approximately 14% and 9% of total land in the US and Canada, respectively (1). Perhaps more importantly, I imagine these organizations may come under mounting pressure in decades ahead as the world searches for available arable land and natural resources. In that case, a more appropriate question to ask may be: as climate change evolves the face of our planet, under what circumstances do we expand/contract the land under protection?


On November 6, 2016, mdelaney commented on Is Big Green Doing Enough to Reduce Emissions? :

Sam — Thanks for the strong post. I definitely have not considered the someone ironic reality that in the process of manufacturing heavy-duty farming equipment, John Deere is fundamentally jeopardizing the future of its own customers. All of that said, I actually encourage you to check out my post on Trimble, which develops a bunch of the software/hardware that is plugged into John Deere tractors for navigation and data extraction/management purposes. I imagine a partnership between the two could be quite effective w/r/t optimizing equipment efficiency, utilization, best practices, etc.

Also, another potential way that John Deere could contribute to the climate change conversation is through the Global Village Construction Set (GVCS). My understanding is that an organization called Open Source Ecology (link below) is in the process of designing and prototyping a set of 50 industrial machines that are essential to sustaining any modern civilization. These machines would theoretically be easy to build, low cost and low maintenance. Most importantly, the organization is releasing the blueprints online for all to see and marketing them in emerging markets. As you can imagine, a number of these industrial machines are in John Deere’s product portfolio, such as tractors and backhoes. While emerging markets may not be an economically viable line of business for John Deere in the near-term, a partnership could be an opportunity the company to share its knowledge and expertise, as well as gain a toehold in new markets.