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Thank you for the article, Tabatha. I agree with the comments from protagonist and others above. I am a bit skeptical about increased tariffs being a true threat to McLaren’s business. Fred mentioned Mercedes and B&W as comparisons; while I agree these are all luxury vehicles, I view McLaren as an even more luxury offering. The buyers of McLarens are likely to almost be price agnostic, as they are likely attracted to the vehicle because of its brand or performance attributes. While consumers definitely react negatively to price increases, I doubt there are many customers of McLaren who exist on the fringes in terms of willingness to pay and are deterred by new tariffs. As we saw with the Marriott case in regards to Ritz Carlton properties, regardless of price increases, there will always be consumers who value luxury goods are are far less price sensitive. I do agree with your assessment that McLaren should explore domestic synergies that have arisen to further improve its supply chain, however.

On December 1, 2017, Megan commented on Steel Tariffs: Making America Competitive Again? :

This article highlights the key tension present in lobbying for or against protectionist policies. As Kate mentioned, the ultimate decision on tariffs lies with the policymakers in government. As a slightly cynical individual from DC, I believe that politicians are often incentivized to shape policy to align with groups that are most likely to help them get re-election. Therefore I would be interested to see the political contributions that BHP has historically made. That might be an indicator of how successful their lobbying efforts will be.

I am also still undecided whether these tariffs truly reflect “unfair” trade policies. I think it depends what you are solving for: job creation maintenance in the US or market efficiency. It is difficult to decide which solution ultimately provides the greatest benefit for the American people / society as a whole? Is protecting American jobs and industry better in the long run than allowing for complete free trade that could result in the most vibrant economy?

Thank you for this interesting article and insights, Anmol. I completely agree that hospitals should include controls in their systems to address issues caused by climate change — such as storing critical machinery and samples on higher floors or having backup generators. I am slightly less convinced whether hospitals feel the moral obligation (or even should) of investing in eco-friendly machinery and practices at the expense of cost. I agree with the comment above by Maximus; unless it makes clear business sense for the hospital to engage in these green practices, I am skeptical whether they will make the large capital investment to do so. The only exception I see to this is if legislation is passed that puts a cap on greenhouse gas contributions hospitals can make, similar to those put on other fore-profit corporations. I think this is unlikely in the short term, as most people would prefer hospitals put their capital towards treating patients or investing in possibly groundbreaking medical research rather than focusing on sustainability initiatives.

Thank you for this interesting article, TOMSupplyChain. FD raises an interesting point. I believe there will always be value in a brand and the expertise that a company like Adidas can bring from a design and performance perspective. I think there are a few ways that Adidas will be protected from becoming just a designer rather than a producer of 3D-printed shoes. For starters, Adidas, as a massive global corporation, will likely be able to better capitalize on economies of scale than more localized printing locations. This will allow Adidas to offer shoes at competitive prices. Additionally, Adidas can emphasize its R&D efforts / understanding of sneaker design to offer high levels of customization. Once 3D technology catches up and becomes faster, I could see an opportunity for Adidas to provide 3D printed shoes with midsoles completely customized to an individual consumer’s needs — such as a softer heel for frequent runners. The consumer data Adidas has collected and its expertise in creating performance-driven shoes could provide a competitive edge as they attempt to create individualized, mass market 3D printed shoes.

Jared, thank you for this interesting article on a highly relevant topic. I react to the Beyond Meat investment in a much more cynical way than FD or DM. As Jared mentioned, Tyson is a leading contributor to GHG emissions – a fact that has received much media attention. Advocates trying to raise awareness about the implications of climate change have written articles and created documentaries that have somewhat villainized large meat producers.

Therefore, I see this minority investment and the VC fund in general largely as a self-serving PR move to drum up positive public sentiment. For a company that boasts almost $40bn in sales, a $150mm fund seems incredibly small and does not signal a real commitment to investing in “alternative proteins, profitable methods of eliminating food loss, and technologies that drive efficient resource allocation throughout the food chain.” Furthermore, at the time of Tyson’s minority investment, Beyond Meat has already received funding from philanthropic-minded Bill Gates. [1] Gates saw an application in which this technology could be used to help provide affordable protein to developing countries that still struggled with malnourishment. I think Tyson saw an opportunity to invest in a company that was already being lauded for its socially conscious mission to make themselves appear committed to addressing climate change.

While DM could be correct in his assessment that plant-based meat substitutes have the potential to transform Tyson in the long term, I find it suspect that they have only made a single minority investment in this space. There are a number of companies with products similar to Beyond Meat, such as Impossible Foods or Exo Protein. Therefore, I would assume if expanding into these new plant-based technology was a strategic priority for Tyson, they would pursue further investments in this space (or even an acquisition) in addition to Beyond Meat. [2]


On November 30, 2017, Megan commented on DIGITIZING THE MAKERS OF VIAGRA :

Thank you for writing this interesting piece, Solomon. It had not previously occurred to me that large Pharma is one of the slower movers to hop on the “digitization train” in regards to improving operations. I agree with your and Sarah’s assessment, however, that new digital technologies could help pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer address some of the difficulties that have arisen in the sector – including: global expansion, competitive pressure on pricing from generics and increasingly complex supply chains (due to expanding portfolios of drugs through R&D and acquisitions) [1].

However, there are a few key issues that Pfizer must consider as it continues to pursue this digitization strategy. One key issue I foresee could be changing regulations. As technology becomes more integral in the production / development of drugs, the FDA or other regulatory bodies could create and enforce a new set of criteria / standardization on Company’s processes to ensure safety and quality drug production. If the systems Pfizer has developed are not in compliance, it would result in a huge time and financial burden on the Company to alter its operations.
Another key risk is that of cybersecurity. As Pfizer begins to collect and analyze more data and store it on a central cloud, there is a risk that hackers could access incredibly sensitive company data, such as pricing data or details of contracts.