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On November 28, 2017, Minecraft commented on If you build it, will Tariffs come? BMW in the World of Trump :

I tend to follow news on BMW in particular and missed the decision to produce the X3 in multiple locations. It seems like a wise move to incur a slight cost from reduced economies of scale to hedge against a future trade war.

I agree with others that BMW ought to emphasize and broadcast its investments in the US and the jobs that it has created. It is unfortunate that they would have to waste PR dollars on this if it was not in plan, but it is probably worth an ad and outreach campaign in DC and manufacturing states to raise awareness. It should be their goal for lawmakers to know exactly their factual position even if alternative falsehoods are being yelled at them from protectionist parties.

Fascinating topic… I had no idea this was a ‘thing’ or that it was so resource intensive to raise cattle.

I can’t get away from thinking about your title though… ‘what’s beef?’ in a more philosophical context. Let’s say consumers are willing to pay and they are not grossed out by lab cow… why do we have to keep growing cow? Or eating cow? What if it is far easier, economically viable, and equally nutritious to grow dog meat? Will it be ok to grow dog meat and eat that if it comes from a petri dish and not from a kennel? What if the answer is in fact a hybrid frankenmeat? If we are developing this technology we should get ahead of these inevitable questions.

Very interesting that Tokyo as a municipality has chosen to invest in the hydrogen route. That said, I must be skeptical about its sustained success. Hydrogen vehicles and infrastructure depend on scale to succeed (as you pointed out), however, most of the green vehicle market appears to be shifting towards battery propulsion. Tesla is the well known pedestrian vehicle example, but commercial bus supplier Proterra has also seen great success.

Perhaps Japan can create enough domestic scale for a viable hydrogen vehicle ecosystem, but it is hard to imagine that the costs would be lower than an international effort pushing towards battery electric vehicles.

On November 28, 2017, Minecraft commented on Convoy Poised to Win the Startup Trucking Race :

This is a very succinct and clear discussion of the role that Convoy and its offering are playing.

While I recognize they are primarily a software company, I’d argue it may be beneficial to develop (or partner) specialized hardware of their own to assist companies with IoT-izing their entire fleets more quickly. On one project where I worked for a trucking company, I learned that a shockingly large percentage of the truck parc is still unconnected and there is resistance from drivers to connect them (due to ‘big brother’ concerns). Convoy may even want to give away the hardware they develop to spur adoption and ensure consistency (and control over) in data generation.

On November 27, 2017, Minecraft commented on The Mahindra Group: Driving towards India’s Digital Automotive Age :

Impressive results from the roll out of a radical new system for the company; the story very easily could have been about the all-digital catastrophe in the plant at Pune.

You raise some very insightful questions. With regards to 1), my understanding of the market is that we are a long ways off from mass market 3D printing for low-end passenger vehicles, particularly for any metallic parts. While such technology, for now, is too slow and too expensive, it may very well become an issue within the life of the plant of 20-30 years. 2) The best way to cope with reputational damage from layoffs is to avoid them in the first place. M&M should be thinking now about re-education or labor re-allocation programs so that current employees can be retained.

On November 27, 2017, Minecraft commented on Nissan at the Brexit Poker Table :

Quite a well-written article raising important points for any company producing cars in the UK. Ghosn and other company executives should be very concerned, as neither new plants nor new supply chains can be made overnight (and both would cost fortunes). They may be facing certain losses regardless of their mitigation efforts.

But they will not be the only ones. The far more UK dependent Jaguar Land Rover is highly outwardly concerned. The now-Indian-owned but primarily UK-based and operated firm estimates they could lose $1 billion pounds in profit over the next 10 years. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jun/21/brexit-could-cause-1bn-drop-jaguar-land-rover-profit-sources-say

This discussion also begs the question as to the impact any change to NAFTA will have on the US, Canada, and Mexico auto industries should the Trump Administration follow through with proposals set forth in their campaign. It is important to consider the follow-on impacts from isolationism in addition to any perceived short-term gain.