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On November 20, 2016, N commented on Bitcoin and the Blockchain :

Great writeup Todd. I’d like to share an essay which I believe to be the best layman’s description of the power of blockchain: https://aeon.co/essays/how-blockchain-will-revolutionise-far-more-than-money.

I’m bullish on the power of the technology to really revolutionize both developed and emerging markets. For me, the power of a decentralized means to record ownership of any physical (or virtual) asset is where the power really lies (and less-so in the ability to make payments over the internet without a middle man). The ability for people to have trust and proof of ownership in emerging markets where infrastructure is sparse will be critical. Like MRP mentioned above, this can be applied to anything from syndicated loans to property deeds. Blockchain technology truly may be the most important innovation to date of the modern web. I’m very excited to see where it goes next!

On November 20, 2016, N commented on Can education publishers digitize? :

I love this post, KK, as it highlights how the common issue of content vs. platform is creeping up in other businesses outside of traditional media. The particular challenge for Pearson seems to be the fact that both the platform upon which the content is delivered as well as the content itself is changing rapidly. While Pearson seems to be doing a good job of pivoting and creating a sustainable strategy by attacking both, do you think it’s too aggressive? Building the technology platform for educational content delivery and creating all-star content for various curriculums in the US (and beyond) seems like a lofty goal.

I would suppose that Pearson’s greater competitive advantage would be in the content itself, a fact that you alluded to in your post. Perhaps it would be less risky to parter with a prevalent technology company instead of purchasing and integrating one like they have, and focus Pearson entirely on creating high quality content that aligns with the strategic goals of the policy makers at the state and federal level. Maybe the devil is indeed in the details in this case, and the only practical path is through customized content/software solutions to individual needs, like the partnership with ASU. Only time will tell how the digitization of the education space pans out, but it certainly is an exciting time for students everywhere!

On November 20, 2016, N commented on hotstar launches in India :

Wow – I had no idea there was a media giant in India facing the same conundrum that so many media companies are facing in the US. It seems like they are thinking long term and are already pivoting in the right direction.

Do you believe that the company really needs to be so driven to focus on the product given that they have such a strong content pipeline? People watch for the content, not the slick user experience in selecting the content. Perhaps they should focus more R&D on a sales force and innovation in the content pipeline.

In addition, do you agree with their monetization strategy that focuses on advertising? I would tend to believe that the willingness of consumers to pay to remove advertising here in the US is primarily cultural, and may not carry over to India. What do you think? Also – data costs will clearly start to fall as the infrastructure develops and competitive threats begin to rise, maybe subscription will make more sense in the future.

Either way, it seems like Star is off to a great start. Excited to see where they end up in the future of the global technology market.

Love the post and the company, Tuyee.

One concern I had which has not yet been risen in the comments is the role of cybersecurity in the company to prevent hacking of sensitive medical records. While I assume these developing African countries don’t have as much of the burdensome regulation regarding communicating, transmitting, and controlling patient data, there still must be some concern on the mPharma end when it comes to protecting the information from hackers. In addition, ensuring this type of security must be very costly for the company. Do you know if cybersecurity is playing a large role in managements decision process when rolling out new product and new markets? How will it affect their bottom line and product introductions as time progresses? I imagine this issue will only grow with time as both the markets develop and the people in the regions have greater access to technology (for good and for bad!)

Interesting post, Brad. However, like Clemens touched on, I’m a bit more skeptical on the competitive advantage that Skyworks can hold through the transition away from mobile into a more IoT centric marketplace.

While semiconductors are a critical piece of almost all integrated circuits (which there will be undoubtedly a larger demand for with the rise of the IoT revolution), how can Skyworks hold on to the competitive advantage that they hold? What will prevent commoditization of their products? I agree that diversification away from mobile is inevitable, but I think they need to do more than that. Building product-level competitive advantage into their semiconductors will be critical as demand skyrockets and competition rises in the space. Maybe they can look into vertical integration downstream into additional hardware plays? Something similar to what Raspberry Pi has done with their cheap, fully built micro computer might be able to compete very well in the IoT space. [1] Also, it seems that your thoughts on buying and packaging patents may have some merit, but I’m concerned with the regulatory risk here. Current patent regulation in the technology space is already under heavy fire, and with the new administration, who knows what could happen to the current regulatory framework.

[1] Raspberry Pi. 2016. Help Videos – Raspberry Pi. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.raspberrypi.org/help/videos/. [Accessed 21 November 2016].

Great example of climate change regulation affecting operating models, Graham! This post has really struck a chord with me, as it doesn’t seem to make sense that the retailer, Coles, had all the power in this specific case. Wouldn’t all of the other suppliers of the grocer inevitably also be facing the same increased costs? Shouldn’t they have the collective bargaining power to simply pass the costs down to retail (or at the very least, share them?)

Perhaps it was only due to the temporal nature of the regulations, and there would have been a more civil result given more time (as Archer pointed out). However, it is only a matter of time before more regulation appears in markets around the world, and I think this case really shines a line on how important it is to understand how the impact of policy will reverberate through the market. Ideally, the regulation should increase investment in sustainable business operations, but sometimes it just makes more sense for businesses to eat the costs. Design and implementation of these types of policies will be hyper-critical moving forward.

On November 7, 2016, Nick commented on The Death of the Ski Industry? :

Love the post! As an avid skier, I felt compelled to comment as well.

As others have said, man-made snow is just no comparison. I think the only way for the ski industry to survive is to look into new locations with greater snowfall. However, like “A Scuba Diver” mentioned, ski resorts in more remote regions will only perpetuate climate change via the costly vehicles used to get to the resort. Only a drop in the bucket perhaps, but failing to address this fact will make the resort look hypocritical, at best.

Consolidation of resorts is inevitable, most likely across continents, as this will be the only way to battle local droughts in particular regions and still keep a relatively steady cash flow. As climate change gets worse, the only way to go will be up to find snow. I hypothesize that the companies will have to center innovation around the ability to “move” a resort from one mountain to the next at the lowest cost possible as well as the ability to have guests comfortably travel to and ski at high altitudes for long periods of time.

On November 7, 2016, Nick commented on Climate Change as a Competitive Advantage for an Oil Major :

Great post! It’s refreshing to see how forward Shell has been in pushing forward not only carbon regulation, but the entire industry. It definitely reminds me of the Ikea case where we debated whether the motives were truly centered around profit or more altruistic concerns. You touched on it briefly in your post, but I didn’t get the sense of which way you fall. Do you believe Shell is doing this purely from a competitive standpoint, or a moral one?

With only surface level knowledge, it seems like the risks of pushing carbon legislation far outweigh the competitive advantage Shell would have by being a “first mover” in a sense. Also, I’m pessimistic to their ability to successfully make this pivot given their seize, even on a long enough time scale. The Solar, Wind, and Nuclear industries are SO different than Oil & Gas, I would be surprised that they would be considering accelerating the pressure on themselves for any other reason than morality. I wish them the best of luck!

Love the post, Marcelo.

I think the analysis is spot on, especially your concerns about how EVs charged during periods of peak demand will only “offset” the energy consumption to the power plants, which (for now) still are burning fossil fuels for the most part. However, I would hypothesize that most EVs will be charged overnight and therefore will not align with periods of peak demand, in general. Interestingly enough, as people start to implement more home solar applications, this could cause a serious problem! Charging your car overnight could be detrimental when your home is generating most of it’s power through solar. Regardless, it still would be a great step in the right direction.

With respect to the battery issue and the sustainability (and recyclability) of Lithium Ion technology, do you think the EV manufacturers are focusing in the right areas? It seems to be that the battery tech will be of most value to propel the industry forward (both for the EV itself and for home and commercial applications). That is Tesla’s theory, anyway. Also, curious to see what you think of my post which is more of a deep dive on just Tesla and their challenges in the industry.