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Fascinating topic, thank you, Eleonora! I found Andrea’s comment particularly salient. Despite GM’s intentions to localize their supply chains, the localization of some components will be out of their control as they depend on specialized production in companies for whom expanding to a local market might not be a rational choice.

What will happen? One thing that is certain is that GM will try to reduce the cost of production wherever possible, and more so if imported goods are being tariffed. First, they will look to automation to reduce their cost of production. As you mentioned, there will be fewer manufacturing jobs which is one of the intentions of the policy that is driving this change. My sense is that the trend to automation is inevitable due to its cost impact and that this policy will accelerate, but not cause, it. Second, they might try to incentivize their supplier to co-locate with their manufacturing plants or they might try to manufacture more of the components themselves. It’ll be interesting to observe their next moves.

On December 1, 2017, niko commented on Good Tariffs Make Good Neighbors? :

Very interesting post, thank you! In my opinion, ArcelorMittal’s response is shortsighted. Admittedly, it makes sense that they are in favor of regulations that will inevitably increase steel prices in the US, which I imagine is a major market. However, the resilience of their business will be built on regulations that can change, and as Ali has mentioned above, might change sooner than we expect.

On December 1, 2017, niko commented on Fall Without Pumpkin Spice Lattes? It Could Happen :

Interesting post — it makes sense that climate change is having an impact on this much-loved beverage but in a modern economy we really don’t seem to notice until it hits availability or price. I agree with Ali that Starbucks and the coffee growing countries and communities will weather the storm in the foreseeable future. They have the advantage of time when adjusting the genetic make-up of the beans and the exploring how technological innovation can improve yield in a changing ecosystem.

Fascinating topic – thanks for posting, Mitesh! 56,000 is a staggering number of people being laid off in India, I had no idea that the issue is this drastic. A career in software engineering is a commitment to being a life-long learner and I have seen how more seasoned employees struggle with the ever-changing technology landscape. It would be interesting to learn the age profile of the employees who lost their jobs. As you mentioned above, one way to mitigate the issue is education. Here I would emphasize that academic programs must focus on the fundamentals of computing rather than on specific technologies that might be retired in the near future. The other opportunity is to find management and leadership roles for individuals who no longer want (or have the capacity to) adapt to new technologies. To create such opportunities, the organization would have to find an operating model where seasoned engineers can add value in project management and organizing development teams. It would be interesting to learn more about how these companies are organized operationally to deliver software at this scale and quantity.

Great topic! I’m excited to see LA take on these initiatives. The (albeit late) adoption of these technologies in cities reminds us how city governments frequently function as a service business that should enable their residents to live productive lives. There are many opportunities for applying technology to improve the operations of City Inc. and you list some interesting examples above. In addition to serving government institutions, I’m curious how cities can use technology to interact with their residents. Now that most of America city dwellers carry a smartphone, they can reroute their commute or direct them to free parking.

On November 30, 2017, niko commented on The automotive industry – the usual suspect! :

Thanks for this interesting article! It’s a great reminder of the fact that sustainability includes more than just the spec’s of the final product. Manufacturers need to consider the materials used, the transportation costs of the supply chain and the manufacturing process itself when evaluating their environmental impact. It’s natural to look at a Tesla and to think of it as the cleanest vehicle in the world, but if you consider how the materials of the vehicle (e.g. lithium ion batteries), how they are sourced and what energy is used to charge the vehicle a different picture emerges. There’s some interesting writing about this on the web, for instance here [1].

[1] Lizzie Wade, “These are the 20 best-selling cars and trucks in America,” Wired, March 31, 2016,, accessed November 2017.