Its interesting to see another example of how a digitization attempt by a well funded company failed. Something I’ve been thinking about as we’ve looked at a number of these failures is that ventures into new spaces by a large company is essentially like a startup. They have some good ideas, but do not have market share and it is not always clear if they will be able to monetize their technologies. Just like many startups do not succeed, many brand new ventures into new spaces do not succeed. One lesson that I’ve learned from these set of failures is to be careful as a company manager on how much money to spend on brand new ideas that have an unproven revenue stream.
Lanny, this is of my favorite posts so far, thanks. Its interesting how having vertical consolidation can greatly improve the margins of a company. Delta recently tried to follow this principle by purchasing a refinery that produces its jet fuel. The financial success of this venture is still being determined. There certainly are some challenges to vertical integration (i.e. an airline having to learn how to operate a refinery), but if the synergies between businesses are high enough the profits can be large. In this case it’s interesting how the Airlines used Orbitz to create a price war with the other booking sites and keep a higher portion of the ticket price for themselves.
Thanks for the post. Its interesting to think of the consequences of collecting all information digitally. Once smart analysts, like HBS grads, have access to all the health care data its likely that there are many cost and performance improvements that can be found. Without electronic records completing this analysis would be much more difficult. With all the data, it would also be interesting to compare the U.S. to other health care systems that are both cheaper and give better results to find the many ways that we can improve. I think improving our health care system will be one of the big challenges for our generation.
Very interesting article, Spencer. Its interesting to see how some effects of the digital don’t fully stick (i.e. ebooks). In your post, you mentioned how Amazon online tried to replicate the bookstore experience by having an algorithm to predict other books you might also like. You didn’t mention this but I feel like a search algorithm is quite different from the full bookstore experience. I love to just peruse around bookstores, take in the ambiance, and read the back covers of books. I love the feeling of looking through new books for an hour. An online algorithm cannot imitate that. I think one reason Amazon may be doing this is to compete in both the physical book and bookstore experience spaces.
I agree that bookstores might not be highly profitable right now, but part of that reason is after going to a bookstore I sometimes buy items that I saw at the bookstore on Amazon. As Spencer mentioned above the bookstore as a Billboard may be a compelling argument for having the physical store.
Saksham, I really enjoyed your post. I would argue that this is one of the most serious causes that we need to be concerned about as it relates to climate change. People in third world countries are not in the economic position to combat the affects of climate change and we’re doing very little to protect them. The countries that are in the most risk will need to have stronger economies to handle this situation or the world’s more advanced countries will need to be in a position to supply a large amount of humanitarian aid. This is a current problem that we should be very actively working on or millions of people could die.
Cool post, thanks. Its interesting to think of how one of the cheapest fast food provider will adapt to be more sustainable. If McDonald’s raise their costs too much, they may lose their whole value proposition to consumers. It will be cool to see what McDonald’s can do while keeping their costs in control. I think their are a lot of affordable solutions available and it will be interesting to see which one’s McDonald’s chooses.
Thanks for the interesting read. The hotel industry is in an interesting position because they are uniquely positioned to be highly harmed by global warming, but they create a very small portion of the problem. Along with improving their own environmental performance they should work on becoming political active so that the government and other agencies can help to reduce other sources of global emissions. Being politically active on climate change would also provide good press for Hilton and help with the branding of the hotel.
Its interesting to see how many companies are affected by the environmental concerns in the oil sands (see other post about Suncor Energy). Its heartening to think of how the combined affects of multiple companies (ex. COSIA) could lead to some significant environmental steps forward for the oil sands or other related industries. If many of the world’s top minds are working on this issue I think it is only a matter of time until large strides are made in reducing global emissions.
Interesting read, Spencer. I think its interesting to consider how other less economically sound cities are going to deal with this problem. I can imagine from this read that the changes required are very expensive and I wonder which locations will be able to afford it. I hope some cool engineering solutions are developed to help Miami Beach, but I’m concerned that many other locations will struggle with even more difficult ocean control issue going forward.