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I love the idea of white hat hacking. My question is – in the long-term are incentives going to stay as pure as they are now? Helping companies discover flaws by hacking seems akin to robbing banks and offering a service as a security guard. I think right now there is not a lot of competition in the hacking-for-hire space and hackerone has an excellent advantage, but if they are competing for business in the future against a competitor, is no one incentivized to cause some serious damage or a violation of security to then offer the service to secure it at a price? Additionally, technology is changing so rapidly that systems used for security now will definitely be outdated in 2 years, so how often do you need to keep switching to a new hacking security team with a more up-to-date understanding of the ecosystem? Is this not a service a company would be better and more securely able to do in-house?

On November 20, 2016, NT commented on What is the way forward for Coursera? :

The biggest question the jury is still out as far as the data goes is are you really as qualified, having taken an online course, as someone is from a brick-and-mortar experience? For subjects such as marketing and leadership we may never know but I’ll tell you right now if my Dr. told me he got his MD from University of Phoenix online I’d be looking for a new one real quick. As long as that is true, the only degree anyone will ever receive online is a certification or pat-on-the-back for sticking through to the end. I think where we start to enter some really interesting territory is VR, AR, or anywhere someone can get their hands onto something and really screw up and learn the consequences. TOM simulations could probably be done pretty well online given our beer game, and for most positions, do we really need anyone with a lot more experience than an online simulation might offer? My fear overall is online learning will marginalize our work force towards the highly specialized brick and mortars, and the woefully under-qualified automated learning experiences.

On November 20, 2016, NT commented on TV Everywhere? More like TV Nowhere. :

NBC has a right to be concerned. Their entire model is built on their IP and offering it at a premium price to the masses through cable. How does NBC enter the digital world and compete with platforms that operate with a negative margin? Additionally, piracy and crowd-sourced websites continue to grant users just the right amount of access to this IP and NBC cannot afford to give it away for free. One thing that TV still offers that online platforms have not yet mastered is the notion of live TV and live streaming. Yes some have it, but it is fragmented. SNL goes on at midnight saturday night and even if you have Hulu you can’t watch it for a few days and all of the music acts have been cut out. Is this enough to hold viewers to cable TV? Probably not. But I imagine it could be a point of differentiation in an online world where we watch what we want when we want.

On November 20, 2016, NT commented on Bras in a Digital World :

Hi Avatar – such an interesting post! My partner went to a retail location and had a bra fitting done in the last few months. She had another one done a little over a year ago and discovered for the last year she was wearing the wrong size by a fairly considerable margin. My fear with this system is if it seems easy to have errors occur when a consult is done in person, accuracy over the internet could be questionable. Additionally, from what I understand different brands and different styles can also yield a difference in bra size. Is the company truly providing a valuable service that isn’t best served through trial and error by the end consumer or multiple consultations?

Awesome post Jodie. You nailed it right on the head – new platforms for distribution have not found a meaningful way to capture revenue from their subscribers and web traffic. Even snapchat, vine…these are distribution networks with their top most active users attracting hundreds of millions of views and not enough dollar bills. Advertising space can’t eventually be the only way these companies make money. They are out-competing other platforms by remaining largely free – but I think the idea you mentioned of licensing fees and royalties from other distributors is phenomenal. Treat youtube MCN’s more like an agent or talent management team – and broker deals to studios. The problem is the studios are then incentivized to find their own talented youtube web-stars (of which there are many including of course PewDiePie but my favorite is an animator named Zach King). I think the next few years will be a really interesting time for content makers.

Excellent post Anto. You really lay out the problems and obstacles with the industry in a concise way. Regarding the development of processing plants in developing economies, I feel we are up against a chicken-or-the-egg scenario. Infrastructure and implementation are opposite sides of the same coin. Will the development of natural gas processing plants allow for the demand to increase and thus the need for an infrastructure to support it? Or will a proper infrastructure that enables the implementation of natural gas encourage Oil & Gas to develop them and take advantage of an existing demand? I am sure there is no right approach and both are necessary towards the ultimate goal, but I remember hearing about entrepreneurial efforts in India for example result in a billion dollar effort to supply electricity to the masses, only to discover that there was no proper distribution plan in place (http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/815021468042283537/More-power-to-India-the-challenge-of-electricity-distribution).

Thank you for this post! Very insightful and detailed. You included many well-supported pieces of evidence.

On November 6, 2016, NT commented on Whoever Taught You Oil and Water Can’t Mix Was WRONG :

This is an excellent short-term solution to a real-time technology development. Fracturing, as a relatively new technology, enjoyed a transitional period of reduced scrutiny of their waste. Now, as fracturing has increased across the states, it is being assessed for long-term advantages. I really like that this identified a problem and solution and all contained within a local area. It allows for very quick iteration and transportation of the water. Other considerations could include additional wastes of fracturing, as I understand it there are chemical implications involved, as well as the impact on environments. Vermont and New York have banned fracking already (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/18/opinion/gov-cuomo-makes-sense-on-fracking.html) if additional states join in will the efforts towards addressing fracking waste have gone in vain? Anyway, very excellent blog piece, tons of interesting specific data points and well-supported evidence.

On November 6, 2016, NT commented on A spoonful of climate change? :

Thank you for this post! I really found it interesting that Kellogg includes its consumers in its environmental impact. This is a unique perspective from other companies I have read so far. I still seem to see a lot of companies spending time talking about upstream and downstream consumption habits – this seems to be blame-gaming to me. Including your upstream and downstream consumption habits in your own optimizes you to improve the system as a whole. One interesting thing Kellogg could consider is requesting their newly-acquired (or to-be-acquired) businesses to improve their environmental impact before acquisition. It seems that acquiring Pringles had a significant negative impact on their goals as a company. By requiring soon-to-be-acquirers to improve some process, even incrementally, it will set up for improvements in the future. Overall, really well written thanks again.

On November 6, 2016, NT commented on General Mills Takes on Climate Change :

Great post. I agree GM has incredible buying power and leverage over their suppliers. However, given their suppliers are a fragmented industry, and biodiversity (crops coming from different places made in different ways) is important to crop yield and plant-species longevity, is applying more pressure on suppliers an argument for consolidating the ever less-competitive farming industry? Alternatively, if GM truly wants to change the process, is this an argument for their own vertical integration on farming? They are already helping support resistant seeds and practices. Don’t know if that is economical for them but thought it may be an interesting point. Thanks for sharing your perspective on this!

On November 6, 2016, NT commented on Dehydrated? So is Nike :

Really well written – tons of well-supported evidence for the state of the industry. I think partnering with farmers is an excellent idea, but worry about the fragmented nature of the industry. Would demanding more from suppliers be a reason for more consolidation of the farming industry? Dealing with fewer vendors from Nike’s side, and standardizing processes, but less competition from the farmers. Additionally, I worry about Nike’s influence on their end consumer. Thats the real global water problem though, isn’t it? People’s water consumption. May be tough for a brand to tell people how to live their lives but likely an equally important battle for them.