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On November 20, 2016, OV commented on The Profit…is Out There :

Thanks for a really interesting post. I can see how this technology and data is tremendously valuable as it is provided in (approximately) real-time and is based on actual imagery, probably making it more accurate compared to relying on public reports or other forms of information gathering.

This does, however, raise significant questions about privacy, as URSA will likely have plenty of information about everyday people and happenings around the world unrelated to their clients’ requests. How do/will they manage and secure the tremendous amount of data that they gather?

Separately, while perhaps an obvious point, there are plenty of actors in the world that don’t necessarily want information about their activities to be monitored and made available by a private company like URSA Space Systems. Primarily, I think about government and military actors that may for security reasons want certain activities to remain clandestine. On a larger level, for any actor that wouldn’t want this kind of information to be available and as it proliferates, will only further drives these types of actors to take steps to conceal their activities (I think that this type of technology probably has already driven this kind of behavior). In other words, this type of technology may change behavior to make activity less visible and observable from above (when possible).

On November 20, 2016, OV commented on Illumina – Shining a Light on Your DNA :

Thanks for a really interesting post. The decrease in cost from 2003 at $300M per run to $1000 in 2016 is stunning and speaks to the potential for future applications of this technology. The potential applications sound very appealing in their ability to identify and diagnose health problems and even tailor treatment to individual patients. However, I do wonder what the potential negative consequences would be if this type of genomic sequencing were to become more common. What would be the consequences of the availability of data describing my specific DNA? How could I be judged, perhaps in contexts outside of medicine, based on my genetic characteristics? The benefits associated with the individualized care and population genomics may outweigh the negative consequences, but those possible negative consequences of making that DNA information more readily accessible is what gives me pause. There needs to be strict data protection guidelines and ethical thought that proceeds in parallel with these advancements.

Fascinating post! Thanks for sharing, Ginger. This is an area for which I hadn’t fully understood the potential benefits of digitalization. From friends in the medical field and my own doctors, I have heard about the burden of some of the more administrative aspects of running a medical office and how that can detract from the time and ability to focus on patient care. Athenahealth seems to be offering a strong solution.

One question I was left with is: how customizable is the cloud-based platform? It seems like depending on the size of an office, the range of services, and the specialties, the needs of the customer could change considerably. The platform needs to be generic enough to be desired by a large customer-based, but at the same time be sufficiently tailorable to individual characteristics of a business. How is Athenahealth offering customization that can appeal to a potentially very broad range of needs?

On November 20, 2016, OV commented on How to Rent Your Neighbor’s Tesla with Getaround :

Thanks for the post, MayC. I’m really intrigued by this concept, but I still have a few questions. Maybe I’m alone in this opinion, but I actually think it is pretty easy to simply rent a car for the afternoon in the current market (including from the big 3 car rental companies). Zipcar and other similar car-sharing options like Car2Go seem to present easy options available now. How will something like Getaround complete with these options? Do you think of them as direct competitors?

Your post also made the point about Getaround helping off-set depreciation of new vehicles. However, wouldn’t increasing utilization and exposing the car to drivers that might not be as inclined to take care of the vehicle (i.e., more damage) likely increase/accelerate the depreciation? Wouldn’t those factors potentially counteract the additional revenue being generated by participating in Getaround?

On November 20, 2016, OV commented on The New York Times’ Digital Journey :

Great post. From reading your interesting article and also your comments in class, I have a new appreciation for the amount of time, investment, and effort the NY Times has put into building out its digital platforms.

Your post made me think about the purchase of the Washington Post by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos in the last few years that has led to tremendous growth in readership and development of its digital offerings (http://www.businessinsider.com/how-the-washington-post-changed-after-jeff-bezos-acquisition-2016-5). The purchase by Bezos was an opportunity for the Washington Post to modernize, restructure, and innovate and take advantage of access to the technology resources/contacts associated with Amazon and Bezos. After reading your post, I wondered whether a similar acquisition by another technology company would be advantageous for the NY Times going forward.

I agree that one of the most significant value propositions of the NY Times is its identity as a reputable news source. I wonder whether recent conversations following the Presidential election about the proliferation of “fake news” on the internet would lead to bolstered support going forward for news sources like the NY Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/opinion/sunday/facebook-and-the-digital-virus-called-fake-news.html).

On November 7, 2016, OV commented on Volkswagen’s Electric Rebound :

Regardless of its motivations for turning to electric vehicles, VW seems to be making impressive strides in this market. While I am a supporter of the transition to electric vehicles, I think its also important to remember that most of the world’s electricity that is used to power those vehicles is still coming from “dirty” sources like coal, gas, etc. For example, in the Netherlands, to meet increasing demand for electricity the country responded by building three new coal-fired plants.1 Many electric vehicles will then potentially be run on fossil-fuels, despite the fact that the vehicle itself may not be releasing emissions. VW and the other electric car manufacturers may not necessarily be producing “clean” vehicles when the entire life cycle of the car is considered.

[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/electric-cars-and-the-coal-that-runs-them/2015/11/23/74869240-734b-11e5-ba14-318f8e87a2fc_story.html

Really interesting post. I was particularly interested by two aspects. First, I thought the post’s suggestion that the development of fortified aquaculture structures and intellectual property seemed like a tremendous opportunity. NOAA estimates that “aquaculture supplies more than 50 percent of all seafood produced for human consumption,” thus, it appears that there would be a significant market for its products.1 This, however, would depend on Cooke’s capabilities, desire, and access to capital/talent to pursue this route. Second, the post discusses how the impacts of ocean acidification and rising water temperatures may result in fisheries needing to change location. This made me think about the consequences of these weather impacts for local fishing communities and cities as fisheries may need to change locations and/or shift away from wild-caught strategies to adapt to changing conditions. This could have significant impacts on local economies and job prospects.

[1] http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/aquaculture/faqs/faq_aq_101.html

On November 7, 2016, OV commented on Cargill’s Dilemma: Farmers versus Climate Science :

This was a really fascinating post. It seems remarkable that Cargill has been able to take this particular position on climate change for as long as it has. I would argue that the message of we must adapt to climate change, but humans have no impact on climate change is unsustainable even in the short term, let alone the long term. This is an interesting case study in how to balance the role that customer base should play in company’s operations and policy. At this point, I can generally understand the reasoning behind why Cargill has tread so lightly to be sensitive to opinions of farmers. However, its position seems totally contradictory in that it is taking strong, public action as a business leader like signing on to White House initiatives and then demonstrating limited leadership within its industry. Going forward, Cargill needs to take a position aligned with its rhetoric. As one option, the management team could work to form a partnership with other agricultural industry leaders to present a unified position on climate change as being a result of human activity, and set a meaningful example for farmers and the rest of the industry.

On November 7, 2016, OV commented on Nutella no more? :

I love Nutella! This was a very enlightening post about the environmental impact of a treat that many of us adore. I remember the public discussion about Nutella’s sourcing of palm oil, but did not realize that Ferrero had taken such big steps to make its palm oil sourcing sustainable. I thought that its strategy of partnering with the NGO TFT was particularly interesting as a potential model (partnership between business and non-profit sector) for other businesses to follow to confront climate change. It is disappointing that Ferrero has not made as aggressive commitments to sustainability in sourcing its other major ingredients. In this regard, maybe Segolene Royal was somewhat justified in her critique of the product.

On November 7, 2016, OV commented on Philips – Lighting The Way To Carbon Neutrality :

Very interesting post! I did not realize how much Philips was doing with respect to sustainability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. I was particularly impressed by the fact that Philips has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2020, which seems like an aggressive timeline for a company of its size. Given that lighting contributes to 6% of global CO2 emissions, it is encouraging that Philips is leading the way with more efficient lighting options. However, I would have wanted to hear more about how Philips is actually working to change consumer behavior. At the end of the day, many consumers still prefer the more inefficient lighting options and I think one of the biggest hurdles is changing consumer decision-making to encourage the purchase of LED lights (or other options). Consumers could be a significant limiting factor for Philips’ ability to contribute to global energy savings.

On November 6, 2016, OV commented on Norway’s love affair with Oil & Gas on the rocks? :

I question whether Statoil can truly be committed to sustainability as an oil and gas company. While it is admirable to a certain degree that Statoil is investing in sustainability projects, that does not change the fact that it is still an exporter of oil and gas that is being used around the world and producing greenhouse gas emissions. I also question the motivation behind Statoil advocating to “please put a tax on carbon” – the cynic in me is inclined to believe that their lobbying efforts on this topic and specifically related to the COP21 agreement are primarily motivated by a desire to reduce uncertainty about climate change regulations and legislation (similar to a large portion of the business community). Perhaps I would be more persuaded by their actions if it was accompanied by a long-term transition plan that would demonstrate how they plan to move away from oil and gas production to the production of clean energy as a significant portion of their business.