Thanks Alan! 4chan is a good example of how diverse online communities are and what they can become (good and bad) when you let users have free reign over the content submitted. As I mentioned in my #1 point, one of the key challenges of digital platforms is that the users will try to abuse the system, and 4chan is a good example of that.
Regarding the investment side, I agree that it is still hard to see how money will be generated from these websites. But then again, everybody said the same about Facebook during the IPO, and the stock is much higher now than it was before!
Great article Ilan! Salesforce is clearly a pioneer in SaaS and deserves it success. How do you explain that other CRM players like SAP who haven’t completely switched to SaaS are still successful? Apparently, having “old school” software distribution is still valuable in today’s economy, interesting!
Thanks Alan, great post. Do you think it is actually possible to be 100% safe from security breaches in a connected world? If the stakes are high enough, you can be sure that the greatest minds are going to try to hack your system, and eventually they’ll succeed. Take iOS for example: despite Apple’s best efforts to prevent jailbreaks (i.e. root access), jailbreaks have systematically been released for each version of iOS. Private jailbreaks (not share with the public) are often achieved less than 24 hours after each iOS upgrade (and they are sold to governments and private companies right after). It won’t be long until zero-day connected car exploits will be sold on zerodium.com or on the darknet. Scary!
Great article! One question: do you think HBS can digitize the classroom experience? The case method relies on students learning from each other: is this feasible 100% online? Could we imagine doing the case method by video call? Or even without video and just by text? It could solve 2 big problems: (1) time constraint (you don’t need to be available at the time of the class) and (2) location constraint (you don’t need to be physically present in Cambridge during class).
Great analysis! One question I have is: can the newspaper industry adapt not only to the new forms of digital data consumption (computer, mobile, etc.), but also to the new standards of data consumption? By that I mean that the attention span of a reader online is much shorter than one of a reader offline (that has a physical copy of the newspaper). Hence, you can see more and more digital news providers write shorter articles, in bullet point formats and using clickbait titles (see my Digg.com post for a good example of a clickbait title ;)).
Great article Andres! I’m wondering if the true value in the IoT business is the hardware or the software. It seems like companies already have a lot of data they don’t use. I’m not sure that providing additional sensors or hardware to gather more data will be as relevant as providing software to actually use this data. I’d be curious to know in which direction (hardware vs. software) Jasper is heading.
Very interesting Emma! One thought regarding the “automatic decisioning”. Since lending criteria are different than those of traditional banks (and could possibly be abused because it’s online-based), do you think there’s a risk that such lending platforms will be used by over-leveraged people as a last recourse to get additional debt? It seems that a lot of people are already using these platforms to pay down their credit card debt, which doesn’t seem very healthy. Could these websites contribute to the creation of a debt bubble (at the individuals level)?
Fair point Alex, but while your presence on Digg/Reddit is less an investment than your presence on Facebook, you can still see some stickiness on the users side due to the “community” aspect. For example, there are a lot of Reddit clones today (9gag, iFunny, Voat.co), but Reddit users still stick to Reddit because the “community” is allegedly better. I think a key challenge in the digital world is your ability to create a sustainable community, regardless of your design/UI/Product offering.
Very true Daniela. Did Facebook ever remove features though? I feel like every Facebook update adds features vs. the previous one, which makes it more acceptable to users. And since it’s hard to predict the consequences of a radical change in interface, maybe the solution is to never radically change the interface (see Craigslit or Reddit, who both have never changed interface and are still successful despite a 90’s look!)
Great piece! Do you think the increase in number of hurricanes and other natural disasters could push for further development of substitute technologies to telecom towers? Today we still rely on telecom towers to connect 2 mobile phones to each other, but we could imagine these towers being replaced by satellites or other floating devices. That would be expensive but less subject to natural disasters, and also less polluting (you can’t pollute the air in space, because there’s no air!).
Great piece Ilan! Do you think Maersk & others could switch to liquefied natural gas at a reasonable cost? LNG prices are already going up and it is very expensive to store & transport LNG in a boat, as the temperature needs to be maintained at very low level for the gas to remain liquefied. Do you think states should subsidize the use of LNG to reduce the environmental impact of the shipping industry?
Very good post! Do you think the success of self-driving cars could have an unexpected negative impact on the environment? If driving (or being a passenger) becomes much more convenient, wouldn’t more people use cars? And with more cars in circulation, would CO2 emissions increase? I think it is essential that self-driving cars are all electric, otherwise they could actually worsen the situation…
Very interesting post! At the end of the day, investors are investors: they only care about returns. I believe there’s a real investment thesis around green energy, but convincing investors is tricky.
One point that caught my attention: you mentioned “next generation nuclear energy”. But the US barely has “current generation” nuclear energy today. Why do you think this is? Nuclear is one of the cleanest, most profitable and sustainable source of energy. Yet US companies and government won’t look at it. What a waste!
Great post! Interesting to look at this issue from a social perspective. Do you think this will still be a problem in 5 or 10 years? At some point I expect the price of solar panels to drop significantly, and hence most customers would be able to benefit from NEM policies. There’s no real reason why solar panels are priced so high in developed countries when you know that start-ups in Sub-Saharan Africa (e.g. Mobisol, http://www.plugintheworld.com/mobisol/) offer solar panels for a fraction of the price!