Ryan An

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On November 20, 2016, Ryan An commented on Blizzard Entertainment – Weathering the digital transformation :

While it might take a few more years for VR to be a widely popular medium of gaming, I think Blizzard should note that it might take more capital expenditure and time to develop the technology and come up with related softwares. The first mover advantage might play a bigger role if some of the features are patented and difficult to be replicated by late movers.
On a different note, I think it might be worthwhile to build and develop online gaming communities and attract more users through tournaments or leagues that are easily accessible. Given the strong growth potential in global markets, such strategy could increase connectivity among users in different markets and further increase the much needed scale, allowing the company to achieve the network effect and fully realize the upside potential of its products.

On November 20, 2016, Ryan An commented on Online-to-Offline (O2O) and the Future of e-Commerce :

I think this was a very smart move for WeChat to make, given its wide user base in China and negotiating power with vendors. Because WeChat has a scale, it can create additional sources of revenue by teaming up with both online and offline companies in virtually any sectors and bring the products to users via the messenger platform. At the same time, I wonder how the company will ensure the quality of services offered by these different vendors and respond to any misrepresentations or accidents that could happen in the value chain. It might be difficult to trace accountability and sources of problems once too many players get involved and more consumers start to use the platform. Excessively aggressive expansion into this new business area might alienate existing users if not done properly.

On November 20, 2016, Ryan An commented on Bezos, the Washington Post and the future of news publishing :

This post reminds me of the Spotify case for our marketing class, in which the CD channel continued to decline in the early 2000’s and disappeared completely soon. I can see that the print channel revenue will continue to decrease as consumers shift to the digital channel. While the aforementioned initiatives by the Post and Amazon are in the right direction, I wonder if the overall size and growth of the digital channel revenue are large and fast enough to turn the tide around and translate into meaningful bottom line improvement for many companies in this rapidly changing industry. With increasing accessibility to news articles and flood of digital content, it will be interesting to see whether the company could expand and secure its readership through differentiated services. As Sairah mentioned, striking a delicate balance between integrity and sensationalism will be also important, and perhaps those players that succeed in achieving this balance would be able to appeal to more readers and increase customer retention ratio.

On November 19, 2016, Ryan An commented on FedEx – the next big Challenge :

I would be curious to see whether Fedex can use some of the new features in SenseAware to justify increasing price of its delivery services. While it is positive the technology will result in cost savings for the company and easier management of the entire value chain, Fedex could be able to market this value-add feature as a differentiating factor and charge premium to further expand its margin. The easy accessibility to delivery status and parcel information can justify higher price to a certain extent.
At the same time, I wonder how easy it might be for competitors to introduce similar features in their own application systems. With the pace of competition accelerating in this digital space, Fedex should also think about ways to fend off other potential disruptors in the market.

On November 19, 2016, Ryan An commented on Just Do It: The Swoosh Goes Digital :

I wonder how much capex and R&D expense Nike needs to spend annually to continue to develop and innovate its digital products. Given the intensified competition in this space, the hit ratio will likely decline every year, adding more pressure on Nike to maintain its leadership position in this new growing sub-sector. Also, it seems that the first-mover advantage can be taken away by new entrants relatively quickly, as the technology involved can be copied and even improved by competitors to come up with similar yet more upgraded products. It might be worthwhile for the company to strengthen its efforts to obtain patents for some of the unique features it introduces in order to maintain its advantage and prevent its rivals from taking advantage of Nike’s efforts and creativity that go into its product development.

Interesting read. Given the geographic location, it seems that flood is an issue Thailand often deals with. I am wondering whether this is a change that is exacerbated by global warming or other environmental issues? If so, how does the government play role in planning and making sure that the energy needs are met?
In terms of finding alternative energy sources, I thought about wind or biomass that does not result in pollution and still maintain a relatively high level of energy efficiency. Does Thailand have land or infrastructure that is conducive to developing such energy sources? If capital is a problem, I thought that is something the government can step in and provide subsidies to motivate major players to participate in, as was the case with many developing countries in Asia.

On November 7, 2016, Ryan An commented on Climate Change & Major League Baseball: A Strikeout? :

I never viewed the game of baseball from this angle – thanks for providing some unique insights through this article. I think the implications of the changing weather conditions and potential decrease in attendance can certainly apply to other outdoor sports as well, including football, soccer, to name a few. In addition, companies whose business is related to outdoor activities could suffer from rising temperatures due to global warming. Since the increase in temperature is gradual and therefore not discernible on a daily basis, such changes will accumulate over time and have a profound impact on our lives and various businesses.
Going back to the game of baseball, given the nature of the sport, I do not think the issue of heat strokes will be that serious, and if that issue surfaces, I think the teams can adjust by changing the materials of uniforms, for example. Teams can also alter the design of the stadiums to minimize such risk, such as adding domes to stadiums to reduce heat and bring down the temperature in the stadium. Of course, the impact of such capital expenditure will have to be reviewed carefully in order to make an informed business decision.

It is certainly disheartening to see the gravity of the situation and the destructive impact of the climate change on our nature. After reading the post, I can now better understand why companies like Diving Cairns would be seriously impacted by such negative change.
With that said, I do think there are certain steps the company can take to raise awareness about the current challenge and influence people’s behavior. Throughout the semester, we have studied the power of building communities and how much influence such group of people can have on peers and the society as a whole. For example, I believe Diving Cairns can utilize social media to raise awareness about the endangered reefs and what people can do to mitigate the negative impact. The company should also team up with other players who are threatened in a similar manner and communicate such message to its customers consistently. While the effect of such initiatives might take time to trickle down to actual improvement in business performance, it would certainly help to make such efforts to help a larger population realize the intensity of the problem and appreciate the beauty and immense value of the experience the company offers. By emphasizing the looming danger and rarity of the diving experience, the company could increase revenue and benefit from increased traffic.

I was able to approach Uber’s strategy from a different angle thanks to some of the great analysis in this article. Since a lot of other comments discuss advantages of Uber’s current sustainability, I just wanted to share some of the concerns that the company might need to think about when implementing its strategies.
Recently, safety concerns with regards to self-drive cars have been discussed frequently in great detail, especially after a few accidents caused by Tesla’s new models. It is certainly desirable and ideal to promote the use of self-drive private transportation vehicle, but the potential risk of increased accidents could backfire and threaten the viability of such initiative.
On a different note, I thought it would be interesting for Uber to partner with manufacturers of eco-friendly cars to promote sustainability. The company could encourage its drivers to drive electric cars by offering incentives such as fuel subsidy or higher rate for certain distance travelled. As the number of drivers who drive eco-friendly cars and people become more aware of environment issues such as climate change, the role of Uber as an ambassador would be even more important in future.

This article helped me understand the challenges faced by the recreation/ski industry and how Vali Resorts is trying to address these challenges through various innovative measures. It seems that the company foresaw these obstacles ahead of the time and invested its capital in technology development and energy efficiency improvement. As the company strengthens its technical capabilities even further, it will be able to reap benefits from its capital expenditure and various environmental initiatives. I also thought some of the projects the company engages in could increase the brand image of the resorts and ultimately attract more customers.
On the flip side, I wonder if there are other additional strategies the company can implement to maximize its revenue. For example, as ski days are shorter, during the time when skiing is not available, the resorts can turn the space into other activities, such as hiking trails or mini golf courses. I have seen other resorts carry out such tactic to maintain the high level of traffic and diversify sources of revenue for the company. Such initiatives could offset some of the revenue losses from shorter skiing days and lower number of customers during the winter.

While the above comments on the risk posed to Alliance and insurance companies given the climate change are valid, on the flip side, insurance companies can view this new trend as an opportunity to create more innovative products and extend their reach. Also, I do not think the climate change would drastically impact profitability of insurance players, as they can increase insurance premium accordingly and lower payout ratio discreetly to compensate for the additional risk. Adjusting specific payouts or adding certain features to their existing products and repackaging them is part of the insurance companies’ business model, and they have enough analytical tools and manpower to benefit from the increasing concerns surrounding the climate change.
If anything, this can be a good growth catalyst and additional source of innovation for insurance players. Also, it is important to note that the aforementioned risk of rising payouts and claims will be limited to the scope of existing products that did not incorporate the potential impact of climate change at the time of launch. With actuarial input and payout mechanism adjusted, Alliance and other major players can appeal to a larger population with more products that can meet their varying needs.

On November 7, 2016, Ryan An commented on Power Struggles at Amazon Web Services :

Given Amazon’s international footprint in markets outside of the US, I wonder how the company is planning its related capital expenditure across different geographies. My conjecture is that different countries will have varying regulations and availability of resources, which could add difficulty to Amazon’s ongoing efforts to make its operation more sustainable.
What about major competitors in emerging markets like Alibaba? Do they engage in such practice to promote energy savings? If governments make a concerted effort to pass relevant regulations in future, then those companies that are implementing these environmental initiatives will be able to reap benefits and effectively create barriers to entry down the road.