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On November 20, 2016, S commented on Change of EPIC Proportions :

Thanks for your post kc2018, I did not know how big this business was.

It sounds like they got the first mover’s advantage in the US and that is great. however I wonder:

1) Why haven’t they moved internationally. I am certain that there are many in countries where EPIC could have the same first mover’s advantage

2) What are they doing to maintain their positions, browsing their web page I found that they spend 50% of their operating expenses on r&d. I am really curious about the results of that investment

Sources: http://www.epic.com/about

Thanks for this post Orly!. It is great to hear that Google is working on enhancing the way we educate our children.

When reading your post it was not clear to me if this was one of Google’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives or if it was a core part of their for-profit business, which makes me wonder how is Google making money out of this. Certainly in the long term Google profits for highly connected people that are also familiarized with its systems. However, in the short term, is it charging schoos/government for using these tools?

It would also be great to know if Google is working on educational tools provided for higher or vocational education where it is key to have hands-on training and not lectures (adults learn by doing not by seeing/hearing).

On November 20, 2016, S commented on Is the Pen So Mighty After All? :

Thanks JP, as a loyal user of pen & paper I am taking notes of your blog.

I wonder what will be the implications of adopting these new technologies in education. In two contexts in particular:

1-Teaching kids how to write: Much of the teaching required is about: strengthening kids’ hands, encouraging a good grip, ensuring that they have a good posture (see link below). I wonder if these skills will still be easier to practice with pen & paper considering that paper provides a specific friction with the pen that could be helpful to, for instance, strengthening hands. On the other hand, it would be interesting to transition to a digital teaching process that gives kids immediate feedback on spelling and style.

2-Electronics-free classrooms: These kind of technologies are currently forbidden within many classrooms (e.g., HBS) because of the additional distraction that electronic devices create for students. How will we account for that?

Sources: http://www.newkidscenter.com/How-to-Teach-a-Child-to-Write.html

On November 20, 2016, S commented on Making a Smarter Grid a Reality :

Thanks for your post TS,

It was very interesting to learn about Schneider Electric, a company that I haven’t had heard from before. It seems to be that their scope is very broad, it is not common to see companies working simultaneously at a grid and at a building level. Their clients’ characteristics must be very different across business lines (grid -> government, building -> real state developer). I wonder if at some point they will have to pick one business line and let the other ones go.

Also, it seems that they are making a lot of effort to differentiate from the competition. In relation to this, it would have been useful to have more detail on

(1) what is the competition doing? Are they following any of your recommendations already?

(2) the increased operational complexity in the industry, considering that operations is one of the way in which they can differentate themselves. In my opinion, smart grids will simplify operations as many processes and controls could be automated.


Thanks for this post. I am having trouble to put together your conclusion with what I am reading in Jaime’s post about Airbus (https://d3.harvard.edu/platform-rctom/submission/airbus-more-value-less-impact/#comment-6686) and Carl’s post about Boeing (https://d3.harvard.edu/platform-rctom/submission/boeing-dreaming-big-to-fight-climate-change/). In my opinion, I see a very regulated industry struggling to adapt to climate change both in the manufacturer and airline sides.

In this context, would an alternative mode of transportation have a huge advantage competing against airlines? (e.g., See this post about a new transportation system https://d3.harvard.edu/platform-rctom/submission/the-next-mode-of-transportation/ or follow the progress of Tesla)

I also took a look at AirFrance’s sustainability program, and found an effort to reduce waste, water consumption, energy usage and aircraft noise (http://corporate.airfrance.com/en/sustainable-development/environment-and-climate/minimizing-our-environmental-impacts/) . Would you say LATAM is ready to make commitments in these fronts as well?

On November 7, 2016, S commented on Is It Right to Benefit from the Apocalypse? :

Thanks for this post!

I would agree with previous commenters, this is the best possible scenario: finding ways of adapting to climate change while still making profit.

However, I understand the ethical concerns behind producing GMOs with potential side effects. In that note, I was wondering if Monsanto’s competitors (e.g., Syngenta, Dupont) could take advantage of that and start producing GMOs with no side effects or developing alternative yield-increasing methods. Would “market competition” take care of your concern? http://www.gmwatch.org/gm-firms/10558-the-worlds-top-ten-seed-companies-who-owns-nature.

On November 7, 2016, S commented on Airbus: more value, less impact :

Thanks for this post Jaime, I did not know how relevant was adapting climate change as a selection criteria for aircraft manufacturers.

From your post, I understood that one of the reasons that explain why Airbus has taken the lead in the industry is because it adapted better to climate change. However, reading through Boeing ‘s 2016 Environment Report (http://www.boeing.com/resources/boeingdotcom/principles/environment/pdf/2016_environment_report.pdf), I see that they claim to have the most fuel efficient plane in the market (“With 12% lower fuel consumption than competitor airplanes”). How would you explain this? Is Airbus’s 6 pillar strategy not enough to compete? Is its position as leader at risk because of this? Has Boeing pushed the innovation frontier before Airbus?

I also agree with MdelCastillo’s comment; I think that this is a very comfortable industry to be at. What would you say would be the consequences of having a more expensive but more environmentally conscious player (e.g., Tesla) in the market?

Thanks for writing this post Dori. I am shocked by how climate change may put at risk the operations of a megaproject as big as the Panama Canal. After reading your post, I have a couple of reactions:
– It seems like the Canal authorities started looking for initiatives after they had finished the expansion of the channel. However, it would be interesting to see if they considered engineering/design alternatives to adapt to climate change (e.g., a design that would require less water to operate). I ran a quick google search about it, without results, which surprises me.

– It is amazing that they could reduce their water usage by 7% in such a short time. This makes me wonder if there are any additional efficiency operational levers to be pulled in the Canal.

– I like their idea to have everybody involved in the challenge by incentivizing environmentally friendly shippers, which makes me wonder: should every country put in place the same kind of incentives for their trade partners?

On November 7, 2016, S commented on Freeport-McMoRan: Demonizing the Foundation :

Thanks JP for this post. It is very easy avoid digging in the implications of climate change oriented regulations. This is one more case in which just doing the “double-click” creates a conflict. We do not like mining because it contributes to climate change but we need it to adapt to climate change.
I think that moving forward there must be a way to refine our regulations to account for this conflict. What would you think about a policy that, on top of requiring very environmentally friendly processes, gives benefits to copper companies like Freeport for providing inputs for climate-change oriented products? (Most of the usage is industrial, not for transportation/infrastructure: http://copperalliance.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/ICSG-Factbook-2014.pdf)

I would also disagree on the “transporting the heavy ore” point, as the US is also one of the major copper exporters in the world and it is moving it anyways.