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On December 14, 2015, SdZ commented on BHP Billiton – Remotely Resourcing the Future :

Awesome analysis Lee. I’ve seen the IROC system and other similar systems in action at mining sites. It is a great example of leveraging technology to solve operational challenges! As BHP has grown and the mining industry has evolved over time, their business model has changed in a couple ways that requires a parallel evolution in operations. For example, some of the largest, highest grade deposits exist in some of the world’s poorest countries (for example, Simandou in Guinea and Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia). Operating in these types of environments bring a whole host of challenges from navigating regulatory hurdles, government ownership requirements, a lack of basic infrastructure, skilled workers, reliable local suppliers, and inefficient import/customs channels. How do you think BHP can adapt its operating model to working in these environments?

On December 13, 2015, SdZ commented on SpaceX – Lowering the Cost of Access to Space :

Very interesting write-up, Jorge! SpaceX certainly has a compelling value proposition for its satellite customers given its ability to reduce costs through vertical integration, people, and developing new supplier relationships. However, I understand that overcoming regulatory hurdles was also a big undertaking for Elon Musk that paved the way for a lot of SpaceX’s success in entering this industry. I’d be interested in your thoughts on how important this was in their operating model. Also I think that one of the most fascinating things about this company is that their mission is to “design, manufacture and launch advanced rockets and spacecraft. The company was founded in 2002 to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.” Does the goal of enabling people to live on other planets broaden their business model? And do you think that each of Elon Musk’s companies’ operating models will contribute to realizing this business model (i.e. SolarCity, Tesla Motor’s GigaFactory for manufacturing and innovating affordable battery technology, and SpaceX)?

On December 13, 2015, SdZ commented on Soylent – Winning your heart with your stomach :

Super interesting company and insightful critique! I’ve been a Soylent customer for about a year now and think it offers an excellent customer value proposition. The major area that I think the company will struggle with is customer acquisition. As a revolutionary food product, I’m not sure how successful Soylent can be at achieving scale outside of its core users (especially given struggles to achieve a palatable version). However, I do see a lot of opportunity to use the product to provide cheap, nutritional food to people at the bottom of the pyramid. There are three reasons this could be achieved 1) it packs a big punch! Soylent mass is very low for the calories that it provides, making it easy to transport, 2) it is easy to use (just add water), and 3) it is non-perishable. The company continually strives to reduce the product’s weight and price while still offering the same nutritional benefits and calories to customers. Especially if this product can be produced locally in poor countries, it could provide a breakthrough in affordable healthy food. I would be interested in your thoughts on shifting its business model in this direction.