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On December 1, 2017, SEA commented on After Brexit, Barclays Should Exit :

Totally agree. It’s incredible to me how the UK and large UK-oriented companies like Barclays seem to have retreated into denial as Brexit negotiations have stalled. The UK has absolutely no leverage with the EU, and for a whole host of geopolitical reasons, not least of which is to discourage other countries from defecting, the EU needs to make an example of the UK. It’s not surprising, but also similarly incredible, how dishonest many British politicians have been with the public about the likely outcome of negotiations. No one is adequately preparing for March 2019.

Beyond Europe, I wonder if there are opportunities for Barclays to expand in Asia. Not entirely sure what the firm’s presence there is now, but it seems that the financial services market has been expanding in places like Singapore and Hong Kong as the regulatory environment has become less flexible in the US/Europe post-crisis. I also think FS in New York could be an additional beneficiary of Brexit, as there is currently no European city with the same level of FS sophistication as London. Certainly firms will need to move staff and resources into the EU, but I imagine that some will also be moved to NYC as some functions are just not as developed in other European countries.

Really interesting post — Fetzer is doing some really interesting sustainability initiatives. I had no idea earthworms could naturally clean water.

I like your additional ideas for potential initiatives, but I do think that realistically they’ll need to focus on diversifying outside of Northern California. Are there other areas of the northern US or Canada that are expected to become more attractive for wine growing with climate change? I’m also wondering about inventory management. Should they be holding more finished inventory to hedge and have product to sell in years when production might be particularly disrupted and prices skyrocket?

On December 1, 2017, SEA commented on Kisses Good-bye….Chocolate shortage by 2030? :

Definitely not looking forward to a chocolate shortage. While I agree with you that Hershey needs to become more aggressive with its current efforts, I think they’ll realistically also need to start investigating new production areas in parts of the world that will remain attractive for cocoa production as the climate changes. Also, has the company itself made a serious commitment to improve the sustainability of its corporate, etc., operations to limit its own contribution to climate change? Hershey as a large platform as a large company — it could also increase its effort to push for a more serious government response to climate change.

On December 1, 2017, SEA commented on A Digitally-Enabled Supply Chain in Bloom :

Love this post. I had no idea flowers were shipped all the way from South America — that seems so illogical given the risk of spoilage. I think you did a great job of laying out the additional opportunity areas for the company, but I do think increased customization could be risky. While customization would be a great value add for customers, customization would presumably increase costs for producers. The nature of Bouq’s two-sided business model means that it has to cater to both of these constituencies and carefully balance their respective preferences and needs.

On December 1, 2017, SEA commented on Good Tariffs Make Good Neighbors? :

Really interesting post. I think a really important takeaway is the “unintended” consequences of tariffs. In this case, as you noted, the company sources some of its raw materials outside of the U.S., so while its manufacturing operations would likely benefit from a tariff, a tariff could also drive up costs or disrupt other operations. And in general, tariffs have ramifications throughout society that many people tend to forget about. Tariffs on a certain product can affect demand for other products, which can have wide-ranging ramifications on employment, tax revenue in certain geographic areas, housing costs, etc. Important perspective to have when debating trade policies.

On December 1, 2017, SEA commented on The End of Consulting as We Know It? :

Interesting discussion, but I am much less bearish on the consulting industry than the tenor of this post. Yes, digital advances have “democratized” access to information, but it has not necessarily increased the quality of the information. In fact, I would argue that the proliferation of information has lowered the “average” quality of an information unit. Clients engage consulting firms to come up with highly specific, nuanced strategies to complex problems. The main value consulting firms provide is the high quality of their solutions. Even if some random people on the internet can provide similarly high-quality advice, I don’t think that companies will perceive or trust that the advice they would receive via an open-source process would be high quality. Secondarily, human interaction is a very important piece of consulting work, again, largely because it engenders trust in the quality and relevance of the advice provided. No digital solution can provide that.