• Alumni

Activity Feed

On November 20, 2016, SNV commented on Caterpillar and the Internet of Big Things :

Interesting article! However, I was curious to hear your thoughts on whether or not you think CAT’s digital strategies will cannibalize the company’s future sales. For instance, if the technology improvements allow for increased preventative maintenance or make the machines last longer, could this materially reduce the sales of future machines? Or will their investments in startups like YardClub provide a hedge to this? However, overall I agree that these technology improvements will be vital to ensuring the company remains a market leader in their key segments going forward.

On November 20, 2016, SNV commented on How Netflix Became Chill :

It’s fascinating to see how far Netflix has come in only a few short years. The company has fundamentally changed the way people consume media, tapping into viewers increasing preference to binge watch programs and using these insights to formulate their own strategy, such as releasing entire seasons of content all at once. However, I wonder what the future response will be from the rest of the industry as Netflix continues to compete with incumbent players through developing its own content. Will these companies ever be incentivized to block Netflix from acquiring their content? Also, how will Netflix continue to differentiate itself from other competitors such as Amazon who are also beginning to develop their own content? While the company has been able to deftly navigate through its competitive environment up through now, it will be interesting to see how it continues to balance these increasing industry pressures going forward.

On November 20, 2016, SNV commented on Talking Trash :

Fascinating article! Another example of how technology is solving problems and creating efficiencies in society. Rubicon seems to provide real, tangible benefits for both haulers and companies; I found it incredible that the company was able to provide 20-30% cost to businesses who used the service. It’d be interesting to see how the margins for Rubicon compare to its competitors to know if/how they would be able to undercut Rubicon on price in order to maintain their historic market dominance. It’d also be interesting to see whether Rubicon would ever consider partnering with these companies to improve and implement future best practices, making the entire waste management market more efficient overall.

On November 20, 2016, SNV commented on The Failed Launch Of :

While the rollout of the website was unquestionably a disaster, I can’t help but wonder what (if any) lessons were learned by the federal government following this situation. I find what was mentioned in the above comment interesting, that the government responded to this crisis by creating another office focused on digital services. While this department is meant to be built upon a lean startup model, I can’t help but be skeptical that the bureaucracy of the federal government will overwhelm any benefits that this group may be able to offer. Instead, I wonder if the government will ever look to outsource any future technology projects to the private sector/Silicon Valley. I believe these companies are better equipped to provide better technology at lower prices than any government office, which doesn’t have a core competency in developing and providing these services. Integrating digital technologies is vital as the government looks to lower costs and increase efficiency, and I hope that they will look to these sorts of key partnerships in the future so as not to repeat errors such as this.

On November 20, 2016, SNV commented on The ZocDoc will see you now… :

As many people only highlight the positives of the ACA and of the American population’s increased access to healthcare, I found the ramifications highlighted in your article very interesting as they are not usually mentioned in the media. I didn’t realize how much strain was being placed on the current healthcare system, nor what the additional demand meant for capacity constraints in the future. I agree that ZocDoc seems to present a compelling opportunity to ease some of this strain being placed on the system. However, I echo some of the concerns in the other comments, and wonder how ZocDoc can work to improve patient diagnosis so they are able to connect with the right doctors in the right specialties. It reminds me somewhat of WebMD, where a reader could diagnose themselves of having anywhere from a mild cold or flu to something much more serious. It will be interesting to see how they are able to leverage technology improvements to work through some of these issues, but overall I remain positive on their value proposition gong forward.

On November 7, 2016, SNV commented on To boycott or not to boycott Nutella :

Interesting article highlighting the future role producers and consumers will play in creating more sustainable supply chains. While I agree that Nutella/Ferrero’s move to invest in sustainable palm oil is ultimately good for its brand and for the consumers of the product, I wonder how big of an impact this will have on the overall market for palm oils overall given the fact that it is likely not one of the leading palm oil consumers in the world. While any company bringing awareness to this cause could be viewed as a positive, it would have much more of an impact if a more prominent, palm-oil intensive company announced a similar dedication to investing in sustainable supply chain practices. Therefore, I believe Nutella should use its significant brand power to influence and drive awareness around this cause, increasing consumer awareness that could drive some of the other major palm oil consumers to adopt more sustainable practices.

Interesting article on a highly relevant company. While I agree with many of your points that overall, Uber will make transportation more efficient by decreasing vehicle ownership, increasing mileage efficiency and offering a viable option in areas where public transportation is lacking, I wonder about how they could implement your suggestion to focus more on renewable technologies given the fact that they are not an automotive manufacturer.

In contrast to Uber, I believe that their main competitor, Lyft, is actually in a position to influence OEMs to adopt more sustainable technologies. Through its recent partnership with GM, Lyft could perhaps adopt many of the suggestions you lay out, increasing the way their brand is perceived in the future. It will be interesting to see if Uber will follow suit and partner with another major OEM to drive more sustainable innovations and mitigate any potential negative implications associated with their brand in the future. If not, I would be curious to see how these two businesses diverge and what the potential impact is to their brands, if any, going forward.

On November 7, 2016, SNV commented on Venice – the risk of the disappearance of an entire city :

I find this post so interesting because I believe the situation faced by the city of Venice and the cruise companies can be extrapolated to many other industries, geographies, and companies that are facing similar internal conflicts. As you state in your article, you would think it would be in the company’s long-term best interest to want to preserve Venice, ensuring the ability to operate and derive revenue from the city into the future. However, as is the case with many other companies, it can be difficult to incentivize long-term behavior when the future is never guaranteed, and the ability to increase revenue in the short-term from this marketing campaign seems all but guaranteed.

Also, it highlights the difficulties facing government as they look to regulate corporations and the impacts they have on their geographies and populations. With Venice deriving such a high percentage of its revenues from tourists coming from the cruise ships that are exacerbating this problem, what would be the government’s incentive to mitigate tourism? While we grapple with the increasing effects of climate change today, it is still very much viewed as tomorrow’s problem — therefore, how do you incentivize today’s government to take what could be a dramatic financial hit when it could easily kick the can down the road and view it as the next generation’s problem?

On November 7, 2016, SNV commented on Tesla: Profitable? It depends on the climate. :

Interesting article — however, I find Elon Musk to be extremely hypocritical in his quote mentioned above. Tesla is lobbying CARB to increase the ZEV standards for the same reason the other major automotive OEMs are lobbying to decrease it — because it is in its financial best interest to do so. It seems to me that he’s trying to paint these companies as “wrong” or “evil” just because they happen to be on the opposite side of his ZEV equation, when in reality they are all publicly traded, for-profit companies that are trying to do one thing: maximize profits and shareholder value. You can argue Elon Musk is targeting some higher good and actually believes in his cause, but that doesn’t negate the primarily financial incentives behind his words and actions.

The one thing I’d add to this article is the consumer demand piece. In the past, other OEMs besides Tesla have invested heavily in electric vehicle technology, only to find that the demand for these vehicles simply wasn’t enough to sustain or justify these investments. Therefore, I believe regulation and standards shouldn’t be set in a vacuum to encourage what behavior you think should happen versus what is actually happening. Requiring OEMs to invest in the production of vehicles that few people want to buy will only decrease the capital available to invest in other areas of automotive innovation. While Musk is betting that the electric vehicle demand trend will reverse in the future, it’s necessary to balance the demands of now versus later to ensure companies are in a position to accelerate product development innovations in the future, not decline.

On November 7, 2016, SNV commented on The Sun is Setting On South Beach Miami :

Fascinating article on the future of South Beach. As I read through your possible solutions to incentivize more inland building, I wondered how these incentives for builders would translate to incentives for residents. While changing the tax structure may influence the direction that a business chooses to take, I question whether a financial incentive would actually influence a resident to not want to live in these currently desirable beachfront locations, even given what we currently know about the potential future impact of global warming on these locations. As these prime beachfront locations currently command a significant premium to the rest of the market, I view these residents as relatively price insensitive; therefore, I don’t know if simply increasing taxes in these locations (or decreasing them elsewhere) would significantly alter their decision. Alternatively, the tax increase on beachfront properties could simply incentivize builders to move to other beachfront areas not located in Florida, rather than to the inland areas in Florida. This could have an adverse impact on the county’s tax revenues at the same time that they plan to significantly increase infrastructure spending to mitigate the impact of global warming (1). Therefore, I worry that politicians encouraging an “if you build it, they will come” mentality to inland locations without taking a more holistic view of the market will ultimately result in a supply-demand imbalance that could exacerbate the negative impact of global warming within the Miami community.

Gillis, Justin, “Flooding of Coast, Caused by Global Warming,Has Already Begun”, New York Times,, September 2016.