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Thanks for an interesting article! What do you think, if any, is the potential risk of Wall Street giants’ heavy investment in technology? For example, given capital structures of financial institutions have been under strict regulations after the financial crisis, is there any concern that partnership with Fintech companies accumulate invisible risk of overspending?

On November 20, 2016, Sotaro commented on Baseball’s Big Data Revolution :

Interesting post! To me, both sabermetrics and Statcast are currently used by MLB teams and players to enhance their performance. But how much of such analysis based on big data is available to baseball fans? If available, how would such data potentially change the way MLB fans watch games in stadium, on TV, or by app? As a baseball fan, I’m interested in how MLB or data analysis companies would encourage fans to consume their data, and make more revenue.

On November 20, 2016, Sotaro commented on Duolingo: Working for your Education :

Great post on an interesting business model. I think this post describes the challenge of aligning two values in one product/service, as well as its potential. One of its education business’s value proposition is its simplicity, while the demand for such a simple translation seems small. Also, since Duolingo’s target users are language beginners, it’s difficult to make translation buyers believe the quality of the translation. To enhance the quality of its translation while maintaining the simple learning materials, is it a potential solution to create a more interactive, community-based education service, so that users can grade each other’s translation and Duolingo can specify customers who are valuable translator?

Great article! As you mentioned, I think the success of Pokemon Go was the nice combination of software asset of Nintendo, as well as the Niantic’s existing investment in AR and location information. One question that comes to my mind: Is this new business model sustainable? In other words, what happens if Nintendo has consumed all the popular characters, such as Mario or Zelda? In the old, hardware-based business model, it was easier for a gaming company to dominate the market once the hardware was successful. This market dominance enabled Nintendo to create globally popular characters. In our mobile gaming world, it is difficult to create such characters since there are thousands of games to play. Therefore, I’m interested how gaming companies like Nintendo will create next “Mario” to make their business models sustainable.

On November 20, 2016, Sotaro commented on Disney: Both Embracing Digital and Being Disrupted :

Very interesting post! Although I haven’t had chance to use Magic Bands (I guess it’s not introduced to Tokyo Disney Land,) the idea of making visitors’ experience more efficient and customized is fascinating! However, is there any risk that older and loyal customers perceive Disney is now targeting only Millennials? Is it a potential concern for Disney that older customers don’t install “My Magic” app or can’t use it effectively, thereby having to wait long for a popular ride, without experiencing customized “magic,” while Millennials benefit the most from Disney’s digitization? I’m curious how Disney will communicate with and educate customers to maintain its image of “magic for everyone.”

On November 7, 2016, Sotaro commented on Betting on Photovoltaic Industry: Shinsung Solar Energy :

Great post on solar energy industry! In Japan, when I conducted research on Japanese business investments in 2013, investment in solar energy industry was increasing most rapidly because Japanese government had restarted government subsidies policy in 2012, as the article mentions. Interestingly, a lot of non-energy companies were investing in this area to secure relatively stable revenue subsided by the government, as well as to diversify their business models. For instance, Softbank, one of the largest telecom carriers in Japan, aggressively invested in this area.
This post mentions two risks of Shinsung Solar Energysome’s business. However, another risk I think important is that solar energy industry still highly depends on governmental support. As far as I know, despite the technological innovation, the efficiency of photovoltaic power generation is much lower than traditional methods, such as thermal or nuclear power generation. Also, particularly in east Asian countries such as Korea and Japan, it is difficult to find a vast land with intense sunlight, which enables efficient power generation. Therefore, it would be a challenge for Shinsung Solar Energy to create a sustainable business model that can thrive without governmental support.

On November 7, 2016, Sotaro commented on Fish in troubled waters :

Very interesting post about the direct impact of climate change on fishing. Many potential solutions are recommended in the article, and I think they all make sense. Among them, what I think is the most important is the second proposal in the article, which recommend American Seafoods should share best practices with its competitors and have fishing targets set by an overarching regulating body. Obviously, fisheries operate in the same sea and share some fishing areas. Therefore, there is always an incentive for a fishery to avoid the cost of monitoring fish population and maximizing its short-term revenue. Avoiding such a “free-lunch” behavior of a competitor would be the key success driver for American Seafoods.

On November 7, 2016, Sotaro commented on Delta Airlines: Can It Soar to New Heights? :

Great post! This article perfectly illustrates the challenge of climate change; Delta not only has huge impact on global climate change, but also is affected by climate change, both in terms of regulation and operation. Particularly, the two operational effects mentioned in the post were interesting. As for the potential solution, I agree with the idea that Delta should move quicker to explore using sustainable biofuel in its flights, because the upfront cost of this solution is much cheaper than purchasing new energy-efficient airplanes or parts. I have a supporting example in shipping industry. Nippon Yusen, Japanese largest shipping company, is now conducting research on using LNG, instead of heavy oil, as the fuel of ships, and its trial has been successful so far. I think using “clean energy” is becoming a mainstream in the international transportation industry.

On November 7, 2016, Sotaro commented on Climate Change and the Tea Industry :

Great post on agricultural impact of climate change. This article also reminded me of the “Indigo” case. However, unlike cotton or wheat, some tea brands are perceived as luxury brands, and I think customers might be more sensitive to tea’s quality, production place, and production method. From this perspective, I am interested in how steps taken by TGB would affect customers’ perception of the TGB’s products. Also, I agree with the second potential remedy mentioned in the article, because it is not an application of GMOs and the risk of damaging customers’ perception seems low.

On November 7, 2016, Sotaro commented on AIG – In the Wake of Climate Change :

Very interesting post on the financial impact of climate change. I agree with your idea of charging proper premium towards property casualty. There is a supporting example in Japan, where earthquake is a growing threat. Japanese large insurance companies have collectively increased their premium for earthquake insurance; in July 2014, they increased by 15.5% on average, and are planning to increase by 5.1% on average in January 2017. Although it is not an example of climate change’s impact, it demonstrates that charging a higher premium is an appropriate way for insurance companies to deal with national disasters. However, one concern about rapidly increasing the premium is the potential risk of losing customers, which is currently discussed in Japan. Therefore, I think steps towards “educating” consumers and raising awareness of climate change, as mentioned in the article, are very important to retain its customers.