Tom Wick

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Very interesting article!

You mentioned the potential impacts of Brexit on importing human capital and car parts as well as the export of finished cars. Do you think that political backlash could also reduce customer demand for McLaren vehicles in the EU? Especially in the case that EU residents feel slighted by UK actions. At the same time would local UK demand increase or are the supporters of Brexit the wrong customer demographic?

Also, rather than just consolidate to local UK suppliers and find cheaper transportation routes could McLaren consider using plants in the US and China to build finished goods and minimize tariff impacts? Are the tariffs based on the sales price or COGS? Is there another country that represents a large portion of the potentially displaced human capital that they could relocate to? This may be difficult since there is often heritage and tradition associated with luxury goods like cars.

On December 1, 2017, Tom Wick commented on Adding Heat to Global Warming with Tabasco :


It sounds as if the hot sauce business could become the wine business – strongly dependent on the weather in a given year. How interesting! Does the warmer temperature change the flavor or just the spiciness? One would think that in increase in spiciness due to warmer climate could be counter-acted with dilution of the hot sauce.

I think that the hydroponic option you mention is interesting. What if this could be implemented in a massive warehouse that mimicked that climate of Avery island as a function of time. Essentially a system that could replicate the weather of a growing season day-by-day to ensure historical taste consistency? This would be a way to maintain brand consistency/flavor but would change operations tradition. An interesting trade off. I think it is hard to safeguard tradition with technology in general. Perhaps it is better to ensure the mission/vision isn’t lost as technology is used rather than focus solely on tradition.

On November 30, 2017, Tom Wick commented on Climate Change is No Walk in the National Parks :


Given that the landscapes of the national parks were created over billions of years through geologic processes (and temperature changes) I find it somewhat ironic to want to maintain parks at a pseudo-fixed state we are accustomed to. The earth is constantly changing, just at a very slow rate. Hence, in response to your question, I think that the NPS should focus on adapting to change.

There is an odd balance here between protecting the environment and allowing access to visitors. While I think it is good to mitigate the carbon footprint, it is potentially worse for the environment for people to visit the parks rather than stay at home (e.g., fuel use to travel, trash and resources from camping, etc.). Could virtual reality allow people to access parks with the aforementioned problems?

Also, NPS is part of the federal government and should be aligned with the rest of the federal government regarding managing and communicating climate change. Why should NPS prove climate change? Scientific studies cost tax payer dollars and there are other agencies better suited to efficiently using this money (e.g., USGS and NASA ).

On November 30, 2017, Tom Wick commented on SunPower: Dark Clouds Over Sunny Future :

Jason Bourne,

I agree that tariffs are unfair to incumbent players but let’s not forget the American consumer. Why should Americans pay more for solar panels when cheaper international options exist? It would be interesting to see a comparison of the net economic impact on the nation from losing two US solar manufacturers vs. energy generation from cheaper (albeit internationally subsidized) solar panels. I think you should incorporate public education of economics into the recommended action plan. Only the people losing jobs will likely make noise about the issue since the impact on the nation is amortized.

I also like your question about the carbon footprint of importing panels. Do the gains from installing more cheaper panels from abroad outweigh the import footprint especially if cheaper panels drive adoption rates? Could the tariffs also cause a shift out of solar into less renewable resources especially with lower natural gas prices? More worrisome is that the tariffs will reduce competition for US manufacturers and slow innovation.


Very interesting article on health care digitalization!

I agree with your suggestions for RFID based inventory management and Epic electronic medical record (EMR) improvements. I think you could go one step further and use RFID for patient tracking. This would allow Partners to utilize time-driven activity-based costing and gain insight on how to appropriately allocate resources and patient flow.

Getting users on board to a new platform is always difficult. Typically moving to electronic systems is based on capturing and storing data in a structured way (e.g., relational database). This requires entry forms that are not very flexible to the end user and which is why people prefer to just use Excel or paper. Rather than just use artificial intelligence for diagnosis could Partners push for a system that would scan, recognize, and process written notes from doctors into accessible/actionable data? This would eliminate user onboarding issues and reduce training costs.


Great article outlining the impact of digitalization on Adidas!

I agree with your idea to move towards a rapid, customized, and localized manufacturing model. However, rather than predict customer demand could Adidas move entirely to just-in-time production? You mention 3D printing of custom insoles but what if Adidas could incorporate 3D foot scanning at home? Customers could use Xbox Kinect (or some other home tech) to scan their foot and then design their shoes in the comfort of their own home. Then the waiting time for printing would be less of an issue and a potential economy of scale could be created with centralized 3D printer hubs.

With regards to delivery, efficiency (and cost reduction) could be achieved by reducing shoe weight and package size. 3D printing may allow lighter construction (e.g., honeycomb sole) and a design that can be compressed (like a Casper mattress) for delivery.

The problem with this approach, regarding concerns of new competitors, is that what would prevent anyone from buying a 3D printer, scanning their current shoe, and then just printing more?