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As we noted in the Beats vs. Bose case, consumers have demonstrated a high willingness to pay for headphones that clearly do not deliver a superior listening experience. In our consumer centric culture, we always seem to want more. We live in an age where “unlimited” and “free” are defeating. As we lose art instruction in schools and children consume more media through mobile devices, I think we will continue to lose the mass market’s desire for quality music in exchange for the ability to fit as many songs as possible onto mobile devices. While there will always be a niche for enthusiasts, I’m afraid the days of mainstream demand for high quality may have passed until storage solutions improve to where it becomes a non-issue to store the larger files on mobile devices.

On November 29, 2017, TP commented on Boeing Navigates Nationalist Winds :

As Boeing, I would be incredibly concerned with the current nationalistic trends as they are a company that must serve a worldwide audience to survive. Reactionary government subsidies and tariffs are stifling free markets and entrenching companies into their own domiciles, whether or not those domiciles are where they can operate most efficiently. Businesses like Boeing with divisions that directly have impacts on nations’ security own the IP and should absolutely be able to sell to any country that the US has not deemed a specific terrorist threat if they believe it is in the best interest of Boeing shareholders. Should global companies be “citizens” of any one country? I argue they are their own entities and the free market will dictate who will come out on top.

Large incumbents such as Axis should seriously consider opportunities to grow digital capabilities through acquisition. Axis needs to move quickly or they will be left behind. While many large incumbents see acquisition as expensive, I believe many often underestimate the complexity and time required to build a competing technology. With the pace of technological change in today’s world, the value of plug in technologies cannot be overstated. In addition to specific capabilities, these add-on acquisitions bring in the innovators power of these start ups to help fuel future development and innovation within Axis. Incumbents that overestimate their abilities to innovate in the digital space risk letting ego drag them down to disaster.

On November 29, 2017, TP commented on No More Chocolate For You: Global Warming and Cacao Trees :

With the changes in global temperature, is there a possibility that new regions will become zones where cocoa beans can thrive? If so, this makes me wonder if Mars also has the opportunity to anticipate where these regions may be and either acquire land to support their own cocoa bean operations or partner with suppliers who are willing to take the risk on investing in potential areas that could be key to future supply. Doing this may actually give them a competitive advantage as they gain a leg up on supply. Mar’s efforts in reducing CO2 emmissions are to be commended, but as alluded to this may not be enough. Additional creative strategic plans may need put into the pipeline.

I think that Canada needs to be carefully planning for the future to take advantage of potential economic opportunities and protect there own resources. Can they develop, maintain, and protect a route that can become the standard route before the ice melts? Will there need to be additional Canadian settlement or colonization to support these routes and potentially provide additional? Do these trade routes potentially open up access to additional Canadian natural resources that weren’t previously economical? Do they have the authority to toll ships passing through?

I also think Maersk is making a mistake by taking a back seat to Russia and China. A 33% reduction in shipping time is a game changer and I have a feeling that shipping companies (particularly those that are government-subsidized) will be eager to gain a strong foothold along these routes before they become truly economically profitable and in time, erode Maersk’s market share.

Under the current regulatory environment, Sunrun and their competitors are hamstrung in how much they can grow their current business. As such, I think it is inevitable that consolidation in the space occurs and it would be wise for Sunrun to aggressively acquire assets of distressed competitors until there is a fundamental shift in government policy. As these firms continue consolidate and scale, they will gain more political power and should continue to push governments for solar friendly legislation. I firmly believe government imposed tariffs and utility imposed surcharges are thwarting the growth of solar in the US, even as tax credits and other government incentives try to make it appear otherwise. I believe in large part this is due to the push back of quasi-government owned/run utilities that have large holdings of debt backed assets financed with debt. As a society, if we really want to embrace renewable energy, we will need lobby for legislatures to push back against the large utilities or enact additional subsidies for solar power generation to make it cost effective for more Americans.