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On November 20, 2016, TRF commented on The Minerva Project: The Next Era for Higher Education? :

This was the best post I have read so far! Congratulations, Dicle. It is indeed fascinating to see how The Minerva Project is trying to disrupt an industry that has only seen, in my view, incremental change since it was created.

I believe the key issue for this project is to remain viable during the next 10-15 years at least. As much as I think it makes sense conceptually, it will be harder to scale this massively without some “proof of concept”. And the burden will be on the first generation to graduate from this project to prove they can do better than the others. Otherwise our human nature will resist change and retain the old style of teaching.

Amazing post Cami. I am very glad to see companies such as Esoko are being created. The two features that stroke me the most are:
– Being for-profit: I cannot foresee an end to the inequality in Africa’s access to information that does not pass by making business there attractive from an investor’s perspective. Esoko expects to be financially viable and that might attract additional companies to this space.
– Diversification of their revenue stream: as you mentioned, the data they collect is extremely valuable and shall be used to reduce the burden on farmers. It is the best example of how digital innovation can create in itself innovation, ie by selling the data I get more revenues that can be used to spread information and increase crop yield, which in turn generates more data and more revenues.

On November 20, 2016, TRF commented on Online retailing and the Dollar Shave Club :

Very interesting post Pablo. I had actually seen some of their advertisement on facebook but never really clicked on any.
Speaking from the customer’s perspective, I still see this business as a niche market, mostly because there is significant loyalty to the brand, which means resistance to change.
Nonetheless, I see this model to be quite a significant challenge to Unilever. Operationally speaking, issues such as knowing your customers demand and inventories management are key advantages, but there is a big risk people start perceiving razors as a commodity, which will erode brand equity and perhaps start a “war price”, thus creating additional challenges for the operations team in order to save costs.

On November 20, 2016, TRF commented on Banking on Digital Technology at BBVA :

Great post Amrita. I actually wrote on the same topic. Digital innovation in the banking industry has been introduced at a slow pace and most of the times not visible to the consumer.

I worked with BBVA on this topic while at my previous consulting job. They are spending a significant amount of money to be the top digital bank in South America, and are studying all sorts of ideas [1].

From their point of view, right now the main point of differentiation that digital innovation brings is data. They believe there is significant value in big data / data mining and that will prove a key advantage versus the competition going forward.


Great post Samuel. This is indeed very exciting news to Mexico. Having worked in corporate finance and M&A for some years, I wonder whether they could further enhance its tool by providing two additional pieces of information:
– The original documents or contracts signed: I have seen many transactions where the final price, which is usually the main point of attention and makes the newspapers headlines, is contingent on several clauses that are hard to comply with, and thus making the final price paid / received something completely different from what was disclosed
– The result of their “risk management” assessment tool, if there is one. This would allow to prevent cases as the one you mentioned about Pisa.

On November 7, 2016, TRF commented on Rising Temperatures Lead to Rise in Insurance Claims :

Thanks for the post Riley. It is interesting to see insurance companies are also taking action against climate change. I assumed they “just” adjusted their models and margin pricing to compensate for the uncertainty. I believe the future for insurance companies will rely on more and more sharing of risk to prevent cases in which a sequence of natural disasters take these companies out of business.

Nick, amazing article. Glad to know that some measures are being taken with regards to this matter. I tried to find an article I read a couple of months ago but was unlucky this time. Its main conclusion was that livestock methane emissions were, to some extent, hidden from world discussions on climate change despite the fact it is one of the main contributors (if not the biggest). The reasons behind this were the existence of significant lobbying and also the fact that a lot of livestock is in developing countries, which could be wrongly perceived by public opinion. Did you come across something similar during your research?

Thanks for the post Alexandra. Quite interesting. As I was reading your post I couldn’t help but think of the case we studied on GMOs. It would be interesting to understand if they are a potential alternative to this problem (I wouldn’t call it solution since it is not solving anything per se, but rather a way to go around the issue). Doing some research I found this article ( that indicates to date no GMO cacao has been developed yet but who knows. Maybe in the near future!

I would assume cloud customers are not generally worried about carbon neutral data, but Microsoft is one of the world biggest companies and that attracts a lot of earned media (good and bad). And because it can be bad, it is critical for them to manage their reputational risk before it backfires. Personally, I was shocked to see that datacenters account for 2% of total greenhouse gas emissions and, whether altruistic or not, is good to see they are on the “apparently” right path.

On November 7, 2016, TRF commented on Banking on change :

Thanks for the post Sophie! I agree that financial institutions play a major role in climate change. I spent many years working with them in Europe and hadn’t heard of green bonds. To give another example that shows perhaps banks are on the right track, Santander, one of the biggest banks in the world alongside Bank of America, has promoted and financed a significant numbers of renewable energy projects in the past few years, making it an important part of their strategy. Moreover, they are a part of the “Carbon Disclosure Project” initiative, that works with major corporations to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions. Though it is still in an early stage, they consider it to be the first step towards the identification of sustainable policies going forward.