Zach Herbert's Profile
I like crowdsourcing for raising money, but I never liked Quirky’s model of crowdsourcing the entire product development lifecycle. I think too many inputs can be a bad thing. I think Quirky’s failure was inevitable.
Thanks for sharing a failure story!
This is a really cool solution to an ongoing problem of transferring money overseas. However, I think this is an outdated solution. Now that Bitcoin exists, anyone can send money anywhere in the world for free (they just need to convert it to their local currency).
Bitcoin did not exist a few years ago, but it is growing fast. I can’t help but think that Transferwise is providing a service that won’t be necessary in a few years.
Great explanation of Blockchain tech!
Andrew – I think a blockchain makes sense in this case because this is a trust issue. Every party on this pork supply chain has an incentive to tamper with data. Regulators want to have direct access to untampered data. If implemented properly, it should give regulators and Walmart a lot of transparency into a complex supply chain.
That’s a big “if” though 🙂
Great summary! I think Bitcoin + blockchain is definitely the future (would love to talk about this more!). If banks are not careful, they will be disrupted. While blockchain is not a magic technology that solves every problem, it is perfect when multiple parties need to send money or information but do not trust one another. Like you said, rather than using trusted third parties as middlemen (like banks), blockchain removes the middleman entirely.
Most banks, anticipating this problem, are working on blockchain research. For example, in Boston, Santander and Fidelity both have blockchain teams. We’ll see if they can actually turn this research into valuable product offerings.
It’s great that Uber is thinking about the future. Right now Uber is working hard on matching human drivers with passengers, but it is pursuing heavy research in self-driving vehicles (and investments like Otto).
I think that as soon as self-driving is better than human drivers, in 3-5 years, Uber will start replacing their human fleet with driverless cars. This will cause a ton of controversy, but it is inevitable.
I’ve done a bunch of work through HourlyNerd (IT/tech consulting), and I do think it is becoming more of a threat to the traditional consulting article. At first HN (now “Catalant”) focused more on small and medium businesses who are left out of the consulting industry, but now they are working hard on solutions for larger enterprise customers.
Their network is strong, their client base is growing. Traditional firms should be worried.
I think this company will have to adapt quickly or fade away. This model of installing LEDs for free and then charging customers over time made sense when LEDs were very expensive, but costs are coming down so rapidly. Ikea sells LED bulbs for just a few dollars.
If you replace a dead incandescent bulb with an LED, and continue to do so, you will soon convert to LEDs.
Gasoline vehicles will be a rarity in a few decades. Everything will be electric. Why should Ford keep pouring money into research to eek every last mpg out of internal combustion engines? If they took that money and put it into electric vehicle development, they will be laying a solid foundation for the future. If they don’t act, they are going to be disrupted.
Tesla is already working on a pickup truck. Ford and the others need to work fast in order to stay ahead of disruptors.
Oh how I love Apple. Their new headquarters is a model for all. What’s really amazing is that they cared about the materials that went into their products long before anyone else in the industry.
Every time Steve Jobs released a new product, he would show off an “Environmental Checklist” https://cnet2.cbsistatic.com/img/6wMuwZYUaN6t_ZFV4RPl6tZI3vs=/570×0/2008/10/15/65782a57-f4d6-11e2-8c7c-d4ae52e62bcc/Applegreen2.jpg
He would highlight things like arsenic-free, mercury-free, recyclability, and smaller packaging.
Apple’s been at the forefront of environmentalism for years, and it’s really proven itself as a leader of the industry.
I am glad UPS is taking steps, but this “all of the above” approach worries me. Opening a lab to investigate alternative fuels is not a smart use of capital; other companies (like Tesla) already have done all the research and are already building solutions. I think UPS should instead partner with a company to build an electric version of their trucks.
According to this Quora post (https://www.quora.com/How-many-miles-per-day-does-a-FedEx-or-UPS-driver-drive-on-average), the average route is about 160 miles a day. Let’s be conservative and say 300 miles a day. Both of Tesla’s car models can do that already!
UPS could convert their trucks to electric, put in a few more batteries than in current Teslas (say, 100% more), and charge their trucks overnight. There is no need to even worry about fast charging.
Tesla is already designing a Semi truck. The tech is there. Companies like UPS need to stop creating “labs” and “research centers” and work with the viable solutions that already exist.
PS we are closer to electric planes than you may think! http://qz.com/611677/elon-musk-is-thinking-about-building-an-electric-airplane-that-takes-off-vertically/
I think any company that is still burning coal is in trouble for the long term. Biomass is intriguing, but this idea of burning something for fuel is very outdated and won’t exist in another few decades. I think companies like NRG should be in “emergency” mode – they should be investing as heavily as possible in renewable tech like solar (mentioned in a comment above), wind, geothermal, etc. This business model just won’t last in 20-30 years.
Great post! I think Uber is really going to struggle to bring electric, eco-friendly options to riders. One of the best things about internal combustion cars is they can be gassed up in a few minutes. Even Tesla’s supercharger – the best in class charging solution – takes about 30 minutes for about 80% range. This could kill almost an hour of driving time for Uber drivers. I’m worried the tech just isn’t there yet and won’t be for a long time.
PS Uber is planning to do air transport too 🙂 https://www.wired.com/2016/10/uber-flying-cars-elevate-plan/