alberto.elizondo

alberto.elizondo

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alberto.elizondo

You bring up a very interesting topic. Indeed, the energy consumption of Bitcoin mining is worrisome. I believe that another key question to consider is redesigning the Proof of Work protocol that relies on miners cracking cryptographic puzzles through millions of trial and error iterations. So long as this protocol continues, any improvements in processor technology will likely be marginal.

However, the cryptocurrency community has already come up with alternate protocols that circumvent this increasing energy consumption. In particular, the Proof of Stake protocol relies on the fragmented ownership of cryptocurrencies, rather than on brute processing power, to determine which miners get to process transactions. This new protocol does not require the extensive number crunching that the Proof of Work protocol does, and therefore is much more energy efficient.

Take a look in the following link: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/proof-stake-pos.asp

alberto.elizondo
On November 27, 2017, alberto.elizondo commented on Smaller Engines Fuel Future Growth :

Chip, this is a great article about an interesting topic. I think that this innovation is a prime example of technology that can deliver higher customer satisfaction while reducing environmental impact, similar to the latest hypercars that use hybrid powertrains to increase performance while reducing CO2 emissions. While the new turbines clearly deliver less power and velocity, I believe that the fuel efficiency gains can be enormously attractive to private jetsetters, since the fuel costs for private jets can run into the thousands of dollars per hour. So, to address your question of how I would market the plane, I would use the fuel improvements to bring back the theme of democratizing private jets by making them more friendly for pilots (I understand that Citations are easier to fly than Lear jets, for example) and for wallets.

Additionally, I would be interested to learn if these technologies are already being used by larger commercial airliners, since according to the Air Transport Action Group, they produce 12% of global emissions from all transport sources (atag.org).

alberto.elizondo
On November 27, 2017, alberto.elizondo commented on Banking across borders: Goldman Sachs in London – or Frankfurt? :

Oops, copy/pasted the wrong comment. See the correct one below:

You make an excellent illustration of how Brexit could impact Goldman Sachs from an HR perspective. Indeed, GS would be forced to convince and pay many of its London-based bankers, IT professionals and other staffers to move to EU countries. Additionally, should GS choose to remain in London, it would no longer be able to serve clients in the other 27 EU countries, and instead would be forced to establish operations locally, significantly operating the costs of operating across Europe (The Economist: Banks and Brexit – Wait and Hope).

I would also be interested to learn about what the impact would be from a financial perspective. For example, would the trading volume of fixed income and derivative securities (two of GS’s biggest money-makers) decrease if the company moved its sales & trading operations to Frankfurt? Would GS lose access to the funding that it requires to fund sales & trading operations as well as the underwriting of debt & equity placements?

Regarding an action plan, I agree with you that they should be proactive about lobbying to minimize the implications of Brexit. But, given that human capital is a critical asset for the bank, they should also consider preemptively expanding their EU-based operations in order to gain access to the leaders that can manage the business locally.

alberto.elizondo
On November 27, 2017, alberto.elizondo commented on Banking across borders: Goldman Sachs in London – or Frankfurt? :

As a watch aficionado, I really want to think that mechanical wristwatches are not going extinct. While smartwatches have undoubtedly shaken the ground for Swiss watchmakers, I believe that they satisfy fundamentally different customer needs than luxury mechanical watches. People do not pay thousands of dollars for a Rolex or Patek Philippe because they want to know the time or date, but rather because the physical attributes and craftsmanship of the watch itself has timeless value and meaning. Therefore, I believe that lower-end watch brands are more susceptible to disruption, while the higher-end ones will retain their standing as jewel-like luxury items. TAG Heuer may be stuck somewhere in the middle, and it needs to tread carefully to avoid becoming a technology accessories firm and lose its Swiss watchmaking cachet.

You touch on an important point regarding TAG’s technical expertise. As a traditional Swiss watch brand, TAG is faced with the decision of whether to develop in-house digital expertise, or to continue its current strategy of partnering with Google and Intel to produce smartwatches (The Economist: Swiss watchmakers try to keep pace). I am inclined to recommend that they continue the partnership route in order to ensure that their smartwatches keep up with technology and can interact with the other digital devices that consumers use. However, if TAG wants to continue being a luxury brand, it is critical that the brand retains its credibility by continuing its mechanical watchmaking operations.

Regarding an action plan, I agree with you that they should be proactive about lobbying to minimize the implications of Brexit. But, given that human capital is a critical asset for the bank, they should also consider preemptively expanding their EU-based operations in order to gain access to the leaders that can manage the business locally.

alberto.elizondo
On November 27, 2017, alberto.elizondo commented on TAG Heuer: A Swiss Brand Ahead of its Time? :

As a watch aficionado, I really want to think that mechanical wristwatches are not going extinct. While smartwatches have undoubtedly shaken the ground for Swiss watchmakers, I believe that they satisfy fundamentally different customer needs than luxury mechanical watches. People do not pay thousands of dollars for a Rolex or Patek Philippe because they want to know the time or date, but rather because the physical attributes and craftsmanship of the watch itself has timeless value and meaning. Therefore, I believe that lower-end watch brands are more susceptible to disruption, while the higher-end ones will retain their standing as jewel-like luxury items. TAG Heuer may be stuck somewhere in the middle, and it needs to tread carefully to avoid becoming a technology accessories firm and lose its Swiss watchmaking cachet.

You touch on an important point regarding TAG’s technical expertise. As a traditional Swiss watch brand, TAG is faced with the decision of whether to develop in-house digital expertise, or to continue its current strategy of partnering with Google and Intel to produce smartwatches (The Economist: Swiss watchmakers try to keep pace). I am inclined to recommend that they continue the partnership route in order to ensure that their smartwatches keep up with technology and can interact with the other digital devices that consumers use. However, if TAG wants to continue being a luxury brand, it is critical that the brand retains its credibility by continuing its mechanical watchmaking operations.

alberto.elizondo
On November 27, 2017, alberto.elizondo commented on AltSchool: Personalizing K-12 Classroom Learning :

Aahan, you raise some very interesting questions about the future of personalized learning. Salman Khan of Khan Academy, makes an interesting complementary argument that personalized learning can ensure that students attain the required knowledge in subjects before moving on to the next level, without compromising their peers’ learning (https://youtu.be/-MTRxRO5SRA). However, I am suspicious of how quickly AltSchool can attract, train and retain enough talent to rapidly scale while effectively delivering their learning model. As long as the system is not 100% digital, how will AltSchool attract, train and retain teachers that are willing and able to engage with the new educational model?

The question of whether AltSchool can be a software developer while operating their own schools is closely tied to this personnel issue. While AltSchool might be able to perform both activities at a small scale, it will be challenging to do so massively and internationally. And, if they let others operate their schools in a franchise-like system, how will AltSchool ensure consistent quality? I believe that AltSchool should operate no more than 10-20 schools in the USA in order to understand classroom dynamics, but only insofar as doing so helps the company develop software that can be sold massively throughout the world.

alberto.elizondo

Elli, you make an excellent illustration of the impact of Brexit on JLC’s supply chain. It is quite clear that, in an effort to protect domestic jobs, British authorities are negatively impacting JLC’s supply chain, undermining the company’s global competitiveness. In addition to increased tariffs from parts imports from the EU and finished goods exports to the EU, JLC will also face increased costs because of more cumbersome customs processes. According to the Economist, the free flow of auto parts across British borders enables manufacturers to maintain razor-thin inventories, keeping costs down. If border controls increase the variability of customs process times, then manufacturers will have to maintain higher inventories, reducing margins.

With regard to your strategic recommendations, the Economist article also mentions that recent heavy investments have already made British auto manufacturers highly efficient, so the benefits of investing in automation are likely marginal and the company will be forced to launch operations abroad. An additional open question is how JLC can balance domestic vs. foreign production to minimize the new investments required. The Economist article suggests that JLC and its peers are likely to offshore the production of new models while maintaining local production of existing ones.