“Thanks for providing the overview, AVP. First of all, I have been trying to load the UIDAI website for 10 minutes…no luck…this does not bode well.” – Probably an issue on your end. Never faced problems with it.
Your concern on data security is valid. So far there is no concrete data sharing policy and this is something that has been raised at several fora and the govt is actually currently working on.
I really like the most recent (Jet.com) acquisition by Walmart. Jet is a company that has been built on 2 pillars – customer experience and data analytics to ensure every customer pays only for his/her costs. Walmart has historically found it difficult to do both things. This acquisition could prove really fruitful provided Walmart successfully pulls off the integration of Walmart’s stock centers with Jet’s logistics. It also needs to let the Jet team drive all its online efforts because, unlike Walmart, Jet is an online first company which understands the consumer ecosystem. If these things happen, Walmart could soon become a force to be reckoned with in the online world.
I find it interesting that even in a developed economy like the US, there is enough on the table that brokers bring. While your article touches on the possibility of automation, I think there has to be a far greater emphasis on the “soft information” that brokers have. In emerging economies (like India), the broker has a wealth of local knowledge. Plus they usually add the most important layer – trust. Trust is very difficult to build online. You indirectly mention this by mentioning the things that one cant automate. In India, we saw 100s of millions of dollars go down the drain as US investors backed large online “brokerless” models in 2014 and 2015. However come 2016, the focus has shifted to online startups which assist brokers – has a similar trend been observed at mass scale in the US as well?
As I was reading this article, I couldn’t help but notice how much the development of driverless technology depends on market labour rates. For instance, in an emerging market like India where driver salaries are <5$/day, I can't fathom how any time soon such technology will create sufficient value for the economy. On the contrary, in most emerging markets, the negative impact of lost jobs would far outweigh any reasonable economic impact. It's high time this cost of lost jobs was also included in the cost benefit analysis of this technology.
I think it’s really interesting to note that one of the key reasons that lenders flock to these models is the poor rate of return on conventional financial instruments as well as low retail credit rates. In the US, almost no bank gives any substantial return on savings deposits and hence people flock to alternate lending markets to get more bang for their buck. For example, in my experience with similar models in India, one of the key things I learnt was that given savings deposit interest rates of ~8% the incentive to go for some such models is not that high. It’ll be interesting to benchmark average returns of S&P with some such lending marketplaces because if markets start to generate good returns, people might not go for such alternate models.
This post totally resonates with what I’ve seen in India and read about in Indonesia. Financial inclusion is definitely one of the biggest challenges for emerging economies and mobile/digital technologies are critical in achieving this. In India for instance, <10% people have access to formal credit while 55% people take some form of informal credit. The biggest game changed for informal lenders is deep knowledge of a local economy i.e. data that formal lending institutions do not have access to. GMS partnering with local associations to provide loans fits completely into this mindset. One other thing that I have seen happening in India is building marketplaces for informal lenders – the question in my head is would it be better to go the GMS way or would it be better to just be an intermediary to the existing informal lenders, encourage competition through an online portal and ensure best credit facilities for consumers using the classic marketplace model?
I think this is one of the few posts I have read where climate change is actually creating business efficiency (making it easier for vessels to use the erstwhile difficult route). The way I read this post was that climate change will make it easier for Dynagas’ competitors. This would give Dynagas a huge huge incentive to prevent this – though I am not sure how much it can directly effect global warming. Do you see any viable ways that Dynagas can actually slowen the icecap melting or is the way out only to leverage other competitive advantages?
I never realized how much the flight industry contributed to emissions but now it seems so obvious. I think as the world becomes more and more global, this problem will only get more exacerbated. So its imperative that Boeing and other manufacturers take action now. The research into high performance bio-fuels needs to be top priority and the industry needs to come together to do it.
I really liked this article. I have always been skeptical of cola companies and the damage they cause to the environment because of their poor water use practices. It is “refreshing” to see Coke actually putting in so much effort and thought into replenishing water. The crux however lies in the first reservation you pointed out i.e. where is use of water and where does Coke replenish it. Example, in some parts of India (Karnataka to be specific) this is a major issue. If Coke uses water from one source river but then replenishes it back to another, that is not necessarily the same as replenishing the same river. You’ve identified this issue absolutely head on and I think that’s what Coke should focus on going forward.
It’s interesting to see how not investing in alternative technologies could actually help the environment – something which might seem counter-intuitive initially. But then, the caveat is that we’d be betting big on oil companies figuring out how to clean up their emissions. Unfortunately, big oil doesn’t really inspire an environmentalist’s confidence 😛 So, I still feel it would be a major risk to stop exploring alternative technologies.
I think it’s exciting to look at a category such as apparel – which is all pervasive. I like the approach to shift to sustainably grown cotton, I think that cotton still poses a challenge (albeit less) to the environment. So, while it is a good short term initiative, I am not sure if its a great long term strategy. On the other hand, I particularly liked the idea to switch from cotton to other materials which, IMO, is the most sustainable long term strategy. It’d be interesting to explore what percentage of current output/WIP output is still cotton. And what’s the plan for shifting from cotton in the long term.