Very interesting post. I worked in the education sector for close to 2 years and we brought Khan Academy to India. In fact, Khan Academy’s only office outside of San Francisco is in our office in India! I agree with the post largely especially with the training the teacher model. Would like to point out some things that we did and which would be interesting to consider especially as it expands into other countries
1. We funded the translation of Khan Academy videos into Hindi. However, it turned out that pure translation was not as important as contextualization of the videos. Kids in India wouldn’t be able to relate to “Ben Franklin” or “the dollar” so we ended up doing that. It was quite successful but took a huge amount of time. I wanted to check if you have any thoughts on what we could do to reduce the resources one could spend doing that especially on quality checking (anything related to the machine learning point you mentioned?)
2. The other big takeaway was that in many cases, it actually helped the teachers more than it did the students. In areas where teachers are not very well trained, it gave them a platform from which they could learn how to teach. In reply to some of the comments above, it actually flipped the model. I wonder if with very little tweaking, we could develop a Khan Academy for teachers. It would be the same lessons but just a bit more from an instruction point of view instead of the learning point of view. Most of the principals we spoke to reported higher levels of teacher participation than student participation with regards to Khan Academy!
Great post, Emu. Mr Porter does seem to follow a similar business model to a smattering of consumer start-ups in recent times (online only – Warby Parker, Harry’s till recently, Allbirds, Quip etc.). However, 2 questions come to mind
1. What is the competitive advantage? If Bergdorf / Neiman Marcus any of the other stores can start offering their selection online (which they probably do), what differentiates Mr Porter? Is it the product, the price (can imagine price being low due to no store costs etc.) or just their operating model?
2. What is the next step? Would you recommend Mr Porter to go the Warby Parker / Harry’s way and start a brick and mortar store once they get to a certain stage? Would that add to their marketing campaign and if you recommend they do that, would be very interesting to see how their operating model would change. Would it change significantly (would they have to invest in warehousing, logistics among other things) or would it be a small change?
Hey Pete – excellent post. Very interesting to see problems being solved in innovative ways. You referred to this briefly in your post (under the competitors section) and it would be great to understand what their competitive differentiation is. Something that struck me was that if they are able to develop meaningful partnerships and a robust tech platform, it might even make sense to enter the logistics space.
Indonesia is a very large company and I would assume there would be a huge demand for a logistics company there (building off from my experience in India and our cases from countries in similar stages of development). My personal view is that many e-commerce companies that are not able to turn a profit should see if they can pivot to logistics. I would think GoJek can think of a similar pivot especially in light of Van’s comment above. It would pose huge challenges of course (the biggest one being that Indonesia is an island nation) but would be a huge value-add and avoid the political issues that come with going up against entrenched occupations
This is an amazing post. Very interesting topic and and something that is very close to me. I can see technology being a tool for increasing attendance to the museums especially among the younger generation. Two things that were going on in my mind when I was reading this
1. It seems to have been adopted majorly by the large / famous museums that can afford to do this. Is there a chance we can look at the cost breakdown for this? It might offer an insight into whether some of the smaller museums with lesser budgets / endowments would be able to upgrade their experience through technology. Else, we might see a risk of smaller museums becoming obsolete and only being able to compete on their “content”
2. It seems to have been largely localized so far. Each museum developing their own app. If there’s enough commonality in these apps, do you think there is space for a company to do this in a centralized manner and earn revenue from it? Would be an interesting start-up idea.
Great post. Super interesting and feels especially relevant after having studied the case in class. One point which would be good to explore further is why Starbucks was able to successfully crack the digital payments space while the others were not. Was it specifically the ease of use, the loyalty program they instituted, the industry lending itself to this kind of payment more easily than other industries or was it because they had a superior tech team / mindset and invested in this when the others did not?
Another question I have is on licensing the app. Given how different business operate, do you think it might be able to do it for other industries as well or would it be restricted to the F&B industry? Moreover, given the low barriers to entry, what “edge” would Starbucks provide over developing the app in-house? One thing I can think off would be licensing it out to smaller companies that may not be able to invest in technology as heavily (but then again, those probably wouldn’t be chains so not sure if it would work as well) but would love to hear your thoughts.
Very insightful – loved the post. Considering the clout Coca Cola (or “Coke” or “the Company”) would have with everyone involved in its supply chain, would be interesting to see if they would try to implement sustainability across their supply chain. This brings me back to the question we discussed in the IKEA case on control vs. impact. One of the key metrics to gauge the seriousness of their intent and efforts would be to see how much they are willing to control their supply chain to push the sustainability agenda. As a second best alternative, how much are they willing to invest in programs that their supply chain partners can comply to and what they would do to enforce this? What would especially be interesting is to see the efficacy of their efforts internationally given the scale they operate in.
Jules – very very interesting. Great read. It would be great to know more about the current state at which the technology is at, any partnerships that might be formed (with CERN or whichever organization already does fusion) etc. The revenue potential seems huge (see excerpt below on Helion energy from Wikipedia) but there seems to be less clarity on feasibility. Definitely looking forward to more on this
Helion Energy’s strategy is to generate revenue based on a royalty model of electricity produced with projected electricity prices of 40-60 $/MWhr (4 to 6 cents per kwh). Penetration of the new capacity market is estimated at 20% of market growth (2.5%) per annum eventually reaching 50% of new power generation worldwide – $52 B/yr. Gradual displacement of existing supplies enables continued growth to 20% of world electrical generation after 20 years with a net return of over $300 billion.
Great post on a very interesting topic. I would be curious to see what competitors are doing in the industry. Would there be some benefits of logistics companies coming together to combat this? I’m guessing many of them would be in a similar position and some of the large global ones (DHL etc.) would face the added pressure / risk of coordinating global climate change concerns.
This might be a tangent but let’s grab tea and scones sometime to discuss whether drones might be the answer?
Great post. I love the research behind the topic and I wanted to propose a Colombia trek next spring to visit the manufacturing facilities.
On a more serious note, I like the solutions you’ve proposed especially around the supply chain. However, it would be great to understand the costs and benefits of adopting maritime freight over air freight. It’s probably impossible to cover in an 800 word blog post but I believe it would yield pretty interesting results. Also – as part of the analysis, we could look at how constant / unpredictable the demand is for flowers (how cyclical the industry is vs. there being unpredictable demand). This could lead us to think about establishing a lower cost supply chain which could provide a steady stream of flowers. To gain extra brownie points on this comment, let me mention the bullwhip effect and its effects on the supply chain.
Overall, the post made me think a lot – thank you!
Great post, Mark. I like how you’ve discussed a company that relates to climate change in it’s business model.
The solutions you’ve proposed are pretty radical and that’s why I like them but I wanted to ask you what you felt about a phased approach towards exiting the natural gas fired plants instead of immediately closing them down. Let’s grab coffee next week to discuss this more and the potential ramifications exiting this business might have on PG&E.