Thanks MayC. I remember people postulating about this idea when Airbnb first became mainstream as cars felt like the next logical target for the gig economy. I completely agree that the process of hiring a car is unnecessarily burdensome and innovation in this area is needed. However, my primary concern stems from the fundamentally different competitive landscape. Unlike accommodation, where hotels never owned the assets to compete in home-sharing, car OEMs already own the underlying assets. OEMs have invested heavily in tech disruptors, including driverless car technology, and have greater access to capital, making them formidable competitors to technology pure-plays.
Thanks Jordan. I agree with you, eSports will be even more prominent in the future and their athletes will be future stars, sitting alongside the best physical sport athletes. However, with fame, comes fortune, and the inevitable risk of foul play. How can eSports monitor the potential use of eSteroids – or game-hacking to cheat? We’ve seen this occur already in ‘Rainbow Six Siege’. Traditional sports have established drug testing bodies – how will eSports respond?
Thanks Nikki. I am an enormous advocate for any innovation, whether it’s through technology or operational processes, that increases the efficiency at airports. E-gates have been remarkably effective in Australia and New Zealand, speeding up immigration processing for locals. As long as data protection is carefully protected from threats, I hope all airports quickly adopt similar technology.
Thanks Doug. I think this is an interesting idea but as you mention, I think the key challenge for Quantopian is their ability to retain high performing quants. If the best algorithms are taken out of the Quantopian system, then what value – apart from academic learning – would Quantopian provide? I wonder if quant hedge funds could find ways to leverage Quantopian for recruitment or assessment purposes – whether it’s to help identify potential candidates or verify the ability of early tenure quants they hire.
Great article Chantal. I remember following a similar company called Matternet 4 years ago when they first began using drones to deliver healthcare products in Africa, overcoming the massive infrastructure challenges you mentioned. Just like Zipline, their solution is truly inspirational and transforming across a range of possible industry applications. I particularly like how Zipline is differentiated by using a catapult launch system for their drones to reduce energy consumption needed if they self-accelerated. As a result, it seems Zipline can cover greater distances and respond faster to urgent medical needs. Apart from regulatory concerns, which is an ever-present risk to the viability and growth of new technologies, I’m curious about how Zipline is maintaining the quality of medical supplies they’re transporting (e.g., protecting against change in air pressure and heavy shaking) and ensuring flight safety (e.g., avoiding aerial obstacles such as birds or staying out of reach of thieves). Overall, I’m sure these issues can be overcome and look forward to seeing more life-saving innovations in the future.
I concur – the slow destruction of Australia’s great barrier reef and similar reefs around the world is truly devastating. You mostly mention two primary sources of reef damage – rising temperatures and tourism – and hint at others such as pollution and overfishing. In my view, water pollution is an enormous contributor to damaging ocean life in general and should not be understated. For example, a new study in ‘Science Magazine’ estimates that China’s coastal population alone contributes 1.3 million to 3.5 million metric tons of plastic to the world’s oceans every year, largely due to mismanaged waste. (http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-tons-of-plastic-trash-in-oceans-20150213-story.html). Fortunately, this is something that we, as consumers and eventual business leaders, can directly influence. Governments should also require companies to uphold the highest moral and environmental standards when it comes to waste disposal and apply heavy financial penalties to disincentivise cheating.
Very interesting post. While many of the initiatives Carnival has adopted are a step in the right direction, they appear to be ignoring major areas where improvements could be made. To me, the reason why these areas have been ignored is because they still optimize for economics over the environment. To me, this plays out in the both areas cruise companies try to differentiate – the itinerary and the ship.
The itinerary design of a cruise considers many factors, but one of the factors is to minimize ‘sea-days’, the number of full days travelling without stopping at a port. They want to do this because customers want to see as many places as possible and typically do not like cruises that leaves them stranded on the ship. However, to do this, cruise company typically need to make up for long distances between ports by speeding up, which consumes more fuel, and emits more GHGs. On the topic of fuel, you do mention that many new ships have adopted cleaner fuel technologies but most of Carnival’s fleet is old and getting older, and these ships use more bunker fuel, which is a highly polluting and inefficient fuel source. Cruise companies tend to keep old ships in operation because they can maximize returns on fully-depreciated ships and they can use them in new “test” areas to size demand (e.g., Costa NeoRomantica was built in 1993 and still operates in China).
Secondly, cruise ships are behemoth manifestations that contain immense amounts of embodied energy. Both Royal Caribbean and Carnival seem to be building larger and larger ships as this is a core differentiator for business. I wonder what efforts they making to reduce the energy and waste involved in such constructions.
Very interesting piece. As mentioned above, I wholeheartedly agree that LEED appears to be more of a marketing ploy than a real representation of a building’s energy efficiency. I also like the ideas put forth about how we could get to a more reliable and accurate metric. What remains unclear to me is exactly how much more efficient Related’s initiatives are and what the financial costs and benefits are to both the developer and the tenant. You seem to suggest there could be a win-win scenario which would lead me to believe there is a strong likelihood for rapid adoption of such technologies and thus able to make a dent in the energy consumption of new builds – which is great. However, I also wonder whether the economics would stack up for refitting existing buildings with the same technology. As you indicated, real estate is enormously energy intensive, and while improving new builds is a step in the right direction, my sense is that developers should consider addressing existing properties in order to truly move the needle in energy efficiency.
Great thought-starter Emma! It is indeed fun to postulate and imagine a future of floating cities. However, similar to other commenters, I can’t help but consider the immense practical obstacles that could prevent this from becoming a reality, and the reactionary essence of this solution that seemingly fails to address the root causes of climate change. Many of the above comments have touched on the practical implementation challenges, so I’ll leave that point aside. The other concern is the fact that floating cities appear to be a solution that reacts to the impacts of climate change that we can foresee today. However, given the impossibility of forecasting the future effects of climate change, and the fact that the pace of climate change has exceeded almost every prediction made by scientists, I’m concerned that by the time floating cities are near completion, new changes in the climate would have emerged (such as frequent tsunamis or earthquakes) that could render floating cities an incomplete or inadequate solution.
Great piece. However, I do tend to agree with you, and many of the above comments, about the pitfalls of the product to date. It strikes me as another gadget in the “quantified self’ space that displays data that, while interesting, often leads to quickly diminishing changes in behavior (e.g., fitbit). It is also a bit surprising to me that a “hardware” startup launched with such barriers to adoption given the capital intensity involved. Overall, I’m encouraged by the innovation in this space and think that even if ThinkEco doesn’t become the breakthrough product, an inspired follower may be.