This is an incredibly cool article that speaks to the power that mission-based enterprises can exert to achieve economic goals, while also contributing to the world of diplomacy and economic development. AirBnB’s involvement in Cuba reminds me of “21st Century Statecraft”, a course I took at Princeton with Anne-Marie Slaughter, who is now the CEO of New America and was previously the Director of Policy Planning at the State Department for Secretary Clinton. In the course, we learned that the vast adoption of technology has led to a new style of diplomacy. Rather than diplomacy conducted solely between heads of states, much more action is happening at a local level with both government and non-government actors getting involved (Here’s an overview of the work they focused on: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/21st-century-statecraft-with-alec-ross) . Despite the change in presidential administrations, AirBnB’s size and position in the travel market give it the ability to command influence. I agree that they should double-down on Cuba – the opportunity is massive and they can accomplish additional objectives as a by-product of their economic success.
Well, this is not your everyday market that comes top of mind – I love that you one of your references is Freakonomics! I agree with Lauren that it is very interesting the way in which Georgia takes such an active role in international trade relations with China. It will be interesting to monitor how the Trump Administration balances a belief in increasing state rights with the growing trend of isolationism. This industry appears to be a win-win for the US and China. The US, and particularly Georgia, receives economic growth and job creation while China enables its consumers to enjoy a much-treasured delicacy. Since the inauguration, the Trump Administration has appeared to soften its tone towards China and appears interested in working on areas of common interest, though so much unpredictability exists . I also agree with Tom Richardson that the US should not help to develop the Chinese poultry industry, but rather should push to grow the Georgia poultry industry via China and even look at other products that the US could export to China.
 Kausikan, Bilahari. “Asia in the Trump Era.” Foreign Affairs, vol. 96, no. 3, June 2017, pp. 146–153., http://www.foreignaffairs.com/reviews/review-essay/2017-04-17/asia-trump-era
I think corporations are not only obligated but also have an incentive to push their suppliers to be more sustainable. Modern-day capitalism has begun to hold corporations to higher standards and have a positive impact on the world vs. solely existing to create shareholder value. As suppliers are a direct beneficiary of the scale and sales growth of major corporations, they are required to listen to respective clients. Companies like Colgate pushing suppliers to be more sustainable could result in suppliers developing less wasteful production processes that could result in lower costs for the corporation and the supplier and better overall products.
Wow, this is a very eye-opening and insightful view observing a significant challenge to fighting climate change. I am not particularly surprised that Mahura has not made itself a leader in reducing carbon emissions – they are a legacy company that is challenged with tough margins. It is hard to imagine that they have taken too much initiative to be a leader in the climate change debate when the demands of business-as-usual have caused them to focus on more operational and financial challenges at hand. While I believe the UN should ultimately play a role in pushing Mahura more aggressively, I would be interested to see if investments in things like Beluga Skysails could present a legitimate long-term business case that could help them grow margins and reduce emissions at the same time.
Very interesting look into a massive market opportunity to disrupt the traditional pharmacy industry. I imagine that Amazon’s offering would tie directly into Amazon Prime, where customers would upload a prescription via the web or mobile app, have a doctor confirm the prescription, and then once approved, tap directly into Amazon’s incredible distribution network, in which customers enjoy same-day delivery. To Lev’s point, I am not sure why it would be that difficult for CVS to get into the pharmacy delivery business. I am pretty encouraged by the innovation that CVS has demonstrated through its mobile app, curbside pickup program, and same-day delivery. As a business with a $77B market cap that has demonstrated an ability to make bold moves (ie Acquiring Aetna for $66B), CVS should monitor the startup growth in the market and constantly consider whether they should “buy or build.” Over the long-term, to compete with Amazon, Pillpack, which is the leading startup in the category, could be a very interesting acquisition target for CVS.
This is a fascinating story of a modern metropolis investing to become a leading “Smart City.” I think that while the full blueprint of Seoul’s infrastructure investment would be difficult to implement entirely in other cities due to variation in city design, politics, access to capital, among many other factors, it seems feasible that some of the strategies like “smart cameras” in subways could be implemented in most cities that have a modern subway system.
While South Korea’s population may be declining over time, I am not sure that this will have a major impact on Seoul’s population in particular. Some research appears to suggest that Seoul’s population is going to remain relatively constant at 10M [1}. Additionally, Ibbitson’s article mentions towards the end that South Korea could look to open up its border and have a more inclusive immigration policy . Lastly, I think any city that is twice as dense as New York City could always benefit from technology investments in infrastructure. I think Seoul should not worry about modernizing its city – the improvements that will come from it – efficiency, jobs, decreased congestion – will far outweigh the costs.