As an active Venmo user, I do believe that apps of this nature are disrupting the conventional business model as highlighted in your post. The only area I would critique is the ‘network effect’ – Does this space really have a low barrier to entry? Imagine if a Facebook or Google comes out with a really secure product that offers additional savings to customers (by means of sharing the interest Venmo makes of the large pool of customer money). I can easily see the Venmo world switching to something backed by a Facebook/Google.
Lastly, I would encourage you to lookup the Transferwise model (https://transferwise.com/us/) that works on the ‘Hawala’ system (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawala) as this ties into your suggestion of how Venmo can be used with regards to foreign exchange.
Great post. I had no idea that Tesla was conducting a ‘live’ beta test in their current cars by simulating autonomous driving behaviour and comparing it to actual driving by Tesla customers. Just given the sheer volume of Road Traffic accidents across the globe, I am happy to see innovation in this space.
One concern I have is how easily can Driverless/Autonomous cars be globalised? Will it work in a country like India or China – are the sensors affected by car density, pedestrian density, road conditions, quality of maps etc? Also are there countries across the globe where it may be possible to rollout even before the US. The latter question led to me an interesting article (https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/234547-other-countries-are-beating-the-us-to-fully-driverless-cars-let-them) which highlights how an MIT startup (nuTomony) is ‘live’ testing autonomous vehicles in Singapore after receiving approvals from the government.
Great minds think alike 🙂 Recommend you also read my post on how HBX is looking to disrupt and transform the digital education landscape. https://digital.hbs.edu/platform-rctom/submission/hbx-disrupting-the-business-education-delivery-model/
I strongly believe that HBS has the power to call the shots – they just need to decide when and to what extend it would like to scale up these digital offerings to change the market dynamics for top quality business education. While I do think that as things stand, these initiatives are only meant to complement and not replace the more traditional full time MBA programs That said, I strongly want these initiatives to succeed and enable those bright minds with limited resources to have access to top quality educational offerings.
On a separate note with regard to your topic headline – I do fully agree that HBS Academics needs to work harder at sustainability and take a hard call to stop distributing paper cases and encourage students to go digital. I would imagine this would not only lower the Program Support fees but also go a long way toward encouraging students to develop a more sustainability focused mindset.
AR – Interesting read and suggest you also read my post as I delve further into the HBX initiative launched by HBS. I agree that while fundamentally a great concept, MOOC’s never quite hit it off since the big launches in 2012. The completion rate for MOOC’s have been roughly 7% (https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/05/10/new-study-low-mooc-completion-rates) which is unfortunately due to mass signups by folks who don’t end up investing the time, and the lack of any personal connect with the thousands of peers enrolled in the MOOC. At the end of the day, the sad reality is that we end up putting in a lot more effort when we’re paying for something. That’s one of the key differentiators with HBX Core, which achieves a 85-90% completion rate as they charge $1800 for the course.
So I’m torn because fundamentally I want free MOOC’s but also have a strong appreciation that I may never have the will to complete the course if I don’t personally invest in it (kind of like Pvt Equity firms requiring Management Teams to have skin in the game?)
I look forward to seeing how the digital education industry evolves. While I don’t think it will ever replace traditional college education and achieve the status that an Ivy League degree/stamp provides, I do personally wish for them to succeed and serve the many brilliant minds that unfortunately don’t have the resources to physically attend the top universities across the globe.
Having followed the top highlights from CES 2016, I must admit Whirlpool’s Kitchen of the future was definitely one that sparked my interest. Who wouldn’t want to have the amazing features that have been envisioned by the firm. I agree with your suggestion that they need to increase compatibility with existing IoT ecosystems, as I don’t believe this is a market where first movers will necessarily win – but getting strong and perhaps exclusive partnerships with IoT partners is probably going to be a key differentiator.
The other element that worries me is the cost of these innovations. What % of the average population will be able to afford Kitchen of the future when it launches? What steps are required to scale this into a more affordable and accessible product. I don’t know the answers, but I hope Whirlpool is asking themselves these hard questions.
Great article highlighting the challenges, current innovations and next steps for the business. I agree that as a leader in their field, Nike has an important role to play in promoting sustainable sportswear. A key challenge will be to ‘police’ their existing supply chain to adopt sustainable practices without increasing prices and/or reducing current margins.
I look forward to seeing how Nike achieves scale with their future innovations.
Great post AVP. Tea is certainly an important part of the agricultural industry that faces a massive threat on account of climate change. I liked the fact that your post highlighted not just the implications of climate change on the ‘product’ but also the risks to the ‘people’ side of things. I agree with your analysis that while the Tata group is making efforts towards sustainability (in their factories, corporate offices etc), they must also invest in R&D to improve the yield, adaptability and climate resistance of their core tea product.
Interesting read Lee. I thought one additional point about Tesla that showcases their true commitment to sustainability is releasing their patents to the world in 2014 (https://www.tesla.com/blog/all-our-patent-are-belong-you). The fact that the company actively wants other companies to work on electric zero emission vehicles is refreshing.
I would love to hear your thoughts on whether the tax subsidy would be relevant for a non-luxury vehicle such as their upcoming Telsa Model 3.
Anton – While I don’t believe that Google/Alphabet is an organisation, which has been massively affected by climate change/regulations (given the nature of their core businesses) – I do agree that given their leading position in the tech industry they have the power to truly innovate on alternate energy forms. Thanks for a great summary on their current efforts towards sustainability and operational improvement. Would love to additionally hear your thoughts on what additional steps Google could take to further their existing sustainability efforts.
As someone coming from the O&G Industry, I found the article a very interesting read. Great job collating facts on Aramco, which is clearly a powerhouse in the sector. I also agree that given Aramco is sitting on the largest pool of resources with low extraction costs, and as such they possibly have the least incentive to make a change.
I would just like to complement your article, by adding some insights from my experience in the industry. Unfortunately, the O&G industry has virtually no internationally accepted regulations around GHG emissions, and as a result companies across the globe follow whatever loose standards their countries hold them to. Regulations (if any) are basically self-imposed. The biggest change I would make is for Aramco to lobby for stronger international regulations that force O&G operators to keep their GHG emissions below a certain threshold – forcing them towards operational improvements. For instance, the O&G exploration startup I worked with prior to HBS had adopted IFC Performance Standards, thereby self imposing fairly stringent internal checks on how we chose equipment, service providers etc to do our projects. Additionally, monitoring and reporting GHG emissions to IFC on an annual basis helped force our decision making to incorporate sustainable choices. I would personally hope that an international O&G body follows through and implements such regulations on operators across the globe. Given Aramco’s low cost of production, they are in a position of strength and can certainly incur additional costs to meet any such regulations (unlike many operators with higher cost of deepwater production).
Lastly, I just wanted to stress that I don’t believe O&G firms need to actively stop alternative sources of energy from developing. Given that the rate of energy demand is miles ahead of the rate at which alternate technologies are developing – I personally believe that O&G is here to stay for many decades. If anything, development of these alternative source will reduce the burden on O&G companies to meet the ever increasing global energy demand and allow them to focus on extracting O&G from reservoirs/basins with a lower cost of production.