I met a CEO of a high-end Swiss watch brand a couple of weeks ago. To my surprise, he said their sales actually increased among the threats of the “smart” watches. Obviously they do well because they are differentiated in its high-end market, but they also pay so much attention to innovation, even though it’s not the same innovation that brings high-tech into the watch. TAG is in somewhat awkward situation where it is sandwiched between two markets. I find it difficult for TAG to get “smart” to compete with Apples of the world because it is simply not a technology company. Instead, I do like the idea of them moving up market and try to find a niche place between Apple watch and high-end Swiss watch, if there is one.
Great post and very interesting topic!
It seems like a great example of how technology can transform of a seemingly traditional industry. Here is another technology that’s super interesting: “fitbit for cows”!
Fraud and lack of enforceability have become the biggest challenges to Kickstarter. It’s becoming more of a marketing tool and an efficient way to get early market feedback. “Investors” are no longer willing to back projects that will take years to materialize. In my opinion, Kickstarter needs to migrate away from crowdsourcing platform to a market research tool.
Hi Laura, thanks for sharing a great piece and bringing up such an interesting topic for discussion. NY Times has done an amazing job in battling the digitization trend, which has proven to be devastating for the traditional printed media. I remember a few years back people were predicting that no one can ever charge for news anymore. I agree with the sentiments you shared in the post and couple of the comments. NY Times needs to differentiate itself by offering real news that adds value to its readers. The question you raised about monetization, declining revenue and appealing to broader audience is a tough question. Unfortunately I don’t have a good answer and I do not think the initiatives such as VR apps are the right one. There just seems to be some mismatch in targeted audience. Maybe they ought to have strategic partnership with some social medium platform?
Blockchain is a fascinating technology, although I am skeptic about labeling it as the last disruptive technology in 2010s. It is an ingenious way to promote transparency and enable cross-border transactions without getting human involved. Having an all-mighty algorithm to govern all the transaction does concern me, especially in today’s world where cybersecurity is such a sensitive topic. Do you know how the company you mentioned in the post enforce the contract if one party breaks it? What happens when there is a dispute? Who is the authority to settle the dispute?
Thanks for sharing a real-life example of how blockchain can be valuable, Jordan!
Drones are indeed finding applications in many industries. Regulation is certainly one big hurdle but we are already on the way to make progress. There are several challenges related to drones at the moment. 1. battery life. Most drones can not fly longer than 30mins. As with electric car industry, drone industry is likely to need battery boost in order for more people to adopt. 2. business models. Drone is becoming a commodity. Many startups are gearing towards becoming a data analytics service company in industries such as construction, agriculture and power line.
Great piece Jordan! The title is intriguing enough, and now you thoughtfully mentioned Wanda Group, I have to respond ^_^
First on the role Sci-Fi plays to our society. All social media reflects the value its society hold. Growing up in China and watching Hollywood movies, I learned that the society values freedom and heroes. These movies serve, in a way, as propaganda for US value to the world, and influence how people see the world. To your point, I agree that climate change should play greater role in future pictures.
Back to the acquisition. As you are probably aware, Wanda Group has great government relationship and its owner, Wang Jianlin is the richest guy in China. Earlier this year in China, the government established a strict set of rules to control foreign currency. Almost all of foreign acquisitions were blocked because of this policy. However, Mr. Wang was able to get this deal through because the Chinese government sees greater importance of exporting its government value through media, especially Hollywood. So you’d probably see more of these acquisitions in the years to come. It’s hard to tell if you’d see certain restrictions (probably you will), you’ll definitely see more Chinese actors and marketing. Check out the “Independence Day: Resurgence”.
Hi Vincent, most people in the autonomous car industry that I talked to think the first adoption will happen in long-haul trucking. They have yet to identity a model how autonomous driving and electric car can work together in this case. However, there have been many companies working on making specialized e-trucking business such as public bus, UPS delivery trucks and mining trucks. I think this is an industry ready for inflection.
Great post Pallavi. When it comes to Tesla, I think most people including myself have mixed feelings. Musk has been nothing short of magical in executing the first two parts of his masterplan. A lot of innovative companies have tried and failed what he set out to do. The third piece, going to mass public, is the most critical to his plan, which I remain skeptical. Tesla was successful because it positioned itself differently from other car companies. Tesla is not a car company but a tech company. This has supported their valuation, their operation and people’s perception of the company. The company has also built its core competence around technology and design. By offering mass affordable electric cars, Tesla has to become a car company where margin is much lower. It requires a completely different set of skills such as operational efficiency, channels as you pointed out, and other tedious tasks that the company may not be well prepared. Finger crossed!
Great post Sam. SolarCity has always been a bit of myth to me on how they continue to convince investors not to jump the ship. It goes back to the central question: is a sustainability program a sustainable business. I think SolarCity has yet to proven that their business model is sustainable, but their merger with Telsa may lend them extra time to figure it out assuming Tesla doesn’t screw up Model 3.
My understanding is that Apple is trying to make its entire ecosystem 100% sustainable by 2018. Right now it is at 93%. While I do think it’s net-positive what Apple does, I am not sure Apple’s approach of buying solar farms is the best to achieve long term sustainability. Sort of like carbon credit, don’t think?
While I agree that software is likely to be the value-adding component for the industry as whole and the subsequent wide adoption of electric cars, I remain doubtful if it is the best strategy for BMW. As Jessica mentioned, the internal development of iDrive software development lags hardware development. It is evidence that software development may not play to the core competence of BMW or traditional car manufacturer. It is my opinion that BMW should form strategic partnership with software firms to co-develop next generation electric cars instead of building everything in house. In addition, BMW faces challenges allocating resources between developing cleaner gasoline cars which can generate immediate impact, and building electric cars in a market that yet to ramp up. It has been proven extremely difficult and sometimes costly when a car company tries to balance performance and social impact with the most recent episode of Volkswagen scandal.