D, 7 million students is just such a small number when you consider the 7 billion population in our world today – majority of whom (1) do not have access to internet and (2) do not speak English. There are a number of issues that we need to consider before we decide that this is a scaleable education delivery model that can replace schools. First is the language of education: Do you expect international students to learn English before they can benefit from the content on the platform? Second, presuming that majority of the content is generated by institutions in the United States, is it ethical that US content creators determine the curriculum for so many students? Third, how do we standardize the curriculum for students and national testing? How will governments react? Finally, the success of this model assumes that students and families are self-motivated enough to independently work through online courses without the guidance or pressure from teachers/ schools. I think many people will contest that assumption.
I personally would argue that EdX is better suited to supplement schools than to replace them.
You’re absolutely right Sabine in predicting that the hybrid strategy will not do very well. Most recently, I see Lego trying to double down on selling physical legos. Lego innovated a line of products called Lego Flexo which allows children to create objects that have flexible movements e.g. arrows. It was a promising move that might allow Lego to expand their toys into other categories and gain market share from other toy manufacturers.
You can see Lego Flexo here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aL4eGLqguKc
The strategies you outlined above can surely help slow down decline in their business and protect their bottom-line in the medium-term. I’m not convinced, however, that these strategies will be sufficient to sustain USPS’ business. Given that businesses use less and less paper, USPS will need to compete with package players to generate top-line growth. One way I think USPS can enter the space is by serving B2B deliveries using their existing assets and perhaps overtime USPS can also win SME businesses from FedEx and the likes.
Building on Cara McCutcheon’s point above, I want to ask if you think there’s an opportunity for Stitch Fix to be a liquidation channel for a lot of retailers. Since Stitch Fix has consumer data, chances are they can take in out-of-season stock from retailers that is just sitting in their inventory and sell them at a slightly discounted price to customers. You’re reducing warehousing and inventory cost for the retailers while being able to provide better value for customers.
Another point I want to make is that Stitch Fix would need to be cautious about creating private label clothes. In Southeast Asia, a fashion ecommerce retailer called Zalora started manufacturing private label clothes that are basically cheaper versions of successful fashion styles from other retailers. The retail partners weren’t very happy with that since Zalora undercuts their price and takes away their market share.
This movement towards better collection and standardization of medical records has tremendous potential for healthcare indeed. However, as you rightly pointed out, the opt-in nature of medical data does pose a challenge. I would even venture suggesting that the opt-in nature of data collection might lead to selection bias among patients and bias in data, which is dangerous if you’re going to be pushing medical professionals to rely on statistical evidence of the data to backup their hypotheses.
I am also unsure to what extent Big Data can “cure” cancer. That said, I do know that Big Data is used a lot in pharmacogenomics which then helps to determine the efficacy of different drugs for different patients.
You can read more about pharmacogenomics here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3351041/
While sustainable “best practices” might help, given the situation you just laid out, I think developing the controlled environment for baby lobsters will have more chance of success. “Best practices” can only help improve or maintain existing population of lobsters, but if temperature continues to rise, I doubt that current best practices can stop the lobster population from declining.
It seems like some companies such as Red Lobster and Roy’s Farm are moving in the direction that you described. They’re growing lobsters in ponds or cultivating slightly different lobster species that can survive in new environment.
Cara, this is such an interesting post! I’m surprised that the government has not responded by regulating the industry’s water consumption better. As a fan of Californian wine, I would be concerned regarding the price of Californian wine going forward because sooner or later, water price has to increase in the region and producers will have no choice but to increase the price of wine. Should the price of water becomes to high to justify the production of wine, it’s interesting to see if the government will choose to subsidize the industry or not given the special nature of wine as a product.
Coming from Indonesia, I am deeply skeptical if ever Unilever can source sustainable palm oil. First of all, sustainable palm oil is a paradoxical notion. While the burning of palm oil is carbon neutral, the production process involves so much environmental destruction that it’s hard to find producers who do it in a sustainable manner. Oftentimes companies exclude certain environmental impact from their accounting, pushing away costs from their books, as opposed to truly reflecting the environmental costs of palm oil production in its entirety. Second, majority of the world’s palm oil supply come from Malaysia and Indonesia, and there’s very little incentive for businesses in Indonesia to make sustainable palm oil. The Indonesian government needs the money more than it needs forests so it turns a blind eye on the issue and deems palm oil as environmentally good and provides minimal oversight. Pressure to change must come from demand side (i.e. Unilever) or public organizations.
If Puerto Rico’s credit issues are not likely to be resolved in the next 5 years, how about looking at private sector as source of funding for these initiatives? Given the direness of the situation, I would imagine there has to be a business case for investing in water – unless majority of Puerto Rico’s businesses are not reliant on steady water supply.
Great job detailing how H&M has adapted to the challenges posed by climate change. I do wonder, however, to what extent does H&M truly care about increasing sustainability given that their core business – the business of fast fashion – relies on constant if not increasing consumption of fashion, the production of which contributes to global warming.