Great article, and I think to answer Austin’s and Andrew’s questions, I think the value in investing with robo-advisors or some sort of automated wealth management system is the fact that they will automatically re-balance your portfolio according to modern theory of portfolio allocation. Based on one’s risk tolerance and preferences, theoretically there are certain allocation strategies that an investor should pursue given a set of assumptions that include investment horizon, dividend payouts, risk / reward preferences, etc. Where I can see Fidelity playing in this kind of passive management strategy, and I think the reason for them still using real advisors, is that there is a certain sub-segment of millenials who have capital in various forms (and not necessarily all in Fidelity accounts) that they also want to take into consideration when thinking about investing. Real advisors are able to take things like this into considerations, whereas it would be a lot harder for a robo-advisor to do so.
Great article, Ross! I’ve actually always wondered how OpenTable can remain relevant as other review websites (e.g. Yelp) has aggressively expanded into ancillary businesses such as delivery and reservation services. I agree that OpenTable therefore has to keep on innovating in order to remain competitive, but wonder if the industry is big enough to accommodate all of these businesses. Ultimately I see these sorts of websites converging and buying each other out as one restaurant does not need multiple platforms unless there is specific customer segmentation between the various usage bases.
Great article! I never realized that WeChat was more than just a communication application, but it also makes sense that they’ve gone into the O2O space from a business perspective. By further integrating themselves in a new way into users’ lives, they’re creating stickier customer relationships as the cost to switch applications will be substantially higher. It’s also interesting to see how certain countries are bypassing computer usage and going straight to mobile usage. Technology is advancing at such a rapid pace that we can skip products as the flow of information is so fast. Mobile also makes it extremely convenient for users to get instant gratification, but I wonder what the implications of moving towards an on-demand economy is and how much that will cost businesses.
A very thought provoking article! I’ve never really thought about the relationship between digitization and the pharmaceutical industry, but when you look into the back end of things and how big pharma actually operates, the origins of all of the new drugs that come onto market is through R&D and knowledge sharing. A digital age allows information dissemination and research changes to happen almost instantaneously, and that’s where I see the true value of using technology as a pharma company. Instead of waiting weeks or months to receive results, share with other medical experts, and decide on how to tweak a formulation or take the next step of clinical trials, a digitized world can allow for all of this communication to happen remotely. I do agree that culture is a big hurdle to making this change, as the flow of information is only as good as the holder who is willing to pass it on through this new means of communication.
The other thing that got me thinking was how much more pharmaceutical companies need to invest in their marketing efforts and carefully monitor their online presence now that patients can easily access efficacy and reviews on any type of prescription online. We live in an age where reviews can significantly sway our consumption, and when talking about side effects and efficacy of drugs, customers have much more information to assess their next best alternative.
Nah, she’s really a Tigers fan through and through.
Thanks for the article – I thought it was really interesting and can see a lot of parallels to the Uber platform as HourlyNerd essentially sounds like a technology platform that connects consultants with businesses who need help. Two points I’d like to make, however: 1) I think HourlyNerd will be limited to the SMB space as large corporations probably have much more complicated problems that need teams of consultants to advise them. However, there are a lot of small to medium sized businesses who need some accounting guidance or simple supply chain / buying advice, which is where I see the company’s value proposition being. However, one potential expansion area would be for HourlyNerd to create consultant teams who are able to tackle some of the more sophisticated problems. 2) As I think about how HourlyNerd should go about pricing, I wonder if a commission based pricing scheme (a la Uber) or subscription based scheme (a la Angie’s List), or a combination of both, would be fair.
Interesting article; I think it’s the only company I’ve read about thus far in which the business actually benefits from the effects of climate change. Whereas climate change is limiting other industries’ raw material supply, Arctic shipping opportunities are actually increasing because of the polar ice cap is melting. I wonder how FedNav will continue to balance its need to reduce GHG emissions while taking advantage of a longer shipping season. Should the company even consider these new routes, and will it receive backlash from environmentalists if it does?
Great article, however it makes me wonder whether there is even a future for the fast fashion industry. While I commend H&M for its sustainability efforts, I question whether fast fashion’s business model fundamentally stands in opposition of creating more sustainable efforts. After all, the reason why this industry exists is because consumers want clothing that is cheap enough that wearing it once or twice is enough to justify purchasing it. If H&M moves towards 100% recyclable clothing, how much will that increase its costs and retail prices, and will consumers be willing to pay a premium for that?
Great article…I never thought about how something as simple as a Google search can use up so much energy. It definitely makes me think twice before playing Netflix in the background. Often when we think about climate change in a business context, our mindset automatically shifts towards established industries that have a history of pollution. However, you bring up a great point on how technological advancement probably has an even bigger potential to harm the earth as everything we do these days require a tremendous amount of energy. Google certainly has the power to exert its influence on utilities, but do the utility companies have a similar incentive to move towards alternative energy sources (especially in an environment without any government subsidies or credits)?
I love Luke’s Lobsters, and never realized that they have a vertically integrated supply chain or sustainable mission! This is another great example of how sustainability practices can provide benefits to a company’s business model and enhance its long term value. My only concern is whether Luke’s, and the lobster industry in general, are doing enough to protect the supply. It is unfortunate to read that despite establishing the first sustainability law almost 150 years ago, the lobster industry is still experiencing pronounced effects of climate change…does that mean it’s too late for industries that are only at the beginning of setting sustainability standards?
Thanks for your insights. What really stuck out to me was Exhibit 1 on the source of greenhouse emissions that are emitted – over 75% of Starbucks’ GHG emissions come from electricity usage. Given the company’s massive store footprint, being able to shift electricity usage to renewable or any other carbon neutral sources could significantly reduce the amount of pollutants in the air, as well as set a precedent for other retailers to do the same. While I agree with the other commenters that Starbucks will also need to address its coffee bean supply chain in order to combat the most detrimental effects of climate change, for long term sustainability, it needs to have a two-pronged approach.