I’m not sure what the impact on schools has been. Given how many schools are rushing into the online arena, I assume they see it as a way to spread their brand further to people (and their communities) who wouldn’t have attended in-person anyway. More thoughts about online in my comment above.
Good question – it’ll be hard to balance in-person (high selectivity/high prestige/small quantity/high price) with online. I think HBS has to offer the “best” deal for the online courses and use that to spread the HBS name – there will always be students who want to get an in-person MBA. HBS should also offer a basic programming course. Loudest voice saying a two-year, in-person MBA isn’t useful is probably the tech community.
Nice job, Aldo. To me the big question is – will Tesla’s car be like the iPhone? Apple’s iPhone had first mover advantage, changed consumer behavior to use smartphones, but entrants immediately came in to develop other smartphones. The iPhone could have gotten crushed by its competitors, given its higher pricing and margins, but it didn’t. Tesla’s EV has first-mover advantage, but if Tesla succeeds in changing user behavior, will its high pricing get crushed by its future competitors? I think yes. There will be future competitors since EVs aren’t “that” hard to make – that’s why Chevy and BMW have EVs. Once other car companies see consumers want EVs, they will make EVs too.
I see two reasons why cars are not like smartphones. First, people don’t use cars to communicate with each other. Smartphones are meant for communication, so scale matters. People use either iOS or Android, and that’s pretty much it. Apps are written for iOS or Android, and that’s pretty much it. If a phone-maker came out with a new operating system today, it wouldn’t gain traction. This protects the iPhone from competition. Tesla’s EV have no similar protection.
Second, car companies burn more cash than electronics companies. R&D, capex, manufacturing, shipping, distribution of cars is more expensive. It’s more expensive to iterate on design. Researching the next technological innovation that other car companies don’t have will be more expensive. Tesla takes advantage of its high stock price to raise equity and also convertible debt. How much longer can that last? Competitors have more cash. Telsa has struggled to meet its production goals in the past. It effectively loses money on each Model S (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-teslamotors-cash-insight-idUSKCN0QE0DC20150810).
Thanks for writing about Valeant! I’m worried about companies whose growth comes ~solely from pricing increases. It invites public criticism (politicians, the public), more regulation, and new entrant copycats. Copycats might not appear here because of the first two issues. 2015 was a huge year for M&A, but as we enter a rising rate regime, acquisition rollup strategies will become harder to execute. Valeant’s cherrypicked disclosure about how its prior acquisitions are faring may be masking underperformance.
Great job – the Middle Eastern carriers have done well over the past decade. Emirates kind of reminds me of Jan Carlzon’s SAS, with respect to the emphasis on service. It worries me that they’re aiming to almost double their fleet size by 2020. Especially with wide-body planes. Is there that much excess passenger demand they can fill? If not, load factors (utilization) per plane, and profitability, will decrease. Also curious what you think about the American big 3 airlines’ argument that the Middle Eastern carriers are subsidized by their governments. Seems hypocritical since American airlines weren’t deregulated until several decades ago.
Great post! I was surprised to learn that Warby Parker’s sales/ft^2 is as high as Tiffany’s. I wonder whether the industry is open for another entrant to come in to steal share from Luxottica. WP’s advantage seems to lie in its brand name and customer word-of-mouth. People probably don’t re-buy eyewear that frequently, and WP is the “cool” brand right now. Wonder if aggressive expansion to more than 15 cities is currently in the works.