Will, first, thanks for introducing “pigging industry” into my lexicon. Really interesting post–a great example of how digitization is remaking even the most unexpected products. I am curious how widely adopted these new pigs are in the industry? Has the prolonged drop in oil prices hurt the spread of this kind of technology? Have companies been forced to build out their analytics and data processing teams to keep up with the new influx of data from devices like these (and other previously “dumb” devices) that are now spitting out reams of data?
Hi Sarah–great post! The bulk purchases by companies like GS are certainly pointed endorsements of app-based meditation. I was curious about two things: How defensible do you think Headspace is from competitors? And, is there any data on the choices customers are making about plan price/duration? I was really interested in the “forever” option. I can’t think of a similar option offered elsewhere–clearly a sign that the company expects to be around for a while. Do you think people are actually signing up for this (or any of the longer term options)? Or is this a company better marketed towards company bulk purchases?
Really interesting post Zach! I love the virtuous cycle created by getting a tractor, collecting data, sharing data, becoming more productive, helping improve lending practices, enabling the sale of more tractors, etc. I am curious how expensive $4000 tractors are for Nigerian farmers? Is access to credit for these kind of purchases realistically available or does more need to be done to open lines of credit to farmers with little collateral (aside from the potential collateral of the tractor itself)? Are there any worries about the recurring costs of upkeep, fuel, etc that might make the tractor even more expensive?
This was really interesting. I didn’t know that WP had caught up and surpassed NYT in terms of online readership. The Arc platform seems to be an interesting application of something that worked well for Amazon but I worry a bit about following that train of thought to its logical end. Amazon succeeds when it knows consumer’s interests because that knowledge lets it cut costs, reduce inventory that isn’t likely to sell and market more efficiently. Applying that to WP certainly yields the same benefits but may come at a public cost. In an age where the media is under fire for its coverage of the recent presidential election and other alt-news providers like Facebook and Google struggle to combat fake news and break users out of self-reinforcing information bubbles, one could argue that it is more important than ever to have WP reporting things that may not be high on one’s list of interests but are important. If WP continues down this route, will it one day only provide and promote online articles about sports and entertainment? Most people don’t list long-form investigative reports as one of their top interests, yet those exposes (like the WP’s Whitewater revelations) have long shaped public discussion, the public consciousness and elections.
Interesting post! This reminded me of the struggles of other art & entertainment groups to keep thin margins in the face of changing customer demographics and tastes. I wonder if there’s a way for a creative content provider like HBO to team up with Broadway productions? After stripping away some of the special effects, many of the most successful dramas now streaming across HBOGO look and feel like what one might find on Broadway. One of the benefits of BroadwayHD seems to be that it increases potential access to theater for those who might not otherwise be able to afford it. If BroadwayHD can catch on and scale, Broadway theater may indeed find a whole new audience that it never was able to to tap before.
This was a really interesting post about a topic that hasn’t received a lot attention in the climate change discussion. I remember recent Australian Opens where play has been stopped multiple times for high heat. As we prepare for a World Cup in Qatar, this issue will become even more visible. How our most skilled athletes perform (or fail to perform) in increasingly temperature- and weather-hostile environments should be a wake up call for everyone. We are worried about how soccer stars will play in 100 degree Fahrenheit temperatures, but workers building the stadiums those players will perform in are already dying at an alarming rate at least in part due to those temperatures. Is the future of sport an indoor one? Are the struggles experienced in Australian tennis matches or soccer matches in Qatar a sign that climate change will limit human activity of any kind outdoors in many environments? It’s hard to see major world tournaments hosted in many countries in the future without significant investment in temperature-controlling operational infrastructure.
Really interesting post! I had no idea cow-produced methane was such a contributor to the climate change problem. I agree with the questions posed in the comment about the potential for lab-grown meat to serve as a less-environmental damaging but I’m also interested in the potential for McDonald’s to incentivize customers to switch to less-damaging meats like chicken or fish. Do you see a future for McDonald’s where the Big Mac isn’t its calling card? I’m also curious to see what effect methane-capture technology can have on reducing the impact of cows on the environment. Can McDonald’s redesign its operational structure–from suppliers to customers–to meet the challenges of climate change?
Really interesting post that gets to the sad truth behind climate change: many people simply don’t care unless they can see how climate change is affecting them today. The problems facing the beer industry are difficult ones–and are likely to start being reflected in the price of beer–something consumers will certainly (as you point out) take note of. You note several good initiatives to improve sustainability but I’m curious to hear how MillerCoors and its competitors are looking towards the future. Becoming more sustainable and managing water and waste will help mitigate some of the effects of climate change but they won’t stop the effect of warmer temperatures on the wheat, barley and hops crops. Should MillerCoors be looking at bigger, perhaps more impactful changes? Reformulating beer to use less of water-intensive crops by switching hops for say sorghum may raise protests from beer drinkers now but might be necessary to continue producing beer in the future. Perhaps MillerCoors should also look at genetically modified crops that have been designed to use less water and adapt to warmer temperatures.
This was a really interesting post about a particularly interesting company. Royal Mail’s predicament is unique because it provides what many consider a critical service: guaranteed postal delivery. As a provider of the public good, Royal Mail seems to have a duty to set an example for what business in a world with climate change looks like. In that vein, it was good to see the CSR efforts Royal Mail has undertaken so far but I’m curious whether Royal Mail has considered changing its “one price anywhere” model. While Royal Mail is a victim of climate change, it’s also a contributor to it. Hundreds, maybe thousands of trucks making daily runs across the U.K. contribute in a huge way to global warming. With a one price anywhere model, it’s hard to see how the externalities created by Royal Mail are being internalized either by the customer or the company. Perhaps Royal Mail should consider shifting its vehicles to clean-energy powered models and changing its business model and pricing to better reflect the externalities created by postal mail delivery.
This post highlights the challenges facing what will likely be one of the first nation-state victims of climate change–the Maldives. You point out several interesting (albeit temporary) mitigation efforts that the Maldives is currently pursuing. I’m wondering if they have looked at what others affected by rising tides, like the Netherlands, are doing? It seems the Maldives faces a stark choice at this point (barring some kind of massive shift in the trend towards warmer temperatures and higher tides): engineer their way to safety or leave the Maldives, or much of the Maldives behind. Is the Maldives considering installing lock systems, water diverting walls or other similar Dutch-inspired major engineering projects? If not, does the Maldives have a plan to relocate its population–either to higher ground or to another island? Both options pose significant operational challenges and fundamentally reshape what the Maldives is and will be in the future. What are businesses in the Maldives doing? Are they leading the way towards a solution or are they preparing to jump to safety?