In his book The Innovator’s Solution, Clayton Christensen explained the integration vs. modularization mental model. Industries, especially those susceptible to disruption, tend to ebb and flow between integration and modularization. We saw this clearly in the computing industry. Apple, led by Steve Jobs, put all their chips in on an integrated software-hardware model. Microsoft, led by Bill Gates, took the opposite approach, modularizing their software to work with the huge variety of computer hardware OEMs.
We know Microsoft made the right decision, until Apple came back in the 2000s with an integrated computer you could hold in your hands (and make phone calls with). Apple, currently with a market of $800b (to Microsoft’s $600b), nailed the customer experience and became the most valuable company in the world.
Will we see the same model play out in the car industry? By integrating Tesla can control the customer experience to a level modular-styled car companies cannot. There are risks to the strategy, as you’ve outlined, but generally I am bullish on companies that find ways to nail the customer experience.
I’m having a hard time understanding the President’s arguments. I wish the Trump camp would provide more substantial evidence for their claims of job growth. Their move seems short sighted at best.
I took an economics course through the Teaching Company a couple years ago. The course surveyed dozens of issues we face in our economy today. The professor would inject in each discussion data on how many economists agree or disagree about enacting the economic policy under discussion. I have never forgotten that 95% of economists agree with the principles of free trade. For the dismal science this was quite the sticking point.
What GM should do? I agree with Jason that substantial CapEx investments seems shortsighted on GM’s front. They need to wait to see if the political winds change in the next election. If I were CEO I wouldn’t budge until NAFTA is actually renegotiated.
I have a new perspective to add to your article. I’m concerned about the security for all of these internet of things devices in our farm system. Having worked on an IoT startup I can tell you the difficulties of implementing security the right way.
I’m not sure what a malicious actor could to do with a self-driving tractor, but I don’t want to find out. We should be pro active in mitigating possible attack vectors. We need regulation to encourage all IoT companies to take security seriously. Today hackers are causing havoc with baby monitors. Tomorrow hackers are infecting our food supply. Let’s be cognizant of the risks we take when we plug all our livelihood into the cloud.
This model of corporate responsibility over climate change is fascinating to me. As you explain, Walmart has incentives to mitigate and adapt to climate change. I’m wondering in what other ways we can adjust our economy to have the same incentives. For example, can we do more carbon emission trading tokens like we’ve studied in other cases? We see this principle all the time and it bears repeating here: if you can get the incentives right, good things will happen.
Responding to your question on what other things can Walmart do. I wrote my article about Walmart using Blockchain technology to more effectively manage the transactions in their supply chain. I believe the same technology could be applied here in order to audit the supply chain. Rolling out supply chain wide initiatives can be expensive, but using technology like Blockchain can help streamline the roll out and save on costs.
SV Agri reminds me of the marketplace cases we are studying in the current TOM module. They seem to add value by adding efficiency to a fractured marketplace.
How sustainable is their position in the marketplace? We saw with our ride sharing case that Uber was adding value, but the value they add was easy for Lyft to replicate.
Should SV Agri shift to a more asset-light or asset-heavy model? I’m thinking about our Airbnb and Marriott discussion. There seems to be advantageous to both approaches. On the one hadn’t SV Agri could enter the farming market themselves, thereby securing some of the advantages they are providing farmers. On the other hand this reduces the advantages they have gained.
Will climate change improve SV Agri’s market position? This is the most compelling question in my mind. SV Agri seems to be positioning themselves to benefit from climate change. This seems to be a strong thesis to place a bet on based on the consensus in the scientific community.
I have a friend who is especially passionate about certain topics. My favorite question to him is “can you articulate the other side’s point of view?” He frequently cannot. It reminds me of a famous Charlie Munger concept: in order to have an opinion you need to be able to articulate both sides of an argument.
Facebook feeds my friend’s biases. It feeds my biases. Facebook is in the cross hairs, but, as you know, the issue is even more widespread. Google was under fire early this year as their search autocomplete showed “are Jews evil” after a user typed “are Jews.”
Its amazing how big a problem this is. My opinion is Facebook should take a more active role in helping users mitigate their biases. Facebook’s mission statement is to bring the world closer together. The state of their algorithm today does just the opposite.