I agree with Pieterjan and Tim about how indefensible the traditional retail channel is from Amazon, given how Amazon’s Price Check eliminates one of the last benefits retailers have over Amazon. Since retailers can’t offer cheaper prices than Amazon in the long run, I just can’t see any recourse those retailers have to stop this type of behavior.
I think the only way Amazon fails to capitalize on this opportunity is if, as Tim said above, consumers have large bottlenecks and delays in receiving their ordered products and opt instead to buy items off the shelves of retailers, but I am sure that Amazon will rationalize their supply chain and create an efficient process to quickly connect customers with their orders.
Oh how lucky we are beaups! My question is more around who ends up paying the 48 euros to build the houses? I can see partnering with NGOs and government organizations to pay to build the houses, but I think it could be hard to find extremely poor homeless families to pay even the minimal 48 euros. I assume also that the low cost of 3D printing using local materials will change somewhat if WASP follows Dan’s idea of using recycled materials to create a more physically attractive house than one built using mud. The scalability of the business and its cost structure will be fascinating as WASP prints more and more houses.
BFM, this was an awesome post. I have used NikeID a few times, and I always thought it was a really cool way for customers to interact with Nike in a very unique way, but I had never thought before about how innovative NikeID really was and continues to be.
Per Tim’s comment above, it seems like designing shoes and other customizable products with consumer customization in mind is going to be increasingly important for Nike to maintain profitability and inventory control. Has Nike significantly altered its product offering to better manage the NikeID phenomenon? It will be interesting to see if other fashion brands and even completely unrelated industries continue to pursue customization.
Flint, sounds like you’ve had some personal experience with a piano. I did not realize Marlboro cigarette-smoking, Geo Metro-driving people go for 3000 lb. grand pianos, but I will take your word for it.
I have the same questions as the posters above. I am not sure how Craigslist monetizes their business model, and perhaps they have not determined that either, as it doesn’t appear the Craigslist team has spent much money to improve the awful website layout. Do you know if Craigslist allows posters to pay to have their ad show up higher on search results?
Tim, thanks for the post. This seems like a very capital-intensive business model currently with the overhead flights by >100 planes flying constantly. I am somewhat surprised the market has become so competitive. I can see why Eagleview is pursuing less manual aerial photography with Spookfish.
It seems to me that this kind of technology has much greater uses than just for contractors. I think they need to think creatively and reach out to companies like Zillow and others to use their technology to enable them to better-value houses that are now mapped to very precise measurements. I would also be concerned about privacy and other legal issues if the Eagleview technology is used for nefarious purposes.
Will, this was a very interesting post. I also looked at cybersecurity in my post, but I was focused much more on the hackers who spend an average of 229 days in a network while extracting as much information as possible. The DDoS attack model is terrifying in a different way, as it victimizes independent media sources rather than extracting information and data. I wonder if businesses such as Google can stay ahead of the ever-more complex and changing illicit cybercrime landscape. I hope that Google and root9B (my post’s company), among other businesses, continue to innovate and effectively respond to cybercrime.
Matt – this is a very interesting post, and I had not thought much about the huge impact that mining companies have on overall climate change, from their GHG emissions and use of hydropower in operations to the end-impact of the mined commodities on overall energy efficiency (i.e. with the aluminum used to make lighter cars). One thing that will be interesting for mining companies to consider in the future is the impact of ever-more efficient scrap and recycling for metals and other resources. If commodity prices stay low, capital-intensive processes like mining may be at a competitive disadvantage vs. comparatively non-intensive recycling.
I completely agree with the two comments above. If companies do not have the opportunity to profit from responding to climate change in diverse and creative ways, they will be far less likely to do so, and all climate change responses will be driven by the government. While GMOs may not be the ideal solution, if they do not show any negative health effects, they should absolutely be one of the options to respond to climate change and the need to feed a growing world population.
I think the other commenters have done a nice job of laying out the tough problem Saudi Arabia and Aramco have to deal with, which is the balancing of much needed short-term revenue with long-term sustainability. What is most interesting to me, however, is the note from your post, “the oil sector [accounts] for roughly 80% of budget revenues, 45% of GDP, and 90% of export earnings.” The 2014-present drop in oil prices from ~$105/bbl to its current price of $44/bbl has caused severe economic distress in Saudi Arabia (http://www.alternet.org/world/why-saudi-arabia-suddenly-serious-trouble). In my view, Saudi Arabia must innovate in energy efficiency and decouple its economy as a whole from oil & gas dependency. Otherwise, Saudi Arabia will continue to see short-term volatility and long-term economic decline as the world moves away from hydrocarbons over decades-long time frames.
Very interesting read on a major O&G producer’s view on the changing role of hydrocarbons in the future of energy generation. I think you are right that Shell is in a unique position to be on the leading edge of renewable and lower-emission energy innovation, given the company’s strong financial position and huge talent base. I find it interesting that Shell has publicly stated its desire for a carbon tax, which will hurt the company’s margins and bottom line in the short- and medium-term, but the carbon tax will make the company stronger in the long-term as it instills discipline to produce cleaner energy that will allow Shell to compete in the future. Regardless of the carbon tax, hopefully Shell has the internal discipline to pursue cleaner and more efficient energy practices.