Andrew DeSantola

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On December 1, 2017, Andrew DeSantola commented on Iran Air: Sanctions and Sanction Relief :

Economic sanctions are a very tricky subject, kudos to you for writing about it. I question to what extent the US government should balance its desire to drive jobs and wealth with its moral principles. I am by no means an expert on the matter and am certainly against sanctions in the general sense. That said, if the bar for extremely serious international sanctions are met, I question whether these sanctions should be relaxed to increase profitability or jobs. To what extent will this represent a race to the bottom. I think it shows how technology can still be so wrapped up in nationalism, even in 2017.

A number of airlines fly to Tehran – I imagine that planes sold to Iranian domestic carriers would expand the market, but to what extent do the 80 planes sold to Iran Air represent marginal planes sold as an expansion of the industry as a whole? Would other carriers simply have filled the void in much of the international Iranian passenger demand?

I am generally in favor of cooled relationships and more sane governmental policies. I imagine that the parts and support supplied by Boeing will increase plane accessibility and service for the average Iranian, increasing their quality of life, and driving economic activity. To what extent can economic ties and shared technology and operations between nations diffuse tensions and cause them to act more peacefully? Can technology and shared interest help us work to a better future with less brinkmanship?

I commend Walmart for recognizing its footprint on the planet and for being an early proponent of the idea that you can increase profits and reduce emissions at the same time. I also commend them for moving away just from profitability and pushing the idea that modern industry has an extraordinary impact on the planet, and that firm executives need to move beyond simply meeting minimum regulation to help build the kind of future that they would want their children and grandchildren to live in.

Given Walmart’s massive buying power, to what extent can it move beyond its own operations and push its supply chain to become more sustainable? Would other firms join in the push? To what extent could Walmart create a halo around its brand by pushing sustainable products – would competitors like Target follow?

I think Boeing is the United States’ largest exporter and is playing a dangerous game while ramping up production in markets where new competitors could spring up almost overnight. When you build manufacturing capabilities in a country, you naturally transfer proprietary knowledge and capacities to its engineers and workforce. I see why the Chinese government would want expanded Boeing facilities. Given the political risks stemming from the current balance of American/Chinese trade, and the risks of losing your competitive edge, to what extent is it worth it to ramp-up manufacturing in China? Could Boeing instead stop at one factory, having marked what may have been a political checkbox? From the Bombardier story that has been all over the news recently, it seems that Boeing has profited from its perception of being an American manufacturer. Given the firm’s recent layoffs stateside, to what extent they would be able to or even should pursue an expanded Chinese manufacturing strategy?

On December 1, 2017, Andrew DeSantola commented on Efficiencies through digitialization of supply chain at Inditex :

This is a really interesting article about how the flow of information is increasing exponentially, and how firms which can capitalize on that information to be more nimble and responsive in their operations can make outsize profits. I wonder to what extent Inditex could integrate this RFID-sensing technology into a big-data algorithm or sales-analytics team which watches sales velocity, combining current orders with past trends to produce batch orders tailored to expected market demand. I imagine that batching of appropriate size and avoiding being stuck with inventory at the end of the season would lower costs. If algorithms allowed Inditex to scale, could they move to higher-scale, more automated production processes?

Having lived in a town next to Cobalt Ontario, and having worked on mine planning for one of the world’s largest copper/cobalt mines, Tenke Fungurume in the DRC, while a student at the University of Arizona, I have a bit of perspective on this.
I think that there is extraordinary value in providing supply chain diversification and clarity. Freeport-McMoRan and its joint venture partners have a cobalt refinery in Finland, which provides an integrated cobalt supply chain with a strong commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. Although the mine has been sold to a China Molybdenum Co, the company can still source Cobalt from clearly delineated sources – although it cannot supply anywhere near the full mrket. I wonder to what extent can Freeport or another producer charge a market premium for its transparent cobalt output?

I also wonder to what extent the U.S. government can subsidize cobalt mines. If the price of cobalt goes back down as Congolese expansions come online, to what extent should the US government continue to prop up an outside source? Could we rely on market forces and a transparency premium to render these less-economic cobalt mine projects and expansions economic?

On December 1, 2017, Andrew DeSantola commented on Can blockchain help solve the problem of counterfeit drugs? :

This article is interesting in questioning the extent to which the blockchain can enter our daily lives. When I hear these questions, as a luddite I always ask would it be necessary to use the blockchain? To what extent does this work in the delivery of a physical product, e.g. how would the blockchain update? To what extent could products be stamped with codes identifying their batches, which are searchable on an online website?

I think that the blockchain presents a unique opportunity to track product and financial transactions in a novel manner. In other cases, it seems like it makes for a more hip approach to updating old database systems, sometimes when a traditional database system would be of equal utility with an easier implementation. The technology is in it’s infancy so I’d be hard-pressed to say it’s impossible. It will be interesting to see how it’s applied.

On December 1, 2017, Andrew DeSantola commented on Can blockchain help solve the problem of counterfeit drugs? :

This article is interesting in questioning

Would it be necessary to use the blockchain? To what extent does this work in the delivery of a physical product, e.g. how would the blockchain update? To what extent could products be stamped with codes identifying their batches, which are searchable on an online website?

I think that the blockchain presents a unique opportunity to track product and financial transactions in a novel manner. In other cases, it seems like it makes for a more hip approach to updating old database systems, sometimes when a traditional database system would be of equal utility with an easier implementation. The technology is in it’s infancy so it’s hard to predict – to what extent do you think it will be applied?

I imagine that delivery is a binary system, via which drug manufacturers could talk to one another. ?