Weekend Reading

7 July 2018 | by Paul Perrino, CFA

A summary of this week’s best articles. Follow us on Twitter (@INTRINSICINV) for similar ongoing posts and shares.

Atul Gawande, a surgeon injecting humanity into US healthcare (Anjana Ahuja, @anjahuja, FT)

A profile of Atul Gawande, who is tasked to head the “non-profit venture funded jointly by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase.”  Dr. Gawande is “an endocrinologist and surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and a professor of public health at Harvard.” He has also written several books. I’ve read his book The Checklist Manifesto, which is fantastic. I look forward to seeing his continued positive impact on the health care industry.

How Amazon Steers Shoppers to Its Own Products (Julie Creswell, @julie_creswell, NYT)

Amazon’s move into the private label retail space started small and quiet. As the article says, “It started with a simple battery.” Now, AmazonBasics batteries account for a third of online battery sales. To stay competitive, brands like Energizer are paying to advertise at the top of relevant search results. While AmazonBasics only has about 100 products, the room for growth is large, and they have the data to see what products to take private next. “About 70 percent of the word searches done on Amazon’s search browser are for generic goods. That means consumers are typing in “men’s underwear” or “running shoes” rather than asking, specifically, for Hanes or Nike.”

Amazon Has a Business Proposition for You: Deliver Its Packages (Julie Creswell, @julie_creswell, NYT)

So far, Amazon has done an amazing job managing the speedy delivery of its products to customers. In typical Amazon fashion, they’re looking into optimizing it even more and becoming more vertically integrated. One new option is the use of contract drivers. This will help reduce their dependence on current shippers like USPS, UPS, and FedEx.

Industries, Looking for Efficiency, Turn to Blockchains (Laura Shin, @laurashin, NYT)

The uses of Blockchain are great and they’re now moving from being theoretical to practical. Firms from insurance companies to logistic companies are developing processes to utilize Blockchain technology. It has the potential to reduce fraud and improve efficiency. One of the biggest hurdles is the lack of a clear network. In order for this technology to be effective, there needs to be enough people on the network to make it worth it.



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