Clayton Christensen on Winners and Losers in the Next Economy

Question: Where is the next big opportunity?

Christensen:    The biggest opportunities are in healthcare.  We are now just desperate to make healthcare affordable and accessible.  And healthcare is something that everybody consumes, great opportunities for non-consumers to be brought into the market by making things affordable and accessible.  Now, I just can’t think of another industry that has those kinds of characteristics where demand is robust, great opportunity for disruption, so that’s where I’d focus.

Question: Who will be the biggest losers?

Christensen:    I think the big losers on the other side of the recession will be Wall Street.  It’s easy for me to see that the locus of money and the decisions that are made on how to finance the world’s business have been migrating and now are almost being pushed to places like Singapore and Hong Kong where they’ve had regulations that have kept the financial institutions much stronger.  So I think Wall Street, overall, is just never going to come back to what it used to be.  The investment banks, this is not news, but examined through the lenses of our research on disruptive innovation, the commercial banks have disrupted the investment banking business.  So when [IB] was eliminated, it allowed the investment banks to get into commercial lending and the commercial lenders to get into equity financing.  But did you notice that none of the investment banks went into commercial lending in a big way, and the reason is that the margins are so unattractive in the lending business versus the equity financing business that it just didn’t make sense.  Whereas for the commercial banks to get into equity financing, the margins there are so much more attractive than lending that they’ve all moved that market and basically wiped out the entire investment banking industry.  And the reaction of the investment banks to the disruption by the commercials was to kind of quit the asset business entirely and to begin fabricating these securities where you can earn transaction fees without having to have assets in the bank at all.  And so the ROEs and the ROAs go away, yeah, because they synthesized these securities and earn transaction fees and, you know, that’s kind of collapsed on them.  I think that’s just the whole industry there that’s gone.

Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen on the rise of health care and the demise of Wall Street.

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  • There is no sound in space, but if there was, this is what it might sound like passing by Earth.
  • A spacecraft bound for Mercury recorded data while swinging around our planet, and that data was converted into sound.
  • Yes, in space no one can hear you scream, but this is still some chill stuff.

First off, let's be clear what we mean by "hear" here. (Here, here!)

Sound, as we know it, requires air. What our ears capture is actually oscillating waves of fluctuating air pressure. Cilia, fibers in our ears, respond to these fluctuations by firing off corresponding clusters of tones at different pitches to our brains. This is what we perceive as sound.

All of which is to say, sound requires air, and space is notoriously void of that. So, in terms of human-perceivable sound, it's silent out there. Nonetheless, there can be cyclical events in space — such as oscillating values in streams of captured data — that can be mapped to pitches, and thus made audible.

BepiColombo

Image source: European Space Agency

The European Space Agency's BepiColombo spacecraft took off from Kourou, French Guyana on October 20, 2019, on its way to Mercury. To reduce its speed for the proper trajectory to Mercury, BepiColombo executed a "gravity-assist flyby," slinging itself around the Earth before leaving home. Over the course of its 34-minute flyby, its two data recorders captured five data sets that Italy's National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) enhanced and converted into sound waves.

Into and out of Earth's shadow

In April, BepiColombo began its closest approach to Earth, ranging from 256,393 kilometers (159,315 miles) to 129,488 kilometers (80,460 miles) away. The audio above starts as BepiColombo begins to sneak into the Earth's shadow facing away from the sun.

The data was captured by BepiColombo's Italian Spring Accelerometer (ISA) instrument. Says Carmelo Magnafico of the ISA team, "When the spacecraft enters the shadow and the force of the Sun disappears, we can hear a slight vibration. The solar panels, previously flexed by the Sun, then find a new balance. Upon exiting the shadow, we can hear the effect again."

In addition to making for some cool sounds, the phenomenon allowed the ISA team to confirm just how sensitive their instrument is. "This is an extraordinary situation," says Carmelo. "Since we started the cruise, we have only been in direct sunshine, so we did not have the possibility to check effectively whether our instrument is measuring the variations of the force of the sunlight."

When the craft arrives at Mercury, the ISA will be tasked with studying the planets gravity.

Magentosphere melody

The second clip is derived from data captured by BepiColombo's MPO-MAG magnetometer, AKA MERMAG, as the craft traveled through Earth's magnetosphere, the area surrounding the planet that's determined by the its magnetic field.

BepiColombo eventually entered the hellish mangentosheath, the region battered by cosmic plasma from the sun before the craft passed into the relatively peaceful magentopause that marks the transition between the magnetosphere and Earth's own magnetic field.

MERMAG will map Mercury's magnetosphere, as well as the magnetic state of the planet's interior. As a secondary objective, it will assess the interaction of the solar wind, Mercury's magnetic field, and the planet, analyzing the dynamics of the magnetosphere and its interaction with Mercury.

Recording session over, BepiColombo is now slipping through space silently with its arrival at Mercury planned for 2025.

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