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Homework answers / question archive / 1)What is strategic positioning?                   What is value chain? Review the FreshDirect business model: What factors explain its success? How does IT impact its value chain? Would a similar business work in rural areas? Why or why not? What advantages does FreshDirect have that insulate the firm from serious competition from start-ups copying its model? What is the “resource-based” view of competitive advantage? What are the characteristics of resources that may yield sustainable competitive advantage?  Be able to list a technology-based company and discuss whether it enjoys sustainable competitive advantage based on the resources it controls

1)What is strategic positioning?                   What is value chain? Review the FreshDirect business model: What factors explain its success? How does IT impact its value chain? Would a similar business work in rural areas? Why or why not? What advantages does FreshDirect have that insulate the firm from serious competition from start-ups copying its model? What is the “resource-based” view of competitive advantage? What are the characteristics of resources that may yield sustainable competitive advantage?  Be able to list a technology-based company and discuss whether it enjoys sustainable competitive advantage based on the resources it controls

Computer Science

1)What is strategic positioning?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. What is value chain?
  2. Review the FreshDirect business model: What factors explain its success? How does IT impact its value chain? Would a similar business work in rural areas? Why or why not?
  3. What advantages does FreshDirect have that insulate the firm from serious competition from start-ups copying its model?
  4. What is the “resource-based” view of competitive advantage? What are the characteristics of resources that may yield sustainable competitive advantage? 
  5. Be able to list a technology-based company and discuss whether it enjoys sustainable competitive advantage based on the resources it controls. Understand that technology advantage alone will not yield sustainable competitive advantage.
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  1. What are Porter’s “five forces”?
  2. What are switching costs? What are the sources of switching costs?
  3. Be able to list/identify examples on how IT increases customers’ switching costs.

 

  1. What are economies of scale?
  2. What is viral marketing? How can companies leverage social media to build a brand inexpensively?
  3. What are commodities?  
  4. How have the rise of the Internet and the advance in IT impacted the competitive landscape of music CD/ printed book industry?
  5. Under what conditions can the Internet strengthen supplier bargaining power? Be able to give an example.
  6. Be able to apply the five forces framework to an industry, assessing the competitive landscape and the role of technology in influencing the relative power of buyers, suppliers, competitors, entrants, and alternatives.

 

 

 

Section 2: Digital and Disruptive Innovation

  1. What is “long tail”? How does Netflix benefit from the long tail? Why can’t the traditional brick and-mortar retailers capture the long tail effect?
  2. What “class” of software does Netflix use to make movie recommendations? Think about Chapter 2:
  3. Which key competitive resource does this software “create”? What kinds of benefits does this provide to the firm? How does the long tail effect interact with its recommendation software?
  4. Is Netflix’s recommendation software successful? Understand how Netflix built its recommendation software.
  5. What is crowdsourcing? What is its benefit to companies?
  6. What are the major factors explaining Netflix’s success in its DVD-by-mail business?
  7. What are the challenges for Netflix to move from atoms to bits?
  8. Why can’t Netflix secure a long tail of streaming content that is the same size as its content catalog in the DVD-by-mail business? What is Netflix doing to make its streaming catalog more appealing than rival offerings?

 

  1. Is Netflix a friend or foe to the studios? Make a list of reasons why they would “like” Netflix, and why studios might be fearful of the firm. What is disintermediation? What are the benefits from disintermediation in the video industry?
  2. What are the benefits for Netflix to move from atoms to bits?
  3. Who are the rivals to the Netflix streaming effort? Do any of these firms have advantages that Netflix lacks? What are these advantages?
  4. What is coopetition? What are the risks and benefits to Netflix in using Amazon’s cloud computing platform?
  5. What is net neutrality? Who would you side with, Netflix or the large ISPs? Why?
  6. What are the characteristics of disruptive innovation? Be able to list/identify examples of disruptive innovation and explain why.
  7. Understand why established firms sometimes fail to recognize and react to potentially disruptive innovations.
  8. Once a firm can detect disruptive technologies, what techniques can it use to nurture and develop these technologies?
  9. What are the impacts of digital camera on the entire imaging chain?
  10. What is blade-razor strategy? Be able to list/identify examples of using blade-razor strategy.
  11. What should managers always ask before launching an innovative (but possibly disruptive) product?

 

Section 3: Moore's Law and Hardware Ecosystem

  1. Be able to list/identify examples of computer input devices, processing devices, output devices, and storage devices.
  2. What is the difference between volatile memory and nonvolatile memory? What is the basic function of central processing unit (CPU)?
  3. Understand Moore’s law is only related to (CPU) processing speed. However, not only processing speed but also communication speed and storage capacity all experience exponential growth over the last 30 years.
  4. Who are the major players in the CPU market? Understand the key strategies played by each of these firms.
  5. Understand how to apply the five forces framework to assess the competitive landscape in the PC industry.
  6. Understand why the gross margins in the PC industry are generally lower than software industry.
  7. What are the complements to PCs that may drive up demand for PCs?
  8. What is Apple’s “Digital Hub” strategy? What motivates this strategy?
  9. What are three biggest strategic moves by Jobs in the Macintosh business?
  10. Why did Apple want to switch to new chip architecture for its Mac? What are the pros and cons? 
  11. What is the rationale for Apple to open physical stores?
  12. Why is iPhone so successful?
  13. What are the players in the ecosystem built around iPhone/iPad? How does each player benefit from this ecosystem? Do we see strong network effects in this ecosystem and why?

 

Content Providers

Lots of competition and variety

Consumerss

iPhone/iPad

excellent tech àprotected by IP

App Store

Portal: highly responsive to what’s hot

 

                             
       
       
     
 
     
 
 
     
 
       
 
 
     
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Section 4: Network Effect, Facebook, and Sharing Economy

  1. What are network effects? Be able to list/identify examples of products that are subject to network effects.
  2. What are the three primary sources of value for network effects?
  3. How does one-sided market differ from two-sided market? Be able to list/identify examples of two-sided market and explain how the two sides interact with each other.
  4. How does Facebook benefit from strong network effect? How does Microsoft benefit from strong network effect? How does Apple benefit from strong network effect? What role did network effects play in your choice of an operating system, a social network, a word processor, or a mobile phone?
  5. What are the strategies for competing in markets with strong network effect? Be able to list/identify examples on how to implement each of the strategies
  6. Understand why Adobe allows the free download of Acrobat Reader and why Monster.com allows free access by job seekers. Understand how to decide the money side and the subsidy side for a market with two-sided network. 
  7. What is the social graph? Why is Facebook’s social graph considered to be stronger than the social graph created by the sites of its early competitors?
  8. Be able to explain why Facebook acquired Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus VR.
  9. Can Facebook turn Graph Search into a money maker? How could it do this, or why won’t it accomplish this goal?
  10. Understand why people use Facebook and its implications for business.
  11. Be able to evaluate the effectiveness of different advertisement strategies on Facebook and explain why.
  12. Understand why the click-through rates at Facebook are substantially lower than the click-through rates at Google.
  13. On how to leverage social media platform, what is digital strategy and what is social strategy? Be able to list/identify examples that implement each strategy.
  14. Be able to list example companies in and/or categorize firms into the following three types: 1) platforms that help increase the utilization of durable assets, 2) platforms that enable exchange of services, and 3) firms that own certain goods and recirculate such goods.
  15. Why do some collaborative consumption firms choose to take possession of inventory rather than allow the “crowd” to provide it peer-to-peer style?
  16. Why does the sharing economy become so popular nowadays?
  17. What are the key challenges to the sharing economy?
  18. What are the major factors contributing to Uber’s success?
  19. How does Uber ensure rider and passenger quality? As a rider or passenger, how would you feel about these efforts? How does this change the service dynamic compared with traditional cab rides?
  20. How does Uber leverage data in its service? What aspects of the firm’s operations are improved through data analytics? Does this provide the firm with sustainable competitive advantage? Why or why not?

 

Section 5: Software

  1. What is operating system? What are the basic functions of operating system? Understand the value of an operating system is determined both by its own functionality and the availability of the applications running on it.

 

  1. What are the different business models around operating system? Be able to list/identify examples of each business model.
  2. How does the market share for desktop operating systems differ from server operating systems? 
  3. What is the difference between desktop application and enterprise application software? Be able to list/identify examples of each type of application software.
  4. What is ERP? What is CRM? What is SCM? Understand what each of these enterprise systems basically does.
  5. Who are the two leading ERP vendors? Be able to list the functions of a business that might be impacted by an ERP.
  6. What are the challenges of adopting enterprise software? What are the different types of costs involved with enterprise software adoption? Understand why many firms have failed when attempting large-scale enterprise system integration. 
  7. What is distributed computing? Understand what is client and which is server in a distributed computing environment. Understand how client browsers on various machines interact with a company’s systems.
  8. What is open source software?
  9. What are the main factors explaining why firms choose open source products over commercial alternatives?
  10. What different business models can be built around open source software? Understand the motivations for large incumbents (such as IBM, Google, Oracle) to contribute to the development of open source software.

 

Section 6: Data communications

  1. What is the Internet? What is the Web? Understand the difference between the two. 
  2. What is URL? Be able to identify/label the protocol name, host name, domain name, path, and file name for a given URL.

 

  1. Understand how the Web works. What is HTTP? What is HTML?
  2. What is IP address? Understand that every device on the Internet needs to be assigned with an IP address.
  3. What is DNS? Understand the basic function of DNS and how a computer interacts with DNS to find the IP address of a given URL.

 

  1. What is TCP and what are the basic functions of TCP? What is IP and what are the basic functions of IP? Understand how TCP and IP work together to enable data communications between one computer to another.
  2. What is the difference between TCP and UDP? Why would you use one over the other?
  3. What is router? What are the basic functions of router?
  4. What is ISP? What is peering? Understand that carriers usually don’t charge one another for peering. Instead, “the money is made” in the ISP business by charging the end-points in a network—the customer organizations and end users that an ISP connects to the Internet.
  5. What are the major functions performed by a content delivery network (CDN) provider?
  6. Understand that the slowest part of the Internet is typically the last mile, not the backbone.
  7. What is net neutrality? Who are the example companies supporting this view? Who are the example companies against this view and why? Who would you side with, and why?

 

Section 7: Cloud Computing

  1. What is cloud computing? What are the essential characteristics of cloud computing?
  2. What is IaaS? For this service model, what are the resources the cloud vendor will provide/manage and what are the resources the cloud user will have a control? What basic question is it essentially addressing for a cloud user? Know that Amazon is the pioneer to officially offer IaaS to the public and Rackspace is also gaining an increasing market share of IaaS. 
  3. What is PaaS? For this service model, what are the resources the cloud vendor will provide/manage and what are the resources the cloud user will have a control? What basic question is it essentially addressing for a cloud user? Know that Windows Azure, force.com, and Google app engine are all examples of PaaS vendor.

 

  1. What is SaaS? For this service model, what are the resources the cloud vendor will provide/manage? What basic question is it essentially addressing for a cloud user? Know that the cloud user will usually not manage or control the cloud infrastructure, operating systems, and even individual application capabilities, with the possible exception of limited user-specific configuration settings.
  2. What are the benefits to users from cloud computing? What are the barriers to cloud computing adoption? When you decide if you want to get service from a particular cloud vendor, why should you consider the long-term viability of the cloud vendor?
  3. What are the benefits to vendors from offering cloud computing and what are the challenges for vendors to offer cloud computing?

 

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