Talking Points: Quotations from people in the news
- January 1, 2023: Vol. 10, Number 1

Talking Points: Quotations from people in the news

by Mike Consol

Matt Houde, co-founder of Quaise Energy, a company seeking to drill deep into the Earth to tap geothermal energy: “The total energy content of the heat stored underground exceeds our annual energy demand as a planet by a factor of a billion. So, tapping into a fraction of that is more than enough to meet our energy needs for the foreseeable future.”

Jason Henderson, a dean at the College of Agriculture at Purdue University, on soaring farmland prices: “What we have seen over the past year or two was, when housing starts to go up with new building construction, that puts pressure on farmland, especially on those urban fringes. And that leads to a cascading ripple effect into land values even farther and farther away.”


Mikael Karlsson, CIO of Actis: “In the last five years infrastructure has been the fastest growing alternative asset class, and today it is $1.2 trillion under management, and it's growing on a compounded basis by over 15 percent annually. I’ve never seen a more compelling investment opportunity than the energy transition and the $173 trillion that we’re going to need to invest.”


Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, on the conflict between the United States and China: “Why do we need to be motivated by envy? There’s always going to be somebody that’s getting rich faster than you are, so why should a great civilization like ours care that a new civilization is rising? We should make a friend out of the new civilization and keep trying to have win-win transactions. It’s so simple. Who on earth should we get along more in the whole world than China, and what friend would China benefit most from than the United States. They’re both ideal for one another.”


Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance, on the cryptocurrency scandal and collapse: “I don’t think it’s a house of cards. There are fundamental technologies that are much better than the tools we had to transact, to raise money, and to do a global payments. … Regulations could minimize some of the problems, but when a person lies, when there’s a bad player that just wants to do bad things, regulations don’t prevent it from happening.”


James Stewart, author of the book Disney War, on the CEO shakeup at Walt Disney Co.: “Let’s be honest, the succession planning should have begun a long time before now. The [Bob] Iger departure still has never been fully explained; it seemed quite hasty. The process in which [Bob] Chapek was picked was never entirely clear. There were doubts and criticisms about him from the beginning, and bringing Iger back now suggests that there isn’t a deep bench at Disney, so there’s a lot of work to be done on the succession front.”


Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, professor at the Yale School of Management, on Bob Iger and his return as interim CEO at Walt Disney Co.: “Bob Iger gets an A-plus on absolutely everything except succession.”


Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, a professor at Columbia Business School, commenting on a paper he co-authored about the value of U.S. office buildings plunging by 39 percent in the coming years: “We see lots of tenants not renewing their leases, going either fully remote, or renewing their leases but signing up for less space. It all adds up.”


Mohamed Jaidah, executive director at Jaidah Group in Qatar: “A lot of people here weren’t happy in 2010 about us winning the rights to host the World Cup, but it made us even prouder to have gone through 12 years of media hell.”


Yuen Yuen Ang, a University of Michigan political scientist specializing in China: “Xi’s leadership is in a bind. If they compromise and relax zero-COVID, they fear it will encourage mass protests. If they repress more, it will create wider and deeper grievances.”


Casey Dreier, a space policy expert at the Planetary Society: “We want space exploration; we don’t want another competitive moon race. That ultimately didn’t result in a sustaining program, and a race like that is a lagging indicator of pretty bad geopolitical dynamics on the Earth.”


Michael Wirth, CEO of Chevron Corp., on the tumultuous global oil business: “All I can say is it’s about as unpredictable as I’ve ever seen.”


Tye Brady, chief technologist at Amazon Global Robotics, on plans to vastly expand the use of robots: “Robots are good at repetitive tasks and heavy lifting. I want to automate out mundane and repetitive tasks. Our goal is to augment our people with the tools they need to do their jobs more efficiently and safely. It’s my belief that collaborative robotics is really an unlock to more productivity, and it can also better the employee experience.”


Manuel Bronstein, chief product officer at Roblox: “We have just scratched the surface of what it means to be a thriving and monetizing economy in these 3-D immersive experiences.”

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