Boxonomy, the economics of containerization of digital and physical goods

Diop Papa Makhtar
6 min readSep 19, 2022
20ft containers in a port

I started reading this book that I have downloaded months ago because I thought that it was an interesting book due to the topic of box containers that it covers. That’s only today 24 august 2011 when I woke up that I decided to start reading it after I first finished reading the McKinsey mind and the McKinsey way because of this growing interest in the big four firms that I actually have. These big four firms are PwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG

While writing the preceding paragraph I thought that these firms are important because by producing knowledge, methodologies, practices, and standards they are shaping the mind of people and organizations, and not the least important people and organizations but those that have high and bold decision power that makes their opinions impact the future of our world economy. These four firms’ opinions and works are important inputs in the decision-making process of many decision-makers who can be powerful individuals, governments, or big corporations.

I am tempted to classify these firms into two categories Management Consulting firms and Accounting consulting firms and here I noticed that I used the term Accounting instead of Finance, I was about to use consulting as the third category but all these powerful firms are consulting firms and I learned the relationship between consulting and this Arabic word that is Sultan that I may study more up to its root in Hebrew because this Arabic word is about Power and consulting could be described as being the act of advising powerful entities when[PMd1] they need it for taking decisions either when they ask for this advice of if it is proactively done by this person who is the consultant.

You could see that writing about the containerization of manufactured products and the containerization of digital systems led me to write about these four powerful consulting firms that I could name the Big four like how professor Scott Galloway named these other big four tech companies which he covered with his book, the four. I had planned to write about these big four consulting firms by dedicating them a branded web publishing channel that could be a publication hosted on a blogging platform like medium or a WordPress that I manage by my own mean but I have thought of using substack that is an email newsletter platform because this seems like the most powerful container to use for this kind of publication covering topics that could interest decision makers and those who seek to be decision makers because these profiles of person and organizations use more email than other canals of communication and because continuous communication with others is an important aspect of their works and this has been already highlighted in these two books about McKinsey I have read.

While writing about the importance of communication for consultants working in firms like these big four firms, I got the idea of this Tool which is a frontend that holds categorized and classified cards or stickers created and annotated by the user for them to get visual alert and a clearer view of their inbox. This is about reimagining the frontend of email applications like outlook by making them look like Notion or its alternative which is Microsoft Loop.

I think that this tool for decision makers could probably look like Notion and could be a very useful tool for these profiles of office workers and I think that it could be a successful and big SaaS like slack because users could create frontends for their incoming emails that could be shared with other for them to read the email threats included in this email frontend.

Here I am with a new project that grows this list of 70 projects and these four others that have actually more execution priority. these four other projects are Qr…., Currency …, …Gas and Etch… I have remarked that there is this relation between this desire of writing about these four big firms and this startup that is about Risk management and with etch… that is about the industry of chip manufacturing. Noticing the link between my desire of writing about these four consulting firms and this Etch… project made me ask this question that is who these four consulting firms are advising? because I was willing to know the consulting firms that advise each chip manufacturer this for getting potential insights that could help better execute the project Etch… but I remarked that others may need such kind of information what makes this question a potential candidate for a Quantitative and Qualitative analysis software as a service that will be about the links between these consulting firms and other organizations. Seems like this is an unconscious behavior on my part because whenever I deal with something I think about the software that could go with this thing because I think that software is like a brain and this makes me believe that wherever there is a physical or intellectual human activity driven by the cognitive process of people that are involved in this activity there is an opportunity for developing a software that makes this activity better and simpler. I hope that like me you have also remarked that organizations have also cognitive processes and this makes the study of cognitive science through the lenses of organizational theory an interesting thing to do. I think that reading Mary Follett parker this brilliant organizational theorist who I have planned to read could be of value for studying the Cognition processes of organizations.

This way of acting that I was trying to explain in the paragraph above is what happened to me when I was reading this book that is written by mark Levinson that is about how shipping containers made the world smaller and its underlying economy bigger because while reading the first chapter of this book I thought about a software as service that is about providing any sort of quantitative facts about shipping containers and the underlying industries that rely on shipping containers, quantitative facts like the impact overtime of shipping containers on each part of the world’s economy. Boxonomy could be an interesting name for this quantitative intelligence software as a service; like this Qualitative intelligence that I was writing about in subsequent paragraphs.

The initial goal of this article was to talk about the containerization of manufactured products and to try to find some analogies with the containerization of digital systems because I naively think that there may be commonalities between these two as it’s the same concept that underlies them. The first insight I minded was that the effect of containerization is that it allows making economy of scale, and improves the speed, and simplicity of supply chain operations. I thought of bringing some factual chars about the effect of shipping containers on the economy of scales but I thought about this chart that plots the level of adoption of shipping containers over time and the evolutions of prices of manufactured goods of several genres and categories. I don’t know why but after writing this last sentence I thought of inflation maybe because it’s also interesting to plot some quantitative facts of shipping containers with the level of inflation as well as the evolution of interest rates.

Between the time Christopher Columbus first landed in America and now it has been exchanged Billions of shipping containers between Europe and America. This last sentence is the only naive and evident fact about shipping containers that I could provide, I am sorry and I hope that I will collect some data about the containerization of digital and physical goods and make charts and textual analysis to share here for you to read.

Again, please apologize for this bad writing

PS: the two books I was referring to are The Mckinsey mind and the Mckinsey way