Yorktown Case Analysis

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Yorktown Technologies Case Analysis

Case Recap

Founded in 2001, Yorktown Technologies, Inc. is a company that specializes in the ornamental fish industry. The globalization of the ornamental fish industry happened over a half a century ago. Hundreds of freshwater and saltwater fish can be purchased as pets in virtually any industrialized nation in the world (Broy, 2011). Yorktown Technologies commercializes a genetically modified fish called GloFish, which appear to glow in the dark (Mueller, 2010). GloFish are zebrafish that have been genetically modified with fluorescent colors. They are the first genetically modified animals to become publicly available as pets (Wikipedia, 2011). This case will provide a summary and analysis of Yorktown Technologies with an emphasis on distribution strategies as well as an assessment of the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Problem Identification

Yorktown Technologies is investigating distribution strategies that will assist in the company’s financial success. This will be difficult because of the controversy surrounding GloFish. Environmental groups are concerned about the potential ecological ramifications of genetically modified fish. They are worried that GloFish “could wipe out native species because their glow gives them an edge when attracting a mate” (USA Today). In addition, the Department of Natural Resources is working with legislators on new laws that would ban possession and transportation of any genetically engineered organisms (USA Today, 2004). Yorktown Technologies researched the adverse effects of GloFish on ecosystems and collaborated with dozens of international scientists to assure they are safe (USA Today, 2004). The controversy and political stigma surrounding GloFish may hinder marketing and distribution strategies. Therefore, the company enlisted help from the Wellington Group to ensure retailers are successful at selling GloFish (Wellington Group, 2011).

Case Analysis

In 1999, scientists at the National University of Singapore extracted a fluorescent protein from jellyfish. The protein was inserted in a zebrafish causing the fish to be brightly fluorescent. The fish were originally engineered to detect pollution by “selectively fluorescing in the presence of environmental toxins” (Wikipedia, 2011). Instead of being used to detect environmental toxins, Yorktown technologies acquired the rights to market the engineered fish and commercially sell it as pets in the United States (Wikipedia, 2011).

Alan Blake, founder of Yorktown Technologies, was only 23 years old when he founded the company (Mueller, 2010). His first line of business was to create a board of directors to compensate for his lack of wisdom. The board of directors will be crucial in helping Blake create deals and convince partners that GloFish will be financially successful. The marketing and distribution strategies, which will be approved by Blake, will be examined and amended by the wisdom of the board (Mueller, 2010).

Yorktown Technologies has attracted the attention of the media due to the controversy surrounding its product. The controversy places a limit on potential marketing and distribution strategies due to ethics and laws surrounding genetically modified fish. Environmental groups have concerns about the ethics of genetically modifying fish for use only as a pet. The groups worry the fish may proliferate and disrupt the natural ecosystem. A final concern is potential illnesses transmitted by the consumption of GloFish by predators or humans (Broy, 2010).

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration ruled that “since GloFish are not designed to be part of the nation’s food supply they did not fall within their jurisdiction” (Broy, 2010). As a result, Yorktown Technologies was granted the right to produce, market, and distribute GloFish without...
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