Enjoy this weekly feed of inspiring, interesting and intellectual articles and news, with a focus on disruption!
Is Tesla really disrupting car OEMs?
Benedict Evans (from Silicon Valley VC ‘a16z’) wrote a post on the basics of disruption, breaking down what could, but might not, make Tesla disruptive. In short:
“Electric is compelling but will probably be a commodity, whereas Tesla’s improvements on top of electric may not be commodities but are not necessarily decisive. Autonomy changes the world in profound ways, and it’s a fundamentally new technology that doesn’t look at all like a commodity.”
“Tesla’s approach to autonomy has been to put as many sensors as possible into the cars it’s already selling, and collect as much data as possible from those sensors. Tesla can ‘just’ add the sensors, in ways that the existing OEMs cannot yet do. Since it already has so many cars with these sensors on the road, this will have a self-reinforcing ‘winner takes all’ effect: it will have more data, and so its autonomy will be better, and so it will sell more cars, get more self-driven miles and so have more data.”
The problem for Tesla is that they have their bet on a “vision-only” autonomous system, which experts anticipate to be much harder, most other companies (ex Google & UBER) are working with bulky LIDAR (basically more advanced sensors). “Even if Tesla did get the vision-only approach working, it doesn’t necessarily follow that no-one else would. Hence, the bet (Tesla’s bet) is that autonomous capability will not be a commodity.”
Alphabet is one step closer to establish internet-by-balloons
With the help of a network of balloons, the idea of Alphabet’s Loon-project is to deliver connectivity to people in unserved and underserved communities around the world. This solution has long been seen as a cool idea that is far from complete. Still, progress has been made. During the last month, the internet-by-balloon project managed to send data across seven of its balloons at a distance of nearly 1,000 kilometers (The earlier record was 100 km). The technology is definitely under rapid development, the question is how this can be commercialized.
This past week the new iPhone was announced, not so much interesting news in the Apple lineup except for maybe the ECG in the new watch. What strikes me however is how everyone seems to be used to the new pricing. Last year there were big headlines questioning the pricing of the ‘X’ and now the price point seems accepted, just one year later.
Some other more exciting news is that on Monday next week SpaceX will be revealing the identity of the first space tourists. Rumors are that it might be SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, after Elon Musk tweeted the Japanese flag. Super exciting to see space travel take off again and hopefully one day become accessible for most!