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Friday 5 April 2019

Weekend Reading: Some Interesting Stuff

A possible ground-breaking discovery in energy storage. An Australian startup says it's built the world's first working thermal battery, a device with a lifetime of at least 20 years that can store six times more energy than lithium-ion batteries per volume, for 60-80 percent of the price.

How IKEA is changing its business model from selling furniture to renting it out. Thus its moving to the subscription economy.

India has announced that it will eliminate all single-use plastic in the country by 2022. The pledge is the most ambitious yet of the global actions to combat plastic pollution that are taking place in 60 nations around the world.

I am always looking for stories on business failures. Here is a recent one.
WOW Air launched in 2011 as a discount regional carrier that offered cheap, no-frills fares designed to undercut legacy players. Along the way, it decided to compete with the bigger airlines, specifically Icelandair, by offering transatlantic flights. That decision required WOW to upgrade its fleet with larger jets capable of making longer trips.
Because of all the variables involved – many of which companies like WOW cannot control – airlines are inherently risky ventures. “In the case of WOW, it’s likely a combination of multiple factors that created difficulties,” Tsoukalas noted. The company’s aggressive expansion “required a large capital investment and not only complicated its operations, but also made it more difficult to fill the extra seats. At the same time, the company had to deal with upward trending fuel prices … and likely increasing wages as its staff started become more senior. In a sense, over time, some low-cost carriers start resembling legacy carriers more and more.”

Amazon is planning to build a network of more than 3,000 satellites federal filings reveal, in an ambitious attempt to provide global internet access.
Project Kuiper is a new initiative to launch a constellation of low Earth orbit satellites that will provide low-latency, high-speed broadband connectivity to unserved and underserved communities around the world.

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