Boring Tunnel to DC

July 20, 2017

Elon Musk is claiming that he has “verbal approval” to build a hyperloop from NYC to DC (with stops in Philly and Baltimore). That would be super cool and I totally hope they try. His new “Boring Company” designed to bore tunnels would do the tunneling part.

Just call me a tiny bit skeptical on the “verbal approval” part.

I’m a big Elon Musk fan and I’d love to get to DC in 29 minutes (I don’t even like DC that much, but damn).  I just suspect he’s underestimating the challenges of digging a tunnel across several states.



SpaceX is Taking Over, well, Space

July 13, 2017

From PBS, the percentage of commercial space launches by County/Company.


Zero percent in 2012 to over 60% next year. This is for the entire planet.

And Elon Musk snarks a bit towards Boeing/Lockheed:

An Article for Font Nerds Everywhere

July 13, 2017

Fontgate” is an amazing story if you are a font nerd, threatening to bring down the daughter of the Pakistani Prime Minister (of course now a hashtag, #fontgate).

Documents claiming that Mariam Nawaz Sharif was only a trustee of the companies that bought the London flats, are dated February 2006, and appear to be typed in Microsoft Calibri.

But the font was only made commercially available in 2007, leading to suspicions that the documents are forged.

At least it wasn’t Comic Sans…

Amazon Echo Show – Thumbs Up

June 30, 2017

I pre-ordered the original Echo (Alexa) before it came out in 2014 (put it under the Christmas tree as a surprise), so of course I pre-ordered the new version with a touch screen, the Echo Show. It arrived two days ago.

All the video call and drop-in stuff is dependent on people close to you also owning one, so while cool (and creepy) I’m not sure we’ll use that. I debated buying one for my wife’s sister who we often FaceTime with. We’ll see.

But who cares? It’s Alexa with a better speaker, YouTube search, music lyrics on screen (I like that a lot more than I thought) and your calendar right on screen.

I’m quite happy with it.

Extra Toasty

June 23, 2017

Today SpaceX took a rocket booster they’ve used previously and used it again to launch a Bulgarian satellite. Despite being an extra fast re-entry, they stick the landing (though commentators do note that it was tilting a tiny bit and a few feet off center).

This is becoming routine, but it’s important to note that not only can no one else on the planet do this, no one else even attempts it. Elon Musk does use a highly technical term to describe the booster after landing…

First and Best Customer

June 20, 2017

This is an excellent article discussing Amazon’s strategy with the Whole Foods purchase and why most people aren’t looking at it the right way.

The Amazon fulfillment centers for product distribution and AWS for cloud computing are large scale projects. They have huge initial costs but benefit tremendously from scale. One reason they succeeded is that Amazon itself was the “first and best customer” of those services, guaranteeing large scale.

Amazon is building out a delivery network with itself as the first-and-best customer; in the long run it seems obvious said logistics services will be exposed as a platform.

This, though, is what was missing from Amazon’s grocery efforts: there was no first-and-best customer. Absent that, and given all the limitations of groceries, AmazonFresh was doomed to be eternally sub-scale.

That’s where Whole Foods makes sense. If Amazon wants to build Amazon Grocery Services, they need a first and best customer. You don’t normally think of an acquisition in terms of buying your customer, but that’s what just happened.



Origami Risk – Better than AirPods

May 2, 2017

Regular readers of the blog may remember me promoting the fact that our company Origami Risk did very well in an independent software review. The key number to me was the “Net Promoter Score” (NPS), a marketing term I wasn’t familiar with. It basically rates how much your clients are promoting your product to their friends. In the survey, Origami Risk had a Net Promoter Score of 93. That sounds good since our nearest competitor had a 34, but I really didn’t have much context for the metric.

Yesterday, John Gruber at Daring Fireball posted a link to a survey of Apple’s AirPods. It discussed how extremely satisfied AirPods users are and specifically talked about the NPS number:

Apple’s Net Promoter Score for AirPods came back as 75. To put that into context, the iPhone’s NPS number is 72. Product and NPS specialists will tell you anything above 50 is excellent and anything above 70 is world class.

Origami Risk, world class software, thank you very much.