Weekly reading – 6th May 2023

What I wrote last week

The future of payments lies on the phone

Book Review: Quench Your Own Thirst


($) The Subtle Strategy Behind Elon Musk’s Price Cuts at Tesla. The EV war is so fascinating. Manufacturers like Ford and GM are raising prices to maintain profitability and appease investors. Musk, on the other hand, chooses a different path. He is lowering prices to put more Teslas on the streets and hoping that consumers will pay for a subscription to download latest software. To support the bet, he sanctioned an expansion of Tesla factories. The committed capital can make or break his company’s fortune. If it works, other car manufacturers will lose market share to Musk and will have to lower prices. Otherwise, let’s just say GM got into so much trouble that they required a government bailout because of the same tactic.

The underbelly of electric vehicles. Electric vehicles have their strengths, but it’s inaccurate to say that they are entirely harmless to our nature and environment. It’s because an EV requires a lot of minerals whose extraction and processing can take a toll on Mother Nature. This article offers a good rundown on aspect.

Google Cloud boss Kurian’s rocky path to profit: ‘We were not in a very good situation’. The hiring of Kurian looked masterful. He added the leadership and experience in enterprise sales to a company that is not historically strong in that area.

.James Corden Bows Out. It’s not surprising to read that The Late Late Show is wildly unprofitable, but it’s bizarre to hear that the show runners still wanted to keep James Corden around for 2-3 more years. Regardless, it’s a good read on the late night television space and how it has evolved in the past few decades.

What went wrong with Shopify’s quest to build a logistics business. “In a fulfillment relationship, you only have — let’s call it — $2 to spend on the fulfillment fees. Those $2 go a lot further with one partner than they do when you’re splitting them between a middle management layer, i.e. Shopify, and the fulfillment partner itself. It’s harder to find the right third-party logistics provider for smaller merchants, because most good 3PLs are looking for volume customers. And as Shopify started its business, most of its customers were smaller customers. So there is a legitimate problem that they saw. But it’s more they made a big mistake with how they wanted to solve the problem. What I found in my own experience, is that the approach of an asset light network makes it very difficult to make consistent quality of logistics delivery across an effort, because of having different partners with different processes and things like that.

Other stuff I find interesting

Inside the fortified rooms securing U.S. secrets. An interesting article on SCIF (pronounced “Skiff”), a room where the US government stores the most sensitive and confidential information.

What the U.S.-China chip war means for India. “The investment in design, through the design-linked incentives, is from the perspective of building on our strengths. Government wants to support 100 local firms working on integrated circuit and chipset designs. The other focus is on the outsourced semiconductor assembly and test, where India has a comparative advantage given that we have low-cost labor. Design and testing are two places where we actually have advantages. I don’t think we need to invest in display fabs, because if Chinese companies don’t provide them, we can buy them from Japan or South Korea. It’s a huge cost we are putting up for this display fab. We have a lot of scope and talent. In some estimates, we have 20% of the total design workforce in the world. The India Electronics and Semiconductor Association claims that around nine out of 10 chips that go into the market will have some Indian design center work behind them. So there is capability, but now that needs to be translated into intellectual property and new products that are made from India.

How Roy Wood Jr. crushed the toughest room in comedy. I am not a comedian and I was not familiar with Roy Wood Jr’s profile. Hence, it’s good to learn a little bit about comedy and his story. Fascinating.

Waymo One doubles service area in Phoenix and continues growing in San Francisco. Amazing progress by Waymo and Google. It must have taken immeasurable working hours of a lot of people to get to this point. I am excited about what to come next. With that being said, I remain optimistically cautious that it will still take a lot for us to operationalize self-driving cars as a society.


Only 1 out of 9 US adults are current smokers

20% of vehicle sales in 2023 globally are electric

There are more than 66,000 rules governing search engines in China

Nearly 3 in 5 (57%) U.S. teen girls felt persistently sad or hopeless in 2021. Source: CDC

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