September 13, 2020
#1 No Number Plate: The Might of Steve Jobs? Nah!! The Brains of Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs never had a number plate on his car. This was not cause Jobs felt he is above the law or that the authorities made special provisions for him, but it was cause he found a loophole in the California Laws. The law allowed cars which were less than six months old to be driven without number plates. Steve Jobs had an arrangement with a car leasing company that would provide him with a new car during the six month lease of each car.
#2 Slowing of Earth’s Rotation: Power lies in a Chinese Dam
In 1919, Sun Yat-Sen, known as the “Father of Modern China, came up with a plan to build a dam, Three Gorges Dam, to control the flooding of the Yangtze River. After several protests, the dam was approved for construction in 1992. The Three Gorges Dam is the world’s largest hydroelectric power station. It can generate approximately 22.5 million killowatts of energy = about 15 nuclear reactors. At maximum capacity the reservoir can hold approximately 39.3 cu km of water than weighs more than 42 billion tons. This can slow down earth’s rotation, as raising 42 billion tons of water 175m above sea level increases the Earth’s moment of inertia and thus slows down its rotation. Scientists at NASA calculated that shift of such a mass increased the length of the day by 0.06 microseconds with a shift in the pole position by approximately 0.8 inches. Although this shift and increase in day time seems relatively small, it can slow down Earth’s rotation.
#3 Slack: The Accidental Billion Dollar Company
Slack’s journey began in 2012 as Tiny Speck, when the company was trying to launch an ambitious multiplayer game. Although, the game was a big miss amongst players, the team working on the development of the game built an internal tool for programmers to communicate with each other and to track progress on the development work. The team also designed a search option to go through old messages as well file sharing.
The team unknowingly developed a powerful communication tool which they called “Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge” also known as Slack. Within 8 months of launch of Slack, the company was valued at over a billion dollars, and In June 2019, Slack was valued at $ 21 billion.
#4 Book Recommendation: Shoe Dog by Nike Co-Founder Phil Knight
Shoe Dog is a memoir by Nike Co-Founder Phil Knight is one of our favourite books and a must read for entrepreneurs, leaders and anyone who wants to learn about persistence, innovation and perseverance.
The books is a story of the company’s journey, full of struggle and problems, but also full of hope and victories.
#5 The Artic Race: USA, China and Russia
USA, China and Russia are stepping up their game in the race for exploiting the Arctic. The region is rich in mineral resources. As per Wall Street Journal, an estimated $1 trillion of rare earth metals could be lying under the ice in the artic region, as well as 30% of earth’s undiscovered gas and 13% of world’s untapped oil. The melting ice induced by warmer days in the region is making tourism and shipping industry more enticing as the season for ships to navigate is being extended, thus potentially reducing travel time between Shanghai and New York by 7 days.
All this is setting the stage for the biggest race in history.
Almost 10% of the Russia’s GDP and 20% of its exports come from north of the Arctic circle. Russia has rapidly increased its military infrastructure in the area. Russia is also renovating its old Soviet ports along its Northern Sea Route. The Northern Sea Route is a major attraction for cargo shipment and has seen a steady growth. Although, the gap between this route and the traditional routes such as the Suez Canal is fairly large, Russia looking at the future is trying to attract international investors, including China to build up infrastructure in the region.
China is looking at carving out a new shipping route between its Maritime Silk Road and the Northern Sea Route. China‘s strategy for the Arctic also involves exploiting the untapped natural resources.
The world realised the importance of the region, when President Trump announced his outlandish idea to buy Greenland, the biggest island in the region and also USA’s northern most military base. Although Denmark who exercise control over Greenland diffused the idea, the U.S reopened its consulate in Greenland after 10 years. USA says that they have been a little late to the party for stepping up their presence in the Arctic region, but have made their presence felt with the launch of their new Navy fleet in the region. The U.S is also constructing the largest icebreaker in the world and at the moment has only one old icebreaker and plans to add 10 more. Whereas, Russia has 40 vessel including a nuclear one and China has 2 and is building a nuclear one.
This race is one to watch out for as the moves these countries make will set the tone for this region in the years to come and will reshape the global supply chain and energy markets.
#6 Number Fever: Pepsi 349 Scandal
“Number Fever” a marketing campaign was launched by Pepsi in 1992 to boost sales in Philippines. The campaign was designed around the classic lottery system, wherein any person with the lucky number, 349, on their bottle cap would get a million pesos. However, the campaign sooner turned into massive riots as accidentally 349 was printed on over 800,000 caps. By the time Pepsi realised their mistake they owed the winners over $10 billion, and Pepsi refused to pay the winners which led to violent riots. The company faced thousands of lawsuits and it took nearly 15 years to dissolve all the cases with a millions of dollars lost.
#7 Kolkata: A Disappearing City
A recent program by the Discovery Channel showcased the state of the beautiful city of Kolkata in India in 2050. The program presented a dystopian future wherein the city was submerged in water as the rising sea levels breached through the delta of the Sunderbands, the largest delta in the world, and the destruction it caused - both social and environmental.
As of 2019, the sea of Bay of Bengal was advancing at 15 feet/ year. This delta in the last 50 years has eroded by 260 sq.kms. in land area. The mangrove forests of the Sunderbands act as natural barrier for the tides and cyclones in the region. Owing to affects of climate change and rising sea levels, the surrounding islands of Sunderbands have reduced drastically in size and we are at the verge of endangering not only the majestic Bengal Tiger but also losing one of the biggest carbon sinks in the world.