VW's EV cars are not cool; Elephant companies, Snapchat+ and, btw...RIP, Threads!
Some companies are dead but they either don't want to admit it or they don't know yet. This newsletter can help them too.
You think it’s summer and there are not many updates to discuss, but it seems it’s the opposite. So, before people really go on holiday (August), I’ll be here to comment on what’s happening in business.
🎉 Happy birthday, America 🇺🇸 !
Maybe the greatest sentence ever written by human hands (Jefferson with edits from Franklin and Adams):
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and…”
Onto the update:
A new Social media app: Threads
1/ I lost count of how many new Twitter killers are on the market: Mastodon, Blue Sky, Artifact, Truth Social, Spill, etc. The only thing I can say: RIP, Threads!
2/ The app is not available in the EU because of its countless data collection strategy. LINK
3/ I liked that they said “Threads, an Instagram app” because Instagram it’s still cool, while Meta is not.
Streaming is a bloody business
The Wall Street Journal has a long piece about what’s happening in the streaming industry. Basically, every major player is losing money, except Netflix. I addressed this topic in previous newsletters: you need (1) originals, (2) distribution, and (3) a good strategy.
One of the most important cost bouquet to many industries is the energy cost. Europe needs to understand that being 100% green is not possible without (1) nuclear and (2) some storage capabilities (ie. batteries). The faster our leaders understand this, the better for everyone (ie. 400 million). LINK
1/ When the cheap energy prices ended in Europe (e.g. Russian war) many goods became more expensive. When you add that a new EV car has 10x fewer components and the advantage moves to software and scaling you have a real disruption. Result? China is the top largest car exporter in the world. China; Audi
2/ “Strong customer reluctance” forces Volkswagen to slash electric vehicle production.
Translation: No one wants VW EVs because they're vastly inferior to what Tesla offers. (Tesla sold most EVs in the last two quarters). So, it's not a lack of EV demand, it's a lack of demand for inferior products. LINK
India’s plan is to export its wildly successful digital payments system. In Europe, I think Revolut and other neo-banks (fintechs) will lead this change. LINK
There are some companies that are just cash cows. They don’t produce much, but what they produce is constant and at a good yield. They will never disrupt any industry but are there to play a small role. One of those companies is HP and here is what its boss thinks about the future. LINK
There are few companies that radically changed the American landscape and GS is one of them (ie. a Tiger company). What can possibly go wrong in a company with thousands of smart people who argue about money and strategy? LINK
Elon is exactly that overpromises, but in the end, will deliver it; with billions of dollars extra and some years of delay. But who cares? Cybertrack might see the light this year. The Verge has an article on where were the manufacturing problems: braking, body sealing, and suspension. LINK
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Chat GPT vs. the UK Universities
After some months of debates, the British Universities reached a consensus: The technology can be seen as an “opportunity rather than a threat” to academic integrity.
Of course, you cannot oppose progress but embrace it. The faster, the better. LINK
Transformative AI is really, really hard to achieve. LINK
Reid Hoffman on the Possibilities of AI: “The optimal liability regime for LLMs, whether there’ll be autonomous money-making bots, which agency should regulate AI, how AI will affect the media ecosystem and the communication of ideas, what percentage of the American population will eschew it, how gaming will evolve, whether AI’s future will be open-source or proprietary, the binding constraint preventing the next big step in AI, which philosopher has risen in importance thanks to AI, what he’d ask a dolphin, what LLMs have taught him about friendship, how higher education will change, and more”. LINK
Amazon vs AI
Amazon’s vision: An AI model for everything. LINK
What’s behind the H100 Chip from NVIDIA that is driving all this generative AI frenzy? LINK
Snapchat+ reached 4 million paying customers ($3,99/month). Snap should diversify as fast as possible its revenues from brand advertising. Snapchat+ can be a solution. LINK
France's red wine sales are half of what they were in the 1990s. LINK
Two on Tesla’s deliveries:
1/ Once you have the manufacturing in place, the only problem is the demand (ie. the gigafactories are far from ready after +10 years and +$10bn in costs)
2/ Since you have the cars, you must work on pricing to fight with the Chinese (at this point Europe lost the EV fight). Tesla can enter a pricing war because it controls now the supply chain and has a competitive advantage in software.
The Netherlands is 203 times smaller than Brazil and 26% of the former's territory is below sea level. Yet, the Netherlands’ exports value more money than Brazil's.
Heraldic map of Europe. LINK
Using a foreign language can reduce false memories; 1-0 for bilinguals. LINK
Orkney, an island in the UK, could leave for Norway as it explores ‘alternative governance’. LINK
Elon’s email when he deleted Instagram
Russia's War in Ukraine is what failed deterrence looks like. We can't afford for deterrence to fail again. LINK
The Origin of Tea
“Cha" and "te" are both Chinese words for tea. If a territory came into contact with the drink by:
• The Silk Road = "cha"
• Sea shipping routes (starting with Dutch traders) = "tea"
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