Wednesday, February 15, 2012
You may have read this New York Times article about how the US lost out on iphone work. It raises fascinating questions about what it takes to be the most desirable manufacturer for the tech industry. Its not all cost. Its cost plus flexibility plus precision.
But maybe there are other routes. Maybe it's possible to make valuable things without their success hinging on making workers live in company dorms and work 12 hour days?
Tech is fleeting. I have given away an iPhone, and I have a dead one on my desk. So I'm on my third one in about 4 years. That creates lots of demand, which is good for business. But is that the only way?
I recently saw these two videos, shot within a few years of each other, about the manufacture of two products that are WILDLY more valuable today than they were when they were new; the Porsche 356, and Fender guitars.
Porsche 356s, in restored condition are now regularly selling above $100k. I don't mean special models, just regular coupes and cabriolets. Fender Stratocasters from the late 50s are selling for $20K-$30k.
What did they have in common? Transcendent design and beautiful workmanship. Among the things we make today, how many will be worth more in the future?
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
You know that part in the horror movie where somebody does something that more or less gives the monster a perfect opportunity to eat or dismember you? Skinny dipping alone at midnight. Making out in a graveyard. Playing hide and seek in an old abandoned warehouse. You get the idea.
I feel like I'm watching that part of the movie as robotics scientists at the University of Pennsylvania develop swarming helicopter robots. I mean what could go wrong with swarms of formation flying nano robots, right? Oh wait, I have an idea. Lets make them self replicating and give them a desire for self preservation at all costs.
Its almost as creepy as that chainsaw powered robot dog.