It’s 2025, and 800,000 tons of used high strength steel is coming up for auction.
The steel made up the Keystone XL pipeline, finally completed in 2019, two years after the project launched with great fanfare after approval by the Trump administration. The pipeline was built at a cost of about $7 billion, bringing oil from the Canadian tar sands to the US, with a pit stop in the town of Baker, Montana, to pick up US crude from the Bakken formation. At its peak, it carried over 500,000 barrels a day for processing at refineries in Texas and Louisiana.
By Ryan Himmel, Financial Partnerships, Xero North America
Financial problems are the primary reason businesses shutter. No matter how large a company is, cash flow is the irrefutable lifeblood of its operations. Poor cash flow can rip a company apart — forcing owners to make unthinkable decisions about payroll, creditors and order fulfillment.
While Apple, Tesla and Salesforce don’t quite share identical industries, they do share one thing in common: they are all built on a strong founder-led culture. It’s a similarity that has led these tech behemoths to create products that have transformed markets, industries, and our lives. They show just how successful an organization can be if it’s built on a strong founder-led culture.
Some people work in the gig economy because they want to, others because they have to. In a study of Uber and Lyft drivers, of which there are nearly a million in the U.S. alone, researcher Alex Rosenblat found that the interests of these two groups are different — and sometimes opposed (Harvard Business Review).
Here’s how that works: Only about 20 percent of drivers are full-time or near, but they handle a large proportion of rides taken. The majority of drivers, who are casual part-timers, give Uber flexibility, and the drivers are happy to get some spare cash. But the existence of this reserve pool gives the platform owner a buffer against the demands of the more dedicated workers. If the regulars ask for higher pay or better conditions, Uber can just tap into its reserve of extra workers. As Rosenblat puts it: “The availability of part-time earners reduces pressure on employers to create more sustainable earning opportunities.”
Today’s Top Stories — Tesla’s Gigafactory Is About More Than Electric Cars: How high do Elon Musk’s ambitions go? — Your Street Belongs to Waze: The navigation app gives the fastest route. Not everyone’s happy about that. — BuzzFeed Cancels Seven-Figure Ad Deal, Blames Trump Policies: Like it or not, the company walks its talk. — Supreme Court Grants Suit Against Google Class-Action Status: Another legal case against the search giant moves forward. — Would You Like an AK-47 With That T-Shirt? Kalashnikov rebrands.
Tesla’s Gigafactory Is About More Than Electric Cars Whether he’s thinking about colonizing Mars or slicing two years off his deadline to deliver half a million electric cars, Tesla’s Elon Musk doesn’t think small. So as Tesla prepares to open the “Gigafactory” for Tesla batteries in Nevada later this year, it’s easy to wonder whether his ambitions go beyond merely dominating the next generation of transportation (Fortune). When completed, the factory will double the world’s lithium-ion battery production. Tesla’s CTO JB Straubel says the purpose of the factory is “to reinvent battery manufacturing” and not only for electric cars, but also for Tesla’s grid battery initiative for homes. There’s more power, Musk says, in building “the machine that builds the machine.” Five hundred thousand electric cars by 2018 is as big, hairy, and audacious a goal as most people can imagine; seems like that’s just the beginning of what Musk hopes to build in Nevada.
Tesla Cops to Hubris. That’s a Good Thing The advance orders on Tesla’s Model 3 suggest it has a bright future. But in the meantime, it needs to clear up its present. First-quarter unit sales (WSJ) were about 10 percent less than predicted. There were also problems manufacturing one of its current models, which the company admitted as “hubris in adding far too much new technology,” which it could not deliver in quantity. Is that damning with boisterous praise? Financial analysts may focus on the quarterly miss, but what’s most interesting to us is that the company acknowledged its shortcoming using a word — hubris — that most visionary companies exude without owning up to. Regardless of intent, it’s a welcome act of transparency from a company that’s going to have to be open with the nearly 300,000 people who have put down $300 million worth of deposits for the Model 3.
The Future Is Already Here. It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed You’ll never guess where William Gibson’s most famous quote has come alive: Silicon Valley startup Zipline is prepping its drones to transport blood and pharmaceuticals in Rwanda (NYT), cutting down the transfer time from weeks or months to mere hours. This will make Rwanda, one of the poorest nations on the planet, the first place with a true drone delivery network.