J. Taylor Wiegele
Great comment! Lauren had a similar one, so I responded to it below.
In terms of fast failures, SpaceX will fly a new component during a mission for which it is not functional, test the component’s functionality during the flight, and understand how it performed and what the impact would have been had its functionality been needed. If, for example, there’s a valve as part of a system that fails to open during a test flight, the engineer would figure out why it happened, redesign, test again, and create a fully-functional system for the actual flight for which its functionality is needed.
Great comment! Safety is definitely a concern that is constantly addressed at SpaceX, and the “test-and-fly” methodology really plays into how they rate components and materials for flight. For instance, sensors are placed all over the rocket in each of the crevices and walls where future components may be placed. During flight, information is transmitted real time regarding the shock and vibrational loads experienced during real time flight. This gives SpaceX a more accurate representation of what loads are actually experienced and eliminates some extra material (and weight/cost) that would be inherent in a rocket that has fewer sensors that capture data that is applied to the entire rocket. Components and systems are then designed to safety factors, i.e. multiples of the maximum loads that they are intended to withstand from shock and vibration, the safety factor chosen as a combination of legacy components and impact of component failure (i.e. what would happen if it failed? Big problem or minor inconvenience?). The components are then tested at those levels in an in-house lab.
For a life support system or something similar, a non-functioning system would then be loaded onto an unmanned flight (covered with sensors of course) and operated as if there were humans on board. The responses to the atmosphere would be measured and recorded and matched with what was expected. Only after this high level of qualification would the system be certified for flight.
Brian, interesting detailing of the operating model and the business model of the fishing business. Admittedly, I didn’t know much about the industry before reading your post, but the establishment of fisheries in open water seems like a no-brainer (likely why it’s such a great business idea!). We always joke in chemistry that “the solution to pollution is dilution” and it’s funny to see a business model built off that pun. I love the tie-in with the geography and the fish species chosen “for its versatility” and the humane way in which they’re caught and harvested. I can see a high-end restaurant promoting the benefits of open-water fish farming as the most sustainable alternative while simultaneously taking advantage of the different flavors of the fish. Thanks for posting!
Henry, this was a fantastic write up on Tencent! It was interesting to read about the “me too” business strategy and their improvement over existing business models. While it seems a little suspect, leveraging loose Chinese regulation to improve upon winning ideas is in itself a great concept for the geography. Using the strong brand also helps I’m sure (I chuckled at your “OICQ” line). It will be interesting to see what happens with the changing legal environment in China and the ever-morphing business environment and economy. I feel better educated thanks to your post!
Etienne–solid write up. I enjoyed reading your prognosis of Uber and its business model! I am curious to see how they continue to differentiate themselves from taxis and competitors like Lyft. As a former San Franciscan I remember using Uber when it first came out and only included a fleet of black cars, only to introduce UberX to compete with startups like Lyft and SideCar. They used to differentiate themselves by only allowing newer models of cars (I remember back in 2012 or so that I couldn’t use my 2004 Honda to drive for them) but I’ve seen the quality of the vehicles deteriorate. When regulations kick in for markets they’ve penetrated and prices increase, I’m excited to see what happens to their brand–maybe that’s why they lobby so hard to keep it from happening.
Interesting concept! If feels as though this space is exploding right now with many entrants like Combatant Gentleman, Blank Label, Indochino, etc. are performing similar services with slightly different approaches. Some require measurements to be sent in via email, some require presence at a physical location, but none have the on-the-spot service that you describe above. I’m curious how this affects the price point of the suits, but from the highly involved manufacturing and apprenticeship process you detailed above it appears they’re targeting a more affluent consumer. Are they able to reach consumers in the US? What is the price of a basic cashmere suit? I’m curious to see how the business fares in the resurgence of a hand-made garment trend–it should be promising!