Iterate Weekly - Issue 137
This week we're talking about air taxis in NYC, WeWork files for bankruptcy, the first "truly affordable" electric car, a movie trailer they don't want you to see, and The Ringer Food podcast!
Welcome to issue 137 of Iterate Weekly!
Hope you’re all doing well. This is just a friendly reminder that you can always reply directly to these messages or leave a comment on the Substack post. Feedback is highly encouraged and I’m happy to answer any and all questions that come up.
Let’s jump into this week’s stories.
Air Taxis have arrived in New York City
We knew this day would come eventually. New York city is now operating flying electric air taxis to shuttle you around town while avoiding traffic.
Well, lets not get too ahead of ourselves quite yet. A partnership between the companies Joby and Volocopter has allowed for some demonstration flights to take place over the city. These flights are meant to give a glimpse into what our hopefully not-too-distant future will look like.
New York mayor Eric Adams announced that two of the helipads in the city are becoming electrified to allow for “electric vertical take-off and landing” or eVTOL. This is the technology that will allow for vehicles like this to become more prevalent without the need for traditional gasoline power.
With cities looking to do everything possible to reduce emissions, electrified helicopters will slowly start to become more mainstream. It won’t happen overnight as these eVTOL companies are still seeking funding to bring these vehicles to life and to be able to run taxi services without exorbitant prices.
But the day will soon arrive when getting around congested metropolitan areas will be both feasible and environmentally-friendly. Check out these full promotional videos below from both Joby and Volocopter respectively. Yes, it’s marketing propaganda, but still pretty cool stuff just the same.
WeWork files for bankruptcy
WeWork was once the darling startup of the modern workplace. Now they’ve filed for bankruptcy after once being worth $47 billion.
This shouldn’t be news to most folks, WeWork has been on a downward spiral for quite a while but was still showing some signs of life. It’s interesting that their business in India seems to still be viable but the company plans to cease operations in The United States and Canada.
Earlier this year, WeWork had 777 locations in over 39 countries. Locations outside of North America have found some outside funding to keep them afloat with India being the most noteworthy success story.
Obviously, the pandemic really helped seal the fate of this company after years of questionable business practices. Most of these have been highlighted in a several documentaries that dramatized its charismatic founder and rollercoaster ride of success.
Like many people, I spent a decent amount of time in WeWork locations over the years. They were never my primary workplace but the convenience was welcome when traveling. On the positive side, they proved the viability of shared workspaces and paved the way for plenty of smaller companies who are still flourishing.
♻️ Health/Environment/Electric Vehicles
Is Tesla making the first “truly affordable” electric car?
It’s hard to label something as affordable. It’s all relative. But plenty of insiders in the auto industry have been waiting for someone to create a “truly affordable” electric car.
This Business Insider report indicates that Tesla is set to release a vehicle this summer that will retail for $27,000. While not inexpensive in the grand scheme of things, it will be the most affordable new fully-electric car on the US market. The car will likely be called the Model 2 and will under-cut the price of the current Model 3 by nearly $12,000.
Details are still pretty light on what the final version of the car will look like, but you’d have to imagine that corners will be cut to reach that price point. The car would be coming out of Tesla’s Berlin factory and would likely be light on interior flair that typically drives up the cost of a car.
With electric car sales starting to stagnate, it’s good to see more affordable option coming to market. Used EVs are becoming more and more viable as the technology matures, but sub-$30,000 new electric cars will only help raise awareness and make more consumers consider a fully-electric ride when choosing their next car.
🛍 Grab Bag
The first movie trailer that doesn’t want you to watch it
We see movie trailers all the time right? Probably so much so that we’ve become a bit desensitized to them. What’s a way for a movie studio to really get people to notice their trailer? How about telling people to avert their eyes when the trailer plays?
Since the movie is a horror film, they’re betting that an audio-only experience can conjure up scarier mental images than if they were to show scenes from the film. It’s a pretty smart idea. The audio-centric trailer has been playing in theaters before the horror hit “Five Nights at Freddy’s” and makes for an already spooky environment.
While I’m not a huge horror fan, I am appreciate of movie trailers that think outside the box. The cheesy trailer of cobbled together scenes set to music is just getting stale to me. I hope we see more sensory experience trailers like this in the future. Kudos to Blumhouse for the creativity.
💬 Quote of the Week
"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World
You wouldn’t think that a book about parking would be so fascinating would you?
“Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World” by Henry Grabar has to be one of the most interesting reads of the year for me.
There are the obvious negative ramifications of paving so much of the earth just to rest our automobiles, but Grabar looks at plenty of other angles to break down this complicated industry. I particularly loved the chapter that examined the growth of the modern American shopping mall and the remorse of its creator after seeing how it eroded downtowns across the nation.
It’s wild to think about how much time, energy, and money goes into parking decisions around the world. Grabar even profiles some people who literally died over finding a good parking space. It turns out that parking-related violence is sadly far more common than I realized. This book will absolutely have you rethinking what goes into the creation of a humble parking space.
Thanks for reading, I’ll see you next week!
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