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Morfternight #43: It's still Wednesday somewhere...
We talk about Jane, Lily, Sam, and Martin, but also a product mindset lesson about transatlantic crossings.
🤩 A very warm (it’s seasonal) welcome to the 13 new Morfternighters who joined us last week! I hope you’ll enjoy Morfternight. If yes, remember: like a smile, this newsletter can be shared with others without you losing anything.
📷 Photo of the week
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👋 Good Morfternight!
I know, I know…
Last week at least, I had a valid excuse, with me being in Las Vegas, nine hours later than my usual time zone, and all that jazz.
Today, frankly, I have none. I am late, that’s it.
I have no excuses, but I do have a culprit: I blame Grace & Frankie’s season 7, which I watched last evening instead of writing Morfternight!
In case you have lived under a rock since 2015, here’s the original trailer:
There’s a much longer and recent trailer for the second part of this last season, but I won’t link it here because either a) you haven’t seen the series, and I am not going to spoil it for you, or b) you have, and then you already know what it is about.
I don’t know if it is fantastic or depressing that the best cast on Netflix in 2022 is constituted of four actresses and actors totaling 328 years of age.
I’ll go for fantastic, because that’s my mood this morning.
🌍 Have we reached maximum speed?
In the 19th century, it would take 16 days to cross the Atlantic from Bristol to New York and about 13 days to come back. By the mid-20th century, the record was down to 3 days and 10 hours. By the end of the last century, the Concorde —that yours truly was lucky enough to fly— covered the distance in a bit more than 3 hours in normal operations, establishing the record in 2h 52m and 50s.
I flew to Los Angeles from Vienna in close to 12 hours last week.
If you think about it for a second, that’s simply incredible! At the same time, we are so used to technology progressing fast that it is odd to think we may have reached peak transportation performance. I was amid this reflection when I remembered seeing a simulation of rocket-based transport a few years ago that would bring us one step closer to teleportation.
Or to self-destruction…
Focus on the problem, not the solution
That’s when it hit me.
We have only reached peak performance in transportation if we consider that carrying people from point A to point B is transportation’s purpose.
But it’s not.
For anything that requires our physical presence in a distant location, our ability to reach any place in the World in a matter of hours or maybe a day is sufficient. Most of the time, though, only our ability to interact with others and transmit information back and forth matters.
And that we can do in real-time.
So, if we think about transportation as our purpose, we have been unusually struggling at making any significant progress over the past 50 years. But if we think about it, as we should, as one possible solution to a broader problem, allowing humans to interact and exchange information, then our progression has been exponential.
This is why it is crucial to focus on the problems we are trying to solve instead of getting attached to the solutions we have been exploring. Shoes, horses, bikes, steamships, planes, transatlantic cables, satellites, and the internet solve the same problem.
They are allowing humans to interact and communicate across distances.