Tipping by Content

  • An even better way to tip content creators: by content vs by creator.
  • You watched a useful, entertaining or stirring YouTube video.
  • There is a button that allows you to tip the video.
  • Clicking on it reveals preset standard amounts $0.10, $.0.50, $1, $5, $10, $20 etc (or a figure can be manually entered).
  • Click on the preset amount, confirm, and the tip is sent.
  • Facilitated by a digital wallet and/or a digital currency that is fast and has low transaction fees. YouTube may take a small cut.
  • Content creators can opt to monetise through ads, tips or both.
  • Tipping by content allows tipping at the essential moment content is appreciated.

Twitter Tips

Twitter Tipping
Twitter now allows users to tip their fave follows, via:
  • Bandcamp - Online record store and music community
  • Cash App - Square's ewallet for US and UK
  • Chipper - Send and receive money in Africa
  • Patreon - Subscription platform
  • Razorpay - Send and receive money in India
  • WealthSimple - Send and receive money in Canada
  • Venmo - PayPal's ewallet for US
  • GoFundMe - Crowdfunding platform
  • PicPay - Send and receive money in Brazil
  • Strike - Send and receive BTC in US and El Salvador
  • Users can also specify a BTC address for direct transfer. But this doesn't use Lightning and thus may take minutes to days and a fee of $2 to $60+ to transact.
  • Going 'raw' may also entail KYC and AML considerations whereas receiving a payment via a platform offloads some due diligence to the platform.

PayPal Bank
  • PayPal has gone digital bank: deposits, bill and P2P payments, digital wallet, and now a savings account in partnership with Synchrony Bank.
  • Still, it doesn't brand itself a digital bank possibly because the use of the term 'bank' is regulated in many jurisdictions, and being a bank entails additional technicalities.

Lending Club
  • Why would a P2P lender want to become a digital bank?
  • In the case of Lending Club, buying Radius Bank, a digital bank (in the US, this is one way to become a digital bank), saw its revenues grow 93% and share price soar 500%.
  • How? 1) Peer borrowing is expensive, cheaper to lend bank deposits. 2) Issuing loans via banks is expensive (commissions), better be a bank and issue the loan yourself. 3) Deposits that are not loaned out can earn interest.

Emerging eVTOL

  • UAM infra moving ahead or in tandem with transporters ('flying car') is good. Unlike EVs (electric vehicles) where the vehicle (eg. Tesla) is path finding alone. Aviation is more dynamic and have come up with proposals for hubs, flight control and nano-vertiports.
  • For drone-like transporters, not much progress is seen, but tilt-rotor eVTOL is where it is happening.
  • Tilt rotors differ from drones by having wings for lift and tilting rotors (propellers point up to fly up, forward to fly forward). 1st vid

eVTOL Startups

Sample Backers via
  • Archer - United Airlines, Stellantis
  • Lilium - Tencent, Atomico
  • Joby - Toyota, Uber, Intel, JetBlue
  • Vertical - American Airlines, Rolls Royce, Microsoft, Honeywell

  • The CityAirbus (announced 2 days ago on 21-Sep-2021) seems to be comparatively lightly spec-ed. But what aren't shown are turnaround times, acquisition and running costs, air traffic integration etc. These may be Airbus' forte given its commercial aviation experience.
  • Flight distances are typically 50 km, so high speed is not necessary. Here's what Joby said is a use case: LAX to Newport Beach (50km distance, 15 min UAM, 1 hour 16 min by car), and Vertical: Heathrow to Canary Wharf (32 km, 13 min UAM, 1 hour 22 min by car).
  • Locally and regionally, eVTOLs could be ideal for providing virtual cable cars or bridges. Example: Bukit Bintang-Genting (55 km) or Marina Square-Batam Island (30 km).

Edible Flowers

Veggies are usually associated with leafy parts of a plant (lettuce, spinach, coriander). But other parts are edible too: roots (garlic, ginger), tubers (potato, carrot), stems (celery, asparagus), fruits (tomato, pineapple, cucumber, chili) and seeds (peppercorn, mustard, soya). Lesser known are edible and drinkable flowers, a sample: [Photo: rice cubes coloured by butterfly pea flowers, served with coconut jam, via My Blue Tea]
  • Tea (jasmine, chrysanthemum, chamomile)
  • Garnish (orange saffron, red rose, blue butterfly pea)
  • Salad (lavender, lilac, marigold, violet)
  • Food (hibiscus, broccoli, cauliflower)
Unless you know what you are doing, best not to pick flowers straight from the garden. Instead, get them from the market if available.

State of Drones

HeliTech Expo 2021 is a VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) exhibition and conference happening Oct 5-6 @ London. Sample conference topics:
  • Drone Ops (managing millions of drones in the sky) - Airbus
  • The Phoenix Programme: Drone Commercialisation - Drone Major
  • CycloGyro Rotor: High Precision Manoeuvrability - CycloTech
  • Bringing the Commercial UAV Ecosystem Together - Inmarsat
  • Potential of BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) Drones - Modini

Latest Drone Startups
  • Urban Airport - Airport for drones vid
  • Aloft - Drone traffic management & air control app
  • YellowScan - LiDAR drones (measure more accurately vs cameras)
  • A2Z - Drone that lowers load while remaining flying (vs landing)
  • AVSS - Drone parachute (mitigates drone falling from the sky)
  • DroneHub - Rushes to check security breaches (doggo drone)
  • Quantum Systems - Winged drones for extended missions

  • The infrastructure component of urban air mobility (UAM) is often in the news, less so the progress of the transporters ('flying cars') themselves.
  • Likely because propeller-only transporters remain an immense technical challenge.
  • Propeller-only transporters have to fight gravity using propellers, akin to going to a hypermart, buying a washing machine, and strapping the machine to one's back to carry it to one's car - fighting gravity.
  • The breakthrough may come with the use of blimps etc, which is like putting the washing machine on a trolley and pushing it to the car.
  • For more on UAM infrastructure, check out a virtual symposium happening 22-23 Sep, 2021 (tix sold out).

Mosaic of Music

First Vid: Good covers of Malay pop classic Belaian Jiwa ('a soul's caress') are hard to come by, Zara Ali's version is a stand out. Second: Kanomroo performs a clear, acoustic cover of Mandopop classic The Moon Represents My Heart. Third: Elica Paujin sings Borneo hit Momuhobo ('breathe'). Fourth: Indian Classical singer Maithili Thakur crosses over and uses her classical training for a marvellous rendition of My Heart Will Go On.

Dubai Expo 2021

World Expos are held every 5 years or so. The last few editions were Hanover (2000), Aichi (2005), Shanghai (2010) and Milan (2015). For 2020, the host city is Dubai, with the expo opening, after being held back by the pandemic, on Oct 1st, 2021. The next Expo is Osaka (2025). At the listing of country pavilions, the info shown is mostly pavilion related, here are a few with distinctive country related tag lines:
  • Afghanistan - Bazaars of cashmere, saffron and precious stones
  • Australia - World's first astronomers [the aborigines]
  • Estonia - The best of Nordic cuisine with an Estonian twist
  • India - India's past, present and future
  • Ireland - 5000 years of myth, legend and literature
  • Pakistan - A country of unparalleled nature and adventure
  • United States - Experience American freedom
The expo looks like it's a 100% in-person event, with no mentions of virtual tours or event broadcasts. The programme lists many satellite events but no further information is available. For a feel of the vibe, check out the expo's twitter account.

Smarter Cities

  • Telosa (Telos: Greek 'higher purpose') is the proposed new US smart city envisioned by former Walmart ecommerce CEO Marc Lore.
  • Ticks all the smart city boxes: 15-minute city, walkability, inclusivity, renewable energy and sustainable water resources.
  • The architect chosen for the city is the Bjarke Ingels Group which also designed Toyota's smart city.

  • Berlin's university canteens to go mostly veggie.
  • From October, the menu will be 96% veggie, 2% fish and 2% meat.
  • Swapping bratwurst and frankfurters for legumes and pulses.
  • Reasons: reduce carbon footprint and sup-optimal use of land and water; balance diets (processed meat isn't too great for health).

London | Paris
  • In a policy first, England will require all new homes and offices to have EV chargers. Still needed: policy or guidance for high rises, existing homes, offices, car parks, gas stations and malls.
  • Paris to move to soft mobility: walking, cycling, public transport. Speed limit in most of Paris set at 30 kmh (~20 mph) starting Sep 2021. This increases road safety, reduces noise pollution and makes drivers evaluate whether to drive slowly or use soft mobility.

UXUI, Animation & Ledgers

In the first video (SNSFW), comedian Michael McIntyre brilliantly and accurately dissects how daunting (and dodgy) modern UX/UI can be. For more UXUI, check out Savvy UX Summit 2021 happening Sep 17-19. Sample topics:
  • Unleashing the Power of Design, Data and AI - Phillips Eindhoven
  • An Holistic Approach to Automotive Experience Design - Mercedes
  • Frameworks and Empathy Maps Drive Actionable Results - Agoda

Creative Animation
The second video is the trailer for Wish Dragon, an animated comedy produced by Columbia, Sony, Tencent, Base FX, Jackie Chan and others. For more on animation and creatives, have a look at LevelUp (Sep 21-22) and Kre8tif! (Sep 23-24). Sample topics:
  • Axie Infinity: Building A Digital Nation - Sky Mavis
  • Xsolla: Secrets of Success - Xsolla
  • Wish Dragon: A Local Story for a Global Audience - Base FX

Accounting Show
A full-featured, digital currency (which may contain transaction data in addition to amount etc) could facilitate automatic cash accounting and smart contracts, automatic accrual accounting. These aren't in the agenda at the Accounting Show happening Sep 21-22 (accountants, tasked to guard the treasury, are naturally and necessarily conservative). Sample topics:
  • Building Digital Capability in Your Audit Function - Inflo
  • How Automation Saves You Time and Money - Dezshira
  • ESG and the Technology that can Help - GreenArc

Minimalist Meals

There's a social media post going around that shows a plate of rice together with the question: you can only add 2 things to this plate of rice, name them. We'll bite, minimalist rice dishes with long traditions in the East:
  • North Asia: rice + soya sauce + warm water
  • South Asia: rice + dhall + curry (gravy only)
  • SE Asia: rice + chilli condiment + cucumber
There are also rice dishes with only one accompaniment:
  • North Asia: rice + fermented beancurd
  • South Asia: rice + papadam (or yogurt)
  • SE Asia: rice + half of a salted egg
In the West, bread, which can be delicious on its own depending on how it is baked, goes well with butter, cheese or jam, and tea, coffee, milk or water.

Custom Chips

Why custom design chips rather than source them from Intel etc? Efficiency and effectiveness. Say, you are in charge of parcel delivery in a small, green, campus town. The only vehicles available for sale are $35,000, 2,500 kg pickup trucks. An all-purpose utility vehicle but for which most of the utility is not required most of the time. If you can custom design your own vehicle, you might arrive at something like a $4,200, 700 kg mini EV. The savings go towards better margins, greater reliability, faster deliveries and greener credentials. Custom chips in the news:
  • Apple - M1 (CPU+GPU for computers and tablets)
  • Samsung - Exynos (CPU for smartphones)
  • Google - Tensor (Machine learning processor for smartphones)
  • Google - ARM-based CPU for 2023 Chromebooks
  • Vivo - V1 (imaging and video processing for smartphones)
  • Tesla - D1 (supercomputer training for AI networks)
  • Baidu - Kunlun (autonomous vehicle processor)
  • IBM - Telum (AI infused CPU for mainframe computers)
  • Amazon - Traininum (cloud machine learning model training)

Harmonica Qi

Unlike wind instruments such as the trumpet and trombone, playing the harmonica requires the blowing and drawing of air. This inhaling and exhaling against resistance develop the diaphragm, breathing and lung volume. For this reason, it is used in lung strengthening exercises.

Face Mask
Face masks provide resistance during inhale and exhale as well. This is why some people half mask. Initially, on donning a mask, it seems suffocating. But this discomfort goes away once the breath adjusts to the mask. Half-maskers never get past this discomfort zone - they just need to practice a bit more.

Xiaoyuanyuan plays cantopop classic Vast Ocean Boundless Sky. Merit points for matching harmonica and song, the one-take-one-angle shot, minimal production accoutrements, and the ambience from lighting and background.

CBDC Finalists

Global CBDC Challenge
The Challenge has announced 15 finalists. Aside from banks (ANZ, Citi, HSBC, StanChart) and IBM, the following are some of the startups that made it to the finals and the countries they are being trailed in or linked to: 1 2 3 4
  • Bitt - Eastern Caribbean (11 countries), Nigeria
  • Consensys - AU, FR, HK, SA, SG, TH
  • G+D Filia - Ghana, Thailand
  • Soramitsu - Cambodia
  • SEBA - France, Switzerland
  • cLabs - Alliance for Financial Inclusion (80+ countries) info
  • Exto - Not being trailed in any particular country
  • Secretarium - Not being trailed in any particular country

Other CBDC News
  • Bahamas - CBDC launched in October 2020, without fanfare
  • Jamaica - Mints first batch of CBDC worth $15 million, August 2021
  • Venezuela - To debut CBDC in Oct, and cut 6 zeros from its currency
  • Korea - Trials offline CBDC with GroundX, Samsung and others

Mobility Advances

Autumn is just around the corner in the North. The season for harvest before the onset of winter. September sees three mobility events, details below. But first, some notes on Tesla's AI Day (Aug 19th 2021), a mobility event that involved no vehicles on stage. 1 2 3 4

Tesla AI Day
  • The 8 cameras in a Tesla vehicle work as one, just as the 2 eyes of a human work together to form one image. Like the human eye, 2D images are transformed to 3D objects by Tesla's onboard computer.
  • To interpret and actionise in this 3D space, Tesla uses machine learning built upon the inputs from field tests, simulations and from the vast and growing vehicle footage from Tesla's vehicles.
  • This ML runs on supercomputers that are powered by D1, a custom chip designed by Tesla. The human analogue of these super-computers is the millions of years of evolution behind human vision. The supercomputers are not installed in a vehicle, they just need to pass their learning to the vehicle's onboard computer.
  • AI technologists have remarked Tesla has made considerable progress: Tesla is an AI company that makes cars.

Velo-City [ 6-9 Sep | info | tix | news ]

IAA Mobility [ 7-12 Sep | info | pdf | tix ]
MOVE Conference [ 7-9 Sep | info | tix ]
  • Challenging the Dominance of China's Bus Manufacturers - Switch
  • Reimagining City Design for Sustainable Mobility - Arcadis
  • Unlocking the Sky for Deliveries - Swoop Aero
  • Electrifying Last-Mile Delivery - Ikea

Answer Me

The pandemic, lockdowns and social distancing have put a dampener on socialising. Especially for young adults who are just starting college (or just starting out) - which is a time for new friendships and even romances. The song Answer Me, My Love by Nat King Cole invokes the ache of liaisons that might have been. The original title of the song, Answer Me, Lord Above, which if applied to the context of the present pandemic, makes the lyrics and song even more poignant.

Smarter Phones

Smart to Dumb
  • Latest research indicates smartphones can make us dumber. Because they are a distraction and a looming threat of distraction.
  • A new generation of phone designers are addressing the issue by reversing the trend of stuffing everything into the smartphone; by taking out as much as possible and still have a functional device.
  • What is taken out? Everything except phone & text: back to the 90s.
  • What about messaging (eg whatsapp), that is essential. Nope, the designers don't just want to change functionality but are aiming for a new paradigm. Do your whatsapp at your desktop.

Minimalist Phones
  • Pure - E-ink display, low radiation, long battery
  • Punkt - Something to be kept, not changed every year or two.
  • Light - No social media, browser, infinite feed, and no anxiety
  • Kyocera - Credit card sized phone: small and light
  • Boring - A phone that wants less of your time and attention

EU Risers

EU startups are on a roll, a selection: 

EU Startups 1
  • Abzu - Explainable AI (this could be mandated in the future)
  • Raffle - Powerful search as an alternative to chatbots, faq etc
  • Monta - EV charging app for corporates and consumers
  • Doppio - Games that are voice controlled & narrative games
  • Enspired - Energy trading (battery, e-mobility, power plants etc)
  • Fixar - Indoor drone for inspections, mapping & monitoring
  • Kedeon - Logistics IoT chip to monitor temperature, location etc
  • Innomost - Natural cosmetics from Nordic birch wood
  • Revo - Plant-based seafood from peas, algae, oils and citrus

Sifted Fintech 2
  • Raison - Invest in pre-IPO companies
  • Treecard - Sans-plastic: wooden credit card
  • Clim8 - Invest in ESG-rated biz: clean water, clean energy etc
  • Volt - Modern payments via traditional bank transfers
  • FintechOS - Low code solutions fintech builder [example]
  • WhenThen - Automate payments: requisition, PO, DO, invoice etc
  • Pollinate - Empower banks to serve previously ignored small biz
  • Copper - Crypto exchange that allows trading from cold storage

Europas Awards 3
  • EarthRover - Farm robotics
  • Karakuri - High throughput, robot food kiosk
  • Formo - Smooth, soft, high-tech cheese
  • Synthesia - Use AI to create corporate vids in minutes
  • Sonatic - AI voices for game dialogue [example]
  • Authenteq - Use AI to check ID
  • Keylight - Sell subscriptions: cart, rights, referrals etc
  • Byway - Holiday in EU via train, boat, bike - no plane

Paganini Caprice

Italian composer Niccolò Paganini wrote 24 caprices (figuratively: hair raising; literally: short, lively, intense pieces of music) during the early 1800s. The 24th, 5th and 1st are performed here respectively by Daniel Lozakovich, Sumina Studer and Alexander Markov.

Work From Holiday

Costa Rica
Usually smart city initiatives are associated with hardware: pedestrian boulevards, parks, gardens and trees, new mobility, green buildings etc. It can be software-based too as in Costa Rica. Last week (Aug 8th, 2021), it signed a law to offer digital nomads a base with the objectives of promoting tourism, local employment and foreign investments. The law grants digital nomads:
  • Residence of 1 year, extendable by 1 year
  • Exemption from local taxes
  • Able to open local bank accounts
  • Can drive using foreign license
Requirements for a digital nomad are:
  • Does remote work (ie not local employment)
  • Continuing income of $3,000 or more from home country
  • Buys medical insurance for duration of stay
  • Makes one-off payment for visa

Other WFH Countries 1 2 3 4

SmartCity Updates
  • Milan - Kids come out to play again after streets closed to traffic
  • France - Rush for vaccinations after they are needed to visit cafes
  • Sweden - More meetups after parking converted to meeting spaces
  • Berlin - Rated Europe's top city for startups
  • China - Sweeps global smart city AI competition
  • WEF - Slowing down cities may make them faster

YC Summer 2021

Y Combinator's Summer 2021 (YC S21) startup demo day is happening Aug 31st-Sep 1st. The next intake, Winter 2022, is open for sign-ups, closing Sep 8th. A sample of YC S21 startups:
  • Metaphor - Search engine that understands language (vs keywords)
  • Shopscribe - Subscribe to local shops (not just buy from them)
  • Abatable - Exporting to EU? Get your carbon credits in order
  • Buoyant - Return of the blimp: drone+blimp = 4x more efficient
  • Membo - Pre-order groceries for freshness (vs stale off-the-shelf)
  • FirstIgnite - Match make ivory tower with street hustle
  • Cache - Make deliveries from a robotic kiosk (vs manned shop)
  • SigmaOS - New type of browser: by projects, split screen etc
  • Dots - Micro ewallet: $1 for a dance lesson, $5 for an EV recharge etc