• Jack Lau

Faraday Future, Planet Earth II and You?

Dear Friends:

Good Morning. Trust that by now, most of you had a long and hopefully fun break for the new year. Want to take this time to wishing you a very prosperous new year here. Happy New Year!

As a technology oriented blog, we ought to be writing here about the Consumer Electronics Show that is happening right now in Las Vegas. More affectionately known as the CES, the Show is the biggest and most watched consumer technologies exhibition in the world. Suffice to say that if you are a "geek", this is one cool show to go. This year, voice based products have caught a quite a bit of sensation. (Ha ha, we were told, soon, if you are bored, you don't have to wait for your better half to come home. You can just talk to your refrigerator for a long conversation. )

At the same time, another hot item is the electric car. For instance, there is the LetEco (which used to be called LetTV) electric car, Faraday Future, which has accepted 64,000 orders after the announcement. (https://www.engadget.com/2017/01/06/faraday-future-91-preorder/) That is very significant if one comes to think about it. 64,000 units is something like 2 months of sale of some of your most beloved car models in America. For instance, in December 2016, Toyota Camry sold roughly 33,000 units and so had the Honda Accord. ( http://online.wsj.com/mdc/public/page/2_3022-autosales.html) And that is despite, oops, during demo, the Faraday Future seemed to have thrown a tantrum and decided to ignore His Master voice, refusing to perform the self-parking demo. ( http://www.theverge.com/2017/1/4/14162994/faraday-future-malfunction-self-park-ces-2017). Added to the story is that LetEco has not built the factory in Nevada (http://fortune.com/2016/11/15/faraday-future-factory-electric-car/) Apparently, LetEco has been overreaching. (http://www.forbes.com/sites/tychodefeijter/2016/11/07/leecos-ceo-jia-yueting-says-company-overstretched-in-letter-to-employees/#c5d74a557fde) Yet, the promised delivery date is 2018. Go figure.

Despite all these, there is definitely a trend, a need, and a push to have self-driving electric vehicles. With increased population density in the already congested area, self-driving electric vehicle does offer a glimpse of hope. And, with the smog problems in major cities in China, any hope is a good hope. Yes, there are tremendous technological, regulatory, acceptance, and infrastructure problems still. And, yes, even some of the tech giants such as Google and Apple apparently have abandoned plans to go all out doing the vehicles themselves. But, what other solutions are there to get people around without exacerbating traffic and environmental problems? Beijing is planning to put up to half a million charging stations in the city by 2020. (https://www.techinasia.com/china-infrastructure-support-electric-vehicles)

But, we will pause for a moment and talk about something else now. Rather than doing another CES report, we do want to jump the line, and talk about something else (yes, again).

Yeah, stop the talk on CES and technology for a moment….. Why?

Well, to start the year, we really want to go back to the basic. And, we want to share with you something which should make us (human) all the more humble. And, it is not technology.

See, all through last year, we have kept reminding folks that the importance of "grit" and "mindset" in success. And, we talked again and again about it. We still think it is true.

And, late last month, on a plane ride, we watched a BBC documentary called "Planet Earth Two". See, the first Planet Earth was done 10 years ago. We were already so impressed and felt really humble after watching the series. While it is sometime easy to point at a person's success and say, "Yeah, he is good, and there is no way we can be like him or her"; in the animal world, things are so much purer. It goes beyond just needing "grit" and "mindset" to succeed. Determination is a must to "survive". (I know some of you may debate about the terms of mindset with animals, but just bear with me for a minute.). In the animal world, the minute or even second they are born and throughout their lives, survival can only be ensured by a determination despite all odds. No, they don't have the intelligence to know better. But, please just take a look at them and look at them really hard.

Planet Earth II is great because it was meticulously done and used the latest 4K and drone technologies to shoot (guilty as charged, we talk about technologies again.) As such, BBC was able to show footage that are so rare and just so real. We don't want to spoil your viewing and asked that if you are busy just to view this 3 minute clip on "Hatchling marine iguana chased by snakes".


It was shot on the Fernandina Island in the Galapagos using DJI gadgets. (Yes, DJI is a Hong Kong University of Science and Technology billion dollar spin off tech company.) The iguana is a kind of lizard that lives by the beach and hunts in the sea. But, they hatch their eggs near the shore away from the water. At the right season, when the egg is hatched, a young Iguana will run to the shore to begin its "normal" life. But, the minute it emerges from the sand, there will be hunting snakes --- and many of them, waiting. The young Iguana, baby really by human terms, will need to rush, dodge, and probably get eaten, before it begins living. What a difficult way to begin? If it were a human facing an odd like that, what would we do? We human may just opt to lay in the sand forever? But, then there will be no future and won't last much longer. And, look at the footage, their odds of survival are not high at all. I am sure entrepreneurs have a much better odd and less of a life and death thrill at incubation. In the animal world, they probably don't call this grit, they probably just call this something like "we have to do what we have to do to survive". But, master of grits as a specie indeed they are.

Here are some links to the documentary:

BBC official trailer: Planet Earth II: Official Extended Trailer - BBC Earth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8aFcHFu8QM&t=9s

Planet Earth II web site: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02544td

Have a great day, and Happy New Year again.

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