Revolution in Batteries and Wireless Charging

If you didn’t know that the ‘battery revolution’ was upon us, then let Tesla’s announcement of its plan to build a multi-billion dollar battery factory be your wake up call.  The lithium-ion batteries that are in our always-on  phones are now moving to cars, as movement away from non-renewable resources grows.

Although this push for longer-lasting, more efficient batteries is the next logical step in the world’s dependency on energy everywhere, 24/7. But  I think the inevitable next step after “super” batteries would be no batteries at all, via wireless charging. Let me explain a little more.

There is a company that is keeping its technology close to the vest about wireless charging, a company called uBeam (there’s not much to the site). They’re aiming to build new infrastructure and networks that work much like cell towers and cell signals work today. Except they’d be emitting a certain frequency that a special sensor in your device can detect and initiates a charging-like actions. So batteries wouldn’t necessarily go away, but you’d be less tied to your power cord and a wall.

It makes sense that they may roll out an “in-house” product first, so you can wirelessly charge items in your house (and keep them charged, even with a weaker battery). At that point, a high-end battery would be rather useless if you could essentially be “plugged into the wall” 100% of the time.

Technology Blurring the Difference Between Connections and Personal Bonds

Below is a great excerpt from the site, which covers 30 things to learn by the age of the 30, overall I highly recommend spending 30 minutes reading all 30.

But my favorite is #14 (seen below). For how accessible technology has made people and “friendships”, the next generation of apps need to foster “bonds”, not “connections” (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Because “bonds” count for far more in the end, as I imagine less than 1% of my Twitter followers and Facebook friends will show up at my funeral.

Connections vs. Bonds

Modern communications technology, social media in particular, has given us connectivity like no other generation has ever known. Science is just now starting to tell us what this does to our brains, and for the most part, we’re making up the rules as we go, typically assuming that more connectivity is better.

I won’t join the chorus of crabasses that want everything the way it used to be (these people exist in every generation, and are usually just afraid of change). At the same time, there must be something unhealthy about this new age of constant accessibility and personal disclosure. Here’s a theory: We’re slowly losing our grip on the difference between a connection and a bond.

I’m sure most people still understand the difference in theory, but it’s getting increasingly harder to tell one from the other in practice. Facebook and Twitter are the first widely-used tools in history to provide a real time running count of the number of your “friendships.” That’s pretty sick, when you think about it. (If you knew someone that kept an analog tally of friends — like some creepy diary tucked under the bed — you’d tell him to see a therapist.) The more “friends” we acquire, the more our feelings of connectivity are bolstered and the more active our little social networks become. Status updates and tweets rush down our live feeds with greater frequency as our follower headcounts get higher and higher. It’s an amazing way to become and stay connected. So amazing, in fact, that if you do it right you hardly have to talk to anyone.

I don’t know how my obituary will read, or yours, but my money says it won’t mention how many Facebook friends I had when I finally bought the farm. And I bet the majority of those friends, and I mean this in the nicest way, will probably have just a passing interest in my demise. That’s because life boils down to a pretty small number of relationships — maybe a couple dozen. These are the ones that count: bonds. You know these people well beyond that overconfident, happy front we all put up on the internet. These people are ready and willing to sacrifice a great deal for you, and vice versa, because you know each other’s dirty secrets and still recognize the other as unique and valuable. You have their phone numbers, and occasionally call them for no particular reason. Such bonds are rare, much harder to forge than connections, and are infinitely more fulfilling. We’d be better off spending a whole lot more energy taking care of these people, and a lot less time dicking around on the internet.

Failing Fast and With Purpose

Ever wonder what’s like working at a startup? Well, this March I hope to shed some light on the issues that the startup that I work at faces either in day-to-day operations or in our long term company plan. I’ll extrapolate to speak in broader context because most startups go through the same growing pains and problems that I see. But the interesting part is that each startup answers these questions or solves these problems differently given their product and market fit.

Crashing and Burning Quickly (and Often)

Having an idea for a startup is one thing, but understanding how your idea fits into the market can be a whole other animal. The process of molding your idea into a profitable offering to your market takes trial and error, no matter how precise you’ve defined your market opportunity. And that “molding” takes money and resources.

Now, how an organization goes about building and altering their offering to best suit the target market is what separates great companies/products from good companies/products. Addressing shortcomings and altering your product any time you get feedback from clients or prospects will lead to a bundled mess of a product that is hard to support and maintain. Remember, most times the prospect or client usually gives feedback about your product from deep down their own rabbit hole. In other words, you know what the product should be better than your target market.

Now you’ve got all of this feedback and critique of your product from what you suspect are potential customers; this is when organization and prioritization are vital. That’s why I think every quarter, you need to take this list and align resources accordingly. Have your team focus on building the most critical feature from this list. Take these 90 days to build, test, and launch these features. Discipline is important in every facet of life, and it’s equally as important when building the features that are mission critical for your idea’s success. Whether those features are more robust internal messaging, tool kits or documentation to better triage issues, or if those features are addressing common pitfalls in your product; your team needs focus and clear product road maps.

The two takeaways are: 1.) your prospects aren’t right 100% of the time (don’t let them cloud your vision) and 2.) build, test, and implement features in tight time frames; then improve if they’re successful.

I’m not saying the company I work at didn’t follow this for years, but it is good to see that we are now.