Professors No

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Last evening, I attended my first Book Launch event at the Carnegie Library (where I had previously seen Arundhati Roy when she was promoting The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, longlisted for the Booker in 2017, that was won by George Saunders for Lincoln in the Bardo, which has a particularly interesting style, and I had mused in Short List of Booker Winners that I may have been the only capitalist in the room then 😏) for (here is a review in the Financial Times):

The No Club.

It was a great event (with an enjoyable after-party) – the focus of the book is on Non-Promotable Tasks (NPTs) that are disproportionally done by women, and how to fix that – and, among other nuggets – I liked the catchy phrase (obviously a play on Work-Life Balance):

Work-Work Balance.

The title of this post is, likewise, an obvious play on:

Dr. No is a 1962 spy film directed by Terence Young. It is based on the 1958 novel of the same name by Ian Fleming. Starring Sean Connery (The Artist of Bond, as I wrote),  it is the first film in the James Bond series. Produced on a low budget ($1.1 million), Dr. No was a financial success (box-office $59.5 million). It is estimated that since Dr. No, a quarter of the world’s population have seen at least one Bond film.

Talking about movies, it was great to receive this email from Bill Lichtenstein a couple days back (you may remember that I had mentioned that the film was in consideration):

Just wanted to let you know that “WBCN and The American Revolution” won two Silver Medals at the New York Festivals TV and Film Awards, one for Best Social Justice and one for Best Feature Documentary.

You know me. I wanted to know: Who won the Gold in Best Feature Documentary?

The Wimbledon Kidnapping” (Caravan Media for Sky Documentaries, UK).

What about Gold in Best Social Justice category? From ESPN:

The Undefeated Presents Why We Kneel.

Pretty tough competition, indeed. Well done Bill!

What else happened yesterday, before the Book Launch event? It was the 5th Annual Meeting of Neotribe Ventures (the previous two were also virtual as I wrote about in Make Possible and AI.Solar. SPAC. Women.) where three companies made short presentations: Energy Vault (see Look! Another IPO!), Vendia (see Serverless Blockchain) and Metrika.

What I enjoyed most among the presentations was a slide by Rob Piconi (CEO, Energy Vault) about the reviews he and his company received in 2019 and 2020:

This concept is such utter nonsense…I’ll leave the dreamers to carry on dreaming…

No napkin math was required to laugh and ignore it.

Hydro-electric but with concrete bricks. Stupid.

People really think this could work? It’s not even funny at this point, I’m just sad.

By Fall 2021, the sentiment had shifted:

Interview: Wall Street bets big on Robert Piconi’s Energy Vault.

Here is an excerpt:

What supply chain investments will you make?

RP: We want to maximise the utilisation of recycled materials. Fundamental to our strategy is using materials that could otherwise be destined for landfills or would have to be disposed of. Many utilities, and IPPs like Enel Green Power, have a lot of wind that’s been built out around every ten years. To replace blades when they upgrade to a different type of turbines, they have to dispose of them, and that’s a big cost to them, but we can utilise that fibreglass. This is the other area of infrastructure support, not only do we want to do that for customers that have this liability, we want to integrate it into our supply chain regardless.

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