tv Bloomberg Business Week Bloomberg June 11, 2016 3:00pm-4:01pm EDT
sheelah: welcome back to bloomberg as newsweek. silicon valley get serious about flying cars. to shoot like steph curry. i'm here with the editor of bloomberg businessweek, ellen pollock to talk about the annual tech issue. we get into the tech and all the cool things in this issue i want you to talk to us about the opening remarks column.
it is about venezuela, venezuela having some serious economic issues pertaining to the weather. >> we have written a lot about venezuela. now we are looking at how weather can make bad problems even worse. the economy is ms there. the weather change with el niño and devastating droughts, which have an effect on the economy. are the repercussions? what do they have to do to adjust this? more.y have to adjust it is not just agriculture, which is a big problem, but even hydroelectric power. there are more power outages and even to the extent the president has said you should use your blow dryer less often. it's making lots of problems worse. people are likening it to syria
where there's a terrible drought. through.s a lot to get can you walk us through what the .nspiration was behind this how did you come up with that? >> it is really about inventors. this year we decided inventors was the way to go. they -- they make the crazy ideas and dreams into reality. >> there is one interesting piece about cairo and a handful of brave innovators trying to develop new technology. can you walk us through that? >> a group of guys created a facility, and overgrown garage, where you can go and make stuff andinvent stuff area do
they are working on all kinds of products. is very hard because there is a lot of police surveillance. worried about oppositions to the state. you can be walking around with a piece of quick -- piece of the quitman that you don't know what it is. >> moving to silicon valley, where this tech innovation , there is this show stopper piece about flying cars and whether that is actually some ring that may become a reality. >> who doesn't want their own personal flying car? of bath -- among the people behind that is larry page at google. >> we call them colloquially flying cars. really they are personal
electric autonomous aircraft. crazy.unds there is a saying in silicon valley, they promised us a flying cars and instead we got 140 characters. that saying includes a little bit of disappointment, implies disappointment about the valley, that they haven't given us or followed through on the science fiction dreams we were all served as children. my colleague and i started researching this a couple of years ago. a whiff that there were some flying car secret projects out in the valley. was we learned this year one of those or two of those projects were personally financed and backed by larry page, the ceo of alpha med, the cofounder of google. we can get into why it's
possible. there are some incredible efforts that are changing the way we get around and the way we commute. shining a spotlight on these efforts was -- how will things be practical? probably not right away. it is still a far out idea. the reason we have highlighted it is because a lot of people that a lot of things have changed. we have better motors and better materials. i think it is a couple of years out. -- somesome exploits experts that say this could be possible in the next 10 years. >> where does it come from? it can't just come from a clean slate. there must have been a lot of
work previously. >> i will highlight two areas. one is electric motors. of credito give a lot to elon musk at tesla for pioneering a new generation of with great fuel efficiency, we are now able to manufacture them at scale so the prices have come down. and then the second area is just a time as computers. there is a lot of attention to a taunus vehicles. we think of that is a more solvable problem. a lot of things cars have to deal with, pedestrians, the ,uality of the road, traffic those aren't going to exist up in the skies. to some extent this is an easier problem to solve.
development of artificial intelligence and these autonomous driving systems coupled with advancements in materials and electric motors have made this more feasible. >> do you sense investors are now seeing this as an actual real viable investment opportunity? ars this just a matter of handful of guys trying to realize their childhood napkins sketches and they just have the money to burn? >> i think that is probably right. i would put it in the same 's companyjeff bezos blue origin. or elon musk's spacex. although that is more successful. it is funded, or motivated less by profits then that is by changing the world, creating a new may be fit -- new may be safer form of transportation. these are ultimately going to have to be businesses.
silicon valley and folks like larry page have the fortune of having a lot of resources and being able to expend some of them on these childhood visions. sheelah: turning these stories into eye-catching visions is the creative director -- --we came up with the simple having an artist rendition of what it will look like. we did have access to the actual funding.larry page is we thought of the facts are that all these idea started in people's imagination at some point. we reference that kind of aesthetic. we went with the simplest form of what a flying car could be. >> there are a lot of interesting elements around it. up with that baby. >> there is a baby inside the issue. there's a man in new zealand who is helping a cheap incubator in
his garage. >> and what about over here? are these all pertaining to specific stories? thee pretty much picked ones that can illustrate something for us. have a weed leaf, we have a coffee cup. we have my favorite ones, steph curry kind of multiplying himself. skills inclone his other people. we have the mercedes logo for the timeline that we have about their competitiveness. and finally corning, which references the tractor we are developing for cuba. >> up next how mercedes and bmw
sheelah: welcome back to bloomberg businessweek. you can find us on the radio on sirius xm channel 119 and a.m. 1130 in new york and a.m. 1200 in boston, sm 99.1 in washington, d c and a.m. 960 in the bay area. a look at the century old rivalry between mercedes-benz and bmw. here's reporter sam grobart. sam: we have a century old rivalry.
the two competitors are mercedes-benz and bmw. this is the year where bmw is celebrating its 100th anniversary so that's 100 years of two of the top german automakers going toe to toe and always trying to outdo each other in the luxury car market. sheelah: they have been tracking one another in terms of their developments. what aspect have the companies had on one another? has it been motivating? sam: it's a competition that has benefited all of us because luxury carmakers are the ones that pioneer a lot of the technologies that ultimately filter down to the mainstream. that is important when it comes to safety systems. the first antilock brakes were on a mercedes. bmw pushed on four-wheel-drive. when you start, you have to go with your highest margin of profits but eventually, we all benefit from that so the competition has pushed both
companies to come up with new ways to improve the automobile which in turn benefits all of us. sheelah: i noticed that bmw, i think it was, started to introduce an electric car a few years ago? can you tell us how that worked out? sam: in 1976 at the munich olympics, bmw which is headquartered in munich. it was a standard bmw sedan but the engine had been removed and it was large and heavy batteries, almost no range whatsoever it was not considered a viable car for many decades. it was the beginning of a tradition at bmw that led to some vehicles coming out not too long ago like i-3 and i-8 which were groundbreaking and has given bmw a good footing when it comes to the future of electric transportation. sheelah: how has tesla built on what bmw introduced? sam: in 1976, elon musk was one
year old. sheelah: a wee boy barely standing up. sam: at that point, engineers realize that electric propulsion could be a reality sometime in the future. i'm sure elon would say his work is based on all of the work before hand including those engineers at bmw and other companies. sheelah: i am intrigued by the fact that both of these companies grew up around the same time and in the same place. what do you think about that? is there something about german culture that contributed to this? is this surprising that this happened? sam: it makes some sense to me. germany has had a long-standing
scientific and engineering tradition that goes back centuries. they also have an enormous number of universities. you don't hear a lot about them. they are everywhere. the opportunity for people to learn about physics and chemistry and those other sciences is very prevalent. for these two companies to come up in germany makes a fair bit of sense. people like daimler and others were the original people who invented the automobile so it would stand to reason that the surrounding area, there would be a cottage industry of new companies to exploit that. sheelah: up next, the high-tech that makes monsanto a takeover target and the game of thrones-style battle at the united states postal service. ♪
sheila: welcome back. in the companies and industries section, how bayer's $62 billion bid for monsanto is a play for the company's technology. pimm fox and i spoke with a reporter. >> anyone driving past the field and seas of farmer on their tractor has iconic images and the simple life. if you go into a tractor these days in places like the u.s. corn belt and other places, that tractor has an area that looks more like the, head of an airplane. big data is doing a lot to transform farming in the last five years as they use precision guided agriculture that helps him decide where to plant their crops and how much seed to use and what fertilizers to apply and the tractor itself can steer itself, in some ways turning the
farmer into an autopilot. sheelah: can you describe who the leaders are in this area? >> this is becoming one of the big agricultural areas. you take a look behind the scenes at how chemical and dupont or bayer and monsanto and you see this battle for big data. it makes sense of farmers are using more integrated data to make their farming decisions. for them to go to one company that can be one stop and get you your planting data, whether data. you saw this in 2013 when monsanto took over climate corp. which was doing interesting work in aggregating weather but pioneer from dupont stepped up their game. the big players are trying to harness this data.
pimm: how does this play out for companies like deere and caterpillar? >> this is a case were they can get a farmer to invest something to a tough economic time. when you look at profits and u.s. agriculture, we are seeing them it a 14 year low. farmers are looking at ways to be more efficient. buying precision guided technology can save them money by cutting down on the amount of seed and fertilizer and pesticides they need to buy. deere can make the equipment the farmer can put onto their tractor that allows them to boost their yield and cut their cost in other areas. it makes farmers spend money but they are spending money to save money and improve their performance which is a good selling point during these economic times. pimm: do farmers typically do
work at night with this new technology? >> farmers have often been people who have been prisoners to the weather and time of day. you have seen tractors with headlights for many years. again, you are right, if you steer it in the dark but you have the technology that knows what to do and the monitors give you the readings of what's going on in your field, yeah, that helps you a lot during planting and harvesting. those are very tight time windows especially when you get to areas with more extreme climates. that seems to be everywhere in recent years. you want to be able to harvest at just the right time. this gives you the precision as well as the ability in terms of steering your equipment to be able to make those decisions and be proactive to get the best crops. sheerah: the congressional fight over the u.s. postal service, we spoke with devon leonard.
sheerah: this sounds like a sleepy day but it's a huge influential body that is overseeing an enormous budget. can you describe what they do and the amount of money is at stake? >> even though the mail is down and they have problems and deficits, the postal service still sent 154 billion pieces of mail on a budget that was $69 billion. the postal service is supposed to sign off on that and oversee that. it's a nondescript board with people you've never heard of. the board itself is going the way of the mail now. pimm: why is the board not being populated as has been previously stipulated? what is the role of bernie sanders? >> the president of the united
states appoints the members of the board of governors or at least the nine members of the board of governors; the other two are the postmaster general and her deputy. the senate has not approved a president since 2010. in the last couple of years, bernie sanders has blocked a number of appointees. pimm: why is he blocking the appointees? >> one guy served under ronald reagan and was a supporter of privatization and another guy is tied to the payday loans industry and sanders does not like him and another guy wants to cut mail delivery and have people receive their mail scanned and the unions don't like them either. sheelah: is there any talk of the block being lifted?
>> there has been talk of postal reform for the last couple of years. the presidential election will probably take up everybody's bandwidth to there is only one presidential appointee left, three members of the board of governors now. james bilbrae served for a decade and his term will be up at the end of the year. then there will be two members and he says there has to be two appointees. they say they can keep functioning but the chairman of
sheelah: welcome to bloomberg businessweek. still ahead in our double technology issue, inside the intel chip machine, creating a long-term stock exchange, and deconstructing steph curry's free throw. ♪ i am here with the editor of bloomberg businessweek, ellen pollock. there are more must reads in this issue.
you know, next we are going to turn to an interesting story about the next debt crisis. i thought the story was bananas. i had no idea that so many companies were on the brink of financial disaster because of their reckless borrowing. can you tell us about that? ellen: in our last financial crisis, consumer debt and mortgages were the problem that created the crisis. now people are worried there is a lot of corporate debt and that's because interest rates are low so companies get a lot of borrowing. now they are loaded with debt. there is sort of this worry. with all the uncertainty of the economy, the question is are there going to be more defaults? is it going to spark another crisis? sheelah: what does it mean when companies are borrowing money? it sounds like instead of using that money to invest, they are doing share buybacks, doing things to boost short-term
earnings. what is the long-term effect? ellen: economists are worried because instead of investing in equipment which would boost the economy or research and develop and investing which would create more value, they are doing share buybacks and acquisitions. we have written about how some companies are sitting on piles and piles of cash like apple and some other companies. in fact, if you separate the big mountains of cash, a lot of companies don't have much cash. so, the question is how will it pay back that debt? sheelah: there is another interesting story about how scientists and innovators are trying to address the crisis of caffeine in outer space. something i could really relate to. i understand the company has developed coffee that will work for nasa? can you explain? ellen: this is an issue that was
very important to me even though i don't personally intend to go to the space station. this is for astronauts at the space station and when they want a cup of coffee, that is up -- a problem because there is no gravity and the coffee floats around. it is sort of a mess and a space disaster -- >> a nightmare. at ellen: for me, it would be a nightmare if i had no cup of coffee. the scientists at nasa believe you want to keep astronauts happy and you want something that makes them happier to be in space. they have created this elaborate system. they have had all these engineers working on this so they can make a cup of coffee. without it becoming a space mess. sheelah: there is another delicious story about intel and how it has developed a newer and faster chip. ellen: that is something we wanted to do for a long time. usually chip makers do not want
you hanging around their fabs , as they are called, because they have clean rooms and you have to put on garb and there are trade secrets. you have to have your whole body covered. these rooms are even cleaner than operating rooms. they have to be completely sterile. we have the opportunity and convince them to let us in and see how you put the chip together. it is just sort of this -- even if you don't think about chips in your daily life, it's a fascinating story. sheelah: pimm fox and i talked to the reporter who did the story, max check-in -- max check-in. max: i got very close to the clean room. there is a level of verification. i did get to look at a through a window which is the closest anyone from the outside has gotten since president obama visited in 2011. back in the 90's, intel was more open about their manufacturing process but things have gotten more competitive. the business climate just isn't
what it was. we really had to work to get the access we got. pimm: you did not take it personally in other words? max no, i felt grateful. : pimm: what did you see? what is the basis of the story because this is about creating -- how do you create a new computer chip? max: we think it is the riskiest bet in business. it's more expensive than making a plane. it takes about three times as long as making a plane. the process from start to finish takes nearly a decade depending on where the technology is. but in short, designers create a layout for the billions of tiny transistors and puts those on a chip about the size of a postage stamp. that has to happen with incredible accuracy. any little speck of dust will mess it up and cost intel money. it's one of these great modern
marvels that no one appreciates or thinks about. if you are happy about facebook or uber, it's the chips making those possible. sheelah: could you pull back the camera and describe -- there are microprocessors and -- in everything we use now. how integrated are these into our world? they are everywhere? max: they are everywhere, your phones, your computers, a smart watch. the thing that people don't think about is that they are in data centers. when you use your phone to hail an uber most of the action is taking place in these giant server farms. there is a lot of rocket science going on at intel and some of these companies that create these data centers to make sure it happens as quickly and efficiently as possible.
a single xion chip takes 60% more energy to run than a large refrigerator. like the refrigerator in your home. when you do a google search, it can do thousands of those. -- you are using really thousands of those. they have to be as efficient as possible and that's why intel has been as successful as it is. it is the world's largest chipmaker and it's selling 15 billion dollars per year worth of these chips and half of that is profit. it's about extreme efficiency. like the rushems is to build the fastest chip. right?oore's law, law.ah: moore's
what can affect the speed? max every year, this group of -- : at intel, some are in washington, they wear the big white outfits, they are fighting a war with the laws of physics. in the late 90's, everyone thought that soon we will might be able to make chips smaller because of quantum effects. the size get so small that electrons don't behave the way we expect them to. 15 years,st ever basically every few years, intel comes up with solutions that violate the laws of physics or what we understood them to be. this has been going on like clockwork. you have this giant company and the giant research mechanism that has pulled this off. intel has struggled lately. they just laid off 11% of their workforce. that is in part because people have begun to question how long they can keep this up. the intel ceo i spoke with feels
this will go on for another decade. every year it's very hard. sheelah: it can be exciting to talk about the next thing in tech but next it's exciting to talk about images. we will talk to a photo editor in the issue. >> the most exciting piece was the photo essay we did on innovative materials that are being created. there was a range of them. there is a polymer that goes on glass to repel liquid and stains. there is something called second skin. the item that started the project was a thing called vanta black, which was designed to be the blackest of lack and absorbs that absorbslack, almost all of the light that goes near it. starting with that concept, we set out to find a number of different inventions that are new materials in development and photograph them as abstracts and present them with the potential they have to change the way you
jump in shoes or the way water comes off the side of a plane or to make fabric that can conduct electricity and record data. that was pretty exciting. the photographer went to nasa and m.i.t. and places in london . it was an exciting project. sheelah: the reporter described this vanta black, was this a -- and she said if you had a watch made of that color, it would look like a void, a black hole on your wrist. was this a special challenge to the photographer? it sums like it would be tricky. >> we wanted to photograph it against a black. -- against a black background.
usually you use paper or sometimes velvet or something. the photographer had painted a backdrop and when the pictures came in, you can't even tell that the background itself is black. it is so starkly different from the material. it looks pretty interesting. sheelah: up next, the silicon valley plan to modify the wall street cycle. and why china can't live without x.eat check ♪
>> eric ries is a guy who was a household name in silicon valley. they look to him most as someone who has developed a methodology called the lean startup. he wrote a book in 2010 that talks about how you should best build your start up in a lean way, putting your product in front of people as much as possible. startups are really taken it to heart. at the end of his book, he floats this provocative idea about reviewing the public markets in some way such as making a new stock exchange. sheelah: can you describe this idea of a long-term exchange? traders are focused on quarterly earnings so what would a long-term exchange do exactly? >> the way he put this together is one in which she would change the dynamic of the public market as we know it today by making
these incentive structures within the listing standards. if you have a company that wanted to advertise in the market that they will focus on these long-term and innovative project, we will list them as long-term stock exchange and within the listing standards, you have these reforms that allow for both company management and investors to work together to achieve long-term goals. he has several different reforms he has put forth. one of them is the idea of ten-year voting were investors voting where investors who have helped stocks longer continue to accrue more voting power. if you want to buy this stock right away you could but you would not have as much of a say in corporate governance as those who had committed long-term. there are various examples like that that he hoped would make the exchange dynamic different than the ones today. sheelah: wechat is all the rage in china and our reporter took
it for a test drive. >> this looks a lot like whatsapp. if you just pulled it up. the basic screen is messaging and then they have a moment s screen which is like facebook. then there are all these other services. if you wanted to transfer money to your landlord, you could do that through wechat. if you wanted to buy train or plane tickets, it's a couple of clicks. if you wanted to pay traffic tickets or report a harassing phone call, you could do that through city services that are offered. there are something like 350 cities in china that offer services for the wechat. it's primarily in china. that is where it started. there is sort of a walled garden in china, right? because a lot
of major tech companies are banned from china like facebook or youtube. it sort of created this walled wechat to grow up and and is dominated. sheelah: you say it rolls up a lot of different applications into one. that's a lot of different functions. do you see that potentially working here? >> i think that's where messaging platforms are moving. they are trying to get you to stay inside the app to shop and interact with your hotel customer service line, you never have to be on the phone again. you can just do it through a message. it would make things a lot easier if you could go to it through one app as opposed to getting out of that app and going to another and another every time you wanted to do something. that's the wave of the future, i would say. sheelah: up next, using an
sheelah: welcome back to "bloomberg businessweek." in this week's double technology issue, the startup that could be helping nba star steph curry hit those three-pointers. pimm fox and i spoke with the reporter. >> he is basically the vanguard of an explosion in three-point shooting. some people may have been left -- imm: tell people about
three-point shooting. some of them may have been left behind. the three-point rule came in for 1979. he made 402 of them this year which is more than 100 more than the most in a season before that. the previous record was his and the previous record before that was his. this keeps with the nba in general that the amount of offense that comes from the three-point shot has gone from 2% when they brought it in to about a quarter of all scoring so shooting is everything. shooting has become everything. tech thatt this new has isolated the arc of your shot, the angle of entry is a key factor in scoring success. they say the warriors now use this. sheelah: what have they learned that his technique. >> they have been looking at shooters for 15 years. it started in silicon valley. this guy was trying to teach his daughter to shoot with better arc.
coaches of always told players to get the ball up higher. he was trying to show her that and he's also a physicist by training, an engineer. doll top a rake on a show her. this being silicon valley, he's the -- this is alan marty and he went to two of his pals. this started working on this company called noah. they figured out that the ideal angle of entry for a shot would be 45 degrees and they tested that and it turned out to be true over millions and millions and millions of shots. curry happened to use one of these machines a couple of years ago in a practice gym and his angle was 46 degrees which was above ideal but if you are an elite athlete, you can afford -- the window was wider for you. it also may be the case that he shoots higher to get it over
taller players. they now have a shot tracker you can use to get instant feedback in the gym while you are shooting. i tried one out at the university of virginia. it tells you. you shoot that shot and you hear right away whatever the computer voice tells you what your angle was. they also now have a version of this product it is out there where the nba teams started testing it that gives you feedback on all of that, very precise data. over thousands of practice shots, you can see what your average arc and where was from different spots and how'd deep it fell to the rim and where was the center of the ball? how far off center was it? granular, specific shooting feedback technology. at the elite level, it fixes small problems and for high schools and even lower, it can help get people on the right track to shooting with proper technique. sheelah: bloomberg businessweek is on newsstands now and is available online.