Digital Coffee (Free) #14 — SpaceX, Trump’s tariff wars & the rainforest 🔥

Normal service resumes! 

Only two days late, and after the bank holiday weekend here in the UK. 

Just a reminder that if you enjoy this week’s newsletter to please hit the like button and tell a couple of friends about it! 

Now onto the content 🚀

Some thoughts to ponder 

I stumbled upon this answer on Quora, “stop caring what others think. Do the things you want to do. It’s your life and you have little time. So be a savage person and wear what you want, walk how you want and express yourself freely. Why should it matter to anyone? You’re not hurting people. Remember that after all this, you’re going to die. Do you want to die knowing that you never lived your own life? Live your life and make that personality of yours shine. You’re going to be outstanding”. 

Five interesting links to kickstart your day

🔥 Swathes of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil are burning at a record rate. The sky in São Paulo turned black due to smoke drifting from the fires 2,700 km away. Politicians and environmental activists are taking a stand against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, blaming the fires on his policies. But it's a complex story, and online discussion of it has been riddled with misinformation, misleading photos and errors. We asked you to send us your questions on the Amazon fires, so we could fill in the gaps and clear up some common myths — ten readers' questions answered.

🚀 SpaceX Starhopper ‘hops’ to around 500 feet and flies for just under a minute in new test flight. SpaceX has completed a second low-altitude test flight of its “Starhopper” demonstration prototype, which is being used to test technologies that will be used to build the full-scale next-generation SpaceX “Starship” spacecraft. This test involved “hopping” the Starhopper (hence the name, get it?) to a height of around 150 meters (or a little less than 500 feet), the highest it’s flown so far, at a SpaceX test facility in Texas. After the hop, which lasted around 50 seconds (the GIF above is sped up 2X), it successfully navigated itself to a target landing pad a short distance away.

🚲 Peloton’s S-1 in about 150 words — Peloton filed its long-anticipated S-1 yesterday. It discussed attracting customers under 35 (page 5), how much it relies on music royalties (page 18), and about how it sells happiness (page 90). The popular exercise company raised nearly $1 billion while private. This is what you need to know: (1) Peloton’s revenue in its most recent fiscal year was $915 million, up more than 4x from 2017. (2) That growth was expensive. Peloton’s sales costs have shot higher in recent quarters. (3) The company’s net loss ($195.6 million in its fiscal 2019) was up more than 4x from its fiscal 2018 deficit. (4) Peloton also consumes cash to fund its operations and investing activities.

The firm’s growth will make it attractive to investors chasing quickly expanding companies. Its losses as a percent of revenue are not staggering. And if Peloton can moderate its sales costs, it could draw a path to profitability.

⏱ Hurry Slowly: Challenging the Cult of Speed — We live in a world of scarce understanding and abundant information. We complain that we never have any free time yet we seek distraction. If work can’t distract us, we distract ourselves. We crave perpetual stimulation and motion. We’re so busy that our free time comes in 20 second bursts, just long enough for us to read the gist and assume we understand. If we are to synthesize learning and understanding we need time to think.

🤡 A weekend can make all the difference—just take the trade war with China, which has eased this morning after comments from President Trump. Speaking from the sidelines on the last day of the G7 meeting, President Trump revealed that he had recently had two positive phone calls with Beijing. He said negotiations would resume "very shortly," and expressed optimism about the prospects of a deal. It isn't clear who the president spoke with on the phone, and Chinese officials, including a key media figure and the Foreign Ministry's spokesperson, said they knew nothing about the calls. The comments have successfully shifted the trade narrative away from whether or not President Trump regrets escalating the trade war, which dominated news cycles over the weekend.

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What I’m currently reading

Around the World in 80 Days — that’s right I’m onto another new book! I picked up this one because I’d heard of the accompanying TV series, and because I’ve been craving a good travel book. Something about adventure, something about getting lost and new experiences. Thus far (around half way through) it doesn’t disappoint. Some more background: Around the World in 80 Days is the book that Michael Palin wrote to accompany the BBC TV program Around the World in 80 Days with Michael Palin. This trip was intended to follow in the footsteps of the (fictitious) Phileas Fogg in the Jules Verne book Around the World in Eighty Days. The use of aeroplanes was not allowed, a self-imposed restriction. Steam liners don't exist any more, so all of the long sea journeys had to be on container ships or freighters. The one exception was the trip from Dubai to Mumbai (Bombay) on a dhow, a high point of the trip.