Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

Fastest unicorn ever

Nice article in the Economist about the rise of electric scooters + bikes. The part that caught my eye was economics. E.g. Bird (one of the startups) has a valuation of $2B and has now become the fastest startup to become a unicorn.


The fact that each scooter costs about $300 to $400, and with each earning about $20/day, it takes just 15-20 days to pay one off. In the US if 2M get deployed (across all providers, not just Bird), we are looking at earnings of about $15B a year. Wow.

(By the way: If you haven’t tried one, the electric scooters are fun to ride and a cinch to activate and drop off)


90% of rides controlled by Softbank

May 18, 2018 1 comment

There’s a nice article in the Economist about Softbank’s over sized fund & ambition in the tech space. The part that caught my eye was the following quote

90% of rides hailed in the world—45m a day—use one of the firms in which SoftBank has stakes

Wow. That’s thinking big.

Categories: interesting, travel Tags: ,

How the 0.0001% fly

January 31, 2018 Leave a comment

Really well written and informative article in the NYT magazine how the ~7000 who lord over the rest of us 7 billion fly. (Hint: It’s not on United.)28mag-28jets-t_CA3-superJumboApparently there are about 22,000 private jets, but only about a third of these (~7000) are the truly elite planes. The main choices of these jets are between the Gulfstream, the Bombardier and then the ‘Bizliners’ (essentially commercial planes from Boeing or Airbus fitted as private jets). Apparently the Gulfstream G650 starting at a mere ~$70M is thought to be the most tasteful choice. The commission fees for buying one of these taps out at about a $1M.

But not everyone can afford these. One needs to show a net worth of at least 5 times greater than the price of the plane. The mere ultrahigh-net-worth-individuals (~230,000 in the world that have a net worth excluding their home of at least $30M) will only be able to afford something in the range of $4M.

Something to ponder on as you squeeze into seat 22B.

Categories: airlines, travel Tags: ,

World’s worst airports

January 15, 2018 Leave a comment

airportUnless you are super lucky and have entirely local cases, consulting inevitably means travel. And travel, usually means airports. And airports usually mean hell. Or so we think when the WiFi is not working, the plane is cancelled or if you are dragged off the plane (I think one has to pay for premium service for that last pleasure). But an article in the Economist that listed out how other airports in the world function gave me pause. Consider some of the highlights:

  • In Manila, officials plant bullets in your luggage and then demand bribes once they find them.
  • In Bangui, the pilots keep the hands on the throttle in case people rush the plane
  • In Juba (Sudan), the departure lounge has no toilets and no food
  • And in Miami, the time to get through immigration takes longer than it took Leif Erikson to cross the Atlantic in a longboat

So, something to be thankful for when you merely being abused, shouted at and insulted from the normal US based crews.


Categories: consulting, travel Tags: ,

Cars account for ~60% of airport revenue

August 16, 2017 Leave a comment


airport revenue

Apparently car parking & rental car concession fees account for ~60% of non-aeronautical fees for airports in North America. (I would have put the figure for retail / food at a much higher level than that.)

Given the juggernaut that is ride-sharing, this share is likely to take steep tumble: Although consultants used to have to rent cars in the old days, I’ve yet to meet a consultant who’s not addicted to Uber.

Categories: interesting, travel, trends Tags: ,

Priceline on fire

August 1, 2017 Leave a comment

priceline partyApparently Priceline (the original “name your own price” company) is crushing it on all dimensions. The Economist calls it as the “best run internet company after Amazon”. Pre-tax earnings are growing faster than those of the usual tech darlings; it has a 96% gross margin and its share price has risen 4x that of the broader market in the last year.

Even if you haven’t ever used Priceline, you may have used one of its sister companies – e..g Kayak, OpenTable etc. Some other things that caught my eye:

  • The firms valuation is above $100B (compare that to Airbnb at a ‘mere’ $30B)
  • It’s apparently the world’s largest spender on Google (it spends ~$3.5B a year)
  • It now offers about 600k listings of “alternate accommodations” on, up 50% over last year or so, but still behind Airbnb’s ~3M listings.

The full article is here. Definitely worth a read.

Funny: AirBnB bait-and-switch

Another good one from the New Yorker. Should ring true for consultants that use AirBnB.


Categories: humor, travel Tags: ,