Photograph of a wooden bench in Kob, Japan with cool bench written in wood behind it

Tuesday Dispatch #1: 6 year old hard disks, Amazon’s home robot and a skateboarding octogenarian

October 12, 2021

Japanese bank Mizuho has been in the news for multiple systems failures this year. Things got so bad the FSA (Japan's financial regulator) is now supervising their IT. If reports are to be believed, it could be 6 year old hard disks are to blame.

An expressway cut through the centre of Seoul, bringing traffic and pollution to the heart of the city. A few years ago city officials ripped the road out and replaced it with parks and walkways. Turns out it was better for everyone.

Graphic showing a Honda E electric vehicle amidst bright colours

A smaller workforce: the inevitable consequence of EVs

August 10, 2021

Roughly 5% of Honda Japan's workforce opted for early retirement. This isn't about Coronavirus, it's about the growing realization car manufacturers need far fewer people in an electrified future.

Electric Vehicles have far fewer moving parts than their fossil fuelled counterparts. Simpler to build, they need fewer people on the production line. How much smaller the workforce needs to be is still open to debate, although 30-50% seems to be the consensus.

Viet Nam’s lockdown is a global shipping problem

August 4, 2021

Viet Nam is having a tough time. Early success in containing Covid-19 has been undone by a surge of cases. Ho Chi Minh City is under lockdown and numerous production lines are suspended or scaled back significantly.

If you think this means you'll see fewer Nike trainers or Samsung phones in the shops you're half-right. In recent years, Hanoi has worked hard to turn the country away from being a sweatshop for fast fashion. Increasingly it's seen as a destination of choice for high-tech manufacturing and R&D.

Graves in a church graveyard with the closest being freshly tended

What to do when your boss dies

June 18, 2021

A few weeks ago, an acquaintance found out their boss died. Aside from the shock of the loss, they'd been left in limbo. Who was paying their wages, and what were they supposed to do about the suppliers calling up to renew contracts?

I've been in this situation, albeit with a client who passed mid-project. The amount of money owed was small, but the pain of getting it huge once family politics took over. Fortunately, I'd dealt with life insurance claims early in my career, so I had a vague understanding of what was going on. It was helped by talking to a lawyer.