I can only say what I can say, but I listened to a presentation by Hans Koenigsmann about this early Falcon 1 period during my time at SpaceX. This article is very well done.
A stunning compilation of information. Skip if you're tired of the news cycle.
- Matthew Watson opened his car door at a gas station outside Hueysville, Ky., sprang out and exclaimed, “I got a new job!” He blushed slightly; he was not one to boast. But for this slender, 33-year-old man with a red beard, a father of two small daughters who had once been ashamed of supplementing his low-pay, long-hours job with food stamps, this was fantastic news.
I’d driven to Hueysville past trucks with “Diggin’ Coal” decals, on a road slicing through mountains that rose in steep, majestic steps up to tops flattened by dynamite, past turnoffs to forgotten union halls where the eight-hour workday had been won and billboards that had recently read, “Trump for President.” (Kentucky went 63 percent for him.) Mr. Watson’s home, like much of Appalachia, reflects the landscape and culture of coal, without the coal mining jobs. And there was little hope of alternatives — until now.
“After I got my two associate’s degrees, the best job I could find was selling cigarettes behind the counter in Hazard, a 45-minute commute from home, for $10 an hour, and that was after a promotion to manager,” Mr. Watson told me the first time we met. “Some of my customers were opioid addicts, who slurred their speech, scratched their arms, laid their heads on my counter. In the back of my mind, I always think, ‘If I want to stay living here, if I didn’t have this job, I’d be working that job.’”
Then one day Mr. Watson heard an ad on the car radio. “It was for a 24-week course in coding, with an eight-week apprenticeship, which I later learned could qualify me for a $40,000-plus job designing apps for cellphones,” he said. The advertisement had been put out by a Louisville tech start-up called Interapt. “I immediately applied online, got interviewed, aced the test, and they hired me as an intern and then as a junior software developer,” Mr. Watson said. Within a year, he was offered yet another job as a software engineer, for a Florida-based company, for a salary well over $50,000.
- But in South Africa, Uber’s model doesn’t work the way it can in some other countries. The country’s severe income disparity means that few professional drivers actually own the cars they drive; instead, they rent them from owners and split the earnings, very often struggling to make ends meet. Though Uber does not release its figures, drivers and their representatives estimate that since 2013, the service has grown to around 4,000 Uber cars in Cape Town, mostly driven by foreign African migrants. A substantial majority do not own their cars—a model that Mike soon came to believe was “broken.” Here, more than anywhere, the gig economy’s promise of independence was illusory.
What I'm Reading
Growing Up with the Country: Family, Race, and Nation after the Civil War by Kendra Taira Field.
Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson