Entrepreneur

If Mitsubishi studied pigs and aviation closer

In 2007, CM suggested that the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) was doomed to failure at the concept stage.

All the tea leaves were there to be read. A simple study of the widely available Boeing & Airbus 20-yr commercial market forecasts at the time revealed how the regional jet market was set to shrink 40% in favour of larger jets.

Yet the Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp (MAC) pushed on ahead regardless hoping for a 20% share of a collapsing market. What would possess a company to target a dying segment with a product that wasn’t a game changer? A plane that promised to use composites to reduce weight yet was forced back to conventional alloys and to resize because customers had no demand for the original design.

With 90% of the regional market occupied by Bombardier and Embraer, airlines get great efficiencies by sticking to the same brands during upgrade cycles – minimal marginal costs required to train ground staff and pilots. For airlines to pursue a brand new aircraft that offered little in terms of superior economics nor extensive after sales services, it was always going to be the Achilles’ heel for MAC.

Airlines would not only take on extra costs to train existing staff, but would run huge financial risks with leased MRJ’s (now called the Spacejet to rebrand the failure) if they needed to downsize fleets because there would be next to no other airlines to sell or release them to unlike Bombardier & Embraer. Pilots who chose to be certified to fly the Spacejet also risked limited career options if an airline collapsed.

So it is refreshing to read this great summary on Wolf Street of how terribly the aircraft program is (not) progressing in 2019.

It would make a great Harvard Business Review study on how not to crack into a market.

Fair Dinkum Virtue Signaling

Atlasssian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes has been a huge advocate of renewables. So much so he has stated he wants to be a net exporter of wind and solar. Fair Dinkum Power (FDP), the company he helped set up, had a manifesto which stated the following,

We are a movement. We are a brand for Australia’s energy future. We are a rallying cry for all who believe in the power of the wind, the sun, the waves and – most importantly – the power of the people of Australia.

For energy to be fair dinkum, it must be honestly good for our wallets, good for our economy and good for our planet.

So to CM’s surprise today, the AFR noted,

“The Atlassian co-founder applied to deregister Australian Fair Dinkum Power Pty Ltd on November 27, almost exactly a year after he set it up in response to Prime Minister Scott Morrison referring to coal as “fair dinkum power” in comparison to solar or wind.

A spokesperson for the Rich Lister said the Fair Dinkum Power cause, which advocates for Australia to be 100 per cent powered by renewables and export as much again, would live on in the form of a website, an online petition (which has more than 90,000 signatories) and a Facebook page.

The company never undertook any business activity and the spokesperson said there had never been any intention to start any, despite rumours that Mr Cannon-Brookes would launch a retail energy supplier under the Fair Dinkum banner.

One can only imagine that the realities of the free market meant that it was never going to be good for wallets or the economy. CM awaits the media to conduct a full investigation into this sad outcome with all the gusto they did at FDP’s inception.

Fair Dinkum Virtue Signaling!

It was only several months ago that Mike Cannon-Brookes (MCB) was on a campaign to get the already left-leaning board of BHP to ditch ties with groups like the Minerals Council of Australia. But why?

CM believes that nothing shows the prosecution of a cause than leading from the front. MCB should use the might of Atlassian’s $32 bn market cap and seek to buy a controlling stake in BHP whereby it can behave like an activist shareholder and achieve those goals from within. A bit rich to demand a company like BHP fold to the whims of another listed corporate which has no direct business with it. That would be terrible governance for BHP to pay MCB any mind.

How would MCB react if BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie turned around and demanded that Atlassian cut ties with ANZ for being embroiled in the Hayne Banking Royal Commission? MCB would rightly tell him to take a hike.

One doubts that MCB has much of his superannuation buried in BHP shares but why pick on the Minerals Council of Australia? After all, if he had a good look at what Australia’s mineral industry enables, Atlassian should be a backer not a knocker. Why not influence the debate by being part of it?

Here is a list of 30 things Australian minerals companies provide, including vital materials used in wind farms and solar panels, the very forms of renewable energy MCB wants Atlassian to rely on 100% to power its future. MCB’s Tesla is reliant on Aussie minerals to make the batteries. So does his smartphone, tablets, laptops and desktops. And so do the white goods that chill his food and the copper pipes that deliver hot water in his lovely mansion in Sydney. His dentist uses those minerals to maximise his oral hygiene.  The list goes on.

No one can take away the success MCB has achieved in the corporate sphere. However, it would appear that being an expert in the software world doesn’t always translate to being a sage on the environment much less hold any authority to dictate the boardroom discussions of a company that is more crucial to its existence than the other way around.

146,000 Tesla Cybertruck orders

Wow. As written yesterday, CM thought Cybertruck would sell. Not as well as this though. In the $100bn domestic pick-up market Musk went big and it seems it will payoff. Whether all 146,000 (likely to be more going forward) end up being fulfilled is another question. Tesla will need more capital to get there but with an order book, he has bought more time.

It was intriguing that the normal $1000 fully refundable deposit for his cars was only $100 for the Cybertruck, a shrewd bit of marketing which essentially turned it into a virtually free option to put one’s name down. One wonders whether he bumps it up now he has these orders under the belt to help with cash flow.

Credit where credit is due. Musk is a visionary. CM has now praised the Tesla CEO twice in 24-hrs. Must be a blue moon.

Aussie company has only approved technology for Qantas Boeing 737NG wing crack detection

Very simple story. Aussie based company Structural Monitoring Systems (SMN AX) has the only approved crack detection product in the market.

The 5 Qantas Boeing 737 NG planes (and dozens like it around the world) could have had far earlier detection with SMN’s CVM technology. To cut a long story short, CVM technology has vacuum channels, which if broken (via cracks emerging) notifies the ground crew of the structural issue.

The company already has a contract with Delta Airlines for its aircraft. This type of technology not only has the potential to ward off catastrophic failures but reduce the cost of inspections for airlines.

CM has owned SMN for over a decade. This trend was always coming.

F’king hell mate

Follow the data, people. Apologies for the amount of climate change related posts of late. It is the climate alarmist silly season. The video above shows how easy it is to manipulate mindsets. Good to see that our PM Scott Morrison was thinking about smart drive-thrus. After all, as we showed, kids love McDonald’s ahead of climate strikes so merging technologies and fast food should connect the next generation. Uber should be looking to develop their rideshare app to go via fast-food chains. ScoMo has his finger on the pulse.

Atlassian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes doesn’t agree although he did reveal what an expensive Bellevue Hill private boy school education does for teaching how to respect the highest public office in Australia. ScoMo was dead right not to attend a summit where the organizers deliberately banned those from coal-related nations from speaking whilst demanding their cash. No need to join a summit where most of the attendees are from nations with high levels of corruption and have a sole purpose to cash in on the guilt of weak-willed western nations.

Maybe MC-B should reflect on what the UN summit does to cause children to meltdown thanks to irresponsible adults feeding them with unfounded scaremongering. That is where the anger should have been placed in that room. Who needs to show up? Then again behaving like children is a bit of a theme at climate summits. Profanity too.

Being a successful software developer doesn’t always extend to being an axe in other fields. CM also made reference to why MC-B should be supporting the Minerals Council of Austalia as so much of his business actually relies on it.

Why Gerry Harvey’s comments on diversity obsessed companies speak more about our superannuation fund managers

Harvey Norman is currently valued at over $5.1bn, which is c.4x the combined value of Myer and David Jones. Good on Gerry Harvey for getting stuck into the stupidity of diversity quota obsessed boards. He is right. Why are certain funds requesting Harvey Norman hit these soft and irrelevant targets adopted by David Jones & Myer so they can invest under their self imposed ESG guidelines? Surely any company’s performance (assuming they aren’t illegally exploiting child labour) should be all that matters to shareholders? If it works without this gender balance nonsense why fight to change a winning formula?

If anyone is ever fortunate enough to meet Gerry Harvey’s wife, Katie Page (the CEO), it isn’t hard to work out that her gender wasn’t a selection criteria. Fistfuls of competence were. She gets it and not for one fleeting second could anyone ever get the idea that she plays up to the gender card. An utterly pleasant, generous and intelligent individual.

If Gerry Harvey & Katie Page thought Harvey Norman shareholders’ best interests were served by an all female board it would done so based on skill and ability to add value. The gender wouldn’t even be a factor.

Have you noticed why Harvey Norman hasn’t followed the group think pervading all the other companies who pulled their adverts off the Alan Jones Breakfast Show? Because Harvey Norman doesn’t pretend to judge the personal political beliefs of its customers. They only wish to provide the best possible goods that meet market demand, not chase imaginary pixies in the quest to morally preen. However it perfectly describes the decision making processes inside less competent boards when they blindly follow the herd rather than independently validate scenarios based on data, relevance and common sense. We now know over 40 companies didn’t.

The only diversity required is that of thought – not gender, race, sexual preference or religion. However don’t be surprised to see locals run Harvey Norman’s overseas businesses – driven by the fact they understand local conditions better than a helicoptered expat.

Maybe it is high time these superannuation funds actually decide to do some homework on the companies they invest in. To drop this focus on nanny-state driven diversity targets and actually look at the companies themselves as “businesses”.

CM guarantees that the companies that focus on this socially constructed diversity balance nonsense will severely underperform when tough times approach. Because decisive leadership in a crisis can be found with leaders like Katie Page, not with those companies that put everything else but ability as the key selection criteria.

The bigger concern down the line will be that these CSR/ESG and equality obsessed fund managers will have parked so much money in the wrong names that the retirements of millions of Aussies will be severely crimped by this muck. Let there be no mistake – super holders will not thank these woke investors for chasing irrelevant internal constructs over viable businesses when reality dawns that they have much less than they anticipated for retirement. Maybe that is what CM should have said to the ATO when he set up his SMSF.

Why doesn’t Atlassian lead the charge if it is such a great idea?

Coal.png

Atlassian Co-Founder Mike Cannon-Brookes (MCB) has put forward a vision that is so compelling for Australia to junk its $70bn coal industry, it is a real wonder why he has not decided to deploy the tech giant’s own capital to seize those obvious riches? He believes coal will be worth zero in 15-25 years. If it is such a dead industry, can he explain why China’s coal-fired power (great infographics here) has grown from 200GW in 2000 to over 900GW today? Or India that has grown from 61GW to 221GW of coal-fired power gen? Why would Adani persevere in the face of 8 years of government and regulatory roadblocks in Queensland if coal wasn’t on the menu for India’s future?

The International Energy Agency (IEA) notes the following on coal,

Coal power generation increased 3% in 2018 (similar to the 2017 increase), and for the first time crossed the 10 000 TWh mark. Coal remains firmly in place as the largest source of power at 38% of overall generation. Growth was mainly in Asia, particularly in China and India.

Note in the following map, yellow and red are levels of intensity and in operation. Grey is that idled or shut down.

Coal Fired Power.png

Global wind and solar installations account for about the same as China’s current coal-fired power capacity.

MCB’s idea that we should export the sun and wind is utterly fanciful. The amount of transmission loss over distances in Australia would be massive. Our own energy market operator, AEMO, noted that energy transmission losses for those wind and solar farms located furthest from the main load hubs, in north Queensland, western NSW and some in Victoria could suffer marginal loss factors (MLF) of up to 22%.

To think our closest neighbours – New Zealand, Papua New Guinea & East Timor – are at least 200km away from our extremities. At least 500km to major city centres like Port Moresby. That is assuming our ecomentalist Department of Environment would fast track approval for Cape York and the Daintree Forest to be logged and turned into a wind and solar park to then run some cable to Port Moresby. The problem with MLF is that if Port Moresby demanded 1MW of energy, then it would need to pay for more than it needed to anticipate the MLF which would grow the further the demand was from the main load hubs that could supply it.

To add to the problem, Australia’s ridiculously high power prices would be completely unattractive to the likes of Papua New Guinea. They would be better off ignoring Australia’s transmission and self-supply. That is exactly what it is doing. PNG currently get 30% of its power from hydro, 40% from gas and 24% from oil. Note it has signed a memorandum of agreement to install, you guessed it, a 60MW coal-fired power station in Lae. Energy security is on the menu.

MCB has suggested we set up local manufacturing to harness all of our local resources. Once again, a great idea on paper, but in practice, our prowess in low-cost manufacturing has a terrible track record. The now defunct auto industry is exhibit A on that plan.

As is so often the case for celebrity billionaires, thought bubbles are often free to them but costly to others. Tesla shareholders know that feeling. Who could forget JCB’s retweet of Greta Thunberg at the time of the election, imploring Australians to “not f*ck it up“??

MCB may drive a Tesla and have plans to make Atlassian 100% powered by renewables by 2025 but for the sake of shareholders it best he sticks to his core business unless he plans to divert capital to diversify Atlassian and harness this green future. Perhaps he should put Greta Thunberg on the Atlassian board as an executive director on renewable exports?