May 18, 2017 | Graham

Two innovations in a disrupter

Great experience today in an Uber that I just have to share. It shows just how innovative and exciting the modern economy is, and a good antidote to the doom and gloom from last night’s forum on the Universal Basic Income.

Turns out my Uber driver is doing it part time. Made some money as a financial planner and decided to buy a Domino’s franchise.

And if you have some training in finances, you want to do some market research. Which means talking to people.

So how do you meet people and easily start a conversation in a situation where they can’t get away for maybe 10, 20, 30 minutes? Well, how about picking them up on Uber.

Best thing is, this is the only market research where you get paid, rather than having to pay.

That’s innovation number one.

But in the course of our interrogation I picked-up innovation number 2. Turns out that the “Germans” have developed a pizza oven that cooks pizzas in 4 minutes rather than 8.

Took me a second to work that one out, but they use microwaves as well as the traditional external heat. How simple and obvious, like most great innovations, but they thought of it first.

So that means you can either serve twice as many people through your store, with probably not too many additional staff, or you can shrink the size of the store.

Either way, pizza margins are going up in the short-term, and pizza prices are coming down long-term. There will be a little bit of downward pressure on rents as well.

Which is a good thing when the average wage is rising at a slower rate than inflation. And might be one reason why it is.

I’m sure the technique is applicable to all sorts of baked goods. So it won’t just be pizza stores that are affected.

Sad that we have just had a budget which places more faith in government than the people. Do you think a public service would have come up with any of these three innovations – innovation, Uber-as-research, or microwave roasters?

Posted by Graham at 9:23 pm | Comments (6) |
Filed under: Economics,Innovation


  1. Interesting Graham, and shows what a little initiative coupled to mandatory, if moderate money can do!

    I have a microwave that’s also a convection oven or grill. And yes a microwaved pizza isn’t too bad if finished with a quick butane flame to brown it up.

    Innovation is key to a future where as many of 90% of our current occupations will be automated or made redundant by “progress.” Even the Uber could be replaced by autonomous driverless cars. And that future is going to be massively energy dependent and electric?

    This is why we need leaders who understand this and the need for massive innovative change. And given the endlessly repeating failures of both socialism and extreme capitalism, needing a new template to replace disadvantage, with endless self replicating advantage, which to my mind has to be cooperative capitalism and investing in your own people and their better ideas. As opposed to dumbly allow debt laden foreigners to speculate in your real estate, housing or iconic industry!

    There’s a huge role for microwaves and 3D printing here with recycling being an equally essential part of any foreseeable future as will be science and maths at all levels of education.

    And given innovation and automation and the massive cadre of the unemployed it will create, we need to accept the idea of a universal living wage, if only to serve an economic and unavoidable reality.

    Or maybe we could all drive Ubers and cook pizzas? And deliver them in the Uber?

    As one very wise man once said, we can’t all be door openers. Even as factories roll day and night with few if any human hands involved? And a future we need to embrace?

    The idea we could somehow return to an agrarian lifestyle is emotive nonsense, given the minimum amount of land to support a family, hand to mouth is at least forty acres. And there just isn’t that much arable land to go around.

    Moreover, the idea we would decide to support an elite as privileged artisans, is equally problematic, given the other occupations will be dawn to dark gut busts, to produce the staples?

    No, we really do need to embrace innovation in all things, wholeheartedly, including the political mindset. Entrenched ideology (idiocy/irrational absolutism) must give way to bipartisan pragmatism. Least we shoot ourselves in our own economic foot trying to privilege an exclusive self serving sector.

    One only need look at basket case economies like the Philippines to see the evidence of just how well that works!

    Cooperative capitalism is without question, the only truly pragmatic way forward. And engages all the populace and every financial structure in best practice outcomes based on hard-nosed pragmatism.

    Cooperative capitalism will ensure we use the most cost effective means to achieve outcomes, make stuff and employ folks.

    If an expenditure tax were to replace the dogs breakfast tax collection practice we have now, nobody could avoid paying a fair share, be they the resident Uber driver or pizza maker, or monumental multinational, operating as a monolithic monopoly with a captive slave market?.

    Cooperative capitalism will ensure that real free market competition alone trims these blood sucking parasitical corporations down to size, and eliminate the completely unproductive middleman who do little than double both the cost of living or just doing business.

    Innovation will if actually adopted, light up our homes, offices and factories with affordable clean power. And an an essential in a world vastly more energy dependent than this one!

    And yes, there will be a determined, we don’t want this, rearguard action by various vested interest, with an, I’m all right Jack agenda.

    Truly affordable energy (thorium/nuclear) will open the way for vastly more affordable water and the drought proofing of this wide brown land, which as it occurs, will ensure not just our future, but serve as an essential template to reduce and remove completely counterproductive and illogical poverty wherever and in whatever guise it exists!

    Something we should do where we can, out of pure self interest, to create future trading partners and reliable friends.

    To this end we need to end sheer paucity off poverty thinking and hone one where we understand we all have abundance, based on affordable energy, cooperative capitalism and recycling everything that can and ought to be recycled! Even if that means adopting and implementing nuclear energy as the currently missing in action, essential

    Recycling will create jobs, wealth and endless opportunities for innovation. And as the only income earning activity coupled to inherent expansion, should be grasped with both hands, as opposed to mindless mantras that state this or that is not party policy! Often all that prevents its sane adoption?

    Inspired innovation will allow our two trillion dollar super fund to be harnessed to nation building innovation and as that occurs, unlock and leverage two trillion more now resting in corporate strong rooms as lazy money. And here I’m talking about financial innovation manifesting as self terminating government guaranteed, 30 year investment bonds, that provide an investment vehicle, money will chase?

    The only essential is, these funds must be used solely for capital works and infrastructure projects that make a quid, be they innovative and virtually costless power generation or massive innovative desalination projects that turn ever abundant seawater into 90% potable water at quarter of the cost of traditional desal.

    That then turns desert wasteland into our most productive broad acre farms. And if you think we can’t do that in our heartland, think again given an inland canal just begs to be built, #1 to provide a viable shortcut for the fast ferries that will service our future customers as well as #2 place a routinely refilled water source where we need it most!

    All that prevents any of this is self imposed limitations and the usual plethora of experts who know all the reasons none of this can be done. And vocal as always in their condemnation, like the hugely misguided Luddites who took to the spinning Jennys with crowbars, or those who knew we couldn’t exceed 40 MPH, or those who knew, if we were meant to fly, we’d be born with wings, or swim, be born with gills.

    I think we’re heading in the right direction with massive infrastructure projects. And just the tip of a needed innovation iceberg!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan Goulding — May 19, 2017 @ 12:09 pm

  2. An essential universal wage, would among other things, allow all commission sales/practice to be outlawed!

    And replaced by a reasonable fee for service. And in a world where as much as 90% of previous occupations will disappear? Sure to be regulated by genuine fierce competition alone, for your business. And the best possible outcome in a fairer Australia that eliminates captive market monopolies and hidden commisions!

    An expenditure tax could and should replace the plethora of taxes fees and charges that exist now, even if that means cutting our cloth to suit our budget!

    Therefore, Health and education ought be directly funded and assisted by regional autonomy, to eliminate the unproductive controlling middleman!

    Moreover, all other forms of middleman marketing need to be also outlawed, which will allow the essential universal wage to be virtually halved?

    Moreover, given everyone receives this as their basic survival income? Completely eliminate commissions as a needed part of our (cooperating) economy or income streams.

    Cooperative capitalism will allow our money to stay in our economy until completely exhausted, thereby allowing one dollar to do the economic work of seven or more as cycling money percolates around and through the real economy, creating massive snowballing largely inflation free growth and economic opportunities as it does.

    Some of the things that could destroy it, are money for nothing, derivatives, alias the Emperor’s new clothes, and an economically unhealthy emphasis on nation/enterprise destroying capital gains. And instead the focus ought be on maximized dividends. And given an expenditure tax, would have already impacted on returns, as fully franked tax free income and the only other source of tax free income? The other being returns on government guaranteed , thirty year, self terminating, infrastructure bonds?

    Capital gains should occur naturally and as the product of sustained endeavor and innovative cooperative enterprise, not overvalued over leveraged assets, predatory practice etc.

    A fairer Australia ought to think of herself as a giant corporation and us against the rest of the competing world.

    This united we stand, management mindset, an essential if we are to be guided by innovation/R+D? Otherwise our very best ideas and people could as is often the case now, wither on the vine? Or be purloined by our competition!

    Atomic absorption spectrometer, Ceramic fuel cells, Pulsed light enrichment, single step steel smelting, and the list goes on and on and on and on.

    We are a nation of (tie it up with wire, to keep the show on the road) innovators and needed to be in the days, when never beaten never quit innovators, pioneered this country and now consequently in our genes!

    We definitely punch above our weight in multiple fields and need to grasp every opportunity to lead. Rather than allow others to decide for us, what we are or aren’t good at or good enough for!

    If we are to embrace innovation, we need also to embrace and cultivate vision and big ideas, then let the chips fall where they may. We have enough outside influences and I’m okay Jack, types, trying to limit our progress and potential without helping them!

    So it should be, can we do it? Yes we can! And with one voice. Australia’s cando voice!
    Alan B. Goulding

    Comment by Alan Goulding — May 20, 2017 @ 10:10 am

  3. We are great innovators! Why we invented the technology that uses industrial microwaves to turn mountainous waste tyres into crude oil. And if all our waste tyres were so treated, we could turn our share into somewhere north of 40,000 bbl annually.

    Another goes, if our marginal agricultural land was given over to native wisteria production. The oil produced from just 40,000 hectares, would supply Queensland entire annual diesel requirements, as import replacing bio-diesel? A salt and drought tolerant native Perennial legume that improves soil fertility and maximized production outcomes, by fixing nitrogen, for up to seven premium production years?

    Moreover, the high protein ex-crush seed material would support all manner of alternative food production from feed lots to piggeries, to chicken/fish farms.

    The only area where innovation or rational thinking/future vision is missing is in (business as usual) politics? Thus we have ethanol, where for every one unit of energy you create, you need to put in two!

    This exemplifies the paucity of thinking in current decision makers and or their (intellectually challenged ) advisers?

    Thus we face the looming energy crisis or the eternally exponentially expanding structural deficit, with more of the same?

    How do you get a budget back into surplus with a ongoing manufacturing sector dismantle and inflation now nearly double wage growth? And therefore going backwards!

    It’s all very well to say we have monumental gas reserves, if everything we extract is heading offshore, while we effectively pay three times the odds of our offshore customers?

    Transparency? Maybe that’ll work as might cancelling export licences? But at what cost to future development by privateers? And I do mean Privateers.

    We’re here with our manufacturing sector falling down around our ears, Due solely to the political class, who seem to think innovation is for everyone else, while they play the, it’s all about us, (business as usual) divide and rule, blame shifting politics! As opposed to real reform and structural renewal?

    This is the albatross/millstone around the neck of a going backwards nation that could very soon repeat the feat of Argentina around a hundred years ago, where they, with just dumb policy and even dumber leadership, snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and turned a historically wealthy nation into a basket case economy, lasting 100 years!

    The crisis in confidence has its origins/roots in our political divided divisive power struggles?

    What does it take for these folk to set aside their petty power politics and just take a butchers at the big picture and our possible futures, and just get on the same pragmatic bipartisan page.

    The future (Argentina mark two) they’re creating as they jockey for power and position; or the one we could have if these folk could just decide who is leader, jettison the business as usual rubbish, as well as those self serving troglodytes, who create or are central to it, and what they actually stand for?

    We could do worse than stop ruling our most promising future out, just to curry moribund green favor?

    If our future is dependent on innovation and it is, then we need to just get on with fixing the looming energy crisis, if only to stop the hemorrhaging of the outward bound manufacturing sector, and put some wages growth into stagnating wages.

    And what you get when you allow purveyors of the emperor’s new clothes (Privatization) to take and control energy and power generation and distribution.

    Every western style economy rests solely on two pillars, just two, energy and capital!

    Demonstrably, we have surrendered control of both to foreign interests, be they the hedge funds, [four of them,] who effectively, (covertly) control our four big banks, or those now controlling the reticulation and distribution of enormously unaffordale energy!?

    Yes, we do have massive reserves of gas and coal and could power this nation for the next 100 years with current known reserves, all while the Co2 levels in the planet’s atmosphere continues to track further upward into already uncharted territory!

    Innovation demands we stop mindlessly ruling stuff out or turning tin ears at it? As we give lip service to innovative reform, needed if we would invite nation building entrepreneurial innovation to follow.

    We need to have more than just a discussion about our energy future but grasp the best for us and the nation, option! That option is surely going to be the nuclear one, as arguably, thorium coupled to, walk away safe, molten salt reactors, able to be mass produced and shipped where and when we want them! Regardless of whether or not there’s a water supply or not.

    And when powered up, let the innovators and risk takers have their head!?

    Were I to step outside my door and just fill a box with a cubic metre of dirt. From that cubic metre and just relying on simple gravity separation, I’d be able to extract, ready to use without enrichment, around 8 grams of comparatively abundant thorium. [Abundant as lead, and we have enough in our dirt sometimes as alluvial/placer deposits to power the planet for a thousand years, and thousands more if we mine igneous rock.]

    And 8 grams of it, enough to power my home, car as well as provide all my material wants for the net 100 years. Given the recovery costs of $100,00, that just a dollar a year!

    If you truly want (innovative) innovation this is where it starts. even if it presents some sovereign risk to the tax avoiding, profit repatriating, price gouging energy giants currently ripping us off every which way they can?

    Ask them how they’re doing, and if honest, the answer would surely be, everyone I/we can and the easy ones twice!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan Goulding — May 21, 2017 @ 1:08 pm

  4. Given not everyone is as knowledgeable as I am on matters scientific or nuclear energy?

    Some, particularly scoffing and dismissive pollies, might want to do a little fact checking?

    And here I invite you to get on U tube and thorium as the subject; and listen to an informative and intensely interesting talk, by the author of Super Fuel, subtitled, green energy.

    Where the Author, a highly acclaimed prize winning investigative Journalist, with all the relevant facts at his fingertips, gives a short talk in layman’s language, on our best possible and enduring energy future.

    Or if technically minded, just type in, the case for thorium, in you search engine, scroll down the page and download a PDF, replete with color coded schematics for a 230 MW molten salt reactor.

    And the whose who scientific bibliography on the last page, is nothing short of impressive!

    Either way is good, even if you are just searching for a countervailing, based on fact, factual argument, or wish to validate me?

    Name your pleasure and chose. Given the energy crisis, we are facing in as little as 18 months? No longer have the luxury or time for both!?
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan Goulding — May 21, 2017 @ 1:55 pm

  5. The airwaves are full of nothing else than the terrorist attack at Manchester. Where an auditorium filled to the rafters with screaming kids, their parents and minders, was the target of choice!

    We could respond with much, shivering with rage like a buggered old man zoo monkey, with much sabre rattling as the business as usual emasculated response.

    Is this the world we wish to create and leave for our kids and their kids. Must we in our response commit worse atrocities on countless other innocents? With some half assed shock and awe, one thousand plane attack? Each carrying a ten ton bomb or tactical nuclear weapon? Or worse?

    Or devise another course, which like surgically removing Bin Laden, minimized the casualties, while confirming that there is no place to hide for the servants of Satan, who plan or fund these atrocities.

    There is a third way, and that is creating a nation building inclusive template. As outlined, chapter and verse, above?

    Some claim we can’t do it without foreign capital, or change indigenous outcomes without, business as usual, endless handouts for our aborigines? Maybe?

    But not necessarily with foreign masters or religious devotees and their ideological imperatives, attached to any of it!

    Manchester informs us, this is what one can expect, when dogma and ideology replaces reason and logic! Ditto today’s stalled in traffic, Australia?


    Because we have like, in the allegorical homespun homily, allowed the tank to run dry/run dangerously low on affordable energy and an inclusive fair go!

    Without which our, running on allegorical fumes, hypothetical car is driverless wreck going somewhere to happen and heading downhill at increasing rate, to join the other carefully constructed basket case economies?

    Don’t just do something, stand there.

    We could do worse than remove/eliminate all the stated or covert reasons for conflict and that starts here and now, today! And with inclusive example!

    We Need to become the land of plenty every boy and his dog want to belong to, not one disgruntled blame shifting
    Islamist radicals want to destroy?

    The business as usual prevarication and endless blame shifting is no longer an option, even if we face a looming election.

    One more easily won by a party with a comprehensive plan to rebuild our manufacturing sector. The ship building promise, just the first tiny baby step!

    Affordable energy is the key! Not rip off merchants bleeding us white, with a little help from their friends?

    Truly, the very best changes and example comes from within!

    Nonetheless we can’t stop being us! Nor should we want to or allow obviously superior others to do it to/for us. Or rule stuff out for us!

    Given our current financial circumstance and means, how long could we stand alone if that was the only card left to play?

    Even there, truly affordable unlimited energy is key and central! What are we waiting for? Another demonstration of just how powerless and emasculated we really are?
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan Goulding — May 23, 2017 @ 4:38 pm

  6. Affordable safe clean cheap thorium energy puts things like an income earning inland canal in our hands as doable. If we can build ships we can build ocean going dredges. Support barges electric draglines and dump trucks, which could have quick charge capacitors enabling quick turnaround recharging on site.

    The dredges would be enormously efficient cutter bar dredges utilizing moving floating pipelines to discharge dredged material to the sites where it would stay or in settlement ponds after gravity separation by rotating mesh and cyclones.

    Meaning, there’d be no project turbidity to deal with. The mud, silica and calcite etc, in the adjacent settlement ponds could be compressed into shapes, then baked in very high heat nuclear powered direct heat ovens to vitrify it into all manner of durable robust building (leggo brick) tiles and paving materials?

    Thorium powered laser beams could be used in place of motor to weld these materials in their final places. buildings or roads?

    Thorium powered magnetic separation, could remove enough ferrous material from the flow sheet/cyclone product to carry a floating tag along, single step smelt steel industry/foundry? Tasked with separating thorium, and other heavy metal like alluvial illminite? The floating tag along steel mill, tasked with replacing/recycling worn pipes, rails and boiler plate etc?

    One wouldeventually build a dual lane canal system, so as to use massive high northern tides and lock gates to move shipping in and out, say as far south as a permanently fill Lake Eyre, which could function as a preferred inland shipping hub.

    Given the topography, the ideal route would travel north to just west of the Alice, then dogleg toward Broome or just south of it, so as to be able to harness those massive 40 foot twice daily, tides.

    A inland port not nearly as exposed to hostile elements and the permanent body of water where now are just a chain of below sea level salt lakes, would alter the climate forever?

    By just putting increased moisture into historical bone dry atmosphere.

    Truly affordable thorium energy is key as transportable factory mass produced modules, some of which like those powering the dredges or monster sized walking draglines, could be shipping container sized 40 MW models, and would have sizable surplus capacity to support the floating hotel for the off shift workforce or just social amenity, electrically powered inboard appliances, forklifts and teleloaders plus Satnav positioning, would thereby limit the essential if costly manpower!

    Enforceable bans on gambling and strong drink limiting, antisocial cabin fever! As would three months on and three months off FIFO contracts?

    We’d only need around six dredges and around twenty years to progressively build the thing, with three tasked with the first lane south half, the other three the north, and repeated around ten years later with the (self funding) dual lane channel.

    With nuclear powered desalination rolled out as soon as new water hit some former salt lake, allowing massive myriad cash flow irrigation to be established along the entire route and grow far beyond self funding, long before such a project was completed?

    It’d be our generation’s snowy mountains project! And do again what snowy mountains did, when it started! Massively improve our economy, ushering in a period of unprecedented, sustained and snowballing prosperity.

    We can chose to do it or not! We’re not constrained be engineering difficulties nor financing. And just the start of what we can do, if politically empowered by pragmatic bipartisan Canberra and cooperative capitalism!

    All that’s missing is future vision and can do leadership! And only constrained by prevaricating self serving pollies, held captive, like fear riddled rabbits in the spotlight, by a diabolically dumb, nocando, born to fail, me, me, me, agenda? Alan B. Goulding

    Comment by Alan Goulding — May 23, 2017 @ 6:37 pm

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