Morning Advantage: A Viable Business Model for Electric Cars (With No Unicorns or Pixie Dust)

The big challenge for any automaker trying to break free from the internal-combustion, petrol-powered straightjacket is not the technology inside the car itself. No, it's long been the ecosystem around the car — how do you refuel in a world where gas stations are ubiquitous but charging stations are not? Tesla CEO Elon Musk has decided to pour as much effort into finally resolving that question as he has into developing awesome cars. A handful of solar-powered "Supercharger stations" already dot the California highway system, and by next year, Musk has plans to expand nationally, making a cross-country road trip possible. Oh, and one more thing: it doesn't cost a dime to charge your Tesla at those stations.

Think that sounds crazy? Adam Penenberg, writing in PandoDaily, sees in Musk a Jeff Bezos-like figure who takes the long view of history. "In essence, he’s marketing the cars at premium and giving away the gas," writes Penenberg, "The opposite of HP’s much despised sell-the-printer-for-cheap-and-gouge-consumers-on-the-cartridges approach." With Tesla's electric sedan recently named car of the year by mainstream publications Automobile Magazine and Motor Trend, and the inevitability of this technology migrating to cheaper-priced autos, we could be cutting the cord with gasoline sooner than we think. And that's a good thing. (See the next item.)

OLD BEFORE YOUR TIME

Face Retirement (Merrill Edge)

Using your webcam, the site shows you how you'll look when you're old(er). You can see yourself at a range of different, ancient ages (107!) and also see how much the cost of living is likely to go up by then. For instance, in 2088, the average gallon of gas is likely to cost — eek! — $48. Terrifying. But, as a marketing tactic for an investment service, terrifyingly effective.

'TIS THE SEASON

Further Evidence That People Will Buy Almost Anything (CNN)

A U.S. high-school student is turning his love of ugly Christmas sweaters, just like all those tacky wool creations you’ve given away over the years, into an online business. After selling his first sweater for $50, Jack McCarthy began stocking up at flea markets and yard sales. He now ships 40 a day. Among the favorites: Sweaters that jingle and have fur collars.

BONUS BITS:

From "Prodigy Competitor" to "Time Warner Spinoff"

The History of AOL as Told Through New York Times Crossword Clues (Quartz)
Seven Productivity Myths Debunked by Science (Lifehacker)
Which Best Practice Is Ruining Your Business? (HBR.org)

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