The Hyperbole Hyperloophole
With all the hubbub about 9th Circuit Judges and Ivanka Trump clothing lines, you might have missed yesterday’s truly exciting news: Brogan BamBrogan is Brogan BamBack!
Yes, the former Hyperloop Technologies co-founder, turned lawsuit defendant, is launching another Hyperloop-related startup called Arrivo. “We’re getting back in the game,” said BamBrogan.
The game, of course, being vaporware.
Arrivo is, by my count, the eighth company that promises to make people and cargo travel very fast indeed through expensive metal tubes. It is also the eighth company not to have any realistic plan for achieving this goal which, lets remember, found its genesis as an idea Elon Musk gave away because flying to Mars seems like a more sensible use of his time and resources.
But, thanks to the Musk factor, the idea has caught the public imagination and also that of top-tier investors like Justin Mateen from Tinder and Shervin Pishevar from the Kremlin (Disclosure: Shervin Pishevar is also Pando Investor).
It’s also part of a broader trend in the Valley of transportation companies promising near-magical levels of hardware innovation as a way of securing publicity or capital without any pressing demand to actually deliver. A hyperloophole, if you like. Before Arrivo, the most recent example of that trend was Uber’s promise to launch flying cars “within a decade.” You can also see it in Ford’s Superbowl commercial for various magic concept ridesharing and self-driving cars.
Sure, as others have pointed out, Silicon Valley constantly struggles with the physical world. But without the need to actually deliver in a timely manner, any skepticism over these big crazy promises can easily be dismissed by scoffing about how “nobody believed Uber would kill taxis” or “that’s what everyone said about Theranos!” (ok, maybe not that second one.) The cash, though, is very very real: $141m for Hyperloop One alone.
You think I’m being a cynic, but what you’re actually hearing is admiration. While all these transportation companies are making bank (and nothing else) here at Pando we’re stuck with our old-school business model -- selling words for $10 a month with no fancy tubes and no Jetson cars. We haven’t raised any venture capital in years and thanks to our critical coverage of tech investors (see: Pishevar, S, above) it’s highly unlikely we ever will again. But, man, it’d be nice to have all that sweet, sweet Hyperloop investment cash.
And so, I’m pleased to announce Pando’s new side project: Hypandloop One. In less than thirty years, we plan to build a Hyperloop Tube from our newsroom here in San Francisco all the way to New York.
No, strike that.
All the way to the moon.
To show we’re serious, I’ve ordered a whiteboard from Amazon and, early next week, I’ll be posting a photo of Sarah and me standing in front of it. By then the whiteboard will already be covered in math. That’s how fast things are already moving.
Don’t delay. Send your investment cash today. The train is leaving the station (in three decades) and you want to be on it.