How a Contest Can Encourage Ingenuity

In Taiwan, for two days, people whose name was “salmon” (and five of their friends) got all-you-can-eat sushi. Offered by a sushi restaurant chain, the promotion created “salmon chaos.” Because you just needed an identity card that included “gui yu” (the…

January 2021 Friday’s e-links: The Story of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos

First among our January e-links, this feel good Flamin’ Hot Cheetos story is about a janitor, a CEO, and the American Dream.

The Vials That We Need For Vaccines

As a somewhat invisible part of COVID-19 science, we’ve been developing and producing billions of super strong vaccine vials.

Why We Could Have Twist Tie Tariffs

Just like Alaskans have many words for snow, Bedford Industries has a lot of names for twist ties. There are spooled ties and poly twists, clip bands and double wire tin-ties. And that was only the beginning. I copied some…

How Vinyl and Streaming Are Similar

Changes in recorded music sales were fueled by new formats that started with vinyl and eventually became streaming.

How the Tesla (Factory) Is Like the Model T (Factory)

Separated by 100 years, mass producing Teslas and mass producing Model T Fords reflect the innovation that makes an invention available.

Why a Paper Towel Is Like a Toyota

Pre-coronavirus manufacturing efficiencies were beneficial until a pandemic spike in demand led to paper towel shortages.

When the Line Graph Began

During the 18th century, one man invented the simple kinds of data visualizations that let us remember and grasp the meaning of statistics.

June 2020 Friday’s e-links: The NBER Digest and Drying Cherry Orchards

In these June 2020 e-links, my first two recommendations–the NBER Digest and helicopter cherry drying–are vastly different but equally interesting.

How a $350 Meal Became $35 Takeout

A Chicago restaurant’s pandemic takeout plan transformed the limitations of the lockdown rules into a creative opportunity.