Domain Daily: Tesla’s “Money Furnaces”

The Dose

  • Burning Money

  • Lyft Accepts Cash

  • Off the Wall


Tesla's Newest Factories Are Losing Billions

Supply chain disruptions have hamstrung Tesla's Berlin and Austin facilities. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the two factories are "gigantic money furnaces right now."

The Point: Well, that's not exactly inspiring. That said, it's worth taking Musk's statement with a grain of salt. As you've probably noticed by now, he has a habit of speaking in hyperbole. Still, ongoing supply chain disruptions are undoubtedly an issue. The company is struggling to produce cars with its latest battery technology. At the same time, tools for its legacy products are "stuck in a port in China," according to Musk. Look, none of this is good news. But, if you want a silver lining, there's an obvious one. Teslas remain a hot product. It's better not to be able to meet consumer demand rather than be in a situation where people don't want what you're able to make.

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Lyft Adds Payment Option for the Unbanked

Lyft customers can now fund their accounts with cash at participating retailers.

The Point: 22% of Americans are unbanked or underbanked, according to a 2019 report from the Federal Reserve. For these people, using a service like Lyft has been difficult, if not impossible. With this move, the ride-share company is expanding access to a disturbingly large swath of the population. Here's how it works: Lyft's customers can go to one of the 35,000 participating retailers (including stores like Walmart and Kroger) and deposit cash into their Lyft accounts. Doing so incurs no fees, making cash as good as a card-based payment. It's a win-win for Lyft and millions of Americans. Lyft expands its customer base while millions of unbanked and underbanked people gain access to a service most of us take for granted.

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Airbnb Is Looking for Crazy Design Ideas

Have a unique home you've always wanted to build? Try pitching it to Airbnb. The company has set aside $10 million to help bring more unusual homes to its platform.

The Point: Would-be architects can submit applications to Airbnb at this link. The 100 best ideas will receive $100,000 each from the aptly titled OMG! Fund. Why is Airbnb doing this? Good press, for starters. But also because customers crave "unexpected spaces that become the destinations themselves," the company said. If Airbnb's giving away $10 million, they must not think there's enough weirdness to go around at the moment.

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