Jack of many trades or master of one.

While I strive to be a master of my craft, observing the world yields interesting insights. Many of the successful people I respect are not masters of their craft. The alternate path is to be in the top 25 % of multiple fields. One great example is Scott Adams of Dilbert fame. Scott failed his way to success  by leveraging his corporate career, learning to program, getting an MBA, writing well, persuasion abilities,  his above average sense of humor, public speaking skills and ordinary drawing abilities. Combining those skills makes Scott Adams unique. His heuristic is learning any new skills doubles your chance of success.

The other person I can think of  is Patrick Mackenzie of Bingo Card Creator fame. Patrick or patio11 combined his programming abilities with marketing, A/B testing & writing to become an internet celebrity and a successful bootstrapped business owner.

My own inclination is to diversify skill sets with concentration towards one or two primary skills such as Programming or Design. Further augmenting it by getting good at a few other skills based on your interest. My path forward is to expand my knowledge of business , finance and machine learning. I would love to know  the path you have taken.

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Electric cars and the Oil industry

The era of Electric cars is here. The success of the Model S has started an electric car race. Now we have the Chevy Bolt & the Model 3 on the way.  The beauty of oil is that it enabled humans to store and transport energy easily. We could however see the internal combustion engines becoming relics of the past very soon. This is with major economies mandating stricter emission standards for automobiles. Where does this leave big oil?

Lets look at oil consumption per product for 2014 in the USAoil_consumption_2014.png

http://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/index.cfm?page=oil_use

Motor Gasoline is almost 50% of all consumption. A plummeting gas consumption for automobiles is inevitable in the next decade or two. If I were an Oil executive, I’d be up at night trying  to plug that gap. One answer is moving base to emerging economies. But thats just band aid, since there is a possibility that they will leapfrog to the electric car era. This has happened in India with consumers moving to cell phones without ever having experienced fixed lines. The answer according to me is not on land.

Between Aviation gasoline & kerosene type jet fuel we have just over 1% of consumption. A major reason why the Concorde failed was that it was a gas guzzler . In the electric car era that wouldn’t matter. Enter a potential growth driver. The other reason the Concorde failed was unfriendly legislation and limited routes. Big oil almost never has legislation as a problem.

Long distance battery operated or Solar planes are still a pipe dream. The time  is ripe to revive supersonic flights. I foresee a future with a 6 hour flight connecting SFO to Mumbai. If I were an oil executive, I would seriously consider investing in building supersonic airplanes. A future where majority of planes are supersonic and run on aviation fuel can save the oil industry.  The future of big oil is up in the air.