Hertz was a pioneer in car rental and a highly recognized brand nearly as old as the American auto industry itself. Decimated by coronavirus, Hertz tried in mid-2020 to take advantage of an odd Robinhood-driven spike in its share price and sell stock to pay off its debts. At the time, the company admitted the shares it was selling could end up worthless. Will Hertz be able to emerge from bankruptcy in some form, or will this be the end of its century-long story.
Nearly every company across every industry is looking for new ways to minimize human contact, cut costs and address the labor crunch in repetitive and dangerous jobs. WSJ explores why many are looking to robots as the solution for all three.
A selection of three essential articles read aloud from the latest issue of The Economist. This week, the business of survival—those companies that survive the coronavirus crisis will need to master a new environment. Plus, how to reopen factories after covid-19 (9:23) and Venezuela’s navy battles a cruise ship, and loses (17:41).
From a Stanford Engineering article (April 8, 2020):
Companies that structure themselves as location-independent have developed norms and practices that bridge the emotional and logistical distances. The same is true for their workers. For such companies, remote-only work can reduce costs, expand the talent pool and boost productivity. By contrast, being forced by a crisis to work remotely is likely to be disruptive and frustrating. It may be better than shutting down, but it will likely lead to a big drop in productivity.
In the span of a single month, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies and organizations of all types to have almost all of their employees work remotely from home.
Has the future of work, the all-remote workforce and even the virtual organization, arrived in full force? Though online technologies have made remote work increasingly common, most companies and organizations are still run out of brick-and-mortar facilities. Now they are scrambling to stand up virtual workspaces overnight.
Raja Dhir is the co-founder of microbiome company Seed. Based in LA, Seed is a collective of scientists and doctors, researching how bacteria can improve human health and that of our planet. Its first product, a daily synbiotic, focuses on the stomach.
Raja Dhir is a life sciences entrepreneur and Co-Founder of Seed, a venture-backed microbiome company pioneering the application of bacteria for both human and planetary health. He leads Seed’s R&D, academic collaborations, technology development, clinical trial design, supply chain, and intellectual property strategy.
Together with Dr. Jacques Ravel, he Co-Chairs Seed’s Scientific Advisory Board–an interdisciplinary group of scientists and doctors who lead research teams and teach at institutions including the teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School and the Trial Innovation Unit of Mass. General Hospital (MGH). Raja has designed clinical trials with leading academic institutions including the teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School and the Trial Innovation Unit of Mass. General Hospital (MGH).
Raja has unique expertise translating scientific research for product development with a track record that includes patented inventions to stabilize sensitive compounds to improve alpha-diversity of the gut microbiome (derived from micro-algae) and most recently, the co-invention of microbial technologies to protect honeybee populations (Apis mellifera) from neonicotinoid pesticides and pathogen colonization. His work also includes biofermentation and scale-up for both facultative and strict anaerobic organisms.