Travel Tech Essentialist #86: Optimism as a Competitive Advantage
Because of (mostly) journalists, politicians, and the broader cynic class, pessimism seems to be dominating the narrative. Hopefully today’s newsletter will lead us to think of optimism as a competitive advantage in life and in business. And if enough of us think so, it will lead us all to better outcomes.
Optimism is a duty. The future is open. It is not predetermined. No one can predict it, except by chance. We all contribute to determining it by what we do. We are all equally responsible for its success — Karl Popper
Pinktada is a membership-based, leisure-oriented hotel marketing and reservation platform that is built on blockchain technology. Pinktada leverages the utilitarian aspects of NFTs to deliver greater value to hotels in the form of non-refundable reservations while preserving flexibility for travelers, who can swap or sell their reservation tokens on the platform if their plans change. Pinktada offers a fully immersive customer experience, enabling travelers to explore amenities and rooms in 3D prior to booking and giving hotels the ability to showcase their unique attributes. Pinktada has been recently covered by the WSJ, Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance among others.
1. Definite optimism as human capital
Dan Wang asks himself about the drivers of economic growth. He is less interested about the technical categories that can be easily and precisely measured, and more about the role that optimism and pessimism play, and how our beliefs about the future affect economic growth. He suggests that economists overrate the easier-to-observe policy factors and underestimate the idea that positive visions of the future drive long-term growth. In addition to education levels, Dan thinks that human capital models should consider factors like optimism, imagination, and hope for the future. Having a positive vision doesn’t mean being blindly cheerful about the future. It means having a clear sense of how the technological future will be different from today. To have a positive vision, we must first expand our imaginations. In his posts, Dan Wang suggests a few ways how this can be done. Read + Dan Wang
2. TODAY is the happiest day of the year
Today, June 20th, is officially the happiest day of the year, at least according to the formula devised by psychologist Dr Cliff Arnall: O + (N xS) + Cpm / T + He. O stands for being outdoors and outdoor activity, N for nature, S for social interaction, Cpm for childhood summers and positive memories, T for temperature and He for holidays and looking forward to time off. Read +.
3. The case for optimism
Packy McCormick wrote a great post on why it’s worth trying to make the world more optimistic and he offers a few ideas for promoting and enacting optimism. Pessimism sounds smart, but it isn’t. Optimism is smart, but it seems like it isn’t. We all have a responsibility for fixing that. Packy makes the case for optimism in three parts:
We’re more pessimistic than we should be.
Optimism shapes reality.
The downside to optimism is limited, the upside is uncapped.
The following tweet by Adam Grant gives good one liner definitions of the various dispositions:
4. The evil of cynicism and the virtue of hopefulness
Australian singer Nick Cave gives a great response to a fan, addressing the evil of cynicism and the virtue of hopefulness.
On cynicism: “Cynicism is not a neutral position – and although it asks almost nothing of us, it is highly infectious and unbelievably destructive. In my view, it is the most common and easy of evils.”
On hopefulness: “Unlike cynicism, hopefulness is hard-earned, makes demands upon us and can often feel like the most indefensible and lonely place on earth. Hopefulness is not a neutral position either. It is adversarial… It says the world and its inhabitants have value and are worth defending. It says the world is worth believing in. In time, we come to find that it is so.”
5. Air Travel Trends
Air travel data company OAG had a webinar last week titled “Realizing potential - Growth beyond recovery” (presentation here). Summary:
Global air capacity reached almost 100 million seats last week (still 18% below 2019 levels), helped by the relaxing of lockdowns in China.
Traffic demand is strong in Europe but there is a rise in cancelled flights and staffing shortages. Flight cancellations as a % of total flights in early June: 11% in the Netherlands (take a look at the photo in #9), 4% in the UK, 1.2% in Spain and 2.9% in France.
Compared to pre-pandemic, flight cancellations are not higher in Europe and North America, and much higher in South East Asia.
Comparing the capacity for the week of June 13 2022 vs the same week in 2019, Central and Western Africa shows the biggest increase (+17%), and South East Asia is at the other end of the spectrum (-33%).
6. Parametric insurance is how we want travel insurance to be
Images of legalese and paperwork come to mind when thinking about travel insurance claims. Parametric insurance is the opposite. It’s a type of insurance triggered by an objective event, with no need to make phone calls or file any documents. Let’s say that you’re a windsurfing enthusiast and want to book a vacation in Tarifa, but you are concerned about the wind not cooperating. You could buy a specific parametric insurance which allows you to cancel the day before if the weather forecast does not show wind stronger than 15 knots in at least 3 out of the 4 days of your stay, for example. It’s going to take a long time for insurance to go fully parametric, but it seems like that’s where we should be heading. Read +.
7. Using pre-mortems to predict and prevent problems before launch
Post-mortems are becoming standard at many organizations. With pre-mortems, you pretend that the project has failed before its launch, and you come up with the reasons for the failure. A pre-mortem done right, decreases the likelihood of having to do a post-mortem. Shreyas Doshi has been a Product Manager at Google, Twitter, Yahoo, and Stripe. Shreyas describes the “what” and “how” of pre-mortems, along with a novel and concrete technique to run effective pre-mortems. Read + Shreyas Doshi
8. Web3 Travel Tech Startups
Six months ago I published a post on 3 Web3 Travel Tech startups (DTravel, Xeniapp and WYTLAND). I’ve updated the post and added three additional startups (Pinktada, Stay Open and New Frontier) that are using blockchain and Web3 technology to create new possibilities for consumers and travel providers. Read +.
9. One photo 😬
10. Fundraising and M&A
Travel Tech Essentialist job board
There are currently 89 exciting jobs posted in the Travel Essentialist job board. This job board can be a great resource whether you’re hiring or looking to be hired. Here are just a few of the amazing jobs seen on the board:
Sensible Weather, Product Marketing Manager (NYC, LA, SF, Dallas, Seattle)
Airbnb, Product Manager Fintech (San Francisco)
Kiwi.com Group Product Manager - Airline Ancillaries (Barcelona)
Trainline Senior UX Researcher (London)
Browse more open roles (or add your own open roles) at Travel Tech Essentialist Job Board
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Have a great rest of the week,