Central Planners’ Electric-Vehicle Push Is “More Political Showmanship Than Sound Planning”

(p. A1) The Toyota Prius hybrid was a milestone in the history of clean cars, attracting millions of buyers worldwide who could do their part for the environment while saving money on gasoline.

But in recent months, Toyota, one of the world’s largest automakers, has quietly become the industry’s strongest voice opposing an all-out transition to electric vehicles — which proponents say is critical to fighting climate change.

. . .

(p. A9) In statements, Toyota said that it was in no way opposed to electric vehicles. “We agree and embrace the fact that all-electric vehicles are the future,” Eric Booth, a Toyota spokesman, said. But Toyota thinks that “too little attention is being paid to what happens between today, when 98 percent of the cars and trucks sold are powered at least in part by gasoline, and that fully electrified future,” he said.

Until then, Mr. Booth said, it makes sense for Toyota to lean on its existing hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles to reduce emissions. Hydrogen fuel cell technology should also play a role. And any efficiency standards should “be informed by what technology can realistically deliver and help keep vehicles affordable,” the company said in a statement.

. . .

On paper, Toyota’s approach to zero-emissions vehicles, the hydrogen fuel cell, is a dream: Unlike battery-powered electric vehicles, these cars carry hydrogen tanks and fuel cells that turn the hydrogen into electricity. They refuel and accelerate quickly, and can travel for several hundred miles on a tank, emitting only water vapor. And hydrogen, theoretically, is abundant.

But a high sticker price, as well as lack of refueling infrastructure, has hampered the growth of a hydrogen economy, at least for passenger cars.

. . .

Jeffrey K. Liker, professor emeritus of industrial and operations engineering at the University of Michigan and author of “The Toyota Way,” said that there were other factors slowing Toyota’s push. A famously cautious company, Toyota has researched solid-state batteries, which are safer than the widely used lithium-ion technology, but readying that technology has taken longer than they expected, he said. Toyota has also spoken about not wanting to lay off employees or bankrupt suppliers in a rapid transition to electrics.

“Toyota’s view is also that countries are jumping in with the idea of the electric-vehicle endgame without a real plan, and it’s more political showmanship than sound planning,” Mr. Liker said.

For the full story, see:

Hiroko Tabuchi. “Maker of Prius Now Resisting Emissions Push.” The New York Times (Monday, July 26, 2021): A1 & A9.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story was updated Aug. [sic] 6, 2021, and has the title “Toyota Led on Clean Cars. Now Critics Say It Works to Delay Them.”)

Liker’s book mentioned above is:

Liker, Jeffrey. The Toyota Way, 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer. 2nd ed: McGraw-Hill Education, 2021.

MSG Seasoning Maker Finds Lucrative Tech Use for MSG Byproducts

(p. B10) The chip shortage is adding extra flavor to a 113-year-old Japanese seasoning company.

Japan’s Ajinomoto is renowned for inventing monosodium glutamate—the controversial flavor enhancer that adds umami to dishes. But it also makes a material that goes into the central processing units of computers around the world.

Ajinomoto manufactures a type of insulation material called Ajinomoto Buildup Film, or ABF. It was once made using byproducts from MSG manufacturing but isn’t any longer. The insulation material in turn goes into a semiconductor component called ABF substrate, which connects microchips to circuit boards.

. . .

Ajinomoto expects ABF shipment volume to grow 67% over the next four fiscal years. And its customers downstream are expanding capacity to meet demand. Ajinomoto said growth this fiscal year may slow but it will pick up again once those expansion plans are realized.

Ajinomoto’s core seasoning business is a less tasty morsel, but the business has still weathered the pandemic well. Even though demand from restaurants dropped, increases in home cooking have helped profits since retail products sell at higher margins.

For the full story, see:

Jacky Wong. “Microchips Punch Up MSG Maker.” The Wall Street Journal (Friday, Aug. 20, 2021): B10.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date August 19, 2021, and has the title “Is MSG Bad for You? Not if It Comes With a Side of Microchips.”)

Highly Praised Robot Is Replaced by Humans in a Variety of Jobs

(p. A1) TOKYO—Having a robot read scripture to mourners seemed like a cost-effective idea to the people at Nissei Eco Co., a plastics manufacturer with a sideline in the funeral business.

The company hired child-sized robot Pepper, clothed it in the vestments of Buddhist clergy and programmed it to chant several sutras, or Buddhist scriptures, depending on the sect of the deceased.

Alas, the robot, made by SoftBank Group Corp., kept breaking down during practice runs. “What if it refused to operate in the middle of a ceremony?” said funeral-business manager Osamu Funaki. “It would be such a disaster.”

Pepper was fired. The company ended its lease of the robot and sent it back to the manufacturer. After a rash of similar mishaps across Japan, in which Pepper botched its job at (p. A10) a nursing home and gave baseball fans a creepy feeling, some people are saying the humanoid itself will need a funeral soon.

. . .

. . . , a Japanese hotel chain created a robot-operated hotel, with dinosaur-shaped robots handling front-desk duties, only to reverse course after the plan failed to save money and created more work for humans.

Pepper was given a perky demeanor and programmed to grasp human emotions and engage in basic conversation. It starred in some early demonstrations. But like a candidate who puts on a fine performance at his job interview only to drive his bosses crazy later, Pepper lacked the skills it said it had, say some of his managers.

In 2016, a Tokyo-area nursing-home operator called Ittokai introduced three units of Pepper, each at a cost of around $900 a month, to lead singing and exercises for elderly people at the home.

“Users got excited to have it early on because of its novelty,” said Masataka Iida, an executive at the company. “But they lost interest sooner than expected.” Mr. Iida said Pepper’s repertoire of exercise moves was limited and, owing to mechanical errors, it sometimes took unplanned breaks in the middle of its shift. After three years, the company pulled the plug.

. . .

SoftBank also touted Pepper as a companion for the home. The initial batch of 1,000 units sold out in a minute despite the hefty price tag.

Technology journalist Tsutsumu Ishikawa said he “fell in love at first sight” after seeing Mr. Son, the SoftBank chief, present a futuristic picture of living with a chatty Pepper.

After arriving at the Ishikawa home, however, Pepper couldn’t recognize the faces of family members or carry on a proper conversation, said Mr. Ishikawa. The robot, connected to the cloud, is supposed to remember the family even after a breakdown, Mr. Ishikawa says, but when Pepper returned home after the repair of a sensor, Pepper greeted him, “Nice to meet you!”

He shipped the robot back to SoftBank in 2018 after spending at least $9,000 over the three-year life of his subscription services agreement; he wasn’t eligible for any form of refund.

“It was such a waste of money. I still regret it,” he said.

For the full story, see:

Miho Inada. “Humanoid Robot Keeps Getting Fired From Jobs.” The Wall Street Journal (Wednesday, July 14, 2021): A1 & A10.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date July 13, 2021, and has the title “Humanoid Robot Keeps Getting Fired From His Jobs.”)

Supply Chain Fragility During Pandemic Undermines “Just-in-Time” Business Dogma

(p. A1) TOKYO— Toyota Motor Corp. is stockpiling up to four months of some parts. Volkswagen AG is building six factories so it can get its own batteries. And, in shades of Henry Ford, Tesla Inc. is trying to lock up access to raw materials.

The hyperefficient auto supply chain symbolized by the words “just in time” is undergoing its biggest transformation in more than half a century, accelerated by the troubles car makers have suffered during the pandemic. After sudden swings in demand, freak weather and a series of accidents, they are reassessing their basic assumption that they could always get the parts they needed when they needed them.

“The just-in-time model is designed for supply-chain efficiencies and economies of scale,” said Ashwani Gupta, Nissan Motor Co.’s chief operating officer. “The repercussions of an unprecedented crisis like Covid highlight the fragility of our supply-chain model.”

. . .

(p. A10) One day in 1950, Toyota executive Taiichi Ohno visited an American supermarket and marveled how the shelves were restocked as they were emptied, as Jeffrey Liker recounts in his book “The Toyota Way.” Shoppers were kept happy even though the supermarket had only small storerooms. It was the polar opposite of the car industry where warehouses were kept full of sheet metal and tires to ensure the assembly line never shut down.

Supermarkets had little choice, since they couldn’t stockpile bananas for months. Still, Mr. Ohno reasoned, their practices eliminated waste and cut costs. Toyota would only pay for what it needed to produce cars for a day. That meant they could make do with smaller factories and warehouses.

. . .

The tide began to turn with the global financial crisis. At least 50 auto suppliers went bankrupt, catching car makers by surprise. When suppliers like Visteon Corp. , a maker of air conditioners, radios and other components, declared bankruptcy, it led to fears that car factories relying on Visteon would also be unable to operate.

A different shock prompted a rethinking of just in time at the company where it started. The 2011 earthquake in northern Japan hit Toyota suppliers including chip maker Renesas Electronics Corp.

. . .

For certain components, Toyota asked its suppliers to stockpile parts, the antithesis of just in time. The on-hand inventory held by Toyota’s largest supplier, Denso Corp., rose to around 50 days’ worth of supply in the year ended March 2020, up from 38 days in 2011, according to its financial filings. Denso declined to comment on inventory figures but said it has started keeping emergency stores of parts, especially semiconductors.

Toyota’s efforts have helped it weather this year’s shortages of semiconductors better than many of its rivals, although it wasn’t perfect.

For the full story, see:

Sean McLain. “Auto Makers Hit Brakes On Just-in-Time Manufacturing.” The Wall Street Journal (Thursday, May 04, 2021): A1 & A10.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date May 3, 2021, and has the title “Auto Makers Retreat From 50 Years of ‘Just in Time’ Manufacturing.”)

The most recent edition of the classic book on Toyota’s success, mentioned above, is:

Liker, Jeffrey. The Toyota Way, 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2021.

Risk Averse Family Firms with Large Cash Reserves Can Last 1,000 Years

Is longevity for firms a noble goal? Or do humans usually flourish more in the churn of creative destruction?

(p. B1) KYOTO, Japan — Naomi Hasegawa’s family sells toasted mochi out of a small, cedar-timbered shop next to a rambling old shrine in Kyoto. The family started the business to provide refreshments to weary travelers coming from across Japan to pray for pandemic relief — in the year 1000.

Now, more than a millennium later, a new disease has devastated the economy in the ancient capital, as its once reliable stream of tourists has evaporated. But Ms. Hasegawa is not concerned about her enterprise’s finances.

Like many businesses in Japan, her family’s shop, Ichiwa, takes the long view — albeit longer than most. By putting tradition and stability over profit and growth, Ichiwa has weathered wars, plagues, natural disasters, and the rise and fall of empires. Through it all, its rice flour cakes have remained the same.

Such enterprises may be less dynamic than those in other countries. But their resilience offers lessons for businesses in places like the United States, where the coronavirus has forced tens of thousands into bankruptcy.

“If you look at the economics textbooks, enterprises are supposed to be maximizing profits, scaling up their size, market share and growth rate. But these companies’ operating principles are completely different,” said Kenji Matsuoka, a professor emeritus of business at Ryukoku University in Kyoto.

(p. B5) “Their No. 1 priority is carrying on,” he added. “Each generation is like a runner in a relay race. What’s important is passing the baton.”

Japan is an old-business superpower. The country is home to more than 33,000 with at least 100 years of history — over 40 percent of the world’s total, according to a study by the Tokyo-based Research Institute of Centennial Management. Over 3,100 have been running for at least two centuries. Around 140 have existed for more than 500 years. And at least 19 claim to have been continuously operating since the first millennium.

. . .

The businesses, known as “shinise,” are a source of both pride and fascination.

. . .

Most of these old businesses are, like Ichiwa, small, family-run enterprises that deal in traditional goods and services. But some are among Japan’s most famous companies, including Nintendo, which got its start making playing cards 131 years ago, and the soy sauce brand Kikkoman, which has been around since 1917.

. . .

The Japanese companies that have endured the longest have often been defined by an aversion to risk — shaped in part by past crises — and an accumulation of large cash reserves.

It is a common trait among Japanese enterprises and part of the reason that the country has so far avoided the high bankruptcy rates of the United States during the pandemic. Even when they “make some profits,” said Tomohiro Ota, an analyst at Goldman Sachs, “they do not increase their capital expenditure.”

Large enterprises in particular keep substantial reserves to ensure that they can continue issuing paychecks and meet their other financial obligations in the event of an economic downturn or a crisis. But even smaller businesses tend to have low debt levels and an average of one to two months of operating expenses on hand, Mr. Ota said.

For the full story, see:

Ben Dooley and Hisako Ueno. “A Family Business Got Its Start In a Pandemic (1,000 Years Ago).” The New York Times (Saturday, December 5, 2020): B1 & B5.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story was updated Jan. 7, 2021, and has the title “This Japanese Shop Is 1,020 Years Old. It Knows a Bit About Surviving Crises.”)

Build a Better Chalk and a South Korean Will Beat a Path to Your Door

A cliché usually credited to Emerson says that ‘if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door.’ Many, including Peter Thiel in his co-authored Zero to One, argue that the inventor of the better mousetrap needs some marketing to let the world know that her mousetrap is better. I think Thiel is mainly right, but the story quoted below suggests that sometimes the cliché may be true.

(p. A12) The bright-white sticks drop one by one into the whir and clatter of a weatherworn piece of machinery, where they are stamped with the most celebrated name in chalk: Hagoromo.

. . .

Of the thick grayish mass that emerges, four ingredients are known: calcium carbonate, clay, glue and oyster shells. The other three are a secret. In a video posted to YouTube about the chalk, an American fan offers a guess as to one of them: angel tears.

Hagoromo chalk is a cult favorite of elite academics, artists and others around the world who praise it for its silky feel, vibrant colors, scant dust and nearly unbreakable quality. Mathematicians in particular are prone to waxing poetic about it, and buying it in bulk. The YouTube video, produced by Great Big Story, has been viewed more than 18 million times.

Despite its renown, Hagoromo is still produced on a relatively small scale, using custom-made equipment, much of it run by two laborers who are identical twins — a throwback in a high-tech era where interactive displays are replacing chalkboards.

. . .

In 2014, Takayasu Watanabe, the grandson of the company’s founder, announced that Hagoromo would halt production, partly because of the industry’s declining fortunes and partly because of his own ill health.  . . .

As Mr. Watanabe was preparing to shut it down, he received a visit from Shin Hyeong-seok, who had been importing the chalk to South Korea for nearly 10 years. Mr. Shin sold the chalk through the company he started, Sejong Mall, named after King Sejong the Great, who in the 15th century created Hangeul, the Korean writing system.

Mr. Shin had discovered the chalk years before in Japan while investigating the workings of cram schools.   . . .

“I went into the teachers’ lounge and remember being mesmerized by the fluorescent-colored chalks,” he said. “And when I started writing with one, I could not put it down.”

On his trip to see Mr. Watanabe, Mr. Shin presented what he called a “crazy idea.” He, a teacher and importer with no manufacturing experience, would take over production of the chalk in South Korea. Mr. Watanabe laughed.

But Mr. Shin kept pressing. “My pitch to him was that there are many things in the world that will disappear one day, but the best-quality item should be the last to do so,” Mr. Shin said.

. . .

Takako Iwata, the second of Mr. Watanabe’s three daughters, who served as interpreter for Mr. Shin and her father, . . . said she wasn’t exactly sure how Hagoromo had become so beloved outside Japan. “I guess people who came to Japan just kept on bringing the chalk back to their home countries,” she said. “When my father was still running the company, he did not know about this huge following.”

That changed a bit, though, in his company’s final months, when he received a flood of orders, including from American professors who hoped to buy supplies large enough to last 10 years or more.

David Eisenbud, the director of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute at the University of California, Berkeley, said he had bought enough to last the rest of his life.

Dr. Eisenbud is a key figure in the chalk’s popularization in the United States. He was first introduced to it years ago during a visit to the University of Tokyo. “Everything about the chalk was exquisite,” he said. “I thought, ‘Chalk is chalk,’ but I was wrong.”

He later persuaded an acquaintance to import the chalk into the United States. (Mr. Shin now sells it to American buyers through Amazon.)

Yujiro Kawamata, a Japanese mathematician who introduced Hagoromo to Dr. Eisenbud, marveled at the turn of events.

“I happened to tell Eisenbud about the chalk, which was just a tool that was a part of my everyday life, and now the whole world knows about it,” Dr. Kawamata said.

For the full story, see:

Hikari Hida and Jean Chung. “How a Beloved Chalk Bridged a Bitter Divide to Survive.” The New York Times (Wednesday, November 18, 2020): A12.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Nov. 17, 2020, and has the title “A Ride on the Assembly Line With the World’s Most Famous Chalk.”)

PayPal entrepreneur Peter Thiel’s co-authored book mentioned above is:

Thiel, Peter, and Blake Masters. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future. New York: Crown Business, 2014.

Since SARS, Japanese Protect One Another by Wearing Masks

(p. A4) PARIS — Until a few weeks ago, Asian tourists were the only mask-wearers in Paris, eliciting puzzlement or suspicion from French locals, or even hostility as the coronavirus began sweeping across Europe.

. . .

This taboo is falling fast, not only in France but across Western countries, after mounting cries from experts who say the practice is effective in curbing the coronavirus pandemic.

The shift for Western nations is profound and has had to overcome not merely the logistical challenges of securing enough masks, which are significant enough, but also a deep cultural resistance and even stigma associated with mask-wearing, which some Western leaders described flatly as “alien.”

Seemingly, it won’t be for much longer. After discouraging people from wearing face masks, France, like the United States, has begun urging its citizens to wear basic or homemade ones outside. And some parts of Europe are moving faster than the United States by requiring masks instead of simply recommending their use.

. . .

. . . masks were . . . alien to Asia until it was struck by the SARS pandemic in 2003.

In Japan, after people got used to masks, they continued to wear them against seasonal allergies or to protect one another from germs. Unlike in other Asian nations, where many wear masks against air pollution, mask-wearing became widespread despite the absence of immediate threats.

Mask-wearing has become such a part of daily life that it now plays a role in maintaining an overall feeling of being “reassured” in Japanese society, said Yukiko Iida, an expert on masks at the Environmental Control Center, an environmental consulting company based in Tokyo.

“When you put on a mask, you’re not inconveniencing others when you cough,” Ms. Iida said. “You’re showing others that you’re abiding by social etiquette, and so people feel reassured.”

. . .

Daniel Illouz, a pharmacist in eastern Paris, said that he had been skeptical of the government’s repeated message that widespread mask-wearing was not helpful in fighting the epidemic.

“I don’t see why in all the Asian countries, where they have masks, it would work, but it wouldn’t work for us,” he said.

For the full story, see:

Norimitsu Onishi and Constant Méheut. “Wearing Masks, Common in Asia, Rises in the West.” The New York Times (Friday, April 10, 2020): A4.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date April 9, 2020, and has the title “Mask-Wearing Is a Very New Fashion in Paris (and a Lot of Other Places).”)

For Sophisticated Tasks, Robots Cost Much More Than Humans

(p. A6) . . . , however hospitable Japanese businesses have been to robots, they have learned that robots able to perform somewhat sophisticated tasks cost much more than human workers.

So at the factory in Asahikawa, where about 60 percent of the work is automated, many tasks still require the human touch. Workers peel pumpkins, for example, because some skin enhances the flavor of stew. A robot can’t determine just how much skin to shuck off.

Other efforts to use robots or automation have hit snags, in programs ranging from self-driving buses to package-delivering drones or robots that comfort nursing home residents.

A hotel staffed by androids in southern Japan ended up laying off some of its robots after customers complained that they were not as good at hospitality as people.

During a trial of self-driving buses in Oita City, also in southern Japan, one bus crashed into a curb, and officials realized that autonomous vehicles were not quite ready to cope with situations like traffic jams, jaywalkers or cars running red lights.

For the full story, see:

Motoko Rich. “Japan Loves Robots, but Not for Preparing Fries or Driving Buses.” The New York Times (Wednesday, January 1, 2020): A6.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the story was updated Jan. 4, 2019, and has the title “Japan Loves Robots, but Getting Them to Do Human Work Isn’t Easy.”)

Japan Records Fewest Births Since 1874

(p. A6) Japan has 512,000 fewer people this year than last, according to an estimate released on Tuesday by the country’s welfare ministry. That’s a drop of more than the entire population of the city of Atlanta.

The numbers are the latest sign of Japan’s increasing demographic challenges.

Births in the country — which are expected to drop below 900,000 this year — are at their lowest figure since 1874, when the population was about 70 percent smaller than its current 124 million.

The total number of deaths, on the other hand, is increasing. This year, the figure is expected to reach almost 1.4 million, the highest level since the end of World War II, a rise driven by the country’s increasingly elderly population.

For the full story, see:

Ben Dooley. “Japan Shrank by 500,000 People in 2019, as Births Hit Lowest Point Since 1874.” The New York Times (Wednesday, December 25, 2019): A6.

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Dec. 24, 2019, and has the title “Japan Shrinks by 500,000 People as Births Fall to Lowest Number Since 1874.”)

High-Tech Toilets Could Reduce Feces in Swimming Pools

If the cringeworthy facts reported below were more widely known, demand would greatly increase for the high-tech toilets common in Japan, that shoot water sprays at human rear ends, to quickly, comfortably, and completely remove fecal residue. Why has no one grasped this entrepreneurial opportunity?

(p. A2) Mrs. [Lindsey] Blackstock and several colleagues tested 31 swimming pools and hot tubs in hotels and recreational facilities in Canada for the presence of acesulfame potassium, an artificial sweetener that is largely undigested and almost entirely excreted in urine.
. . .
Using that information, they deduced that a 110,000-gallon pool they studied contained an estimated eight gallons of urine, while a 220,000-gallon pool contained an estimated 20 gallons. The concentrations represented about 0.01% of the total water volume.
“If your eyes are turning red when you’re swimming, or if you’re coughing or have a runny nose, it’s likely there is at least some urine in the pool,” said Michele Hlavsa, chief of the Healthy Swimming Program for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Urine isn’t a primary source of germs in pools or hot tubs, but feces that clings to the body is. At any time, Dr. Hlavsa said, adults have about 0.14 grams of poop on their bottoms and children have as much as 10 grams.
“When you’re talking about bigger water parks with 1,000 children in a given day, you’re now talking about 10 kilograms or 22 pounds of poop,” she said.
Feces can contain bacteria, viruses and parasites such as E. coli, norovirus and giardia that can lead to outbreaks of diarrhea, vomiting and other illnesses.

For the full commentary, see:
Jo Craven McGinty. “THE NUMBERS; A Sanitary Pool Requires Proper Behavior.” The Wall Street Journal (Saturday, July 21, 2017): A2.
(Note: ellipsis, and bracketed name, added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date July 21, 2017, and has the title “THE NUMBERS; Is That Pool Really Sanitary? New Chemical Approach Has Answers.”)

Blackstock’s research, described above, was published in:
Jmaiff Blackstock, Lindsay K., Wei Wang, Sai Vemula, Benjamin T. Jaeger, and Xing-Fang Li. “Sweetened Swimming Pools and Hot Tubs.” Environmental Science & Technology Letters 4, no. 4 (April 2017): 149-53.

Soichiro Honda Rushed Prototype Car “in Defiance of a Planned Japanese Law”

(p. A10) For many Japanese, Honda reflected the originality and self-confidence that turned the country into an industrial powerhouse after World War II.
. . .
The company was founded in 1946 by Soichiro Honda, a tinkerer who loved to battle the giants with his own innovations. He and a dozen workers took engines intended for small electric generators and attached them to bicycles, the first Honda product. Within 15 years, a Honda motorcycle was beating European rivals at the Isle of Man motorcycle race.
Around that time, Mr. Honda rushed out a prototype automobile despite having almost no experience in building them, in defiance of a planned Japanese law that would have restricted entry in the market.

For the full story, see:
Sean McLain. “Tech Costs Force Honda To Let Go of Engineering Legacy.” The Wall Street Journal (Monday, Aug. 6, 2018): A1 & A10.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date Aug. 5, 2018, and has the title “Honda Took Pride in Doing Everything Itself. The Cost of Technology Made That Impossible.”)