Tag Archives: Ukraine

Europe Has…Too Much Natural Gas?

Russia has cut off Europe’s gas supplies. But despite Putin’s best efforts, it’s looking like a toasty winter on the continent.


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Ships carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG) are lined up in ports across Europe. The only problem: finding a place to put it all!

From a report out this morning in Bloomberg:

Europe suddenly has more gas than it can use.

Starved of the Russian imports on which its long relied, Europe has rushed to import liquefied natural gas from around the world to fill up storage. Now, a combination of unusually warm weather and successful bidding for cargoes means facilities are almost full before Europeans have even turned the thermostats up. Gas prices have also fallen back sharply, and are less than a third of their summer peak.

Bloomberg’s index for loaded tankers on the water for 20 days or more has risen to the highest since at least 2017. Last week, Spain’s Enagas SA warned it may need to limit numbers as it has little room to absorb excess imports.

This sudden turnabout shows how well markets work. Natural gas prices spiked in Europe, so suppliers sent their gas there.

After all, why not get the best price?

But so many sent gas, the price has plummeted. It’s now lower than when the war in Ukraine began.

Russia has lost its best bargaining chip. If it can’t freeze the continent, what other options does it have?

Russia has also damaged its economic future.

Europe will never view it as a reliable supplier again. Putin may struggle to find a buyer for his gas, given his prior treachery.

Russia should keep in mind that there’s an expiration date on that gas. Solar energy is already cheaper in many circumstances.

Governments are working to limit CO2 emissions. Renewables are scaling and getting cheaper every day.

In a few decades, there may be little demand for fossil fuels.

The future for Russia looks bleak. Meanwhile, with its energy supplies diversified, Europe will be more secure than ever.

What do you think the future holds for Russia and Europe? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know.

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SoftBank May Launch Third Vision Fund

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Photo: “#8962 LNG ship from BR189” by Nemo’s great uncle is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Russian Engineers Are Fleeing the Country

Russia’s best tech talent is fleeing the country. Pushed out by a draft for the war in Ukraine, nearly a quarter of the nation’s best developers have left, according to a report in The New Scientist:


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Hundreds of Russia’s top software developers appear to have left the country during its military invasion of Ukraine. The exodus of tech talent started even before Russian president Vladimir Putin announced a partial military mobilisation in September, spurring an estimated 200,000 men to flee amid the prospect of being drafted to join the war effort, and it could spell trouble for Russia’s future.

Almost 23 per cent of Russian developers who made the most contributions to coding projects on the software development platform GitHub changed their location information or deleted their profiles between February 2021 and June 2022. That figure is nearly four times as high as that of developers from neighbouring countries who aren’t directly involved in the conflict.

These engineers are the key to dominating the industries of tomorrow. Without them, Russia will struggle to compete.

“Their permanent departure from the Russian labour pool or from the Russian economy can have detrimental effects,” says Samuel Bendett at the Center for New American Security, a national security think tank in Washington DC. “There aren’t that many IT workers in Russia to begin with.”

Tech workers who remain in Russia face an uncertain future, as they might be drafted to replenish the Russian military’s ranks.

This research agrees with what I’m seeing every day in the technology industry.

Just last night, a young VC from Russia told me most of his friends have already left the country. One abandoned a job and two apartments to start over from scratch abroad.

They don’t want to be killed or have to kill someone else. And with Putin rounding up young men to fight, even a visit home is out of the question.

These highly skilled workers have more options than anyone else. So it’s no surprise that they’re the first ones off a sinking ship.

The biggest beneficiaries so far seem to be nearby countries. Georgia, Armenia, and Turkey have attracted large numbers of talented young Russians since the invasion of Ukraine.

The United States should stop at nothing to attract these talented young men.

We have nowhere near the number of engineers our massive technology industry needs. Anyone who’s tried to recruit developers knows how hard it is.

These young Russians are top technical talent there for the taking. And the US can offer pay far beyond any company in Turkey or Georgia.

Attracting Russia’s best and brightest is also the ultimate PR coup. Look Mr. Putin, your most talented young people are leaving you and coming to us!

The White House is welcoming Russian asylum seekers. We should double down on this strategy, with a particular emphasis on finding top engineers.

There will be nothing sweeter than using Putin’s own people to beat him.

What do you think of Russia’s brain drain? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

Have a great weekend everyone!

More on tech:

The Autonomous Weapons of the Future…and Present

How I Source Deals

Bridge Rounds: Yea or Nay?

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Photo: “Russia trip, Apr 2008 – 57” by Ed Yourdon is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

The Autonomous Weapons of the Future…and Present


A man walks in a remote field. From a place he cannot even see, a quiet drone takes off.

It’s headed his way.

This drone was made by Anduril Industries and this time, it just watched. But it can do a lot more.

These powerful craft can fly at 80 to 100 mph. By comparison, a typical DJI drone can reach about 40 miles per hour.

The Anduril drone is so fast and durable it can knock other drones out of the sky. The five year old defense startup bills itself as different from the big boys like General Dynamics or Northrop Grumman:

“Unlike most defence companies, we don’t wait for our customers to tell us what they need. We identify problems, privately fund R&D and sell finished products off the shelf.

David Goodrich, CEO Anduril Australia & Asia Pacific

Anduril is taking robot warfare beyond aerial drones. It recently bought a company called Dive Technologies, which makes autonomous submarines.

What if you had hundreds of even thousands of these autonomous subs patrolling your coast…or even attacking your enemy’s navy right in its own harbors? These relatively cheap and quick to produce vessels could change naval warfare forever.

Anduril’s drones rely on computer vision and AI to spot threats.

I’ve actually seen similar technology used by startups that sell security cameras to individuals. In those cases, the system flags a potential intruder for a human to review in real time.

This type of tech isn’t just being used abroad. It’s in our neighborhoods and also on our southern border, where it’s used to track immigration.

We’ve had numerous issues with policing of poor communities in America. It concerns me how a new generation of AI and robotics could be trained on those who already have the least.

As explosive as certain policing incidents have been, what will happen when the unarmed man is confronting a robot?

But like any new technology, Anduril’s capabilities can also be used for good. The startup is working with NATO forces in Poland, perhaps to prepare them for a Russian threat to Poland stemming from the Ukraine conflict.

I doubt we can put this genie back in the bottle. But I hope governments and citizens will work together to ensure these powerful technologies are used for good.

What do you think of Anduril’s tech and how it may be used? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know.

More on tech:

Growing Veggies on Mars

How Tech Could Stop Wildfires

The Startup Pitch Checklist

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Is Russia’s Google Finished?

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Yandex NV dominates the Russian market, with a majority of all Russians visiting its platforms every month. It offers the nation’s most popular search engine, an e-commerce portal, and even ride sharing.

But now Russia’s premiere tech company’s days may be numbered.

Yandex’s stock is down 75% from its peak last fall. Partnerships with Uber and Grubhub are being wound down since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Yandex’s ambitious expansion overseas is dead in the water. A plan to offer cloud computing in Europe has been shelved.

Indeed, it will be hard to do any business overseas with the banks Yandex relies on within Russia facing crippling sanctions.

But the most immediate threat to Yandex may lie in obscure covenants on its debt.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has suspended trading in its Nasdaq-listed shares. A long enough suspension may trigger a requirement for Yandex to immediately repay $1.25 billion to owners of its convertible bonds.

Yandex does not have the money.

Meanwhile, the company’s staff are nervously eyeing the exits.

Yandex employees’ compensation is largely in stock, which has lost most of its value. This will make it hard to motivate and retain employees.

Those who can are likely to move abroad. In a red hot market for engineers, finding a new position should be easy for them.

In all, Yandex is losing key markets, dealing with staff panic, and facing imminent insolvency. Absent help from the Kremlin, it’s hard to see how this company survives.

Yandex’s woes spell trouble for Russia as a whole.

The nation is heavily dependent on resource extraction. Companies like Yandex represented a chance to diversify and join the lucrative tech industry dominated by the West.

But Russia’s authoritarianism is making that transition harder and harder.

Oil prices are high right now, but as the world transitions to renewable energy, Russia may be left with resources the world no longer wants.

And not much else.

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Help Ukraine Fight for Freedom

I had a whole post written for you today, all about startups, founders, fundraising, yada yada yada.

But the war in Ukraine made that seem pretty insignificant. So today, I’d like to talk briefly about how we can help.

People in Ukraine are fighting for freedom, and for their lives. A tyrant is trying to enslave them and kill anyone who resists.

Ukrainians need our help.

Please join me in donating to the cause. Here are some great options to easily send a donation:

I pray the brave Ukrainians can fight off Russia and restore peace and democracy. Glory to Ukraine!

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