When Tech Is So Good You Don’t Even Notice
And why you shouldn’t wait til then to invest
Ric Edelman: It's Tuesday, March 21st. I often talk about tech on this show because our technological innovations are changing the planet. We're growing so accustomed to them that tech innovations are just not getting anybody terribly excited about them anymore. Google just introduced a new phone that deletes images from your photos. So there's no photobombing in your pictures. You're probably just yawning about it. A spaceship was launched from Cape Kennedy last week. You didn't even notice. Well, why should you? There were 180 Space launches last year. That's one every other day.
You know, there was once a time when people used to get really excited about technology, the introduction of indoor plumbing, electricity, the radio (which they used to call a wireless record player), the television, the steam engine, the locomotive and of course, the airplane. When these things were introduced, they captured our full attention. We were inspired, filled with awe. Now, innovations come so fast and so often they're just often iterations on a theme; we don't even notice. We don't even notice when they're gone either.
I've deliberately waited a few weeks to bring you today's story because I wanted to make this point. Did you hear the news that Boeing has now made the last of its 747s? The 747 jet was introduced in 1967. Boeing made nearly 1,600 of them, and they just finished making the last one. We're saying goodbye to the production of the world's most recognized jetliner. We'll see them in the air for decades to come.
You'll probably be flying in one for a long time, but no more are being built. This represents the end of one of the most important chapters in the history of aviation. It was the 747 that made air travel possible for millions of people. The longest range, the biggest passenger capacity. Tickets at affordable prices. Yeah, the 747 can go nonstop between the US and Asia. The jet normally holds about 350 to 400 people, but a 747 once carried nearly 1100 people on a single flight. In 1991, El Al took out all the seats so they could stuff a whole bunch of people into the plane. 1,087 Ethiopian Jews that needed to be evacuated.
The 747 brought us important innovations in aircraft design, widebodies that featured two aisles. That was a first. A raised cockpit put on its own level above the jet so that the freight could be loaded by the front of the plane, lifting the nose of the aircraft. That's why you see that hump on the plane that makes the 747 instantly recognizable. And being able to load cargo through the nose means the plane can transport huge objects. That's why the 747 has been the leader, not just in passenger aviation, but for freight aviation as well. The Wright brothers could have put their historic first flight inside the plane. That's how big it is. NASA used 747s to carry space shuttles around the country. And of course, Air Force One is a 747. Its turbofan engines had twice as much power as older engines.
The 747 is still the world's fastest commercial jet. Top speed is 650 miles an hour. On its 50th anniversary in 2020, it set a transatlantic speed record: it went from New York to London in less than five hours. And yet it only uses two thirds of as much fuel as other jets did when it was introduced in the 1960s. The 747 is also the first aircraft in the world that was built with triple redundancy in all of its major systems, quadruple redundancy in the control and hydraulics. That made the plane maybe the safest aircraft in the world. But its systems were so new it also forced Boeing to introduce the flight simulator, a completely new way to train pilots.
The 747 is so big and Boeing makes so many of them at the same time that they ended up having to build the world's largest building, the Boeing factory in Everett, Washington. If you've never been there, you've really got to go, it's awesome. 13,000,000m³ (by volume). The building is so big that clouds form inside it. All told, 6 billion people have flown on the 747, a total of 7 billion miles. That's like flying to the moon and back 137,000 times. The electrical wiring in the plane would stretch 170 miles. The plane has 6 million parts. Half of them are fasteners just to hold the plane together.
It's not just that the plane changed flying. It changed takeoffs and landing too. The plane is so big and handles so many passengers and so much freight that airports had to be completely redesigned. New and bigger check-in counters and terminals. Ground support equipment had to grow. Catering trucks had to be modified so they could reach the cabin doors. Refueling tankers now had to be long enough to get under the massive wings.
And now no more are being built. And you either didn't notice or didn't care. That's okay. That's the pinnacle of technology. When we stop noticing the tech, you know that it's become truly ubiquitous. I bet you've got no idea what aircraft you're flying when you book a flight. You don't give it any thought. Plane is a plane is a plane. They're all pretty darn big and fast and safe and good. That's the way tech is supposed to be. That's the way tech is supposed to make everything. When you text, you don't think about the tech you're using to text. You just focus on sending your message. That's the problem with crypto today. It's difficult to use, fraught with issues.
The Model T wasn't very easy to use either. It wasn't comfortable. Breakdowns were common. Today's cars are so much safer and faster and more practical than the Model T. We pay no attention to the fact that the Model T caused us to build an interconnected system of millions of miles of roads, 130,000 gas stations across the country, countless auto dealers and repair shops, auto insurance companies and more. All because of the innovation of the Model T, the 747 is in the history books, but aviation innovation is continuing and at a faster pace than ever.
Coming next, the electric airplane to combat climate change and then self-flying aircraft and a return to supersonic aircraft, parabolic aircraft that go into space during their flights. So you can go from New York to Tokyo in about an hour. All these innovations are going to be in commercial use by the end of the decade. Maybe you'll notice them, maybe not, but you'll definitely benefit and you'll profit by investing in these technologies. If you're smart, not just in jet and automotive innovation, but in crypto as well. Yeah, crypto is cumbersome and difficult to use, fraught with issues today, but it's the Model T era and that's the era in which you want to make investments. You want to invest across the entire exponential technology sector. And that's why I talk with you often about this subject and why I like to mention Global X ETFs. They've got 36 different thematic ETFs in this space - AI and robotics, biotech, crypto, cybersecurity, eSports, electric vehicles, FinTech, Green Tech, Internet, natural resources and more. GlobalXETFs.com. We've got a link to them in the show notes. You need to consider these as part of a diversified portfolio and talk with your financial advisor about the notion of investing in exponential technologies as well.
The Edelman Scholars Program update
Before we go today, I want to mention something that Jean and I are pretty excited about. We now have a bunch of Edelman scholars. Yeah. Jean and I donated $10 million to form an endowment at Rowan University, and we are now into phase two of awarding scholarships at the Ric Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts. This year's class of Edelman scholars are underway. Students are chosen because they have demonstrated their contributions meaningfully to the college, and we're happy to support their academic careers and professional development.
The Edelman Scholars Program is designed to transform the lives of students who might otherwise not have the opportunity to attend or graduate from college. The program provides support services, community building and experiential learning opportunities to foster lifelong success for students who are majoring in degrees provided by the Ric Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts, and our Edelman Scholars is a program that is unlike any other scholarship in the United States.
Not only do these students receive scholarship toward the full cost of attendance, tuition, books, fees and meals, as well as year-round on campus housing, they also get support from Rowan's student support services, internships and work study and community service opportunities, professional development support, participation in our peer mentoring program, social events to foster connections within the Rowan University community. They also receive, if they graduate in four years, not only is college 100% paid for, but they also receive $17,000 as a cash award upon their graduation to help them get started in life. In other words, they receive the equivalent of a fifth year's cost of college in cash to help them in their post college career.
We're really excited about this program. It's available to incoming first year students who have been accepted to Rowan with a major at the Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts. Eligibility is determined by financial need based on the FAFSA form and other data provided to the university. Eligible students are invited to submit an application and a brief survey. The finalists will get interviewed by the selection committee. It's our goal to materially have a meaningful impact in the lives of incoming students who otherwise would never have been able to afford going to college or getting a college degree and then having the money available to them to get started in their life following graduation. Edelman scholars at Rowan University's Ric Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts. Jean and I are really excited about it. Thought we'd mention it to you.
Lastly, you know that there's a big buzz about crypto. As big a buzz about crypto as there has been in years. You need to learn what all this is all about and I want to help you get your certificate in blockchain and digital assets. A new investor, consumer and student track just for you. In addition to a track for financial advisors, a separate track for financial professionals and a fourth track for crypto professionals. Learn all about this from my sister company, the Digital Assets Council of Financial Professionals at DACFP.com.