Author Archives: Jan Molski

Project Natick

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Microsoft Underwater Data Center Project

Microsoft Natick Phase 2 capsule

Let’s stars with what data centres are and why we need them. Data center is a group of networked computer servers connected with internet, typically used by organizations for the remote storage, processing, or distribution of large amounts of data. Some people say that data is the important asset of out time and it has to be located somewhere. To keep this precious asset safe, we have to assure that computers has the best possible conditions to exist.

But what conditions computers like. Computers do not enjoy temperature fluctuations. So changes between day and night or summer and winter may cause components of a computer to fail. Humidity or even oxygen in the air are also bad for these fragile devices which may cause corrosion of components. 

Providing best possible conditions is not easy but Microsoft has a project which may be an answer. Project Natick is a research project with ambitious goal of testing undersea Data Base solution.

A research project to determine the feasibility of subsea datacenters powered by offshore renewable energy  Project Natick seeks to understand the benefits and difficulties in deploying subsea datacenters worldwide.

The project started in 2015 with a goal of reducing energy consumption of data centres. Phase One was a proof of concept to check if they can create completely waterproof capsule which will hold on underwater for 105 days. The Phase One showed that it is possible to create completely water-tight server capsules. It also confirmed that this environment is better for computers.

The second phase was keeping capsule for longer period of time (24 months) underwater. Back in 2018, Microsoft sunk a 12 meter long container to the bottom of the Scottish sea. Keeping capsule undersea is providing great insolation from temperature fluctuations. In fact water has about 1000x the heat capacity of air. Capsule is also filled with 1 atmosphere pressure, dry nitrogen which is less corrosive than oxygen.

Microsoft datacenter servers with FPGA acceleration and 27.6 petabytes of disk. This Natick datacenter is as powerful as several thousand high end consumer PCs and has enough storage for about 5 million movies.

So far tests of f resulted in 8 times better failure rate for server computers in the capsule in comparison to the same exact components used in on land data center. Microsoft claims that it need less than 90 days from factory to operation which sounds like quite long production time. But probably it will be better with time.

source: Microsoft website

But what about environmental impact of keeping data underwater? Right now Project Natick test is powered by 100% locally produced renewable electricity from on-shore wind and solar, off-shore tide and wave. Using only renewable energy is in fact the goal for Microsoft. Other important thing is impact on sealife. Microsoft claims that “sealife enjoys and takes advantage of a data center”. I have to also mention that less failure of components results with less electronic waste at the end.

I think underwater Data Centers may be a standard in the field of data storage and data processing. It is easier and cheaper to produce such a capsule than a whole building. It’s also harder to access which will be better from the security perspective. I love fact that is has that much improvement in preventing failure of components. Moreover it may be located close to huge agglomerations. According to Microsoft 50% of worlds population lives up to 120 miles from the coast so it would be easier for data to transfer. I can not wait to see full results of Project Natick and how it will change Data Storage for ever.



Reading Time: 3 minutes

The future of polish insurance market?

ONE insurance – licensed insurance company owned by wefox group is aiming to enter polish market in 2021. ONE is a fully digital insurer based in Liechtenstein. The only possible way to buy their products is threw wefox application. Insurance agents can buy or change household, liability, and car insurance on behalf of their customers in just a few minutes – totally paperless. ONE claims to be the first fully digital insurer in Europe.

Wefox Group

ONE is a part of Wefox Group. But what exactly is Wefox Group? Founded in November 2014 by Julian Teicke – Wefox was created by the Swiss brand FinanceFox. It is a digital platform that shifts a classic industry to an integrated digital solution. Since operations began in Switzerland in September 2015, in Germany in October 2015 and in Austria in March 2017, wefox has already welcomed more than 500.000 clients in record time.

It is now also the number 1 insurtech in Europe (by value). Since then they has been able to build a sustainable business in insurance despite being newcomer. Today wefox serves over 500,000 end customers that are managed by over 2000 brokers and have insurance policies from over 300 insurance companies. Right now they employ 400 people.

Wefox’s digital marketplace serves customers, brokers and insurance companies by offering an intelligent and efficient way to manage insurance and financial products, and back-office procedures. wefox combines modern opportunities with expertise, traditional experience with an innovative, digital approach.

Lemonade vs ONE

ONE is in a way similar to Lemonade. The company was established in the same year as lemonade but as a solution for brokers and in 2017 is evolved for not only platform to find your agent and insurance but also buy ONE insurance products — licensed insurer fully integrated with wefox app. Lemonade claims that Wefox “reverse engineered their solution” and filled a lawsuit.

“The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court Southern District of NY, alleges that Wefox reverse engineered Lemonade to create ONE, infringing Lemonade’s intellectual property, violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and breaching its contractual obligations to Lemonade not to “copy content… to provide any service that is competitive…or to…create derivative works.”  ~

ONE in Poland

One will start in Poland with selling car insurances, household insurance and private liability insurance. One claims that they will enter polish market in Q1 2021. Firstly they claimed that One will be available in Q1 2020 but it was postponed due to Coronavirus ourbreak. The details on the strategy are not public and it is hard to find any information about exact products and date of entering the Polish market.

I’m curious how ONE will impact polish insurance market. Only the future will tell us if poles are likely to love of hate D2C (direct to customers) fully digital insurance products.





Growing plastic instead of food – LEGO made of plants?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Lego is the word which is associated with creativity, planning, aspiration and joy.

I believe LEGO is the best toy ever. It gives you the possibility to create your own worlds and make up stories around it. It’s undoubtedly amazing not only for kids. However, it is made of plastic, which is not an eco-friendly material.  In fact, production of  19 000 000 000 pieces using 5000 000 kg of ABS plastic each year is emitting about million tons of carbon dioxide yearly. But the Lego Group announced that they will be 100% powered by renewable energy by 2020 (they already achieved the goal in 2017, actually) and free from oil-based plastic by 2030. 

“We strive to reduce the CO2 emissions from making LEGO bricks. We do this by increasing carbon efficiency and investing in onsite and offsite renewables.

We are proud to be balanced with 100% renewable energy due to the investments in offshore wind in Germany and the UK by our parent company KIRKBI A/S. Energy output from investments in renewables currently exceeds the energy used at our factories, offices and stores.”

~ Lego Group

Lego is planning to invest $400 000 000 to accelerate their sustainability efforts. In 2018 the company introduced first sustainable set 40320 called “Plants from plants”. The material they used was plastic made from ethanol that comes from sugarcane. It is plastic which has the same properties but the process reduces carbon footprint of the plastic. Some people may say that growing plastic instead of food is not that good idea. Especially in Brazil, where large sugarcane plantations display poor farmers which results in deforestation (farmers has to move somewhere).

According to National Geographic, 91% of plastic is not recycled every year.

Lego is made of plastic but of one that is for sure reusable. It is seen as a valuable thing to have. It is common to see Lego sets produced in 80’s or even 70’s being still in use – I personally have old Lego sets my father used to play with. The one thing which is not reusable in lego sets are those little plastic bags. Lego Group is planning to replace it with the ones that would be made of paper. It is part of the 100% eco Lego by 2030 plan.

To be honest I still do sometime buy Lego. It is my way to chill out. If you are also a Lego enthusiast or you have some Lego bricks, let me know!




The Internet — everywhere

Reading Time: 3 minutesI probably do not have to say it but the Internet is useful. 

Unfortunately, nearly 50% of our population do not have access to the Internet. In Africa, only 28% of population has access to the Internet. But building infrastructure for Africa would be expensive. Hundreds  of billions expensive.

Access to the Internet – International Telecommunications Union

Right now every place with the Internet access is connected with those long, complicated cable net under the oceans. But what you can do to bring quite cheap the Internet to places and people where essential infrastructure is too expensive? 

Traditional satellite technology isn’t enough. it has limited data capability and connections speed. It results in huge lag in data transfer and slow connection. It’s expensive solution and it’s not that great over all.

You may also send thousands of smaller satellites and provide the Internet form space to every, event abandoned places. It’s the only way to speed up data transfer in areas where cables can’t reach. But sending satellite to the orbit is expensive. To sent thousands of satellites you have to figure out how to do it without throwing away every rocket used for liftoff. SpaceX figured it out how to reuse rockets. SpaceX can send satellites for 90% less than other institutions thanks to that. Megaconstellation of 40 000 satellites – project Starlink is possible mainly because SpaceX has acmes to this amazing technology.

Why? – the context

Elon Musk dreamt about colonisation of other since he was a child. When he got money from the sale of PayPal — 165 mln USD — he decided to do two things. First one was to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy” — mission of Tesla inc. — second one was to “make mankind interplanetary” — mission of SpaceX. He invested every penny he has received having those goals in mind. 


“You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great – and that’s what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It’s about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past. And I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars.”  

~ Elon Musk on SpaceX mission    


Space X — true purpose of Starlink

SpaceX has been created to bring humanity to Mars. It’s complicated task. As You may think — to achieve it’s goal SpaceX needs money. Huge pile of cash actually. Elon Musk’s masterplan how to get this huge pile of cash is Starlink. SpaceX’s list of achievements is impressive so it seems like they are the only candidate to make mankind interplanetary and by the way give the Internet access to every person in the World. (And in the meantime became the biggest company in the world in therms of revenue).

At the end I want to share the list of my favourite SpaceX achievements:

  1. The first privately funded rocket to reach orbit — Falcon 1 flight 4 on 28 September 2008 — (if this one went wrong, SpaceX or Tesla would be gone)
  2. The first private company to successfully launch, orbit, and recover a spacecraft — SpaceX Dragon on COTS Demo Flight 1 on 9 December 2010 
  3. The first private company to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station  —Dragon C2+ on 25 May 2012.
  4. The first landing of an orbital rocket’s first stage on land — Falcon 9 flight 20 on 22 December 2015.
  5. The first landing of an orbital rocket’s first stage on an ocean platform — Falcon 9 flight 23 on 8 April 2016.
  6. The first private company to send an object into heliocentric orbit — Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster on Falcon Heavy test flight on 6 February 2018 (also the best advertisement ever)
  7. The first private company to send humans to the International Space Station — Crew Dragon Demo-2 on 31 May 2020
  8. First company cutting costs of sending anything to orbit 90%
  9. First self-sufficient space company ever
  10. One of the coolest companies ever 



Future of the Industry 10x bigger than software

Reading Time: 3 minutes

This story is about technology which is revolutionising 10x bigger industry than software — agriculture.

We are facing real challenges in agriculture. How will we manage to feed an increasing number of people with the limited space? How can we attract young people to be farmers? How will we manage to grow with no chemicals harmful to our planet? How will we deal with the climate change? But let’s start with a story of a man who established first New York City vertical farm.

Kimbal Musk in The Kitchen

Kimbal Musk is a businessman, chef and owner of Kitchen Restaurant Group — community restaurant located in several U.S. cities. In 90s, together with his brother Elon, he established Zip2 — the online city guide software provider. They started with almost no money — slept on the office floor, showered in the YMCA and ate alone — mostly fast-food. After selling Zip2, Kimbal went to New York City, found his passion for food and learned how to cook. After 09/11 he cooked for firefighters and saw how food brought them together in a specific way. After this expirience he decided to open a new type of restaurant. Place designed to bring people together in a sense of a community built around eating — The Kitchen. During the process of menu design he came across a problem with quality of industrial food supply chain. Industrial food is a mass production and it doesn’t taste good. It’s also a reason why over 70% of Americans are overweight or obese. Kimbal decided to dedicate his life to bringing quality food to people.

And that’s how Square Roots started. An indoor urban farm built with old shipping containers. Each container (30m2) is equivalent of 8000 m2 outdoor farming. It’s also water efficient using 30l of water (daily shower is 30-60l) a day thanks to the water enclosed circuit. Ability to control humidity, temperature, light and minerals gives a possibility to grow better quality, tastier plants faster. It uses artificial LED light but even though it is more energy efficient than traditional farms. Clients can choose certain greens for their custom subscription plan. In places like New York it’s the best way to get lettuce, herbs, rucola etc. Same technology is also the only way to farm in space and will be someday used on Mars. Vertical farming is also a way to get young people interested in the subject of breeding. In its first week the company has had hundreds of young people waiting in line to be a farmer in Square Roots. Expected salary of farmer in NYC is between $37K – $39K/yr.

Square Roots Brooklyn Farm

Square Roots Brooklyn Farm

Vetrical Farms technology is also used in Europe. The Netherlands – the world’s number two exporter of food as measured by value there are numerous indoor vertical farms. The Dutch are also the world’s top exporter of potatoes and onions and the second largest exporter of vegetables overall in terms of value despite relatively small size. Thanks to the controlled environment and stacking plants vertically, the Netherlands are producing 10x more plants per 1km2 in comparison to the world average.

The future of farming is bright – and it’s vertical.




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