Contrary Newsletter #4: The promise of fusion, a deep dive into Figma, Canva, Adobe, and more

published4 months ago
2 min read

Here's What's New:

Foundations & Frontiers

In late 2022, the National Ignition Facility achieved fusion ignition and brought us one step closer to harnessing a technology that promises to usher in a new era of energy abundance.

For decades, fusion research has been shielded from public view by national defense departments because of its role in building weapons of mass destruction. Despite the years of secrecy, specialized knowledge required to understand it, and the prohibitive costs involved with studying it, the fusion space is now saturated with numerous private companies determined to find breakthroughs that help propel this technology to mass adoption as soon as possible.

There’s a profound, almost mystical, symbolism in our ability to confine the power source of our solar system into a test tube. After millennia of staring up at the Sun and worshipping its role in giving energy to all life on Earth, we are now learning to mimic and reproduce this power for ourselves.

Fusion on Earth, however, will arguably be even more efficient than the processes happening in the Sun, because it will need to happen faster, at higher temperatures and in a smaller area than that available to the Sun.

The promises of energy abundance, a near infinite fuel supply, the ability to fuse new elements and increase the power available to each person have the ability to completely reshape human life on Earth. As hard as it is to fathom that we are now capable of developing technologies that produce tiny stars, it’s even harder to imagine what fusion power will allow us to achieve in the decades and centuries to come.

Contrary Research

Contrary Research publishes thoughtful analysis of the best private technology companies. Here are the latest reports published this week:

The Designer Class
: From Figma to Canva: As more of our lives are digitized, more of our lives are designed. The designer class includes everyone responsible for shaping an aspect of our digital experience–from the professional designer to the casual marketer. We can trace the principles that guide digital design back through history. Read the full deep dive here.

Patch: The US 2021 Federal Sustainability Plan calls for almost every industry to reach "net zero" emissions by ~2030. Globally, over 70 countries, representing 76% of the world's emissions, have committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions through methods such as carbon taxes and mandatory reporting. Patch is a digital marketplace and set of APIs that helps businesses find and purchase carbon offsets to reach their net zero goals. Read the full report here.

Flock Safety: According to recent data from the FBI, only 50% of homicides in 2020 were resolved by police — down from more than 90% in the 1960s. The clearance rate for other types of violent crime, including manslaughter, and assault, have also seen notable decades-long declines since the 1980s. This is where Flock Safety comes in. As of late 2022, Flock Safety was reported to be helping solve 5% of all reported crimes across the US. Read the full report here.

Sardine: Crypto crime reached a high water mark of $14 billion in 2021, and crypto platforms are looking to become more secure from fraud and other crime. Sardine is a company that helps crypto platforms prevent fraud, increase authorization rates, and remain compliant with respective crypto on-ramp requirements, NFT checkout, and fraud & compliance products. Read the full report here.

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