Okay, robot construction dogs just got creepy
Newsletter cover photo
The lunar jobsite takes one giant leap (for mankind) forward
Hey there,
Happy November! To tide us over until the holiday season, we have a lengthy and confusing election season coupled with suddenly pitch-black early evenings.
The opening scene of the Season 2 premiere of
The Mandalorian
did a fairly accurate job predicting Tuesday’s events:
Noticing the clock was a bit more unnerving than being ambushed, though.
Okay, enough politics; a construction tech newsletter should be an escape from all that, ie., there's a link up ahead about haunted jobsites—an utterly bipartisan issue if ever there was one.
Let’s get to this week's news and notes—

Construction

Procore's
Groundbreak 2020 happened last week, and boy was it virtual. All keynotes were recorded (including a transparent, and truly remarkable fireside chat between Procore CEO Tooey Courtemanche and future Earth CEO Brené Brown) and are
available to stream
for attendees. Prior to Groundbreak, Procore introduced their answer to Apple’s Screen Time that makes you ask “Wow, I spend
that
much time on twitter?” with
visibility
into how much time you’re spending in third-party
marketplace apps
.
If you weren't aware, Buildr is one of those marketplace apps! Some minor housekeeping to take care of: we still have some really cool Buildr swag in stock. If you're interested in less painful closeout and over-delivering to your clients (and most importantly reading the Buildr newsletter in your Buildr shirt with your Buildr coffee mug), you can schedule time with us (
and claim your free swag
)
here
.
Some of our GC partners like giving their clients iPads fully locked and loaded with their digital turnover packages that we help them create and standardize across all their projects.
We're giving an iPad Pro away
(with an Apple Pencil) in a raffle on Black Friday (11/27/20) to save you some dough. To enter, simply "follow" us on LinkedIn for one (1) entry ticket in the raffle
here
.
From
Forbes
, carmaker Hyundai and construction software giant Autodesk have joined forces
to design the ultimate mobility vehicles
. When they say "ultimate," they don't just mean lugging stuff around on the jobsite (though it will be able to do that too). They're talking
moon stuff
. Assumed task load includes, but is not limited to, search and rescue, exploration (earth and beyond), and military and defense.
Speaking of moon stuff: In a press release from
ICON
, the forward-thinking construction tech developer
announced
that it was awarded a government contract which includes funding from NASA to start research on a space-based construction system for the purposes of moon exploration.
ICON will primarily use 3D printing technology to produce lunar housing and launchpads, among other things.
At least far-from-home contractors (the proposed jobsite is 250,000 miles away from earth) will have decent cell service. NASA recently granted Nokia
$14.1 million
to set up a 4G network on the moon.
Before we get too excited about less gravity implying an easier time moving large objects, consider first that thermal, radiation, and micrometeorite protections will need to be in place. We also need to account for the whole "you can't breathe there" and "it's really cold" aspects. Talk about harsh jobsite conditions. Let's hope trade partners get an amount of coin that would make Alaskan fishermen blush.
ENR
has announced their
Top 600 Specialty Contractors of 2020 list
. The top 10 (which have identical top 5 rankings as last year) are as follows:
1.
Quanta Services - Houston, TX
2.
EMCOR Group, Inc. - Norwalk, Conn.
3.
MasTec Inc., - Coral Gables, Fla.
4.
BrandSafway - Kennesaw, Ga.
5.
APi Group - New Brighton, Minn.
6.
Primoris Services Corp. - Dallas, TX
7.
Artera Services - Atlanta, Ga.
8.
MYR Group Inc. - Rolling Meadows, Ill.
9.
Comfort Systems USA Inc. - Houston, TX
10.
Rosendin Electric - San Jose, CA
Note that even though the list is for 2020, these rankings reflect the pre-COVID idyllic times of quaint ol' 2019 (Quanta Services led the pack with $12.1 billion in revenue in 2019). We'll have to wait until next year's list to see how much work stoppages and strained conditions affected revenue for specialty contractors.
From
Construction Review Online
, construction has begun on what will be the world's longest tunnel. Connecting Germany and Denmark,
the $8 billion Fehmarnbelt Tunnel
will put the 45-minute ferry service out of business the first day that the 7-minute tunnel train ride (or 10-minute car ride) is possible. The Fehmarnbelt Tunnel won't be completed until 2029 however, which will hopefully give Danish ferry workers enough time to discover alternative career pursuits.
From
ENR
, Boston Dynamics and Trimble
have teamed up
to produce a co-branded version of Spot the Robot Construction Dog, complete with a GNSS antenna and laser scanner. This good boy is also integrated into Trimble's Field Link and Earthworks software applications. Talk about well-trained.
Spot's deep software integration and seamless deployment into Trimble's existing workflows inflated its tab to a cool $150k, a far cry from the $74.5k listing we reported when Spot first went up for sale publicly. This sort of integration could set a precedent moving forward. Will businesses continue to opt-in doubling Spot's price tag for a lower learning curve? Or will they cop the OG version and clear their calendars to potty train him? We'll keep an eye on this, obviously.
Have you ever thought Spot not having a face made him look creepy? We promise that the alternative is much worse.
This link
is not for the faint of heart. Shouts to Boston Dynamics' Brian Ringley for finding this.
From
Construction Junkie
, check out the
7 spookiest things
found on jobsites this year in honor of Halloween. Bones, caskets, ghosts, you name it. Really, the only spooky jobsite thing missing is that robot dog with a face in the previous section.
From
The B1M
, here’s
a video
on why New York has no Megatall skyscrapers. Megatall means the building has to surpass 600m. Noteworthy Megatall Burj Khalifa in Dubai stands 828m, which is roughly the size of 10 or so
Tacko Falls
standing on each other’s shoulders (no need to fact check this).

Non-Construction

All business
: Do you like business? Reading? Reading about business?
These 6 books
, including
No Rules Rules
by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer, are on
Financial Times
and McKinsey's shortlist for Best Business Book of 2020.
Quibi-sized existence
: Streaming startup Quibi
ended up lasting
roughly the bite-sized length of its self-defined content, "5 to 10 minutes."
Too Smart
: Smart watch features can apparently
track your vocal inflections
and see what mood other people perceive you having.
Macrotransaction
: For all our macro-counter readers out there, you may use the calorie tracking app MyFitnessPal. Under Armour, in a cutting phase,
just sold it at a loss
.
Left Shark
: Chances are high that if merely hearing a song's name makes you hum it, that song is a top-10 YouTube all-timer. "Baby Shark"
just became
the most watched YouTube video of all time.
Prop $200,000m
: The financially record-breaking and purposefully misleading marketing campaign for Prop 22 in California, funded by Uber, Lyft, and every other rideshare service that preferred to not treat their drivers like employees,
passed in a landslide
. Whoops! Expect a similar proposition in your state soon.
Socrastination
: You know you're procrastinating when you're reading an article about beating procrastination. Here's what historical thinkers like
Socrates, Plato, and Confucius
have to say about achieving productivity.
Jetpack Joyride
: Well,
that jetpack guy is back
, spotted again flying around near LAX. Our suspicions are toward
this individual
.
Mathletic
: Here are some tips for
simple, everyday math
, like instantly calculating returns on investments and converting from Celsius to Fahrenheit.
That’s it this week. If you'd like some news and notes in your inbox every other Wednesday morning, be sure to
subscribe here
.
See you later!
PS Quick congrats to the Dodgers. While the rest of us were quarantining, LA has been mopping up rings like they have a metal detector at the beach.