Insider Transportation: Rivian rejects Tesla’s burnout culture

Happy Friday and welcome back to Business Insider’s weekly roundup of all things A to B. 

Around these parts, we spend a fair bit of time trying to suss out who’s likely to be “the next Elon Musk” and the “next Tesla.” These are coveted positions, after all: Musk is now worth $100 billion, he just picked up a fresh Gulfstream private jet, and his upcoming “Battery Day” presentation is so hyped up, he’s holding a lottery to figure out who can attend in person.  Meanwhile, Tesla’s market cap has reached more than $424 billion, making it more valuable than Walmart. Musk noted crossing the 420 mark with an uncharacteristically subtle tweet, saying, “These sure are wild times.”

So yeah, we’re pretty interested in figuring out who’s poised to recreate that kind of success. From what we can tell, Rivian and its CEO, RJ Scaringe, have a good shot. This week, reporter Mark Matousek spoke to a couple of people who follow the company closely to understand how Rivian is working to avoid Tesla’s (many) growing pains — and what it is about Scaringe that’s reminiscent of Jeff Bezos back when Amazon was just that website where you bought books. 

We’ve got plenty of other news as well, so dive on in. And if you haven’t yet, sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox every week.

How Carnival’s high hopes for 2020 gave way to a fleet of ‘floating petri dishes’

The folks running the world’s largest cruise company had grand aspirations for this year. But as the disease we all now know as COVID-19 began its spread around the globe, hope steadily turned to horror. How Carnival handled the situation only made things worse, our deep dive reveals: ignoring warnings, stranding passengers and crews, and scrambling to avoid a financial meltdown. 

Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe goes after the future à la Bezos

These days, the growth of Amazon is almost corporate lore: The online bookseller that expanded to encompass logistics, cloud computing, artificial-intelligence, self-driving cars, and many other lines of business — along with that shopping thing it’s got going. Electric automaker Rivian is nowhere near that mark, but according to one investor, Scaringe has the kind of mindset that could get him there.

“RJ, in his mind, he’s thinking about the next opportunity — act two, act three,” T. Rowe Price portfolio manager Joe Fath told us. “And I think the good CEOs and leaders think about that.” A company culture designed to avoid employee burnout and a simplified strategy for getting things built will help him along the way, and some swanky car interiors can’t hurt. 

A CDC study offers the strongest evidence yet that COVID-19 can spread in airplanes

A report shows that on one flight to South Korea, the novel coronavirus spread between passengers — likely the result of touching a contaminated surface or during boarding, disembarkation, or while walking in the aisles. The researchers’ recommendations for staying safe while flying shouldn’t surprise you: “First, masks should be worn during the flight. Second, because contact with contaminated surfaces increases the risk for transmission of SARS-CoV-2 among passengers, hand hygiene is necessary to prevent infections. Third, physical distance should be maintained before boarding and after disembarking from the aircraft.”

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