The other day I found myself at a loss in the light bulb aisle of my hardware store. I might as well have been shopping for a carburetor. There were too many options with too many symbols and verbiage that I couldn’t decipher (LED, CFL, halogen, lumens, Kelvin, CRI), not to mention all of the various brands (GE, Philips, Cree, EcoSmart — each with its own packaging lingo). Since when do you need an electrical engineering degree to buy a light bulb?
This North Carolina maker of light emitting diodes aims to kill off the incandescent lightbulb. It’s already doubled its market cap to $7 billion in just one year.
In the ad for Cree lightbulbs you see snow whipping across a desolate field as a bagpipe creaks out “Amazing Grace.” An announcer holds up a lightbulb and speaks into the camera. “Mr. Edison, today we lay to rest your creation, the incandescent lightbulb. I know you’re not shocked, sir. You knew that it needed an unreasonable amount of energy to do its job and that it had the life span of a lucky bug.”
He fits the bulb into a tiny wooden casket and places it into a hole in the ground. Then we see Cree’s new LED bulb. “The biggest thing since the lightbulb,” we’re told. Continue reading