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Fast · Patrick Collison

  • BankAmericard — Dee Hock successfully launched the BankAmericard card, which later became the Visa card, in just 90 days from scratch and managed to acquire over 100,000 customers during that time.
  • P-80 Shooting Star — Kelly Johnson and his team designed and delivered the P-80 Shooting Star, which was the first jet fighter used by the USAF, in just 143 days.
  • Marinship — Construction of the shipyard began promptly after the W. A. Bechtel Company received a telegram from the United States Maritime Commission on March 2, 1942. The Sausalito site was selected on March 3, and a proposal to build the shipyard was presented in Washington DC on March 9. During the presentation, U.S. Maritime Commission administrators instructed the W.A. Bechtel Company to build the shipyard, and physical construction began on March 28. However, the construction start was delayed for two weeks to allow the 42 families living on Pine Point, which was scheduled to be demolished to build the shipyard, to move. The first ship was completed on September 15 of that year, 197 days after receiving the telegram.
  • The Spirit of St. Louis — Back in 1927, Donald Hall and Charles Lindbergh collaborated to construct an aircraft named "Spirit" within a mere 60 days. To determine the required amount of fuel for the flight, Lindbergh and Hall visited the San Diego Public Library located at 820 E St. They utilized a globe and a piece of string to estimate the distance from New York to Paris, which turned out to be 3,600 statute miles. Hall calculated that this distance would necessitate 400 gallons of gasoline.
  • Eiffel Tower — Did you know that the Eiffel Tower was constructed in just 793 days, which is equivalent to 2 years and 2 months? Upon its completion in 1889, it became the world's tallest building and held this title for over four decades. In today's currency, the tower cost approximately $40 million in 2019 dollars.
  • Treasure Island — Back in 1935, San Francisco came up with a plan to celebrate the completion of the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges by constructing a new island. The purpose of this island was to serve as the new home for the Golden Gate International Exposition. The outcome was a 400-acre man-made island named Treasure Island, which was located in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. The construction of this island began in 1935 and was finished by March of 1937.
  • Apollo 8 — On August 9, 1968, NASA determined that Apollo 8 would travel to the moon. It was launched 134 days later on December 21, 1968.
  • The Alaska Highway — Over the course of 234 days in 1942, military engineers constructed a 1,700-mile-long highway connecting eastern British Columbia to Fairbanks, Alaska.
  • Disneyland — Disneyland was created in just one year to bring Walt Disney's vision of "The Happiest Place on Earth" to life.
  • The Empire State Building — The construction took 410 days to complete, from start to finish.
  • The Berlin Airlift — In 1948, the Soviet Union imposed a blockade on Berlin, which led to the Berlin Airlift starting two days later. The US, UK, and France carried out the airlift for 463 days, using 300 aircraft to make 277,000 flights and ensure that 2.2 million Berlin residents received essential supplies. For 14 months, a supply aircraft landed every 2 minutes on average. During this time, Tegel airport was constructed to support the airlift effort. The planning began in July 1948, and the construction started on August 5 of the same year. The first landing took place on November 5, only 92 days after construction began, and the airport officially opened on December 5, 1948.
  • Pentagon — The construction of the world's largest office building was led by Brehon Somervell. The decision to proceed with the project was made on a Thursday evening. Initial drawings were completed that Sunday. Construction started two months later, on September 11 1941, and was finished on January 15 1943, 491 days later. When asked when something was needed, Somervell's go-to response was "the day before yesterday".
  • Boeing 747 — Boeing began the 747 program in March 1966, and the first 747 was finished on September 30, 1968, which was approximately 930 days later.
  • The New York Subway — On February 21, 1900, the initial contract for the subway was awarded, and after 4.7 years, 28 stations were unveiled, and operations began on October 27, 1904. In April 2000, the MTA made the decision to construct the Second Avenue Subway, which opened its first phase of 3 stations on January 1, 2017.
  • TGV — Back in 1976, the French government gave the go-ahead for the construction of a high-speed rail link between Paris and Lyon. This marked the debut of Europe's first ever high-speed rail line. The project involved developing brand new electric locomotives in France. The line finally opened on September 26, 1981, which was about 1,975 days after its approval. Fast forward to September 24, 1996, and the California High-Speed Rail Authority was established. As of now, the first phase of the California high-speed rail project is expected to be completed in 2033, which is roughly 37 years (or around 13,000 days) after the authority's formation.
  • USS Nautilus — The US built the world's first nuclear submarine, which entered service on September 30, 1954, 1,173 days after construction began in July 1951.
  • JavaScript — Brendan Eich created the first prototype of JavaScript in just 10 days and released it in beta in September 1995.
  • Unix — The initial version was authored by Ken Thompson within a span of three weeks.
  • Xerox Alto — The creation of the Xerox Alto, which was the first computer with a graphical user interface (GUI), began in November of 1972 due to a wager. Chuck believed that a futuristic computer could be developed in three months, and a Xerox executive bet him a case of wine that it couldn't be done. The development process for the Alto involved significant work on hardware, operating systems, and applications, leading to the introduction of the first complete Altos on March 1, 1973.
  • Shenzhen — Between 1998 and 1999, Shenzhen's population grew from 4.4 million to 5.4 million, an increase of 22% or 1 million residents.
  • iPod — In January 2001, Tony Fadell was brought on board to develop the iPod. Steve Jobs gave the go-ahead for the project in March of the same year. By April, they had engaged a contract manufacturer and in October, they announced the product. The first production iPod was shipped to customers in November 2001, just under 300 days after the project began.
  • Amazon PrimeAmazon announced the first version of Amazon Prime on February 2, 2005, just six weeks after implementation began in late 2004.
  • Git — Linus Torvalds created Git in April 2005 and self-hosted it just four days later. On April 20, 2005, Git was publicly released with Linux 2.6.12-rc3 after only 17 days of work.
  • COVID-19 vaccines — The SARS-CoV-2 genome was published on January 10, 2020. Shortly after, on January 13, Moderna finalized the sequence for its mRNA vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273. The first batch of the vaccine was produced on February 7, and on February 24 (45 days after the genome publication), Moderna shipped the initial batch of mRNA-1273 to the NIH for use in Phase 1 clinical trials. After 266 days of clinical trials and regulatory coordination, Moderna announced on November 16, 2020, that the vaccine's efficacy was 94.5%.

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