Monday, February 14, 2011

Dinner at ours

This last Saturday evening we asked some friends over to Dinner. She met my wife at French classes and happens to be Iranian (like my parents). He is German and works for Mercedes Benz. Each time we meet he's either in a hybrid S class or an SLS (yes, he took me for a spin which I filmed for FB) or some other familiar model but never seen before variation.

Enough showing off about people I know who drive nice cars. This post is all about a fascinating peak, he gave me, into the future of the car industry. One in which car manufacturers could lose control over their cars. And here's how.

Why have car manufacturers been so slow with electric car development? One reason could be the lack of charging points in people's homes and car parks. And not just any kind of charging point, the world needs rapid charging points which only the energy companies can introduce. They are being very slow about it. Because what they want to offer isn't charging points, they want to offer replacement batteries.

The scenario is that you buy an electric car and drive it around until the battery is depleted. After which you go to your local energy company's 'battery replacement centre' and they pop out your depleted battery and pop in a fully charged one. All this in 30 seconds. And then the same again in another 400km or whatever your range is. The worry/problem car manufacturers have is that buying a car could become like buying a mobile phone. Energy companies could end up controlling decision making when it comes to car sales in the same way phone service providers have all the power over things like handset prices and contract deals.

Energy providers can start offering contracts on replacement batteries which are tied into the purchase of a new vehicle. And this is a major concern and a real likelihood. Can you imagine buying a Electric VW Golf for just £2,000 up front and £50 per month with unlimited battery for 3 years?

BTW, he also mentioned that if every car in Europe was fully electric (i.e. not hybrid) we would only need 15% more electricity production.

You heard it here first.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What am I talking about?

Mine is the talk between 1330 and 1400. And I have no idea what I'll be talking about. Actually I didn't even know it was going to be given the title you can see here. If anyone has any ideas, experiences and screw ups that I can use, please let me know. I need ideas.

Thank you!


Monday, February 7, 2011

Great ideas and where they come from

It's a little late to say Happy New Year but take it from me that, so far, it is proving to be a very happy new year.

EDLAPPCOM Ltd - the company we set up to look after our App business - now has it's own Digital Director who starts work in a week from now! And we have been working on some fun pilots in India and the US which have helped us to hone and further improve the functionality. If you don't know what I'm talking about, look here. I shall blog an update and probably run a Webex about it in a few weeks.

Today's post was something I stumbled on while browsing TED on YouTube on my exercise bike. It blew my mind. Our App is a perfect example of what Steve Johnson is talking about. We launched our first foray into 'online people watching' with P&G around 10 years ago. It was a little too clunky to use so we ditched it. And since those days I have experimented several times with online people watching. Each time failing to either make it work smoothly or make it pay. A quick point in case: with one of our experiments, households had to send tapes in which we had to transfer from NTSC (USA) to PAL (Europe) and then edit into clips. I think we lost so much money that our accountant had a breakdown.

Eventually we hit on something that worked. Really worked. And we didn't even build it for clients, we built it so we could work more effectively as ethnographers.

Watch this clip and think about your own organisation. In particular, the whole secrecy vs. open innovation debate.