Become CUSTOMER-centric, not VIN-centric.
If after day 2 there was any doubt left that we’re on the eve of big and important changes, today’s presentations really brought the point home.
Mark Platshon started the day off with a truly impressive speech. With his very rich and long background as a VC, we got an intrinsic insight into how the OEM’s have had a roller coaster ride in the Valley. Culture is often the enemy when they try to onboard what start-ups are doing, or even when selecting start-ups to invest in. We saw many examples where they passed on being early investors in the likes of Waze, Uber, Lyft, AirBnB, Turo and so on. His WTF-moment (What’s The Future) : “Electricity has won. Proof? There’s no longer funding for turbine engines. All the money of all the OEM’s is going towards electric engines.” Switching will go very fast as well and has already been done in the past. Lights used to run on gasoline and had a near 100% market share. In 10 years it flipped completely to electricity.
Another myth debunked was that there will be no shortage of electricity. Nearly all investments are made in renewable energy, even by the traditional fossil fuel companies! Costs for renewable energy have come down tremendously and will continue to do so. There are currently 18 traditional fuel plants on the drawing boards in the US…but not a single one has any funding. The US protecting the coal mine industry? You could fill the entire Yankee stadium with what’s left of coal mine workers. That’s it. We would be better served by actually giving them all $100K to start looking for a new job. Lithium? The world supply of lithium is insanely big. In fact, the biggest problem is that it’s not worth the effort to recycle it.
We went further on to discussing what would be the additional effect of the revolution that is around the corners. What if cities no longer earn money from parking tickets because the cars are operating in a fleet ? What if the sales of fossil fuel fall flat and there are no longer taxes to pay for the road maintenance? Or how about the doctors, nurses and hospitals as a whole that will be confronted with a rapid decrease in transportation related accidents ? Or traffic itself… up till 25% of urban land in US Cities is used for parking, what to do with it? 30% of traffic in US cities is “hunting for parking”.
In all, we were firmly grounded after Mark’s speech. His recommendation : keep tabs on forward thinking dealerships and groups in your country and abroad. Ask your local business schools to build case studies on “How would Apple…” and fill in the blanks…”…do service”, “…sell cars”, “…sell mobility”, “…sell accessories”, etc. Overall, Mark’s speech left a profound impact on all the participants of the Automotive Tour.
Next was Adam Broadway. He gave a deeply felt speech on “Silly Con Valley” with what is often the flip side of working here. Fierce competition, failure is not that celebrated as we think it is, it’s not winning, it’s crushing! He’s built a great platform on which you can start building marketplaces. What used to be very very costly, has now become accessible to all of us since the technology is commoditized.
At Silicon Foundry we were treated to some great insights on how Silicon Valley works and what the future trends are. They help pick out what is relevant out of the noise for their customers. One of them a famous Belgian company : bpost. They keep tabs on all the disruptions and innovations coming out of the Valley. With regards to i.e. the cars, they said “rest assured, every single part of the car has start-ups working to disrupt it”. They also confirmed that immigration is a huge issue for Silicon Valley. They don’t care at all where you come from and the talent influx has been insane. It’s safe to say that the current administrations policies in the US are frowned upon here.
Our biggest risk….flying back home and falling back to a “suspension of disbelief”…it won’t happen, not that fast, not with us. Be very very very aware of your business. Tipping points are reached faster than ever before.
Once again we’ve been confirmed that investments in combustion engines have dried up…nobody is working in that direction. San Diego i.e. is on a 20-year planning cycle and has started knocking down parking lots. There won’t be enough cars in the near future to warrant these buildings.
They themselves are also very aware that they might be suddenly disrupted one day. They have dozen regulators and the idea that it will protect them is something they think of as very naïve. All in a heavy day!