Tesla passes on the 2016 Detroit Auto Show

December 4, 2015 Leave a comment

TeslaI really admire the Tesla car company and concept. Build an electric, high performance car with real world usability and normal (to me) design. No weird/comical, bulbous/door-wedge shaped eggs, but strong cutting edge design that looks great, and with a range that someone who doesn’t live within walking distance of everything can use.

Elon Musk also seems to be an incredibly smart, driven guy with a strong sense of the way things should be and stands up to those who think otherwise. Which brings me to the tie in with the title…

From today’s Detroit Free Press: “Tesla currently sees little need to drum up business in Michigan, a state that forbids direct vehicle sales under franchise laws that require sales to go through a dealership. Tesla officials continue to lobby for the right to sell and deliver vehicles directly to customers.”

For the record, I fully support the fight that Tesla is going through to be able to sell cars directly to consumers and love that they’re standing up to states that have these indefensible ‘dealer only’ laws on the books.  I can’t think of any other commodity that a consumer isn’t allowed to buy directly from the manufacturer than motor vehicles.

From the state’s (IE. the auto dealer association lobby’s) perspective, having to use a dealer supposedly helps the consumer protect their purchase through having an advocate who can fight for them with the manufacturer in case anything goes wrong, and is specially trained to repair their brand of vehicle. But what I think it really does is unfairly protect a slow to adapt, outdated business model at the expense of consumers. What other product can you not buy on the internet? Sure, there are more progressive auto dealers out there using the latest technologies, but even they are hand-cuffed by the franchise laws that are there to ‘protect’ them.

State and Federal laws, and the laws of economics, protect consumers from bad manufacturers: If a company sells you something and it fails to deliver on its quality or warranty, they get in legal trouble and word gets out about how awful they or their products are. Bad performance has a way of weeding out bad companies.

In my opinion, dealer franchise laws simply exist to protect dealers from having to truly compete for their sales. Their territories are protected from other dealers selling the same brand, so they don’t have to worry about competitors popping up next door with better service, pricing, whatever, and even internet leads are given to them due to location of their dealership in relation to the customer, not the customers preference or dealer pricing or reputation.

If auto manufacturers were really interested in protecting consumers and improving the businesses in the state, they would make them have to compete for our business.

Categories: Automotive, Rants... Tags: , , ,

College certificates in brewing beer…

November 12, 2015 Leave a comment

beer glassesLast fall, Central Michigan University began offering it’s first certificate program in ‘Fermentation Science’. Classes include topics like Fundamentals of Fermentation Science, Analyses of Fermentation, and Brewery Facilities and Operations. Since then, other Michigan colleges and universities, like Ferris State, Western Michigan, and Schoolcraft College have jumped in the game.  It makes sense: Michigan has the 6th most breweries in the country, is 10th when it comes to barrels produced, and those breweries make some of the best beer in the country, if not the world.

I just wonder how my life may have been different had this been available when I was in college…

Certificate in beer brewing is a buy in Michigan’s bullish market – via Crain’s

Categories: The Beer Tours Tags: , ,

Army panel backs WWII veteran, Garlin Murl Conner, posthumous bid for Medal of Honor

November 5, 2015 Leave a comment

B-17 Flying Fortresses in Flight

Those who know me know that I am an insatiable student of World War 2 history. Each time I come across another story of unbelievable selflessness, love for comrades and our country, and exceptional bravery, it reinforces my belief that the Citizen Soldiers of the United States who served during World War 2 are the finest our country will ever offer. We will never have another generation like this in our history, no matter how long the United States is around.

Here is another example of amazing selflessness that is finally, probably, going to be recognized. It’s just too bad that he wasn’t around to see it. Although, like most of these veterans, I doubt he would have wanted the accolades.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/11/04/battle-joined-army-panel-backs-wwii-vets-posthumous-bid-for-medal-honor/

I admit it, I’m hooked on ‘The Curse of Oak Island’…

November 4, 2015 Leave a comment

Curse of Oak IslandWhen I was kid in the 80’s, I read a book about Oak Island (sadly, I can’t remember the name, but here is good book on it’s history) and the “pirate” treasure buried in the money pit. The thought of searching for treasure that had to be there but no one could get to was so intriguing to me! How could men hundreds of years ago, with their simple tools and old technology, keep the searchers, with their modern technology, from reaching the treasure for so long?

So when The Curse of Oak Island show premiered on the History Channel came on a couple of years ago, I was immediately hooked. What was presented in the book as pirate treasure may actually be Spanish Treasure, Knight’s Templar Treasure, a UFO, who knows! It’s about the only TV show I look forward to these days (No, I don’t watch much TV…). And to find out that the new treasure seekers are from my home state of Michigan and became intrigued after reading about the island themselves in the 60’s just adds to the attraction!

As a marketing professional, I’ve noticed that as the show gains in popularity, the advertising advances with it. Check out this fun and informative advertisement for the show from the NY Times. It’s a great example of using new web design techniques and media partnerships to reach the right audiences while looking like an editorial.

GC

Categories: Random Tags:

Amazon brick and mortar stores?

November 3, 2015 Leave a comment
Amazon Books, the company's first brick-and-mortar store, will open tomorrow Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015 in Seattle's University District. The retail space offers 5,000-6,000 books as well as technology devices like e-book readers.

Amazon Books, the company’s first brick-and-mortar store, will open tomorrow Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015.

I was surprised, pleasantly, to read an article today about Amazon opening it’s first brick and mortar store in it’s home city of Seattle. For years, Amazon has been accused (probably rightfully so) of running small, and large bookstores (Borders?) out of business, so it’s nice to see that those types of stores may not go away entirely after all.

This may actually also be a brilliant move. With all of the customer data Amazon acquires on a minute by minute basis from their customers online, the opportunity to stock exactly what will be demanded in a certain geography at any given point in time is huge. Other retailers would sell their souls to know what the up-to-the-second purchasing trend is in their area and only inventory those items at that exact point in time. Again, Amazon is changing the game for everyone involved in that industry. And, it doesn’t hurt to have even more fulfillment options for their promised same day delivery…

Categories: Opinions Tags: ,

To be Green or not to be…

going-greenhttp://www.foxbusiness.com/business-leaders/2013/04/05/dont-buy-electric-car/

Great article that summarizes some of the same reasons I would never (yet) buy an electric car.  While I don’t live in California and can’t speak to some of the subsidies they offer for their forced environmentalism, I do agree with a couple of the main points: The car I choose to drive and spend my money on isn’t offered in an electric version, and the idea that electric cars somehow are more green than conventionally powered gasoline cars is really not true.

On the first issue, I have a quite large and active family and we ain’t all fittin’ in Leaf or a Prius.  I would have to own 2 or 3 of them (and be able to drive them all at the same time) to be able to fit everyone.  But maybe even more of an influence on my non-purchase is that I drive 40+ miles each way commuting to work.  From the specs I’ve read a one way trip is about the maximum range on the mass produced electric cars.  Of course, I’d love to drive a Tesla but that’s not happening on my current pay rate.  My current employer doesn’t offer a charging station and I don’t see that happening any time soon.

Which brings me to my point of confusion.  Why do automakers waste time designing and producing electric cars with such limited range?  (I suspect it has something to do with forced government mandates, but I digress…)  People who drive under 40 miles per day aren’t using that many resources to begin with, comparatively speaking.  But people like me who drive nearly 100 miles a day are.  If companies were really trying to be socially responsible and good stewards of the environment, wouldn’t they go after the biggest offenders first?  I realize that there’s a lot of additional cost in developing batteries with that kind of range, but I have to think that the biggest bang for the buck for the environment, the automaker, and the auto owner would be on providing vehicles with a much greater range.  If you take one car off the road that was driving 200 miles a week or one that was driving 500, where would the greatest benefit be?

Which brings me to my final reason for not purchasing an electric car.  I believe the benefit to the environment to be negligible.  At best.  The vast majority of the power in the United States is produced by coal or oil burning power plants.   It’s a one for one trade off.  You need more electricity to run these vehicles, so you need more oil and coal to run the power plant.  Every drop of oil saved in a car is burned to create electricity.  And I have no proof of this, but I have a suspicion that a power plant produces more carbon dioxide than a fleet of Hummers with the catalytic converters ripped off.  And this doesn’t even touch the issue of how much exploitation takes place in mining the special minerals used in making exotic vehicle power plants…

It may seem that I am a resource waster or don’t care about the environment.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I just believe that the only thing buying a car to be green does, at least at this point in time, is make us feel good about ourselves but does nothing to help the environment.

 

Shopping on Amazon could get much faster, and better…

Amazon Logo

I’m a fairly frequent purchaser from amazon.com.  I love the convenience of having almost anything I can conceive of purchasing available in one place, and see multiple businesses to purchase it from, nearly assuring I get the lowest price possible.  I also have to admit that I have their shopping app downloaded on my Android phone and love being able to scan a UPC code at a physical store to price compare on the spot.  The downside has always been the wait to receive my item over buying it while I’m standing in a store that has the item in stock.

The attached link to an article on slate.com outlines a new strategy being employed by Amazon that could change this dynamic completely.  With local distribution centers in nearly every major market Amazon is making it possible to get next day shipping on almost everything, and possibly same day shipping if ordered early enough.  This is a definite game changer in the retail space that could be the final death blow that send some retailers into oblivion.

http://www.slate.com/articles/business/small_business/2012/07/amazon_same_day_delivery_how_the_e_commerce_giant_will_destroy_local_retail_.single.html?ref=linkedin