Thursday, July 9, 2009

The kid who should be CEO of GM

"Who Killed the Electric Car?", the 2006 documentary that took us through the story of the creation, limited commercialization, and subsequent destruction of the battery operated electric vehicle in the US, (specifically the GM EV1). When I saw that documentary only recently, I was really saddened.

During the years 1999 and 2003 I worked for a company called Verplex Systems. During that time, I covered the eastern US region and Canada. It was during that time, I went to visit one customer at Lucent in Ottawa. There I met the first guy who had created his own electric car. His name was Bob Lawrence. When heading out to lunch one day, he suggested to me and my colleague that we take his car (A Volkswagon Jetta). When we drove around that car was nearly silent with just a soft humming noise. When we found out that Bob himself had put that together we were blown away. He had a big batteries in his trunk. An electrical charging cord that came out the front of the vehicle. Recently I found out that he gave up that electric car for a Prius hybrid. I am sure he's making it a plug in as we speak.

However I wanted to take a moment to talk about this kid, a teenager who claims he can't even change the oil in his car. He instead went on the internet found the instructions and converted an old Ford Escort car into an electric car. Why is that normal ordinary people can go and build an electric car, but the big-3 could never build one?

I am sure that one day another documentary will come out with the accusatory finger pointing to the oil companies being responsible for the death of the early electric car. But those conspiracy theories are for another day. Right now, I am so excited that there is a movement toward going completely electric. I wrote about Shai Agassi's plan the other day. I can't wait for the day when I can drive a car for which I don't have to add fuel.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Creative Advertisements

There are some advertisements that totally make sense and then some that are just absurd. Either way the goal of an advertisement is to capture the attention of the audience and then lead them to believe that they need to use the product promoted in the ad.

Any video advertisement usually has about 30 seconds to 1 minute in which to convey its message. These seconds are vital to telling a compelling story. There's a story, a scene, a setup, the people, the dialogues and the product. All these components have to be arranged and choreographed in such a way so as to be able to convey the message quickly.

There are some ads where the character (actor/actress) holds the ad together with a display of their acting skills (delivery of dialogue, display of emotion, physical and or facial expressions). Then there are others that are just supposed to convey the message either with a funny skit or scene, mostly through the unspoken word and all action.

With the advent and ease of use of photo/video editing software, the quality of these ads are getting to a whole other plateau. Some of these ads are really quite amazing and visually stunning. You can basically create an ad nowadays with a simple computer and free software. However the best ads require a creative team that can put together all the ad components and make it compelling for the viewer attention to be captured. That is the first key step toward pushing the product.

I recently saw this ad and was quite amazed by it. I thought I would share it with you all. The agency that designed and produced this video needs some applause.

There are many other ads that amaze me with what they are able to convey in 60 seconds or less. However, for the sake of brevity of this article, I only used one example of an ad that I liked.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Indian Politician's Loan Rage

A Member of Parliament (MP - elected official) in India, has taken it upon himself to judge and punish a bank employee. On a lighter note, I wonder how long before we see elected members of congress and the senate to go after those who created the banking crisis in the same way. Maybe the fear of appearing on a youtube slap video would be a deterrent to many of the greedy gecko's and would make them think twice before starting any scheme which results in systemic risk.

This is no way for any politician to behave, but it happens routinely in India. Politicians think that they are a higher force and take it upon themselves to verbally and physically abuse normal ordinary people. A bunch of thugs, ("goondas" as they are locally called) usually accompany the politicians on their daily beat. This happens because they usually face no consequences from the party higher ups as evidenced here. The MP should be fired by the ruling party, but instead he is just asked to explain himself. He on the other hand, denies having assaulted the bank employee, though the video evidence speaks to the contrary.

I am sure the bank employee on the other hand was guilty of at most following the rules that were in place. Sadly, the employee's case against the politician will go nowhere, but the MP will be back at this again.