Mary Barra
General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. (Photo by Steve Fecht for General Motors)

GM

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They’re preparing for the future.

Unlike the record companies. The labels and the artists berated not only the techies, but their own customers, demanding that everybody jet back to the past. When people drove cars and the rest of the world was not going electric.

Clayton Christensen wrote the blueprint in “The Innovator’s Dilemma.” You disrupt yourself, before somebody disrupts you.

And I could criticize our President for being ignorant and not getting it, but this is not a political issue, this is pure business, and GM wants to survive.

The labels survived, but only because of their catalogs. They wielded them to extract power in the future, then again, the center of power has shifted to the live side. Think about it, which came first, performance or recording? You’re better off being a great performer than a great recording artist. In this mechanized society we’re looking for something honest, with edges, that breathes, that we can get hooked by, not something seamless and shiny without mistakes.

But automobiles are completely different. We want them to just WORK!

Which to a great degree they now do. They’re too sophisticated to work on at home. And with a little maintenance, you can get ten years and one hundred thousand plus miles out of them. Which was unheard of when the baby boomers were growing up. Before the days of minivans, before the days of four wheel drive, back when the only people who owned a truck were manual laborers.

But they’re not really trucks anymore. They’re really cars with truck-like bodies. Yes, yes, some rich geezers are buying glammed-up pickup trucks, but the real money is in what’s called an SUV, a sport utility vehicle, and there’s a dose of fashion involved, but really it’s about that utility, you can squeeze a lot more inside than you can with a car, and you sit up high.

As for that higher center of gravity…

In many cars electronics make it so it’s less of a safety issue.

As for gas mileage…the so-called SUVs get about as much as cars.

So this ship has sailed. The public has spoken. They want SUVs.

Just like they no longer wanted CDs.

You want to live in bizarro world, read the SoundScan Top Ten, where albums are boosted by ticket inclusion and the sale of physical product and downloads when the truth is anybody who’s a fan has given up on those formats. It’s all about streaming baby, and if you believe otherwise, you’re part of the problem, not part of the solution.

That’s right, some have to be dragged into the present. Others decide to sit the future out and be left forever behind. Ironically, those are the ones who scream loudest and should be ignored.

GM can see the looming crisis coming.

Not only does nobody want to buy a car, soon many won’t buy an automobile at all! You won’t need to own one. Never mind Uber, self-driving automobiles will show up when you need them. Insurance will be built-in, as will be fuel. And we’ll need a whole hell of a lot less of them.

Kinda like the Apple stock drop.

Huh?

People don’t need a new iPhone. If you read the papers, you’re always a few years behind. It’s all about stock going up and up. But to tell you the truth, my iPhone Xs Max is unnecessary. Its camera is a bit better, otherwise it’s a needless upgrade for most. So they don’t. Phones are now mature, like computers. But that did not stop the press from trumpeting Apple’s trillion dollar value. Apple’s got a product problem. Sure they can make some dough with services, but the company’s a one-trick pony, whereas Microsoft not only has software, but the cloud.

You’ve got to diversify, you’ve got to sleep with one eye open, you’ve got to contemplate the future.

It’s not like car companies can’t crash. Just look at 2008!

Meanwhile, plug-in hybrids are a concept that has passed, so Chevrolet is axing the Volt. The music business refuses to get alta kachers to stream, even though streaming saved their ass. Get those oldsters to subscribe to Spotify, or Apple or Amazon, it benefits the entire music business. But the labels don’t want to kill their cash cow. But Adobe went from boxes to subscriptions and their business went through the roof. The transition is always painful, but if you play it right, at the end you reap rewards.

Yes, people are gonna lose their jobs. But if the corporation dies, EVERYBODY loses their job.

And our myopic populace doesn’t realize that China and Europe have already gone green. The WSJ bitches about Tesla and electric car subsidies, meanwhile those selling gasoline automobiles will go bankrupt in the future, there will be no demand. Electrics have more torque and accelerate more quickly and are more efficient and pollute less. And yes, electricity has to be created to power them, but LESS! But you don’t want to deal in science, but emotion. Emotion is good for art, but not business. Like they say, WHAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE?

The bottom line is Mary Barra is preparing for not only Tesla, but BMW and Mercedes and Uber and… She’s doubling-down on electrics and driverless to win in the future, to EXIST in the future. As if Warner Brothers hadn’t refused to license Spotify in America for two years, allowing YouTube to become a streaming music powerhouse. You beat the alternatives to market, you don’t deny them or try to shut them down. Especially when the public wants them.

Those who prepare for the on-demand, driverless future will win in the end.

Government is always hampered and gets it wrong. Because government doesn’t understand. The representatives know all about running for office, they know little about industry. They hold hearings to no effect. I’m not saying government is irrelevant and powerless, I’m just saying it categorically cannot see the future. Like the effects of Article 13 on the Internet.

Lyor is hated, but Article 13 is gonna hamper the net. Just listen to Seth Godin’s podcast below.

But Google is big and artists are warm and fuzzy and the past must be protected, even though it doesn’t square with the future.


How do you lose your business?

Very slowly, and then all at once.

That’s what happens in tech. That’s what could happen to Apple.

It certainly could happen to GM.

But GM is preparing, trying to turn the battleship.

Meanwhile, the President and the emotionalists are mad.

God, if these people are mad at you, you must be doing something right!

Imagine a world with no Spotify, where you still had to pay up to twenty bucks to hear one good track on a CD so artists could get rich from recordings. We saw how that worked out, they called it Napster. And right now automobile giants are fighting over the future, but you don’t know this unless you’re paying attention. But ain’t that America, where the uninformed babble ignorantly about that which is beyond their pay grade. Where expertise is excoriated. Where being smart and experienced holds no value. Where a woman trying to save an industrial power is crapped upon for threatening the old boys’ world.

Seth Godin “All Rights Reserved” (start at 14:15 to hear about Article 13, or listen to the entire podcast to further understand the issues): https://bit.ly/2SeVL36

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