Blog Archives

Electric Cars Are Barely Making Noise on the Road

In the US, electric cars still make up less than 1 percent of new car sales. The path to 100 percent will be a long one, and the engine won’t cede such ground without a fight.
–As Electric Cars Surge, the Gas Engine Keeps Getting Better, Jack Stewart, WIRED Online

More people today likely know the name Elon Musk than Nikolaus August Otto. While Mr. Musk is believed by some to be the tech and pop-culture heir of sorts to the late Steve Jobs, Mr. Otto paved the way for what is known today as the internal combustion engine way back in the 19th century.

As Tesla’s are being bought and seen on the road, Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s journey of an electric future is still in the crawling phase in many ways. Admittedly, that “1% of new car sales” statistic is surprising. Arguably, Tesla’s car line is evolving as the leader in the promising development of electric cars. Make no mistake that the pursuit of an emissions-free transportation future is admirable and intriguing. Combining a positive environmental impact with a dynamic and exciting product in the free market is a win-win scenario. The all-electric car is an impressive invention that should and will improve in the coming years and decades, along with its necessary and developing infrastructure. And yet, let’s not ignore the realities of society-altering innovations as technology continues to expand into every aspect of our lives, both professionally and personally.

As strange as it may read, we are facing a sophisticated, consequential dilemma with Tesla and its part in an electric transportation future. Will it be as promising and as beneficial as we want it to be? Wherever there’s electricity, there’s a grid that’s inevitably accompanied by a power struggle. Remember that. And in every situation, there are costs and benefits to seriously consider. With that in mind, as Tesla continues to sell and improve its various models one-by-one, let’s take the time to reflect on what the future would be if and when that 99%-1% statistic is one day flipped.

Random question: What are your thoughts on dealing with tech support?

Riding in a Tesla, according to reports, is a smooth and mostly noiseless ride. This is one of the bonuses of an electric engine that doesn’t roar like a Mustang. That is until you hit bumps in the road because there are always bumps in the road. But if we take the time to plan, we can avoid the greatest damage before it’s too late.

We should be equally excited and cautious concerning innovation. Moreover, we should be ready to not just ask when something new will happen, but what happens when it does.

Innovation has a long arc, so we best prepare for that long ride when that new road finally arrives and is here for the long, quiet haul.

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Magic’s Illusory Leap

The intersection between movies, TV, and reality occurs more than we may imagine.

There are several forward-thinking companies around the world that are developing products and technology today that will shape our lives in the future. And of these firms, there’s one that may not just change the way we see the world, but more so what we see in our own personal space.

Interesting technology, to say the least.

Now, this Wired report is from last spring. The reason for writing about it now is because the 2018 CES (Consumer Electronics Show) is happening this week, which is one of the brightest spotlights of the year for evolving technology. Here’s a Magic Leap update from a few weeks ago.

The verdict for Magic Leap is certainly cloudy at the moment. Currently, it’s safe to proclaim that looks can be deceiving for tech’s next big (potential) magic leap. It also looks like the mysterious startup team in Florida was inspired by one of pop-culture’s gold mines: TV’s ongoing science-fiction craze.

It’s science-fiction until it’s not, which is cause for excitement and concern.

Rolling Out (and Up) Innovation

The innovative process is, in many cases, exciting. At the same time, it can be dull, exhaustive and a seeming waste of time and energy.

Welcome to the happy former at the CES 2018 (Consumer Electronics Show) hosted in Las Vegas from Jan. 9-12.

Exhibit Awesome:

While still in the testing phase, the fact that a high-definition TV that rolls up like a newspaper (inside the console, of course) exists and is evolving in the right direction (up) is a thrilling reality to witness. The first real dream, beyond what’s seen and described in the tutorial above, consists of a mobile, high-definition flat screen TV that can be placed on virtually any reasonable flat surface for viewing and a myriad of digital applications. The second part of this technological roll-up dream is for newspapers, magazines and, well, any current paper-like product, to have the same flexible and multimedia functionality. Imagine a day when a buying a newspaper at a stand looks like this, in some form.

(Video borrowed from a Jan. 5, 2016 Jimmy’s Daily Planet blog post titled “Time to Fold on TV” about this very company and this very roll-up TV prototype)

Perhaps the second part of the dream can be best described as a flexible iPad in 2018. Wouldn’t surprise me if design guru Jony Ive and his Apple team are working on that very prototype for release within the next decade.

As has been stated many, many times on this blog, the day will come when entire walls in homes and buildings will be high-definition screens that will be able to serve as a television monitor for shows and gaming, as a computer, art/rotating photographs from our personal photo collections as well as downloadable world-class pieces and most anything else your mind can digitally imagine. For now, a roll-up TV that has the strong potential to become a practical reality in our family rooms within the next several years is exciting. Couple flexible tech with VR’s inevitable rise (plus various smart home applications) and we’re genuinely one small step closer to “the future” in 2015 from Back to the Future Part II.

The future — maybe not “the future” — will arrive in some form.

Whether all this evolving tech in the big picture (had to) is good for us as individuals and as a society is and should remain an ongoing, conscious (and conscience) conversation. As my headline from a couple years back suggests, the time will come to fold on TV so we can open it up in ways we haven’t yet seen or even imagined.

And that reality will not be virtual.

When Will VR’s Player One Be Ready?

How will customers be marketed to in the future?

Marketing, in the traditional sense, is two-dimensional. The next natural progression is three-dimensional marketing. But wait, that’s not new and exciting. That’s simply reality. The next progression from three-dimensions is four-dimensions.

Or a tesseract.

I would love to visualize a tesseract for you, but no spoilers on Jimmy’s Daily Planet (bonus point if you got that). Marketing’s next dimension is 4-dimensions in a way, in that it’s something we can’t see with our own two eyes alone. We’ll just need a helpful pair of special lenses…

Think I’m crazy for making this prediction? Think it’s absurd and foolish to make a connection between marketing real products and VR (virtual reality)?

I say think again.

Some of the most effective marketing is experience-centric. Regardless of industry, if a company is trying to sell people something by evoking an emotional connection (the “I have to have it” reaction), the ideal strategy is to personalize the sell to provide a dynamic, customizable experience. How about showing consumers what something will look like or be like in various situations as programmed by the VR experience team of each company?

Somewhere between the near and distant future, we may very well enter the next dimension of the classic “show, don’t tell” expression. Abercrombie & Fitch (or A&F), for example, is currently using interactive dressing rooms as part of their re-branding effort, in which the consumer can play music and change the mood lighting when trying on clothes.

Escapism isn’t just for the movies, it’s usually a primary driver of our emotional connection to buying all sorts of things, practical and impractical/the fun stuff.

And what better escape in the 21st century than virtual reality?