Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thoughts from Paris and the Dassault e-car conference

So here we (Aurel and I) are in Paris attending the Dassault Systèmes sponsored, FREE, e-car conference. (Twitter: #ecarconf)

One day before the DS ECF (Twitter: #ECF2010) customer extravaganza, Dassault has taken the fabulous and interesting step to host a conference on the subjects of Open innovation and Electric Cars. Additionally, they will introduce a project between their 3dSwYm community and 40 Fires who will come together to design a Hydrogen fuel cell Powered Electric vehicle which is intended for Mobility as a Service (MaaS).

For those of you who do not know, 40 Fires is a foundation started and managed (1/3rd) by the crew at RiverSimple who have conceived of the lightweight Hyrban (that is Hy-Urban) car that is at the center of the DS-40Fires project.

From Mobility as a Service, (a play on SaaS - software as a service)
to passion for attraction, (gut-gripping exciting cars)
to social product creation, (making hard goods with the help of a group)
to the car-as-an-app-enabled-platform, (one big, driving, iphone)
to sustainability, (the ever-present green leaf)
to electric propulsion, (Nikolai Tesla)
to Open Source, (Linux)
to Co-creation, (the smarter step-child of crowdsourcing)
to 3D modeling and simulation, (Dassault's sand-box)
this conference is bringing together a melange of powerful ideas around which there is bound to be a vibrant discussion.

Since the call-out to this free conference is likely to attract those who are interested in such subjects, you might expect that it will be a kumbaya of attendees from the next generation automotive progressive camp. I, however, predict least about the kumbaya.

Many of these ideas in the melange are not natural sequitors to each other and so there might even be some fire-works. I, for one, am not a fan of Mobility as a Service (though I see its usefulness in certain niches). Many do not see the value in individuals collaborating to design an innovative car, as they believe innovation is better in tightly held circles. And some do not see collaboration happening in 3D as the complexity of the tool can obscure the kernel of brilliance in the hands of a novice.

Nonetheless, whatever your bias or opinion may be on these issues, I think (another prediction) that we will all come together on some essential truths:

1. making mobility sustainable
2. making this sustainable mobility so attractive that people will use it."

Come to the free e-Car conference and be prepared for a hard-hitting conversation on all these issues. The crew at DS (Jonathan, Kate, et al) has set this up in a way for participants to get the most out of the time, and it is going to be great.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Update from 2 Centers of Innovation Wales and Amsterdam

LM fans,

I have just come out of the innovation conference in the woods of West Wales and I am at my brothers on the way to PICNIC 10 in Amsterdam.

The past 5 days have been an amazing experience and the next 5 will prove to be even more. (...that is if you don't mind losing your luggage over the Atlantic for 5 days "whilst you live in the woods" :))


DO Lectures is the name of the event ( and it brought together a group of speakers from across the world all focused on innovation, sustainability, and change. I have spoken at a number of lecture series, but this is really the one with the most impact and desire to make Change right now. I expect that comes from the efforts of Founders David Heiatt and Andy Middleton.

Some would think that cars have little to do with the conversation about sustainability and change, but we know differently and it was my job to convey this to the delegates (100 of them) and the other speakers (30 or so).

In short I believe that Local Motors was one of the top standouts in the woods. Of course, there was much head scratching as to why/whether the Rally Fighter was a good vehicle to start with, but even such a removed and distant crowd from the desert understood the implication of what we have achieved. This redoubles my commitment to choosing the most relevant and desired car in our next go around.

So much to debrief.

But AWESOME questions feedback and enthusiasm from the audience. I met at least 5 people who wanted to come build cars with their family or parents or kids, and I signed several young family members T-shirts who had been following LM for the past year. So Cool when you think that this is 1/2 way around the world, but our message sings through so clearly!

They want us to open a MF in Wales and the minister of Environment came especially to meet me to discuss this future possibility. As a result, yesterday morning I found myself in the office of Dr. Peter Wells at Cardiff Univ. who wrote the seminal papers on micro-manufacturing. I had read them 2 years ago, and was awestruck to be in his office. He knew us SO WELL and is going to be an advisor for the Company.

Wales, like Portland OR, Austin TX, and Phoenix AZ is a progressive region which has an intelligent and informed community that is desirous of good design and change and has a political climate to allow it to happen. Of course, we have our work cut out for us in Phoenix and cannot jump to another new city now, but this enthusiasm is building a serious case and support for Local Motors.

More to follow, but LM (as you know) has a HUGE and growing following.

Today I am in Amsterdam at PICNIC 10 and have already met two of the founders of Etsy ( and we shared notes about our experiences and I am blown away. Did you know they have 800MM page views per month??!!@#$%& So cool. I know that there were many that did not think that Making things and Making a network about it would amount to anything near the volume of digital sharing, but Voila!

Keep up the great work team, fans and fellow innovators, your efforts are really being watched around the world, and so many people are counting on all of our success.

I am so proud of you all and our special little car community that will change the world.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Recap of the first day at IDSA 2010

Well the day is done (sort of) and I am spent, but in a great way.

Some of the highlights:

Interview with Jeff Jarvis for his new book
John Jay of Wieden and Kennedy - Literate, urbane, magical speaker, co-panelist
John Hoke of Nike - Really really great mind and firm hand on the tiller at Nike Design co-panelist
Randy Gragg of Portland Monthly - Moderator of our panel and super questioner
Dan Emery - Employee 1 at Ponoko and founder of Oakland CA unit
Bill Moggridge of Cooper Hewitt and IDEO cofounder-fame - Wants us to come talk in
Jennifer Peavey of Eastman - Knows plastics and Fiberforge inside out
Jeevak Badve of ASC - Talking about DiY for the bottom Billion in the world. Grameen to Tata, Jeevak brought incredible perspective about how we overbuild in the developed world......
The Team from Wacom
The Team from Dassault Solidworks/CATIA
The Team from Autodesk

So I would say that that is a full dance card and enough to take in in one day.....
Sadly it is not over for my tired feet.

I am off to Core77s Hand-Eye Supply store opening. More local stores more local production and supply. The WHOLE World is about bringing the Making process back to main street and Local Motors is right in the middle of it.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Preview of LM at IDSA's National Conference Thursday Aug 5th

Tomorrow, Thursday, I will be presenting as one of the speakers at the IDSA (Industrial Design Society of America) national conference.

This year at the conference should prove to be as exciting as ever because the theme is focusing on Do-It-Yourself Design (DIY Design) and whether it is a threat or an opportunity.

Of course, we wouldn't be in business at LM if we thought that it was a threat, but that also requires some explaining and a humble ear to listen to other points of view.

As a preview for the Vision Blog's readers, I will highlight the three topics that I am planning to cover tomorrow on stage. Feedback, is, as always, welcome.

1st: The evolution from Crowdsourcing to Co-creation. One of the Conference's 6 major discussion topics is "Crowdsourcing" and the focus will be to dissect the victories and failures in this new field. We are going to try to further the discussion by exploring how, for LM, there has been less "sourcing" and more collaboration.

2nd: The 3 major successes (and soon 4) on the Rally Fighter project where we have moved full circle through the co-creation mill. a) the Car itself, b) the side vent on the quarter panel, c) the skin competitions.... and soon d) the interior inspiration. These successes are the proof in the pudding of our way of designing and creating, and they will speak for themselves, I expect.

3rd: The Future of DIY builds and Mods at LM's first microfactory. What would a talk be today without highlighting America's first ever automotive micro-factory, where customers come to build there own car? We just opened the doors in Phoenix to the tune of 400+ guests, now is the time to talk about what it means....DIY will never be the same.

Guaranteed there will be more to discuss and to fill in, but join us as we take on the challenge of "Threat or Opportunity" in Portland this summer. It is guaranteed to be lively.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

In Memory of Norman Schureman

On March 21, 2010 a light was extinguished before its time. Los Angeles, Art Center College of Design, the product design trade, and one incredible and loving family lost their favored son, friend, teacher, and family man, Norman Schureman, in a terrible tragedy that should never have happened. As always, with untimely death, we are left behind to pick up the pieces of what existed so warmly just moments ago. Straight Sadness.

On last Sunday, I traveled seven hours in the wee hours of the morning to commune with fellow mourners in the sculpture garden nestled high in the San Gabriel Mountains beside the Art Center Hillside campus. The moment I got close, I could tell from the line of cars, driven by sunglass-clad teenagers dressed in black, filing up the Pasadena crest for miles that this was not going to be a small or easy remembrance.

The campus was bustling as I have never seen it before, but the energy this morning was different in that everyone was singularly focused on this one soul instead of a myriad of individual projects or missions. The love was as warm and present as the Southern California sunshine.

Norman, you were remembered as a King in a way so richly deserved. From the student works (current and former) that lined the entire east side of the campus your indelible mark on the industry could be seen stretching on for centuries. From the letters of family and friends read with such passion it was clear that the oak tree your life planted in the middle of this world would sustain lives for equally long. From the tears of the sweetest and most broken-hearted Mother and Father, I can only say that you will never be forgotten. Never.

I knew you only briefly, but I have never cried so hard.

From another man, committed to the cause of realizing great design and promoting the cause of the young and unheralded, I promise and dedicate to you that we will never stop and never cease until each happy customer knows the name of the young designers whose legacies put a smile on his face every time he uses their products.

Peace and Attaboy.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Welcome to Sarah Stokes - Local Motors HEAD of SALES

Well it is official. Local Motors is now selling cars (43 to be precise so far), and Sarah Stokes is at the head of that train, leading new desert racers to the finish line with wit and excitement.

Joining from an illustrious career at Boston Consulting Group and formerly in the United States Marine Corp, Sarah brings a passion for the road like few before her. She is engaged and charmed by the intensity that enthusiasts bring to every automotive passion from Airstream Trailers (of which she owns 2) to cool Jeep CJ's (in which she plied her first tracks to school).

Oh and if it was not fate enough, Sarah's Grandfather used to Hill Climb Indian's. This is FOR REAL!

Give her a shout out at and ask her to bring the Rally Fighter to see you in your neck of the woods. She will have it on the road for Jan and Feb. Normally she, her husband, Kealoha "Stokes" Stokes, and their dog Skillet call the desert of 29 Palms, CA home. He is one of our god-fearing Marine Captains, and God bless Marines!

Welcome Sarah, we are so proud to have you aboard.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Welcome back to the Vision Blog - 1st Video of 13 week series

My last post was 9/11 as I went into the trenches to do battle with the dragon of Financing Risk.

Young businesses fail more often due to financing risk than any other. I was determined not to let this distract Local Motors so I made a decision to adjust my focus and schedule in order to bring more power to bear on this issue. Hence the hiatus in the Vision Blog. Many of you have written me to ask when it would return, and I so appreciated your contact.

As of 2 days ago, I am pleased to announced that we have closed on a substantial multi-million $ round of financing from some of the most visionary and supportive investors worldwide.

Given the power of this fundraising and the interest, we have decided to continue to raise more $ while the "iron is hot" so we will detail the final close details when we are all done....nonetheless, the Vision Blog will return.

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, I am at PopTech 09 conference in Camden, ME. It is a great conference and marks a special day as it is coincident with the launch of the first of our first video in a 13 week series. Every Wednesday night at 10pm EST for the next 12 weeks we will debut a new video chronicling the story of local motors.

You can see these launches at our YouTube channel

Please enjoy the story and repost, retweet, email, and share with your friends. These are going to be 12 exciting weeks.