Thursday, February 28, 2008

Extra Extra!!

It is hard to believe that it has only been 2 weeks since I had the pleasure to introduce Ariel Ferreira to the LM Community. She has accomplished so much in these past 14 days.

Not only has she drunk from the fire hose that is the Local Motors History, plan, and vision, but she has also turned on her own media engine and has begun to write her own blog. Ari now has joined our other two regular blogs (Vehicle Engineering and Founders Blog) as she writes regularly about life at the Local Motors Ranch. From people to pets, lunches to favorite snacks, hand tools to serious machines, and more, Ari has made it her mission to talk about what is happening day in and day out at the company.

Basically, she figured that many of our readers came to our site because they simply wanted to know about and be part of the experience of building a new kind of car, and so she uses her blog to help them achieve that. Aptly called Local Motors: Life, Ari's blog is an engaging update which will keep you in the know. Bookmark it, plug it into your RSS queue, sign up for her daily email, but whatever you do, don't miss her news.

And as an Extra Extra treat on this news worthy day, Ari prepared our messaging and was responsible for getting me through our first Local Boston media interview. Bravo! It appears that the reporter and his paper are going to run a story on our company in the near future. Stay tuned for more information on this event (name of the paper and date of story) and let's hear it for our community evangelist and public relations manager!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rapid Thoughts at Local

It is our intention to bring a prototype vehicle to market with speed and efficiency. As we have delineated our critical path, we have naturally begun to look to ways to gain efficiency and to save time.

One of our explorations has been a serious look at rapid prototyping (RP). From customer prizes, to vendor sourcing, and to part making, each is something we need to manage at Local Motors, and this way of doing things quickly and accurately is ripe with potential.

(Blue and White Vase, Inkjet Printing Technology, courtesy of Z Corporation)

A couple of years ago, I visited 3D Systems headquarters in South Carolina and walked away with my head spinning. I have now been back to 3D and been to other companies since that time, and the pace of development has been breakneck. From the $5,000 Desktop Factory out of Idealab to the $1MM Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) behemoths at 3D, the range of capabilities, reliability, and PRICE is nothing short of huge.

And this range above is really just referring to a discussion of Rapid Prototyping, which is only the beginning. As it is said in the industry, when Rapid Prototyping "grows up" as a technology, it will become Rapid Manufacturing. Also known as Direct Digital Manufacturing, this business is the idea of making a part (NOT A PROTOTYPE) directly from a CAD file using additive materials. I first saw this at an American Le Mans race shop where a company was making fuel tank floaters to go inside an open wheel car's fuel bladder and they were making the actual part, NOT A PROTOTYPE. When it came off of the "printer" and I held it, I had to blink twice and shake my head to try to grasp the concept that they had just built a usable race-ready part off of a "printer".

In this post, it was my original intention to provide an expose of the latest and greatest thoughts that we have developed on RP (and even RM), but the truth is that the information is so voluminous and rapidly changing, that anything I write is almost guaranteed to be contradicted or outdated in a matter of months. I almost started this post many times over the past several months, only to be thwarted by the task of synthesizing all of the latest material....SO I have chosen a different approach.

Here are a list of opening leads which let you do the research at the pace that interests and concerns your needs or desires. Almost everything leads back to everything else, so where you start is less important than finding a place in which you can relate to RP.

One critical lifesaver in an ocean of information is Castle Island Co.

Castle may look like a cheap site, but in reality, it is an unbelievable resource for people to learn about every technology (and there are a lot) and every company that makes products within that technology. Even a first time user can understand it and make it useful.

Spend some time on the site and you will find yourself spending more time on the site, and then you will get more and more hooked, and before you know it, your dog will have fallen asleep at the foot of your chair with the frisbee still in his mouth. Really, the organization and the amount of information is incredible.

If you've not already, dive into some of the sites from the actual vendors themselves. Many of them have videos and flash animations that make it easier to understand what they do. From the "2001 A Space Odyssey video from Stratasys to the brash Z Corp intro, even the videos show the breadth of the competition. Here's one linked for your pleasure!

Remember that despite the cool factor of some of these technologies, knowing what you NEED them for and how you can apply them before you make a purchase decision makes all the difference in the world between a machine that gathers dust and one that is a competitive advantage. We have visited too many shops where FARO arms are gathering dust in the corner because they were non-core to the business and not matched properly to the needs of the business. Said another way, you will find RP tools at small race shops like Joe Gibbs Racing and at large OEMs such as BMW, and even though both businesses have the same tool, it does not mean that the tool is being utilized to its potential in either shop. It all depends on your perception and communication of the need for its capabilities. Often smaller shops can utilize these tools to a more full potential than an OEM giant.

Note that more than ever, there are businesses which can get you into RP and RM without your having to buy the machinery. These firms offer access to the output of these types of machines on a per part basis. Though the cost of such a service is quite high, for people not sure what they want or for those with only a limited need, such offerings can make a great deal of sense. One good example of a firm such as this is Mydea Technologies found at the University of Central Florida (UCF) Tech incubator.

Lastly I recommend that you take a careful look at the output of each company and technology. If seeing is believing then holding is really believing. At the 3D University, part of the York Tech South Carolina Community College district, they have a hall where they display output from many different sorts of technologies, or at the annual SEMA conference, or at the RAPID SME conference even more vendors and their product outputs can be seen. Additionally you can order or arrange to see finished product samples or products being made form every company. All of these are good and will suffice, but do your best to put your hands on some of these results of Rapid Prototyping. I am convinced that they will blow your mind and make you even more hungry for knowledge.

They have for us, and we are only at the beginning. Such a revolution in part production is something that would have made the late Boyd Coddington proud, and on the day of his passing, we say a prayer for him and all of the car loving disciples he has given life to.

Go Local and Go Rapid!

God Bless you Boyd.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Thank you to our small crowd

This is a short note to speak to you - this blog's small and precious group of listeners and contributors.

Soon our cloistered conversation will cease to be so entre nous as we are not only going to launch our site but also we are going to publicize our blogs to a much wider audience.

So while each of us will still be writing as diligently as ever and in as heartfelt a manner about cars, it will be to a much wider audience. We have enjoyed the theater intime of our small community in each of these blogs, and we will miss the targeted and detailed feedback from each of you.

Nonetheless, we also look forward to sharing our well-developed vision with a much wider audience who is hungry for the "Realest" car reality show in the country.

Thank you for the great start and here's to the great future.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Community of Car Designers - What do they crave? What will they allow?

With a steady and powerful drum beat, companies and organizations are rallying behind distributed innovation to create products more powerful than most individual efforts could conceive.

Cuusoo/Elephant Design
Top Coder
Threadless (Designer spotlight)

Some of these products are software, and that creation process has become largely well understood. It is the creation of more artistic products or even physical goods which has been more difficult for people to conceptualize until now. At Local Motors, we spend a lot - let me repeat A LOT - of time trying to get our arms around the specific aspects of designers' culture, and it has made for some great debate.

One area of distributed innovation that seems to have a direct impact on our community of designers is the market for distributed editing of images. Otherwise known as online image editing through Rich Internet Applications (RIAs), this concept is all at once quite simple and yet hugely powerful. It allows people with great content to mash up with people with great ideas and still others with great skill in order to make stunning images.

Take for example a photograph that is of a stormy sky, and then another of a green field, and then a deep lake, and then a misty mountain. put them all together in the mind of the right artist.......


This was actually from a series of works developed to advertise for an outdoor products company. Of course, when the original images were taken, none of the photographers had any idea they would go well or be used in such a creation. It was not until an artist came along and was inspired enough to place them together.

The same process ought to go on for cars and their body design.... At Local Motors, we are betting on it.

The big question however, is, "In what way will car designers want to share and adjust each other's images?" It is pretty clear that all designers enjoy feedback (praise and critique). But when it comes time to allowing a critic to take your design into his own hands and then make his changes directly on the "canvas" and redeploy that new design to the community, THAT is a challenging question.

I have heard those that argue such sharing will happen naturally, and still others who argue just as intensely that they would rather die then allow their image to be re-made by another. Who is right, we cannot say, but looking at some sites that offer the type of tools that could allow such an advanced form of collaboration can give us some idea as to the potential. The space is growing quickly. - Leading site in terms of ideas and sharing between a wealth of image editing applications. Has its own community, however, which makes it much less attractive for inclusion in LM's business model. - They have a photo sharing feature between specific sites (picasa, flikr, etc), but it could potentially be a software suite that we could integrate into LM's site. Fun sense of team. I like it. They are based in Seattle. Microsoft heritage (ugh!). No voting on edited images like Aviary, but they are up and running. the downside here is that one must pay for the editor. Free API so that we can put it on our own website! Limited editing tools it appears. Must pay for the editor. Definite Photo rating and voting features, but very MySpace focused. Interesting list of pre-loaded (human image) editing features. I like the way this would seem to work, especially if the same thing was created for car editing, but it would probably become quickly amateur (or not deep enough). - Seems pretty basic. 2 person team. Have a program called PIXENATE. Go Irish! Seems I am scraping lower in the barrel.

So that is the lay of the land for now, more to follow as the site and alpha gain more traction.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A day to in the life of our start-up

This is one of those days you want to remember in the life of a startup.

I have often thought to myself that if there is one certainty in the daily life of Local Motors it is that whenever something goes wrong...."just wait" because something is bound to go right. I cannot prove that this is a law of nature with any mathematical proof-style evidence, but if history is a guide, it is almost axiomatic.

Of course, the corollary is also true that whenever something goes right...."just wait" something is likely to go wrong. Despite this being true, pernicious optimism leaks in and we tend to focus on the things that just went right or are about to go right.

What all this has to do with today, is that I believe we had a 6-sigma event. No, not in a GE sense. Our "outlier" today was that things started to go well, and they just kept getting better.

To begin, I awoke to an email digesting a 4 hour conference that our web team had had with Ben, one of our best California design advisors. In the email, Ben was literally overflowing with takeaways that could "take us away" in many great directions upward toward success.

After taking my 3 year old to school, I picked up a cup of chai at Uncle Jon's, which cup was about perfect (heat, taste, the works).

The sun was out as I drove to work and the air was crisp.

As usual I was lost in thought about cars and why they are the way that they are, when I arrived at the office.

The team was already in and cranking.

Mike was tearing up the internet with his new Mac Pro, while Dave was moving the shop into a higher state of readiness with a new custom made bracket for our compressor switch.

The plumbers were hard at work moving our heater which has not been used (due to its improper placement) for the last 7 years. They finished and the shop is now finally HOT.

The electricians piled in behind the plumbers and wired up our new 30amp compressor. They flipped the switch.....and you guessed worked like a charm.

I told the guys about a couple of brainstorms that I had had last night and got to show them some web video to bring the point home. It gave all of us a lot of exciting things to think about. More to follow another day on these items.....

I then dove into my office and connected with a potential software supplier who was more than eager to sit down and to talk with us about our needs and their new solution. We set a date that worked on both of our 2 tight calendars.

Tim then got to work supercharging our front-end hiring effort, and with one post to craigslist, we received 9 responses. In 5 hours this response had tripled what we had received with our previous strategy over the past 4 days.

Andy set to work on a particularly key feature for our upcoming beta launch and had it knocked out in 30 mins. He had never done this task before, but the fates were lining up behind him.

The we really started to get rolling.

Dave and Mike and I caught a brief hour to dig into the product development work scheduling, that we so eagerly have been pursuing, and Excel didn't even crash while we got to work downloading their ideas to paper.

Ari checked in with a super basecamp post of 3 self-generated and motivating emails for a web-page that she thought up out of the clear blue, which adds an awesome level of customer help and forward-thinking grassroots marketing to our upcoming site launch. AND I actually had time to discuss the nuances with her.

Then I found my Local Motors uniform on ebay for 1/4 the price that I would have had to pay for it from a store. Heyo! The god's were smiling. Can't tell you what it looks like yet, but it is going to be good. I promise.

I got an email from my co-founder, who lives in NYC, always a good email to get, and we traded some thoughts.

...but that's not all

We then received a media call, out of the blue, from a well-respected Boston journal that covers local businesses, which I happen to read and LIKE. They had heard about the company and wanted to learn more for a story.

And then 4 of our investors checked in in under one hour each with a different message but all with optimistic thoughts, and 4 new prospective investors made their intention to invest much firmer.

I don't think that I could have asked for a more complete day. I am off to home, with thoughts of a day worth remembering.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Resale Value Revisited

In writing yesterday's post on the Moochfest, I was reminded of another interesting phenomenon in the auto market. We discussed this idea at the shop today, and I think it is so important that both of our blogs will likely touch on it this evening . Actually, I think that this phenomenon is less of a phenom and more of a vestigial hangover from 100 years of mass market car making: the meaning of "resale value".

(A Stark Contrast in 1972)

How many times have you heard, "I only buy "such-and-such brand cars" because they keep their value." Such a dignified reason has almost become synonymous with the Consumer Report winning Japanese automakers. In fact, the sanctimony of resale-value-reasoning has almost shamed many buyers today into making a choice between boring cars that are a "smart buy" and guilty pleasures that are "lemons".

This value spectrum is one-dimensional. It assumes that all car design and all companies are equal and that the resale value is predicated on product longevity and standardization alone. Though every buyer who has a soul knows this NOT to be true, somehow we still fool ourselves into believing this bunk. Let me explain.

Did you ever make a model as a kid? Did it sit around in your parent's attic or in your life until long after your spouse had ceased trying to making you throw it out? ..........Did you ever think that Maisto might have made a better one that you could buy for $30 that would last longer?

Did you ever build something in school like a shop project or clay pot? How long has that stayed in your life? Can you see it from where you are reading this blog? ..........Did you know that K-Mart sells functional and affordable homewares?

The point is that when you are personally invested in a project - when you make something or take part in its creation - its subsequent value becomes distanced from its product longevity and standardization. Of course, in most cases this doesn't mean that the product can fail (i.e. the clay pot ought to hold water), but it decidedly shifts the "value balance" in favor of personal investment and away from standardization.

This difference in value or "resale value" when it comes to cars has taken on an almost religious character when it comes to die-hards such as the Local Motors team or some of its followers. Take for example the exchange of posts from Jalopnik regarding the Factory Five GTM that is also called out by our Vehicle Engineer Blog:

When reflecting on the homebuilt supercar, one self-avowed Lotus Motorcar lover stated:

"BY KARMAVORE AT 02/18/08 03:25 PM

One of the better looking original kit-car designs. I don't think I'd build one though because I'd be afraid the resale would be awful...."

To which was sharply responded:

" BY 79TA AT 02/18/08 08:34 PM @karmavore:
No such performance car should be bought for "resale." Leave that sort of thought for the soulless commuter cars.

'nough said!

Clay pots: 1 K-Mart: 0

Monday, February 18, 2008

What is a Moochfest?.... Can it be a lesson in Grass-roots Marketing?

Though the definition will not show up in the dictionary, a Moochfest is a place where you lay out free food, and people eat it - a lot of it - while they talk with each other.

Our friends at Factory Five Racing hold one of these every year, and the most recent one was this past Saturday at their HQ in Wareham, Massachusetts.

What is so amazing to me (no, not the quality of the sub sandwiches - though those were good) is how far reaching such a small gathering can have in the world of car lovers.

Take for example the Jalopnik post on the Factory Five GTM from Monday. Here in this post, only 2 days after the aforementioned Moochfest, participants of the 'fest are posting realtime about their impressions of the GTM and Factory Five itself. Certainly the Company is not left unscathed, but in general, the posts are accurate and infused with a strong shot of optimism that someone at the Company is listening.

"BY NICK2NY AT 02/18/08 03:27 PM
I checked these out at Moochfest this weekend, and I'll tell you what, I'd have no fear running one of these as a daily driver. I spoke with Dave Smith (one of the founders of FFR) and he says one owner has more than 300k miles on his Roadster. The GTM should be no different, as it also has a boffin-designed tubular steel spaceframe . You'd never know that any of their cars are kits.

They've made about 200 of these GTM's so far, and I think you'll find that the owners are very happy--everyone I spoke with at the event said they buy another, and certainly, some of the owners sell their cars after building them just so they can labor on another.

Full writeup of the event on []"

Now, for those of you in the open-source world who deal in nano-seconds of feedback time, you may not think this feedback is any great shakes, but this kind of live feedback on car design with the company itself is pretty rare in the car world. Trust me.... or rather, if you are a 'doubting Thomas, go try to share a sub sandwich with Rick Wagoner and then post some comments about the Chevy Volt. Whether the comments were negative or not, the GM PR machine would rather see you sharing some cement slippers with John Gotti than lose control of that messaging, much less allow it to influence the design process. Trust me, this is special.

So, a Moochfest, may be about sandwiches and friends on the surface, but deep down it appears to be about whipping up the car-building world into a real-time frenzy.

Presidents Day and what it means for Local Motors

It is a Federal holiday and as with all Federal Holidays, we are observing it as a day off for reflection on the life of some great Americans.

Though Presidents Day has come to be known as a celebration of the life of all US Presidents, it began as an observance of the birthday of George Washington.

Certainly a familiar household name to everyone in this country, Washington is perhaps most notable in his humble commitment to our young republic. As the Revolutionary War General who defeated the great British Army, he was idolized and hugely respected. With his accolades, he quite easily could have acceded to the "throne" of the United States, but instead he humbly retired to Mount Vernon after the War.

Judo warrior. Family Man. Humble Servant of the People. A Patriot before American Patriotism was lionized.

Washington leaves much for us at Local Motors to admire. We are an unapologetically American Company focused on revolutionizing the tired and entrenched world of automaking. Though our cause is non-military and non-violent, I still feel as if the effort is equally important for what it means not only for the future of independence from foreign oil, but also for what it means to our environment and the future of free and expressive transportation.

Happy President’s Day.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

2 for 2 - Another new team member

Happy Valentine's Day to all you Local fans. Our wish for you is that you fall in love with one amazing car and its company by this time next year.

Speaking of commitment, one guy just made his in a big way to the Local Motors team. As of late last night, Ben joined our team bringing a critical design expertise to the way the community is created and maintained.

Ben, who joined just hours after Ari, hails from North Carolina, Florida, and New York. He is a graduate of the prestigious Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, and is our "design oracle" and guide to the new land of distributed community transportation design. He is sensitive to engineering, uniquely well-informed in the practical ways of the world, and one downright impressive trans designer (hopefully he will post and share some of his portfolio so you can see what I have).

Welcome Ben and thank you for your time and effort.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A New Team Member for Local Motors!!

Today Local Motors gained a significant new team member when Ariel Ferreira joined America's next generation car company.

Previously an experiential trainer in the Volvo driving experience, experience creator at Experience Marketing, and an expert in the marketing and sales of antique furniture and fine jewelry, Ariel has a stellar background, tailor-made for her role at the Company. Most recently, she hails from Chicago.

She will immediately step into the critical role of Community Evangelist and Public Relations Manager. As Community Evangelist, she will work to promote and communicate the vision and potential of Local Motors, Inc. She will start on this mission within the design community, and in so doing, lay the groundwork for the messaging of the Company in general.

From designing and cherishing to building and buying, Local Motors customers and visitors are about to meet Ariel, and they should prepare for an awesome introduction to her and to our Company. Welcome Ariel!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Cars and Sustainability meet at Monte Carlo

It has been 7 days since we have heard from our Vehicle Engineer and his blog, but he is back with a vengeance and the deep thoughts that would make Jack Handy stop and think! (Go with me, it is a SNL reference).

In his blog, Mike referenced the Art Center Summit from which he just returned, and I too wanted to call to light a concept which surfaced at the Summit.

When I referred to Monte Carlo, I was not talking about the famous casino but rather the computational algorithm that relies on repeated random sampling to compute its results. Monte Carlo methods are useful for modeling phenomena with significant uncertainty in inputs and that is precisely the point when one is thinking about the development of cars today. To me, this association made so much sense that I thought it deserved to be the subject of tonights blog.

(Just a little look at the famous Casino, where the simulation gets its name, and...... where there are always lots of beautiful cars.)

Take, for example, input domains in the following categories: policy, sociology, economy, technology, ecology, energy, and just random life events. These categories were part of a scenario and solution tool introduced by Art Center as part of its Mobility Vision Integration Process......which (drum roll) is a fancy name for laying out a number of factors in the development of a transportation system or vehicle architecture in order to make an informed "guess" about what a particular solution might look like.

Just as in a Monte Carlo simulation, the tool uses a number of random inputs in each category taken literally from a deck of cards in order to force participants to arrive at solutions when the 7 different variables are at work. What becomes immediately clear is that the range of potential events is so GREAT, that it would be impossible to predict with any certainty what the winning solutions would be or even if there would be a single winning solution.

Not being able to predict a winning automotive solution, makes Tesla, Aptera, Venture Vehicles, Phoenix, et al seem like they are hunting in a vacuum with a blindfold on. We believe that this uncertainty is likely to remain for many years, so it seems critical to create a business whose job it is work within and to celebrate this uncertainty. There are many right answers, and we know that it if we were restricted to one, then it would only take us a small part of the way.


These are all attributes which we have created at Local Motors in order to be responsive to the changeing categories.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Can you see the future Local Motors facilities? Some people can....

Tonight I was talking to a gentleman about his and my shared love for sailing. We got to talking about work, and he explained how he had spent almost 30 yrs as a commercial real estate developer. When he asked what I did for a living and I explained, his brain started to click over on the potential of the Local Motors. He was TOTALLY enthralled and enthusiastic.

Serving major metro areas of a certain minimum size were easily one of the first suggestions to come out of his mouth. Next he could not stop but draw parallels to the growth of McDonalds. So there is a business model comparison for at least the next year of the beginning of Local Motors growth and real estate planning!


Friday, February 8, 2008

A day at Art Center - but is Design hostile to Sustainability?

Today I spent a full day at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena CA.

What a place of vibrant energy and design thought! I was there during a Summit on Sustainability, and the benefit of car design aesthetics was squarely in the sights of many. Unfortunately, it appears that our collective effort to inform transportation sustainability has somehow taken issue with the subject of transportation design aesthetics. Some clearly believe that they are mutually exclusive.

I disagree and think that to say beauty and consumer preference are not positively related to sustainable transportation is to denigrate a most closely held belief that the road is each American's personal outlet for freedom and appreciation of our great country.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Great Design - part 2

Yesterday’s post finished with a question… and asking you to remember it is almost as bad as the Click and Clack Weekly Puzzla’. So here it is again: “if reliability is lost in the noise [of little differences here and there], and design differentiation is merely a prerequisite to being noticed, what is left to distinguish brands?”

The answer to this puzzler is to look outside the box, literally. If we are looking for differentiation only within the vehicle, we are missing an enormous part of the customer experience. Great design is not only to be found in the model line, but also in the company and the experience itself.

Take for example the Penske Auto Group AutoMall in Turnersville, New Jersey. This is dealer whose hallmark is diversity, not only within a make of car, but also in the diversity of makes offered under one dealership roof (Acura, Hummer, BMW, Cadillac, Chevy, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Scion, and Toyota). Though brand aggregation into one automall is disliked by independent OEM’s, some of the loss of uniqueness is compensated by the attraction of the dealer which in Turnersville’s case includes a private test track on which customers can test their very own car.

When was the last time you saw that at a BMW dealership? For most BMW buyers, their experience of the Ultimate Driving Machine is watching TV ads and taking their new car for a spin on the highway with police watching and traffic frustrating. Sure the product is supposed to BE great, but how could you really KNOW. You couldn’t. But a BMW dealer with a test track…now that BMW purchase just became a lot more memorable!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Great Design: The Price of Entry, but Not the Ticket to Success

I recently uncovered a Business Week article from 2004, which chronicled the state of design in the auto industry. At first read, the article seems to say how competitive the industry has become by invoking the proliferation of new designs. No earth-shattering truth here: just looking at a simple chart of model numbers in different years is enough to make this point:

1960: 200 est.
1992: 600
1995: 910
2002: 1314
(Businesweek 2/16/04 and Revolutionizing Product Development, Clark and Wheelwright)

And in some senses, this design diversity is important because quality has become less and less of a differentiating factor. According to JD Power, in 1998, there were 212 defects per 100 cars, whereas in 2004 there were 53 defects in 100 cars (or a single defect every other car). Perhaps in the past, cars could sell on reliability alone. No longer! If anything, true reliability differences may have been “lost in the noise”. I know some people will want to burn me at the stake for saying that, but go look at the JD Power data and talk to some mechanics on late model cars. Don’t ask them about the dome light that goes out, ask how often the engine breaks or the car won’t start.

Anyway, if reliability is hard to distinguish, to what end does differing design bring us? Is model diversity limitless? Are we trending toward individual cars?

Prognostications are better left to other people, but I would like to say that my preference would be for enough commonality in design such that owners can actually form groups and have a sense of belonging to a community of like-minded owners. I have to ask myself, “If every Ferrari were totally different, would there be a Ferrari brand at all?”

So if reliability is lost in the noise, and design differentiation is merely a prerequisite that has limits, what is left to distinguish brands? Stay tuned for tomorrow's post.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Two new Teams are in the race...and it is not New England and New York

On the eve of the big game, two new teams have joined the Local Motors effort.

(Courtesy of the NFL)

Well....almost. The Bucc's and the 9'rs are not back in the race, of course, but 3 new investors (2 from San Francisco and 1 from Tampa) have joined the Local Motors effort.

Welcome to the team, we are proud to have you aboard.