Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Last week - a recap and a reblog

Thanks to LM Life's stupendous author, Ariel, I have the chance to share with you our exploits of last week in great detail. It is well worth the read to hear all that we accomplished. Here is Ari's account, reblogged for you pleasure.

The Last Week (by Ariel Ferreira Cronk).......

It is now Monday, and I have not updated you here in too long. Last week was such a whirlwind. We (Jay, Aurel and I) met so many new faces, caught up with community members in the Midwest, and started to broach territory that is, as of yet, a bit uncharted.

It will be easiest if I take you through the last week day-by-day.


AM - Kettering University

We really didn't know what to expect at Kettering University. The Kettering Entrepreneur Society was kind enough to host the Local Motors presentation during the lunch hour, and even brought lunch for everyone! Jay was sharp, and for the first time he was presenting to a group of engineers. While the focus was on Crowdsourcing and entrepreneurship, the questions were asked from a calculating engineers point of view. How is this feasible? How are you going to be profitable? How are the cars built? It was a good talk.

After the presentation we had a short tour. Kettering University is starting a start-up incubator program right on campus with a focus on bringing new businesses and new jobs to Mid-Michigan. Those running this program are sharp, and will succeed. All is not lost in Flint, Michigan.

Then, we met with the SAE lead/coach. He was so supportive of Local Motors and offered strong suggestions on how to integrate SAE collaboration in our process.

PM - Dinner with D-town Community Members

Though the big community dinner was scheduled for Tuesday, some CCS students and community members let us know in advance that they were going to be busy that evening. So, we met them on Monday. We had pizza in Greektown and hungout. It was a really nice, relaxing evening.

Two of the guys who joined us are community members, Vaughan Ling (Vling) , and Jon Russell (Jon). The other two are not yet members (not that I know of!), but I hope they will be in the future - both Zach and John are cool guys.


AM - Lawrence Technological University

Lawrence Tech has a new transportation design program. Located in Southfield, Michigan, just next to Detroit. LTU has a strong automotive culture based in engineering and now branching out toward design. It's amazing what they have accomplished in a short time.

This pic of Aurel was taken at LTU. It has no particular significance here, except that I like it!

PM - CCS Presentation

We were prepared for CCS to be a harder audience than the others. In our experience, the old Detroit frame of mind is not always an open mind. And while Jay can convince a room full of 500 entrepreneurs and venture capitalists that the Local Motors process is doable, sustainable, and scalable, it is sometimes more challenging to have the same conversation with Detroit engineers, manufacturers, and designers. But, as we found, CCS students do not have the old Detroit frame of mind (at least not the ones we talked to). They were very open minded, and asked strong questions.

If we could emphasize just one more thing to this group, to Mid-Michigan, and to Detroit, it would be that Local Motors structure supports the larger automotive economy over all. That we are not competitors to existing OEMs, we too, to some extent, are customers to OEMs.

All we want to do is put exciting and sustainable cars on the road, and we want to invite customers to choose what they want and participate in the process. It's that simple.

Evening - Dinner at Slows, 27 guests

Slow's Bar BQ in Detroit was really good. That being said, in the future we will not opt for a traditional restaurant setting. We need more of a reception, more of a social atmosphere where people can walk around and socialize. This was my lesson, and you can bet that while this dinner was great, the next event will be even better.


AM - Drive to Cleveland

PM - Presentation at Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA)

We FORGOT to take pics at CIA. I am going to try to get some pics of these guys from Matt Beckwith who is the CIA "Designer in Residence". He was a great help in planning our visit, and introducing us to students and faculty.

If you ask Jay or Aurel, they will tell you that 1.) CIA was impressive. The program, the students, the final projects - well done. And 2.) These guys know how to have fun. They have created a challenging balance between work and play. What a great atmosphere for learning and living.

Evening - Drive to Cincinnati

HUGE thunderstorm. Thankfully, Jay drove. At one point we had to pull the car over under an overpass until the rain slowed enough to enable us to drive. Aurel slept through most of the storm, but he woke in time to see a rainbow. I can't track down that rainbow pic right now, but it was just awesome.


AM - Loitering at University of Cincinnati - buy the contents of a bake sale

We were invited to loiter, so I guess technically we weren't "loitering", but hanging out. We wanted to make ourselves available prior to our presentation so we could have plenty of one-on-one time with interested students.

Notice the Dunkin Doughnuts box behind Jay? Since we were hanging out in the DAAP Cafe area, we wanted to bring some goodies for the students. I went to the Kroger bakery that morning and bought tons of cookies, and we got coffees for those that wanted it (me!). As we arrived at the Cafe to unload our cookies and presentation boards, we found that a group of students were doing a bake sale to raise money. So what does Jay do? He buys about $80 worth of doughnuts to support the bake sale cause, and pass out to students in the cafe. Then, at the end of our stay in the cafe, he gives the leftover doughnuts back to the bake sale.

Not a bad day for fundraising.

PM - Presentation at UC & Senior Projects

More students than we expected turned up for the UC presentation. In my opinion, this was Jay's best presentation of the week [Thank you Ari! Shucks!]. He had a crowd comprised of mostly designers, a fair mix between product and transportation. And we also had engineers.

Part of what made the presentation so strong was the myriad of questions. These students had tons of questions, and Jay was ready to answer.

Evening - Fly home

5 presentations in 4 days. Phew. What a week!!


Anonymous said...

"....In our experience, the old Detroit frame of mind is not always an open mind."

Oh so true. I got a real kick out of that statement.

Yet if those mind can be changed you still have the best minds in the business. That is the real challenge in Detroit Inc. Understanding that the good old days are just that. Days past. Time to move on.

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