Category Archives: Education

Teaching, explaining, public and private

I Got to Drive a Tesla Roadster: Their EV Marketing is Spot On

Driving the Tesla Roadster is like being strapped to a rocket. Pure awesomeness. I am in one of the ‘Coolest Toys on Earth’.

Who, in their right mind, would turn down an offer for driving a Tesla Roadster? Who would not want to own this all-electric sports car if they could afford it? The answer: everyone I know – especially those EVangelists at Plugin 2012. I unfortunately can’t say the same thing about the Volt, LEAF, Focus Electric, and the handful of other models of electric vehicles out there. You know why – Tesla made a car that was worth something to the higher class folk, which then created desire in everyone else. All the other AutoOEM’s missed the mark, unfortunately, and are fighting an uphill battle – but in the next three years will finally ‘get it’.

I have heard and seen Volt and LEAF owners get crazy frustrated with people who ask the simple questions about their cars – how much was it, how much range do you get, can you take it on trips? Then with very little thought, these inquisitive people say something like, “Well I could buy a $23K Prius for that and do everything else that limits you. Why did you buy that?” Talk about an irate EV owner – yikes!

Have you ever compared a Porsche 911 to a Prius?

Have you ever asked why the owner of a Maserati bought one, and not a simple Dodge Neon (if they still sold them)?

The funny thing about electric vehicles is that Continue reading

The “Coolest Job On Earth” and a Video

See below for the video explanation of my latest ‘toy’ in my own office.

Watch out Cincinnati, here I come! I am very excited to formally share that I have accepted my new job as Business Development Manager starting in July. I am very sorry to say goodbye to my good friends at Eaton Corporation, but I have looked for the next step in my career and life now for a couple of years – so this works out really nicely. On describing the name of the new company, which just happens to be “Coolest Toys on Earth”, one of my work associates in Asheville said, “Jason, that sounds like it may be the Coolest Job on Earth.” I think my friend Eddie may be on to something.

“So what will you be doing?” is the question I get asked a lot. Well, I can tell you Continue reading

iPhone : App :: EV : kWh

Nissan Leaf exhibited at the 2010 Washington A...

One of the many EV's hitting the roads worldwide. Image courtesy of Wikipedia

If you took a large standardized test such as the SAT or maybe helped your child with homework in their logic class, you might recognize the “A is to B as C is to D” construct of the title. The interesting thing about the Electric Vehicle, or EV for short, is that much like how the iPhone taught people what in the world an ‘App’ was, the EV is poised to actually teach people like you and me what a kilowatt-hour, or kWh, represents and means in our life.

Most of North American households that receive a bill in the Continue reading

Industry Speak

Speak up for peace

Maybe we need to tape our mouths shut if all we can say is 'Industry Speak'. Image by Guillaume Brialon via Flickr

It is so easy to misunderstand each other no thanks to …wait for it … ourselves.

Joy Monteiro, in a recent blog post, talks about how when talking about a book, it is described as “Book Title, 246+x pp” – and she could not find out what ‘pp’ meant. She did the due diligence of googling it. She isn’t lazy – but rather a victim of a crime that I (and the rest of modern humanity) has perpetrated for long enough. It’s Industry Speak.

Every industry has these terms and phrases, or forbid-me-to-say-it acronyms that you have to be ‘in the know’ to know. For those of us that are not practicing hobbits – this can be a bane to communication. That’s the problem with industry speak – it’s there to help us … but eventually it kicks us in our butts when we want to go mainstream with what we know about.

So in my work, there is Electric Vehicle Speak or Smart Grid Speak. On the Sabbath, sometimes I hear Church Speak. All this is well and good in the circles we live – but sometimes we come in contact with … gasp … ‘outsiders’. Sometimes the Greasers talk to the Socs … and that is where the problems begin. (ASIDE: according to the author of that book, S.E. Hinton intended for Socs to be pronouced ‘soashes’ as if trying to shorten the word social. When reading the book in Middle School, I remember referring to them as the ‘socks’. [grin])

I love to learn about other people – pick up on their own ‘speak’. I think I like it so that next time I meet someone from that industry I can have a bag of ‘speak’ up my sleeve to increase engagement and interest in the conversation. I love the eyebrow raise when you say something that makes them realize you know a little something about their passion.

Industry speak comes out of trying to make communication better within a close-knit community – but because this shared tribal knowledge is kept within that smaller group of people, when those terms and phrases are spread to the public, a different mental picture comes to mind – or worse, no mental picture at all.

This is usually why Marketing and Communication (INDUSTRY SPEAK WARNING: ie MarCom) teams exist – to un-speak-ify the speak. It’s hard to preach the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God when the term ‘gospel’ brings to Southerner’s mind people telling you in grocery stores that if you don’t accept Jesus, you are going to hell. For that matter, most people do not even have a working knowledge of what the Kingdom of God is – so who could blame them. The Church of God has it’s work cut out for them … just like most industries do.

I’m not sure how we can avoid this … it’s like what God tells Jeremiah: ‘man does not know how to lead his own steps.’ I am of the belief that the vast majority of us are naturally bad at communication – but there are a few, like my friend Jeremy Lallier, that can ‘connect’ in a subtle, smart, and different way.

This ‘connecting’ idea – the main thrust behind industry speak – the main thought behind ‘communication’ in general – is why we do this to ourselves. We are trying to connect thoughts and feelings with words. (ASIDE: this is branding in a nutshell.) And yet, because we try so hard, we have a tendency to alienate outsiders.

We have to connect when we communicate – and that is why knowing your audience is so important. But by just doing that, we haven’t fixed the issue, we just applied a band-aid. Truly connecting, and throwing industry speak out the window, is the stuff God and His Kingdom is made of.

Boy am I looking forward to the King’s Return … and I’m certainly not talking Tolkien.

New Series About Electric Vehicles

It’s interesting how an industry I knew nothing about just a few years ago has now become my industry. And now … I want to help it.

There is a plethora of mis-information in the Electric Vehicle industry – not for the ones that live it day by day – but the managers, reporters, and enthusiasts that aren’t as well connected and plugged in as I have had the opportunity to be. I’m talking about the people that touch it often enough for it to be relevant, but not enough to be considered an expert. In the little part of the world where I romp – I would love change the world. I am that excited about using the knowledge, a good douse of experience and a passion for teaching to spur me on to help this industry to progress from the enthusiasts to the early adopters and over that big … scary … chasm.

Curve showing Innovators, Early Adopters, the chasm, and the mainstream

The 'Acceptance Curve' for any new technology or trend - this one thanks to Tim Barcz talking about Flickr

As part of an exercise in video production, editing, story telling and teaching, I will be using my industry as a way to prepare for bigger projects. I model this exercise after the little experiments and sketches that Leonardo da Vinci would practice with when he was working on a larger project. For many of his works, he would have little ‘problems’ to work out – how to position the person, how to lay the hands, how the cloth would fold on the person – and he would go on tangents trying different approaches, researching, watching other people, etc.

This video series is exactly that – a tangent, albeit a worth while one that has mini-goals in and of itself, part of a preparation for a bigger goal that is still cooking in the ol’ noggin.

New projects are fun … so let’s go!