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Vroom Room

Good Morning!

Its Friday, its the Vroom Room come in make yourself comfortable enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation.

We agree, Spring was last week and its nowhere to be seen yet...good thing humans are flexible beings. 

This past week we have looked at "data" which as you know is emerging as an influencer in many business decisions, and will increasingly become more entrenched in the decision process. If you missed the conversation just scroll down.

Yes...the last full week of March. It will be fascinating and revealing to see the March results, and how the first quarter developed in Canadian sales. What do you think?

Rigid have to wonder how many instances of rigid, ingrained, thought processes go on the auto business, or any other business for that matter. Mind boggling how many folks inexorably get set in their ways, while thinking they are on the correct path...some interesting Wow moments. Leads you to wonder how much "rigid thinking" hides below the "facade" in the auto business.

Accompanied by the usual comment "Been in this business for...". The other form of rigid thinking is the folks that espouse technology, while arresting their thinking.

The Rant:

Have you noticed the recent thoughts from "knowledgeable pundits" on the length of finance terms for vehicles, trade ins with a negative equity position. We published an ebook Money for the Deal over a year ago. Did it really take the mainstream pundits so long to catch up to "reality".

The new Z28 is capturing a good level of attention from a multitude of pundits...its a good thing. Its refreshing to see Chevrolet uphold what the original Z28 (an option package to win races) was all about.

Our usual old race cars from the HMSA Spring Club Race 2014.



A Data Conversation

This morning we have The Colonel with us, and we are going to get his thoughts on data, especially with the emergence of big data.

Q- Colonel Good Morning, you look well, perhaps even rejuvenated.

A- Good Morning guys, thanks for the cappuccino, and blowing some smoke.

Q- Tell us about your experiences with data, how did it start?

A- Lets agree that data is numbers, and we always need to deal and grasp numbers. 

Q- We agree, its numbers.

A- Great, now go back a few decades, to the days of slide rules, log tables, calculus, and the frustration of calculating "rates of....(fill in your own blank).

Q- The classic example of calculating the speed, rate of acceleration of a rocket, enhanced by diminishing mass.

A- Precisely, it was easier to mentally visualise it, than calculate it.

Q- Would you have another example?

A- Calculating the piston speed in an engine, its relatively easy to do, but calculating different speeds, for different strokes, at different RPM's is time consuming. The ideal application for a "binary" system.

Q- You mean what we understand today as a computer.

A- Precisely...if you go back a few decades, it was clumsy at best to even get a computer to perform these generic calculations. You had to write the program first, then type it on punch cards, then get the machine to work. Then you could quickly repeat the calculations over and over.

Q- What about the advent of the spreadsheet.

A- Prior to the spreadsheet many companies dealing with massive amounts of data, information, and relying on a battery of clerks; started migrating towards call them computerised data bases. The spreadsheet came about with the advent of the "personal computer" (PC). the late 1980's we all started using Lotus 123 on 5 1/2 floppy discs.

Q- Those 5 1/2 inch floppies must have been cumbersome? 

A- Ideally you wanted a PC with 2 disc drives, you were constantly exchanging floppies in the drives to keep on going, it was cumbersome, but also very fast for the time.

Q- We could keep on discussing the various details. What underlying message did you grasp from the advent of the PC, and spreadsheets.

A- I was fortunate to have evolved from doing math mentally, to slide rules, log tables, punch cards, rudimentary computers filling a room, spreadsheets. The message for me "The human brain was quantum leaps ahead of all this stuff".

Q- You are saying that none of this stuff came close to the human brain in thinking. It must have enhanced the brain?

A- still enhances the brain when a machine does the "grunt work" for you.

Q- Grunt work? We have smart devices today?

A- A binary machine can do a ton of grunt work which saves a ton of time. The smart devices are primarily for communication, entertainment, and keeping folks tethered to "something". 

Q- Folks get engulfed in the abilities of these machines, and smart devices.

A- Its a formidable challenge to have folks use their brains to think beyond the machines.

Q- To think beyond the machines, and data requires a profound understanding.

A- It sure does...and it sure is part of the challenge.

We should continue... 



Data Transformation

A fascinating presentation at TED...on what we know as "big data"



Truck Jump

When a video is worth a gazillion words...what can you say!



Classified Ads

If you have been in the auto business for a few years you surely remember and certainly used print classified ads to sell vehicles, especially used vehicles.

Those were the good 'ole days when everything was easy (presumably), simple, and straightforward, compared to today's complex technology, social media, engagement, digital front lines, text messages.

Lets see if we can connect a few dots from back in the day and their relevance to today.

Platforms: Which print platforms to use, what language, distribution.

Format:  A cost effective list, a brand building display, a combination, and what frequency. 

Position: Where was the ad going to appear in the platforms. Positioning provided an advantage.

Frequency: How often, which days.

Response: How fast a response for a specific ad.

Production: The time to produce the various ads, from fast for a list, more time for a display, to time and production costs for a glossy display.

Mix: What print platform mix for the month, local paper, used vehicle platforms, New York Times, DuPont.

Budget: How much money available for the year, month, week.

Strategy: Get an "edge" (competitive advantage) on your competition. Discretion was always an inherent part of any strategy..."The moment its out everyone else can copy you".

Time: was time consuming, and same as today there was no time. Always seeking to accelerate the cycle.

Metrics: How to measure the effectiveness of the various ads, and platforms.

Scrapbook: Keep the various ads with dates in a scrapbook for reference.

An example from the "dark ages":

The dealer takes a vehicle in trade on a Friday, by the following mid week (usually the cut off was on Wednesday), the dealer places a classified (liner) ad for the vehicle to appear on the Saturday. By the following Tuesday the dealer knows the retail potential of the car in his market at that specific time. We could keep on going surely understand.

An example from "2014":

The dealer takes a vehicle in trade on a Friday, by the following mid week, there is an ongoing discussion about detailing, a photo shoot, uploading photos, disseminating to various platforms. Hopefully by the following Friday the vehicle appears in a few platforms. Hopefully again by the next Friday (2 weeks have transpired) the dealer knows the retail potential. if you get the impression this vehicle is embroiled in a technological ball of also grasp a few competitive advantages.

It begs the question "How could a dealer in the dark ages that relied on print, a physical front line have a 7 day advantage on a 2014 dealer with the Internet, digital front line, social media, tools to quickly measure metrics".

A possible answer "The dealer in the dark ages was keenly focused on selling vehicles, creating customers, being competitive, and dramatically less distracted by routine technology"

Another possible answer "Few dealers in 2014 are seeking a Cyber Advantage on their competition"