Ignite Automotive 2015

On February 9th, a bunch of us got together with seven-hundred Slide01and fifty new friends at the Royal Oak Music Theatre to talk about careers in the Automotive economy.  The 3rd “Ignite Automotive” was a complete success with many amazing talks given.  If you have never been to an ‘ignite’ event, make sure you attend one in the future.  It’s about giving a five-minute talk – twenty slides – timed at fifteen seconds a slide.  Yes, timed.  It’s harrowing for the speaker, because if you miss a cue, or slow down, or have a brain-fart, you’re basically screwed.  My talk was “Chasing the Connected Vehicle” and I only had a couple brain farts.

There were many students in the audience and our goal was to inspire them to seek employment in the automotive industry.  Advances in technology and design has really opened up opportunities for young people to participate and lead the way in building the next-generation connected vehicle.  I focused on technology because there is a dramatic shortage of technology talent, and these young people have the aptitude, skills and attitude that we need to keep in Michigan.

Slide02I tried to focus on the fact that a lot of auto companies are chasing ‘connected vehicle’ products, but no one really understands what drivers really want because there are so many demographic differences between drivers and their connected vehicle needs.  Because of this, products have been rolled out unevenly and even dangerously. Slide15

This has caused delay in product rollout  while the technology continues to advance.

This gap needs to be filled by young people who have lived with connectivity for most of their lives, and better understand the needs for connected products in the future.  The job opportunities are enormous and these are great jobs!Slide18All in all, I got to talk to a lot of young people and thought leaders in the industry.  I kinda felt like a poseur because I’m not a ‘car guy’ and never will be.  However, the industry needs tech-folks as well as design-folks to help automotive engineers design the next generation of connected vehicle.

Cheers! Paul Cz

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Seeding Cloud Apps

CloudSeedingCloud Seeding is the methodology of dispersing chemicals in order to alter weather patterns.  Effectiveness of this practice remains controversial even these days, with one of the latest controversies being the 2008 Olympics in Beijing where rockets were used to seed clouds in order to prevent rain during the opening and closing ceremonies.   Nobody seems to know if this worked or not.

So, what does this have to do with cloud-computing?  Sometimes you have all the ingredients you need to change your computing paradigm but you’re reluctant to do so because:

  • It’s perceivably too hard
  • You don’t have the aptitude or talent
  • It goes against status-quo
  • You’re afraid to invest time and money

I’ve noticed a backlash against cloud-computing recently.  Surveys in the press seem to indicate that CIO’s are not planning to do much in 2014 with their cloud-computing strategy, that is if they have a strategy at all.  They cite security issues or lack of ROI as the reason.  I understand, these issues are real and need to be confronted.  Security is a red-herring – securing cloud applications is (mostly) the same as securing your in-house applications.  ROI is another issue.  Although computing costs are getting cheaper, software vendors are playing games with licensing, not willing to give up perpetual-license revenues.  So they play games with setting “minimum licenses”, either steering you to perpetual licenses or locking you in to a long-term contract.  In either case, it’s short-sighted on their part and will backfire.   I’ll be happy to see them fail and go out of business.

“DISRUPT OR BE DISRUPTED”

This is what should be keeping you up at night.  If you don’t have Focus, Urgency and Discipline (FUD), you’re done for.  At some point your competition will wake up and invest in these platform, gain the competitive advantage, and by the time you start to think about moving to cloud-computing it will be too late.  At least too late for you, because you didn’t act.

WHAT TO DO

Take inventory of all your old systems.  The only thing left inside your cloud-seedingdata-center should be security-critical applications that you aren’t ready to move.  Retire old systems and move to cloud-solution vendors that truly offer a SaaS solution and subscription license model.  Be strategic, work on ROI that’s in front of you and that’s achievable in an agile project.  If you have a differentiated application that provides competitive advantage, consider opening up the application to cloud-based web-services.

Most of all, avoid the negativity from analysts and the press who say that there is no urgency to move to these platforms.  I’m happy to talk to anyone balking at the opportunity of building cloud-based apps and how to move forward.

P-Cz