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Monday
Mar312014

A Data Conversation - 1

Lets continue our conversation with The Colonel.

Q- Colonel we heard that you were on the leading edge of the Internet a couple of decades ago.

A- Guys what does the Internet have to do with data? Yes...in hindsight I was too far ahead, and perhaps I'm still waiting for folks to catch up.

Q- Lets come back to the challenge, what do you mean?

A- When machines do a bunch of grunt work, they save time, and accelerate time. The Internet enabled machines to connect, while opening other possibilities. Broadband enabled the connections to become increasingly visual. The human brain must remain ahead of all this...

Q- Similar to a Moore's Law for the brain?

A- Great analogy guys...exactly that...the brain has to step it up to deal with the onslaught of data, and the modeling of data.

Q- It seems increasingly easy to get lost in the "data trees" and miss the "data forest".

A- Another great analogy...many folks get suffocated in the data details, losing the essence of the data.

Q- What happens when the data is erroneous, or fraught with lapses.

A- Most folks shy away from that discussion or use the "garbage in-garbage out" analogy. Its easy to fool people with "data" that is presented in a "slick fashion" where the presentation supercedes the quality of the data. 

Q- There are many folks in all sorts of fields talking a good line, about data, Internet, and so on.

A- Yes there are...the reason we have been saying that "you have to be your own editor" for several years now. You can safely say that around any industry there is a level of "pedestrian knowledge" with limited authority that becomes mainstream.

Q- Pedestrian Knowledge what is that?

A- Its a level of knowledge, data, that is easy to understand, it has a wide band of appeal, is repeatable, is transportable, and probably makes money for some folks.

Q- Similar to the idea that everyone knows something about cars, knows something about social media, can access simple metrics and weave a tale around them, can access simple content and use it for their "gain".

A- Precisely...

Q- Lets bring this a little closer to the car business, managing data with spreadsheets, and presenting data with Powerpoints.

A- There is an entire layer of management that for the past 20 years has used spreadsheets and powerpoints to save money, expand markets, and get themselves in serious "deep yogurt". Often selling a tale of BS using both. 

Q- How about dealers, and customers.

A- The Internet empowered the customer and it started 20 years ago. The Internet continues to disintermediate the dealer and it too started 20 years ago. The manufacturers have driven down costs, have passed along costs this vector also started close to 20 years ago. The dealer is caught in the middle, and being distracted by a myriad of forces.

Q- Is it fair to say the dealer has vast amounts of internal and external data?

A- Absolutely, vast amounts of internal data to grasp, comprehend, execute. Now the dealer must deal with a wave of "digital natives" as customers with their own distinct approach, needs, expectations, requirements.

 

 

Saturday
Mar292014

Rotsun

Saturday entertainement...enjoy this episode of Road Kill...

 

 

Friday
Mar282014

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 thinking...you 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.

 

Thursday
Mar272014

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). Yes...in 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- Absolutely...it 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... 

 

Wednesday
Mar262014

Data Transformation

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