This is good news

The New York Times reports that the Chinese are going after the electric car market. Should that worry us?

It’s time to say it. Harden the fuck up, America. Stop whinging and whining about the economic transition. Get with it and start competing. A new race is being defined.

There’s been recent hand wringing over the innovation gap. Some think Silicon Valley has lost its mojo. I don’t think so. The Japanese threw down the gauntlet with hybrids (and a few plug ins too). The Chinese are coming on with mass manufacture, and the Indians can have a game changer with an electric Nano. Interesting times.

The US responded with Tesla, an early adopter’s wet dream. The Chevy Volt (God, I wish I had my ’63 Nova) is what GM is dishing up. And Ford’s hybrids seem to do nothing but add a few MPG and increase the cost of maintenance. Competition should up our game and breed innovation. That’s how it works in Silicon Valley…let’s hope Detroit can catch on.

I don’t like to point out problems without offering a solution. In this case the solution may very well be to sell off the GM brands (if possible) and form new business alliances with global partners. Crysler-Fiat?  Where’s Lee Iacocca right now? He’s not just making olive oil, is he? Interesting times indeed.

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TechCrunch 3rd Summer Meetup

Going to TechCrunch’s 3rd summertime fling wasn’t at the top of my list for a Friday night. I ignored the event until Twitter-aided social alchemy came into play.

I was without Twitter for 10 days. A series of epic hardware/software fails kept me off the grid. On the eleventh day I settled in with a reconditioned Lenovo (oy!) and installed Twhirl. One of the first tweets I spied was Arrington putting up 200 invites for grabs. I jumped on it. Within 4 minutes all were taken.

The gig started at 5.30. Not that the Valley is a 9 – 5 place, but I figured that there would be a lot of Fred Flintstones sliding down the tail of their dino at 5 and making their way to Sand Hill Road. I got there at 6.30 to find a minor traffic jam adjudicated by rentacops. Once parked, there was a long line, but the socializing wasn’t bad. The shock for me was this…. young entrepreneurs being carded at the door. The borders of the sub 21 crowd’s badges had a different color to indicate their lack of drinking age.

I often ask myself why I give up a Friday night to attend such events. After all, none of the ideas are nearly as interesting as what you can find at MIT’s Media Lab or Stanford’s AI lab. The reward I get is seeing so many old friends. These are the ones that were there when this whole damn thing got started. I won’t name names, but they are the ones that were ambling about the West Coast Computer Faire thinking that this is cool shit.

Every generation has inventors. There are visionaries born every day. I just hope that none of us ever forget that seeing the unseen is still the game. We all need a bigger dose of that.