A pleasant week in Missouri and for EVTV. The temperature has dropped dramatically to low 80’s from well over a hundred degrees fahrenheit and we can work again in the shop.
I took a day to fly the King Air 200 with my old mentor Kenny Hoffman to pick up some friends undergoing medical treatment there. This puts a point on how every deeply I resent the total nonsense and mess that our government has made of our commercial air carriers and airports. They are essentially unusable for anyone but particularly for the elderly or the sick. And they accomplish nothing. Nothing is even marginally safer. They can’t make you safe. They can only make you take off your shoes. This is our government in action.
The level of critical thinking in our government, and perhaps in our country, has reached what I term the MORONIC PLAGUE level. It’s actually pandemic, incurable, and undoubtedly terminal.
In any event, we shot little video but it didn’t matter. I had to spend Friday morning studying hard for our show, which I really never do. Then Brain and I went over it for 30 minutes before shooting. EVTV just got much more complicated to shoot.
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But its all for a good cause. I’ve reached this transition point once before, with Boardwatch Magazine, and it is an exciting transition. This time I know what it means.
I started a little newsletter in 1986 about electronic bulletin boards, online services, and a network that actually did not have a name at the time and there was a very active debate as to what to call it. John Quartermain was doing very strange graphs of this network of networks and we began calling it the “internet” while very eagerly watching to see what it was finally going to be called. Oh well.
But in the early days, I wrote every word in the newsletter. It’s actually a bit of work. But I soldiered on.
At some point, some of our readers caught on to what I was doing, and wanted to do it too. But they couldn’t really see how to start a magazine and make it pay, especially since I was pretty much starving to death at the time. So I taught a couple of readers how to write an article and what was important and what wasn’t. They picked up on it pretty good, and I had additional material for the publication. It wasn’t as good as what I wrote, bot sometimes it dug up things I might have missed. And I kept after it.
At some point, there was a change in the publication. We started getting articles, that while short on literary merit and unlikely to win an award, were nonetheless from people who WOULD know and about things we were interested in and did matter. Some of the stuff was much BETTER than what I was doing. One of my greatest thrills was hiring my journalistic hero, John Dvorak. He had literally taken an interest in Boardwatch and mentioned it in several publication giants of the time which gave us much exposure. So at one point I approached him to do the back page of Boardwatch just as he had once done when I read him in every issue of Inforworld. Incredibly he agreed. At one event he participated in a Chili Cook-off and we learned that he was something of a gourmet cook. So I asked him for his chili recipe and dropped it in with his column in the next issue. It got so much response, he started including a recipe with every column. We were the only computer related magazine on earth with a regular cooking recipe included.
By the time I sold the publication to Mecklermedia and eventually to Penton Media, we had 22 regular columnists and two copy editors. And you basically couldn’t hook up a coffee put cam to the Intenet without it literally showing up in Boardwatch.
Why the trip down memory lane. We’ve published other people’s video walk arounds for some time in EVTV. But we’ve hit kind of a transition in quality and quantity. We can’t possibly run all we’re getting in, and the quality as exhibited in Marcus REddish’s submission on the SUNJAG in this episode is just phenomenal. We also ran some GOPRO footage of Monster Tajima’s run up Pikes Peak as well as some from Michael Bream of EVWest, who DID finish in is series DC powered BMW M3.
Robin Wainright does not have to worry about a video career, but it was very informative to see what he’s done with a very light and inexpensive A123 pack and I know a number of viewers are dabbling in that area. Take care, we show the results of inattention to these cells in this episode as well and not to be outdone, we have a wee bit of film of a Fisker Fry which uses the same cells, although the batteries don’t seem to be the culprit in this one.
The result is kind of a different EVTV – more a survey overview of our viewers and what they are doing out there. As there are hundreds of projects going on at any one time, this can only ever be a representative slice. But I happen to know if there is a ruthless editor in play, these things can be selected to fairly represent the state of an infant industry without entirely being one guys view of it.
And so in this episode, we kind of show what EVTV will hopefully become, a mirror in which you see yourselves, or better yet, each other, in a useful way. It has been my experience that such a mirror can dramatically accelerate the growth and maturation of such an infant industry, by fostering connections that would otherwise be left to a more random chance. I do think the Internet itself has made it easier to et in touch with each other. But the noise level is discouraging and the vastness of it kind of returns the same problem only louder. There has to be some asshole in charge of picking through the noise and editorially selecting that which might be interesting for a particular audience. IN all modesty, I’m pretty good at both of the important factors therein.
The very exciting and fascinating thing about the Boardwatch ride was that in building this “lens” to view the industry through, we found that we, and by extension our readers, had a framework for imagining the future that was uncannily accurate. With a few singular exceptions, it didn’t have a very long range – six months, a year perhaps. And indeed some of our prognostications are just now coming into fruition. But from one issue to the next it was just ENOUGH of an edge that in seeking an entrepreneurial slot in Internet space, our readers did pretty well, and in some cases VERY well, even if Obama thinks they just got lucky while using his roads.
It can take years of effort to grind a mirror for a large telescope – it can take months for it just to cool after pouring it. But when you get done, you can see further than you could before.
For most of the world, we are a tiny band of people going into their own garages and making an electric car for our own personal use. I’m ok with that view because it makes us kind of nonthreatening and not something to be made safe from – like airports and airlines. We’re under the radar.
But I happen to know that almost everyone who’s built an electric car has in the back of their mind started to puzzle over the concept that there are others like them, and that they might be able to parlay their hard won knowledge into just a little sideline entrepreneurial thing to pick up some pin money with. Just to offset some battery costs – you know. I cannot tell you how exciting this is for someone old enough and with knees and eyes bad enough to know what it means. It is America’s wealth engine at work. The bubbling petri dish of innovation that cannot be stopped by anyone or anything on the planet. You can pour cold water on it in the form of taxes and regulations but Americans have no compunction about avoiding taxes and ignoring regulations until it is too late. The Genie gets out of the bottle.
The early days of bullet boards and the Internet was exactly like that. ANd the participants weren’t really sure it was “ok” to make money from their sacred hobby. A guy named Phil Becker and I stood up together and at a Fidocon meeting told them HELL YES iT’S OK – it is AMERICA and it was like setting off a bomb. They were all standing around wanting to ask someone for permission. If you need it, you have my permission. I happen to know you don’t need it. But you have it anyway. it is quite alright to start a itty bitty business selling bumper stickers for EV’s if you like, and wind up building more cars than Tesla in the out years. You need feel no guilt. You can invent devices, services, and all manner of related products with no ones permission and either wind up bankrupt or a multimillionaire many times over. And some of you will do each, and a FEW of you will actually do BOTH along the way. In either order. I cannot promise outcomes – only opportunity.
If it comes to civil disobedience in places, I’m frankly a revolutionary. The treason is in Washington DC. YOU are the very best of America. And our only hope for continuing to lead the world in this manner. It is further ok for our many viewers OUT of the U.S. to adopt the same behavior. It only works 100% of the time.
We remain early in the process. Charlie Rickman is doing T-shirts. David Hrivnak is trying to get two J1772 connectors to marry and have offspring. (They’re both male plugs David – I’m sorry to say – state sanctioned electrical mating is reserved for ONE male and ONE female connector). But I was there when Cisco Systehms was three guys and Apple Computer was two guys hoping to recoup their circuit board costs and indeed when Microsoft was two guys selling a small roll of punched paper tape in baggies. It is not part of the corporate gestaldt to remind you of humble beginnings. But they all were comically humble. The innovators all had one thing in common, that wasn’t what they were trying to do and they never dreamed it would take off like it did.
So I see things you may dismiss as overly grandiose. Particularly in a world of General Motors. You weren’t there for AT&T. Talk about a monolith with a lockup on everything. It was the LAW. GM and Nissan are bumbling comedy pieces by contrast. Further, there was little perceived need of an Internet. ALmost everyone in the world is vaguely aware that we need to DO something with regards to alternatives in energy. You have widespread built-in acceptance this time, they are just heroically vague on what it should look like.
Should we succeed in building our lens, in erecting our telescope, and the mass of engaged viewers do start unleashing their entrepreneurial potential, this very early stage movement will grow. Slowly at first, and then more rapidly. Until like our viewer submissions in articles or video, it eclipse our efforts and simply runs away with us and becomes a thing too vast to do. Along the way THOUSANDS of things will be invented and ultimately abandoned. But some will grow phenomenally and become part of the American legend of innovation and wealth creation.
For me, it is almost unfathomable. To get a SECOND ride in a SECOND rodeo, and to be so much better equipped for this one, albeit with some physical limitations and fragilities that come too with age. Nabile Henke doesn’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of, but he’s off and started doing a conversion for someone else in Iowa. I listened to Matt Hauber explain to me for SIX MONTHS why he COULDN’T go to San Diego and start a conversion shop. He didn’t have any money and he didn’t have this and he didn’t have that. I literally had to scold him into submission and send him there myself. I did give him $1000 for a broken down Siemens motor. He was supposed to send me the pinout on the encoder. He never did.
This month a car he built with his own hands, pretty much on his own and with absolutely NO background in electronics or electricity at all, climbed 12.42 miles and a mile vertical up Pikes Peak in 11:58 leaving the driver surrounded by veterans of DECADES of competition all poking him for how he did that. And the man who had won 11 previous times standing there with a badly burnt up $3 million dollar electric car with 27 on-site engineers and the very latest EVO motors and Rhinehardt controllers – generously congratulating him on his success. These guys haven’t a CLUE what they’ve done. And don’t anybody tell them. They need to do more of it and if they DID know they would be paralyzed like deer in the headlights from then on.
With a cunningly modified fork lift motor and a controller produced out of thin air six months ago by some guys who’ve only met on an Internet forum. Of which, did I mention, 10 working copies of exist in the world. They THINK it will work. Lest we put this in context…. And yes, I know they are going to build 10 more…if they can get orders for them….
We are at an inflection point – a moment in history. The birth of an entire industry. It goes quite beyond Tesla and OEM electric cars. I would posit that the electric car has not even been invented yet. We have pieces of electric cars. And the birth of an entirely new industry of batteries and components and products and services – a whole rich panoply of innovation and disruptive technology that will eventually be of enormous size and scope. And among our viewers RIGHT NOW are the giants of this enormous world wide movement. Yeah, I’m a little excited.
I know a secret. And I can tell it entirely openly with calm assurance it will remain a secret because no one will believe it. And anyway it will be drowned out in the noise of the MORONIC PLAGUE that decimated America in the early years of the 21st century. But it is very exciting for me personally.
Send video. Make BETTER video. Like Sunjag. Show us what you do. Be fearless with your secrets. If you’ll help me build a lens, I’ll show you how to know what’s happening 4 to 6 months in the future. That’s all the edge you’ll need…
And yes, it’s ok to get excited and it’s ok to make money and its even ok to compete in the Pikes Peak Run. And you don’t need permission…