Showing posts with label Cars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cars. Show all posts

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Future of Suburban Living

As the top 20% crowd into the cities, voluntarily as that is where all the good stuff is within walking distance including most of the jobs that support the top 20% what happens to the suburbs that they leave?  Property values crater, and it becomes reasonable for the bottom 80% to achieve the American Dream of suburban living.  Rents in the strip malls and local shopping centers crater along with the property values, and become affordable for bodegas, Dollar stores, and other services catering to the lower income groups.  Assuming existing transit is maintained, (roads don't matter) as travel outside the neighborhood is mainly for jobs serving the 20%.  The 20% will insure it is maintained as they don't use it anyway and they need the service people who are gentrified out of the city.  

The current suburban standard of 4-5 bedrooms and 2-3 baths will serve an extended family of many as well as it serves the current family of 3.  The family room or a big downstairs room will be turned into a dorm for the kids and the adults will occupy the 4-5 bedrooms.  The modern luxury kitchen will easily serve dozens as well or better than it serves 3.

One can expect the current suburban developments to become ethnic enclaves, since once the block is busted and prices crater further, friends and families will join the blockbuster and remake the development to serve their needs.  The fences will come down and the large backyards will connect to be a big playground for the neighborhood.

It is happening as we chat, many suburban neighborhoods and cities connected by transit to the urban core are now ethnic enclaves, and the white homeowners are taking the money and running while the money is still there.  The elderly to "Adult communities" and the working ethnics are blockbusting a new community for their ethnic group.  

Monday, December 14, 2015

Users as People.

one thing that Mark [Zukerberg] said, a small note in the grand scheme of things, that still sits fresh in my mind every single week. “We need to stop calling peopleusers,” he said. “They’re not just there to use our products; we’re here to build things for them.”
People, not users.

I just drove off in my new car and I am parked in the pouring rain on the side of the freeway.  Where is the fucking defroster? 

Forgetting users were people almost cost Toyota their entry into the US Market. They designed an advanced, reliable, competitively priced car so different in all ways from Detroit that people couldn't use it intuitively. Similarly the BMW I-Drive. User satisfaction dropped to near zero. They had to solve the problem with a mandatory UX (human) trainer. 

In 1981 a salesperson (let’s call him Joe) in a big Toyota dealership at 57th St. and 11th Ave. in Manhattan tried to look busy at his desk as the suits from Toyota of N.  America came into the dealership and disappeared into the General Manager’s office to no avail as Joe was quickly called to come to the office.  Once there he was confronted by one of the Toyota execs with the question “What are you doing differently from all of the other salespeople here?”  The only thing he could think of was that he spent time at the next day delivery with the “User” to show them how everything on the car worked.  He knew this was different because he was criticized by the Sales Manager for being “Off the floor” at one point after spending more than an hour with a difficult customer.  The Corporate types had an “Aha moment” and dismissed Joe with a thank you. 

Shortly after they left the mystery was solved as Joe was called back to the GM office, and was asked if he could “explain how the car worked” to all the new car buyers.  The GM explained that the problem was the dealership’s location on one of the busiest intersections in the world was adversely affecting the Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) which Toyota had recently implemented for all dealerships.  “Users” had no quiet streets to use to practice with their new car on and blamed the car for being unfriendly to people. 

The genesis of the “Delivery Experience” for new car “Users” seems to be at that time.  The volume at the dealership was too high for one person and Joe was given an assistant for overflow (“Ben”) who was “Too nice” to his clients to be a good salesperson.   A manual was written to guide his presentation but Joe’s follow-up showed that Ben’s too nice attitude was much more important than his inability to follow the manual he was given and Joe became the overflow delivery guy. Ben went on to make a nice career in the delivery position at several Toyota dealerships. 

Joe went on to different things but remained in new car sales as a moonlight position.  “Selling cars is like eating M&Ms for a sales and marketing professional.  Not much nourishment per close but you get a lot of them.”   Much later Joe applied as a salesperson at a Lexus dealership across the country and was told he was overqualified and besides salespeople had to deliver their own cars at Lexus according to “The Delivery Manual.” Joe asked what that was, and the SM sneered and said do you think you can follow this?  Joe skimmed through it and recognized it as essentially a copy of the manual written for his assistant.  I suppose I could since I wrote it, he replied. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Behind the Wheel - 2011 BMW 535i and 550i

Behind the Wheel - 2011 BMW 535i and 550i - Review -

"Even the mildly uncommunicative helm didn’t prevent the 5 from turning impressive racetrack laps or from gulping huge helpings of twisting curves on public roads. Crank the BMW to its Sport Plus chassis setting, and it’s hard to imagine anything in this class outrunning a 550i with a manual transmission. Facing a 1,000-mile journey and given a choice of any car in this fiercely competitive segment — Jaguar XF, Mercedes E-Class, Infiniti M, Audi A6 — I’d grab the BMW’s chunky key fob and never let go.

Yes, some people buy a BMW for the badge. But the real prestige of the 5 Series, and its continuing superiority, has nothing to do with the badge, and everything to do with what’s inside."

I will keep my Volvo S60R thanks. The customization of removing the front spoiler lip so it slides smoothly off the curb that was inadvertently parked on makes it a super practical family car, and while its mere 300 HP won't keep me up with the 550 on the track, if the track is tight the lighter weight might take away the 550's advantage in the straight.

Thursday, November 13, 2008