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Tesla LogoI’ve seen the future and it’s all around me in Santa Monica, California.  I’m talking about Tesla, and the Tesla Model S.  This future will soon be all around you – wherever you are in the world.  I had the experience of driving a friend’s Model S last month and was completely blown away.  I immediately got on the phone with my friend’s Tesla contact and placed an order for one.  No hesitation, no regret, just a knowing that this is the beginning of something very, very special.

I was interested in fuel car alternates once before, in 2006, when I felt that it was important to at least try and be a little more environmentally sensitive and bought a Prius.  In less than a year, I had enough and sold it.  I completely cooked the front tires after 6 months and just couldn’t drive it anymore.  Around corners it felt like it was tipping over, and at highway speeds, it felt like being in a noisy piece of cheap tin.  My mind was in the right place on buying that car, but it was far from being the right car.

Fast forward to now.  This time it’s much, much different.  I have a feeling and an instinct that I haven’t felt since Steve Jobs first revealed the iPhone in January 2007.  The Tesla Model S is going to change the way we travel forever.  It is a completely different experience to driving a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) car.  It has pure, smooth, linear torque and acceleration.  You press the accelerator, power is delivered, and the wheels spin.  It’s that simple.  There’s no pumping fuel from a tank, through a filter, into a complicated engine where sparks are fired, explosions are detonated, pistons ascend and descend, rods turn (and I’m sure I’m missing some more gross inefficiencies) as the power makes its way to the wheels.  This all ends with the expulsion of carbon monoxide forced through the muffler, the exhaust, and then out in the atmosphere to damage mammal lungs, the environment, and lots other nasty effects.

To think we’ve gone this long without Tesla is shameful.  Others have tried and failed. The film, Who Killed the Electric Car? shows just how corrupt, political, and greedy some people are.  People, not corporations or government, thwarted progress and stopped the electric car from happening sooner.  Individuals make up corporations – individuals make up government.  Greed, and lack of vision of individuals were the enemy.  The misguided need to coddle foreign governments, wage wars, kill innocents – all around the economy of oil is going to end.  We as citizens of the United States and the rest of the planet are going to reduce the need for oil dramatically – very, very shortly.  We will still need it for airplanes, rockets, large trucks and other specialty vehicles for some time, but for passenger vehicles, the electric car is now.

It’s here now thanks to one person.  One individual decided that he was going to make this happen.  Elon Musk did something where others failed to, and decided by his own sheer force and his determination that it was not acceptable to NOT have a viable electric car.  His vision is now reality, and the second car from Tesla is one word: PHENOMENAL.  It is an absolute brilliant piece of engineering, design, and utility.  I’m completely convinced that ICE vehicles are done.  It’s not IF, it’s WHEN.  There is NO CHANCE they have a future.  The only future ICE vehicles have is their soon-to-be place in museums as relics of history.  They will be joining other obsolete objects such the dumb mobile phone, typewritersvinyl records & 8-tracks, film, and DVDs – all objects that have been supplanted by better versions with NO DOWNSIDE.

This future is soon going to be everywhere.  This future is growing, and there’s no stopping it.  This future is obvious to anyone that thinks rationally.  The other automakers KNOW IT.  And they’re NOT competing well at all with Tesla.  They’re failing to build a comparable product to the Model S.  So for now, some of them, and the dealerships, have been using their substantial political muscle to try and make it difficult for Tesla to grow as the market allows them to.  They’re trying to block sales of Tesla in certain states. These are dirty, nasty, and desperate tactics.  And they won’t work this time.  The world is too transparent now.  We see through these tactics with great clarity.  They may win a dirty fight or two against Tesla in the short term, but there’s no stopping the unstoppable market forces in a capitalistic society.

BMW, to their credit, has recently tried to build their own electric alternative.  I’ve owned 7 BMWs over the years.  BMW has always been a company that makes beautiful, quality products.  But, I look at their first electric vehicle, the BMW i3, and it’s completely underwhelming.  The range, the power, the styling, the price, are all pretty mediocre to put it nicely.  That said, BMW and the rest of them WILL eventually come out with great cars.  All of them will.  They will all be copying Tesla, they will pay Tesla patent license fees, and they will be able to compete.  The future will have EV versions of  beautiful luxury, affordable compacts, SUVs, trucks, motorcycles – all of them.  It will happen.  But right now, at least for the next 3-5 years, Tesla is going to DOMINATE this market.  Again, it reminds me of the iPhone.  There was nothing like it for a few years after it launched in June 2007.  Today, there are many comparable smart phones.  But Apple sure did get a head start and their stock price and company growth exploded during those first few years of absolute dominance.  The same thing is happening with Tesla.

It is a modern lesson and example to us all that one individual can make such a difference .  When one individual’s vision is clear and backed by relentless determination, something wonderful can happen.

I take delivery of my Black Model S at the Tesla Factory in Fremont, California, USA later this month.  The future of vehicles is here now, and in MY very near future, I see myself smoothly driving out of the Tesla factory – smiling ear to ear.  I can’t wait…

UPDATE: To order your Tesla, be sure and click here for referral credit for both of us!

 

Dear Mr. Drabek,

I first met you during my sophomore year as a Computer Science student at the University of Arizona in 1988, where I had my first class with you.  I’m writing you to let you know how much of a positive impact you had on me.  I’ve taken what you’ve taught me and built a career on the lessons I learned from you.

You were very strict, very serious, and I respected your skill, your style, and your knowledge.  I remember focusing on what you had to say more than any professor I had.  I didn’t want to miss a word.

I remember anticipating your class more than any other, eagerly wanting to learn all the cool things you knew.  I learned a lot from you and it’s stayed with me – always.

One way you influence me every day is simply – coding style.  You were very careful about teaching the “right” way to code and pointing out the wrong way to code.  Your style still influences every line of code I write.  I now use a code analysis tool, ReSharper, to validate my work and every time I look up at the indicator in the editor and see what it needs to fix, I’m always happy when I see it’s only one or two improvements.  I feel like you made my brain ReSharp code as I develop it.

I came to you my senior year with an Independent Study project to write a Golf Handicapping Program on Microsoft Windows 3.0.  The first thing you said to me was – “Everyone here thinks Windows is a toy and will never go anywhere”.  I replied back, “Well sir, it’s not, I think it’s going to grow really fast”.  Too bad I didn’t have any money to buy Microsoft stock back then, but you agreed with me and you let me do it.  I remember showing you an early version of my work and the code behind Windows events and you nodding how clever it was.  I remember seeking your approval so much so I was so nervous delivering the final version of the software, and after taking you through it, I finally got a smile from you.  Moments like that could have gone either way, and who knows where chaos theory would have taken me had you not believed in what I was doing.

My success in that project motivated me in such a way, that 2 years after I graduated, after I moved to Silicon Valley, I convinced my company to port all the software from Motif to Windows, and I led the way.

In 1998, I started my first company, ememories.com, a photo sharing web site co-founded with fellow UofA CS alum Carlos Blanco.  Once I got the company funded, I bought us an awesome new 8U server from Dell, and when giving it a hostname, of course, I chose to name it after you: DRABEK.  Throughout the company’s life, all server requests flowed through a machine with your moniker proudly labeled in our data center.

Thanks for the impression you made on me.  Thank you for the teachings you gave me.  I really appreciate it and will never forget it.  You’re a great man, sir.

Sincerely,

Brett Morrison, Class of 1991, University of Arizona

Here I am, a little more hair, a little more blonde, and a bit more girth, giving an on-air demo of one of the first Internet social sharing sites, my company ememories.com. Before Snapfish, Flickr, MySpace, and even Facebook, there was – ememories! Enjoy.

Apr
18
2010

iPad Thoughts

Enjoying photos on the iPad while standing in the kitchen

So it’s been exactly two weeks since I’ve been using my iPad. I am confident when I say that this device is a GAME CHANGER. It will change the way we use computers forever. Although it’s not the first tablet PC, it’s the first relevant one. Apple got it right – building on the shoulders of the mighty iPhone and iPod Touch, the iPad is really like a giant iPod Touch. But the difference is just that – its size.

Where an iPhone and iPod touch are great for getting quick pieces of information, they fall short for true media consumption. You don’t want to watch a movie, read a book, or read the news on a screen that small – but you do because it’s so convenient. With the iPad, you have all the benefits of the iPhone OS, but you want to spend the time on it. You don’t get fatigued by the small screen, the iPad’s size is just right.

Because of the nature of my job, my laptop is bedside every night. I’m on call 24/7 – perpetually linked to the health of web sites that never sleep. Now, in bed, I leave the laptop alone, and reach for the iPad and connect myself to the world. As promised, it really feels like you’re holding the Internet in your hands. And when showing someone next to you the screen, it’s much more engaging, intimate experience. You can hand the screen to someone and point at it – something not natural with a laptop.

The iPad is best described as a “Media Consumption Device”. It’s not meant to replace your laptop or desktop, but it can certainly do a lot of the things you do on them – and do them better. It will never be a substitute for a multi-tasking OS where you have to aggregate and manage simultaneous tasks to be productive. However, because of the low cost and meaningful every day usefulness, the iPad, and devices like it, will soon be ubiquitous, with households having a few of them as part of their every-day lifestyle.

The first moment I realized just how sublime the iPad was, was on the first night, when I watched the Donovan McNabb press conference on the device. I had missed it on TV, quickly found it on-line, kicked back on the couch, and enjoyed it on the iPad – true media consumption on demand – literally at my fingertips.

The iPad is a great eBook reader – and I recently gave away my Kindle. There’s no need for it anymore. The Amazon Kindle for iPad App works flawlessly, allowing you access to Amazon’s entire library of Kindle books. After using the iPad, paper media just feels odd now. I’m looking forward to someday canceling ALL my magazine subscriptions and getting them all digitally. It will happen – it’s just a matter of when.

The Apps work flawlessly, and over the next few months, I’m sure we’ll see some amazing progress as developers take advantage of the larger screen. Among my favorites, The Gilt Groupe App really shows how to do e-commerce simply, elegantly, and efficiently. Also, check out MLB.Com At Bat, Desktop Connect, and Zillow.

Of course there’s always room for improvement. Most notably, a front-facing camera would make the iPad the ultimate device for Skype. As a kid I always was fascinated by the idea of video phones, with Skype for iPad – it’s finally (almost) here. I also think it should have been designed with a wider aspect ratio, more HD like. But that’s a minor complaint – you get used to it.

I realize this is a gush-fest of a consumer device, but I felt compelled to share my experience of how amazing the iPad is. Get one – you’ll understand the value immediately.

Brett Morrison – Official Site

The official web site of Brett Morrison, Self-Made Technology Entrepreneur.

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