A Different Future For The Ford 1,400

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Ford plans to fire 1,400 staffers, and many media outlets suggest the move is intended to appease Wall Street by cutting costs (the stock is down and Tesla’s up, so the latter is now “worth” more than the former).

Ford’s in a tough spot, for sure. Incessant talk about autonomous driving dominates most every conversation in the automotive sector these days. I attended this year’s auto show in Detroit, and it was fascinating to watch reporters grill car companies (and their Tier 1 suppliers) about promises and fantasies announced by tech companies and startups. The looks on the executives faces ranged from disbelief to horror.

Because most of it is nonsense.

The automotive sector is destined for disruption, in much the same way as air travel, electrical generation and distribution, and every type of manufacturing. Think newspapers and record labels, only the products are all the things that we use in geophysical space.

The likelihood that any of it can be forecasted is a joke.

The theory of disruptive Innovation, like Darwin’s theory of evolution, works in hindsight, as both have proven very good at explaining how things come to be the way they are. They’re useless at predicting the future; awareness of the mechanisms that drive change might help encourage and narrate it, but the theories aren’t determinative.

So it’s silly that the equity markets have already picked winners and losers (though that’s what they do, as pricing “evolves” as time reveals new truths). It’s less surprising that media have also, insomuch that it’s a hell of a lot more entertaining to talk to a tech exec or entrepreneur who gives great interview, versus a mid-level automotive schnug who’s suffocatingly wrapped in quotes intended to reveal nothing interesting or new.

I have a different idea to suggest…

Read the entire essay at Innovation Communicator

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