In 1982, I read Blue Highways, a bestseller written by William Least Heat-Moon. It chronicled a journey by car taken entirely on the small roads—the mapmakers’ blue highways. An English instructor as a small Missouri college, Least Heat-Moon, disoriented by a fracturing marriage, chose to look for himself by choosing, as Paul Simon put it, to “look for America.”
Buoyed by Least Heat-Moon’s adventures and observations, I have, whenever practicable, chosen those blue highways for my travels: a two-laner and small towns versus hurtling through interchangeable Interstate spaces at 70 mph.
So, for our road trip to Ann’s high school reunion in Casper, WY, I planned to include back roads whenever possible.
Day #1 was to begin at our home in Sonoma County’s Wine Country and end Continue reading “Road Trip 2015: Sonoma County to Trinity Center”
After a terrific cioppino lunch at Duarte’s Tavern in Pescadero (the huge quantity of crab paired extremely well with the wallet-slimming price), my wife and I motivated south on California’s Highway 1. She was driving. I was marveling at guano-encrusted rocks jumping up from the seabed. It was a bright blue day, and we were in our Prius, on the way to Santa Barbara for a long weekend.
“I think we need gas,” she warned.
I leaned over, glanced at the gauge, and gave my mathematically confident reply. “We have 125 miles before empty…give or take ten.”
Her expression convinced me she was unconvinced.
“We can make it to San Luis Obispo,” I explained. “I’ll drive.” Continue reading “Gas(p) Prices!”
Hand it to Hyundai.
You can sell anything to some people some of the time (think Hummer), but sooner or later, if you value corporate survival, you have to market a truly competitive product. Staying competitive, especially in industries with long lead-time R&D or complicated and expensive manufacturing tooling, requires attention to those new product ideas that may dramatically change the marketplace. Excepting those rare, unchallengeable patents that create altogether new industries (e.g., Xerox’s plain paper copier, Polaroid’s instant photography, etc.), the big guys don’t have to be first. Even if they trail the garage innovators, their financial and market clout can be used to copy or buy the new ideas.
But when the big guys, even those protected by marketing muscle or a patent’s impregnable castle walls, ignore the dust clouds that signal hordes approaching, obsolescence or obliteration may follow. Continue reading “Innovative Auto Marketing from Hyundai”