Robot racing is on the horizon according to a lengthy missive from Bob Koveleski describing this driverless
Roborace Car (above) and plans (hopes) for 20 of them to participate in a new
Roborace Series. The cars will weigh in at approximately 2,000 lbs and with high performance electric motors powering each wheel will produce speeds up to 180 mph on some tracks. A
NVIDIA Drive PX 2 brain will control each of the cars and each race team will construct its own neural network to command its Roborace Car. May the best
Steve Jobs win! For more details go
However, neural-network device racing may soon be supplanted by pure mind racing.
Jason Dearen of the Associated Press covered "the world's first drone race involving a brain-controlled interface"
staged by the University of Florida, 16 pilots used their willpower to drive drones through a 10-yard dash. They used EEG headsets calibrated to identify the electrical activity associated with particular thoughts in each wearer's brain — recording, for example, where neurons fire when the wearer imagines pushing a chair across the floor. Programmers write code to translate these
"imaginary motion" signals into commands that computers send to the drones. Sponsored with research funding from
Intel Corp., its organizers want to make it "an annual inter-collegiate spectacle, involving ever-more dynamic moves and challenges, and a trophy that puts the brain on a pedestal." May the strongest grey matter win!
If the advance of robots have you thinking about one taking over your job,
Kailia Colbin offers the perfect palliative in her Online
"When Watson Comes For Your Job, Give It To Him." The success of a robot
"lawyer" and a "teaching assistant" based on the artificial intelligence of
IBM's Watson, prompted her to predict: The robots are coming, and they're not just gunning for factory workers and truck drivers. They're after the white collar wrapped snugly around your middle-class neck, and they are much, much better than you." She notes Watson has a success rate of 90% when in diagnosing lung cancer as compared to 50% for medical doctors. So instead of fighting it, she suggests we find ways to shape a society where a job is not so integral to our self-identity.
"Americans Get News From Social Media, But Don't Trust It" is the headline and just about sums up
Erik Sass' report in Media Post of the results from a recent joint study initiated by the
American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. He explains that the study shows 51% of Americans say they get news from social media but
"its taken with a big grain of salt" even though most viewers rate accuracy their number one concern, followed by loading speed. Comparing social media:
Facebook is the chief source (87%). YouTube is second at 21% and
Twitter at 18%. But just 12% of Facebook's readers have
"a great deal of trust" in the news they get there. Its 19% for YouTube and 23% for Twitter.
Despite the low trust, Gizmodo's interviews with ex-editorial employees of
Facebook's Trending Topics implying the app's
"news" aggregation is biased created a media flurry. Mark Zuckerberg denied any deliberate bias in Facebook's news gathering and promises,
Gavin O'Malley reports in MOBlog,
"a thorough investigation" to be sure it could not, would not happen. A U.S. Senator asked for an investigation and some thoughtful articles about ethics in journalism ensued in
The Guardian and The New York Times. Both papers reported that contrary to popular belief, the Trending Topics are not totally selected by algorithms, that humans also edit the selections, inserting and deleting at their discretion.
Farhad Manjoo of the Times noted in
"Facebook's Bias Is Built In," algorithms reflect the biases of the people who create and those who approve them.
With more than a billion people a day viewing the news Facebook purveys, that is a danger, Manjoo warns, because,
"Facebook doesn't seem to recognize its own power, and doesn't think of itself as a news organization with a well-developed sense of institutional ethics and responsibility, or even a potential for bias. Neither does its audience, which might believe that Facebook is immune to bias because it is run by computers." Making Facebook's news feeds potentially more dangerous as Manjoo points out, is the ability of digital news to be personalized for the viewer based on his or her viewing history and its ability to influence behavior by mass communications ploys.
There's a real incentive for both
"echo chamber" personalization and for mass manipulation Jim Rutenberg
points out in another Times article: "For News Outlets Squeezed From the Middle, It's Bend or Bust." In it he writes
"...big changes are coming fast in the way major news institutions present their journalism, what that journalism includes, and how decisions are made about what to include. The goal: to draw big, addicted audiences. This is the biggest and least talked about development in traditional print media as it converts to digital:
it now has ratings, just as television does."
George Simpson in Media Daily News says to folks suspicions about the news provided by Facebook,
"Here's A Thought: Stop Getting Your News From Facebook." Not such a radical idea, considering media owners have long operated from a viewpoint and consumers have long responded according to their views. It is just a little more difficult when the publisher's bias is not easy to recognize.
The $28 billion lost to ad blockers by 2020 may be creating a new market for journalists skilled in weaving facts and story telling into
"native content" that plugs products, people or promotions.
Richard Whitman, writing for MediaPost, says a new study predicting the lost billions could also point to renewed vigor for
"content marketing, inbound marketing, native advertising, sponsored content or whatever name you choose to apply to the notion of using editorial to stand in for advertising."
He avers, "The jury has spoken: pretty much everything you read will now be an advertisement for something." He cites predictions of a $313 billion content marketing industry by 2019. Perhaps recognizing this trend,
SamyRoad, a very successful Spanish advertising firm that recruits content creators to fit a campaign, is expanding to the U.S.
Tom Forbes in Social Media Insider. Samy Road selects creators for a project from a pool of people who have each submitted 20 samples of work from their social media posts. Forbes says more than 30,000 have done so to date. From these the best matches for a project are determined by, yes, an algorithm. He says SamyRoad created 160 campaigns for 28 global brands using more than 600 creators last year. A discouraging note about content marketing comes from researchers at Penn State who found,
"Overall, that when content was identified as native advertising, readers held a lower opinion of the media outlet it was published in. However, the reputation of the company being promoted was not affected, according to
Tobi Elkin, in Native Insider.
Virtual Reality is not going away according to Arjun Kharpal, for
He reports VR viewing statistics going up along with shipments of VR glasses and 360 cameras while 360 content availability and production is increasing, along with more media professionals climbing on the bandwagon.
USA Today has just
released a VR for
Honda in time for the Indianapolis 500 and foresees many more to come from its
GT branded content studio, according to Kelly Andresen, VP of branded content at
Gannett, as quoted by Sara Guaglione for Publisher's Daily. But that kind of VR may be just a way station for viewing in the round.
George Simpson reports in Media Daily News,
"Sony recently filed a patent for an ultra-smart contact lens with an organic electroluminescence display screen that will allow the lens to record (and display) video. It is said that
Google, Samsung, and several other tech companies are also investing time and resources into smart contact lenses.
Wayne Friedman, writing for Media Post News reports holography, as described by a company named
"OTOY" goes VR one better. It will not require a screen. "The company says it is developing technology that would allow viewers to see images
without needing additional VR headsets or even a desktop
computer." OTOY has some substance. HBO and Discovery Channel have invested in it and
Jon Stewart recently inked a deal with the company.
Newspapers are generating more revenue per employee today than they were 10 years ago, according to the
U.S. Census Bureau, as reported by Erik Sass in Publisher's Daily. A reason for this is that total newspaper employment has fallen by half during the past decade. The number of persons employed in digital publishing has increased three-fold over the same period, Sass reports. For the first time it exceeds
the number of newspaper employees although some of the latter, as Sass notes, may be involved in their newspaper's digital
publishing. With a third of newspaper income for 2016 predicted by Research Briefs
to be digital, it is a trend likely to continue: more revenue from fewer employees as evidenced by the push for consolidations and mergers in the media, most recently
Gannett's offer for Tribune Publishing or will it be vice versa as rumored.
A reader sent along
of road racing in Italy with the comment, "I'd buy an Italian-made seat belt any
time. They appear to be very well-tested." It appears only marginally safer to "spectate" than drive in these races.. . .
Road/Show provided video on CNET of an
autonomous car being tested in Pittsburgh by
Uber. Accompanied by a driver who could override the cars controls at will, it is not likely to be in use for some time. Show host
Tim Stevens thinks with Lyft slated to debut an autonomous Chevy Bolt in 2017 and
Apple investing heavily in the Chinese counterpart to Uber (not to mention
Google and FCA or Ford's $182.2 million investment in Pivotal) the self-driving car field is going to get very crowded. And transportation expert agree that's going to lead
to considerable road congestion,
Joan Lowy writes for the Associated Press. As read in The Detroit News,
"Experts foresee robot cars chauffeuring children to school, dance class and baseball practice. The disabled and elderly will have new mobility. Commuters will be able to work, sleep, eat or watch movies on the way to the office. People may stay home more because they can send their cars to do things like pick up groceries they've ordered online."
Meanwhile, GM is expanding its Maven ride-sharing service now in Ann Arbor, Chicago and New York, to Boston and Washington D.C. – albeit in some cases, a service for selected locales. Or, at the low-tech, low-cost end, a device described on
GreenBot (Logictech from Logic) can give your car a smart dashboard now that responds to many voice commands and to hand gestures.
Now in his 51st year on the airwaves, Harold Gunn has already collected enough honors, citations and awards to rival the medals on a four-star general's dress uniform. He is particularly proud that the
Texas Auto Writers Association named its scholarship program: The Harold Gunn Scholarship for Journalism.
All of his recognitions are listed on what his children call, "daddy's ego page"
www.haroldgunn.com but it is more like a
"happy page" celebrating the fun he has had creating, producing and appearing in TV and radio shows and in interviewing hundreds of motorsports, entertainment and distinguished personalities at venues here and abroad as well as writing, producing and appearing in thousands of radio and TV commercials.
Not that he is retiring. His web page is titled, "The Adventure Continues!" Currently, he is producer/co-host of
"Texas Outdoor News" the most honored outdoor radio show in Texas for over 24 years and named in the top three in the nation. It airs weekends on
ESPN and Yahoo Sports Radio in Houston and in syndication and on
Producer co-host of "The Automotive Reporter" on ESPN Radio flagship station in Houston and
Click here to continue reading
The History of AMC Motorsports by Bob McClurg is arguably
as good as it gets on on the subject. It is good because McClurg, whose passion for motor sports has spawned several other titles for publisher
Car-Tech, recognized that close as he has been to AMC's motorsports, from grinding headers for funny cars and super stockers to his years as a photo journalist covering auto racing, he did not know enough. Instead of a quick brush relying on the allure of names associated with AMC motorsports over the years like
Penske, Donohue, James Garner, Craig Breedlove,
Shirley Shahan and many others, McClurg sought out the people, dug through archives (close to a hundred different sources) to tell the stories behind the company, cars and people involved in AMC's
Trans-Am- Quarter-Mile, NASCAR, Bonneville and other motorsports -all enlivened with his own photos from a decades-long professional career covering the motorsports scene. 204 pages, 10 X 10, hardcover, color
and b/w, $39.95:
Jack Gillis' The Car Book 2016 is available now. It is the 36th edition of the annual ratings of new model safety and reliability by Gillis and
The Center for Auto Safety. For journalists to arrange interviews or receive review copies, contact:
Richard Eckman in Washington, DC at (202) 737-0766 or
email@example.com . . .
Poisoned Pen Press has released Red Flags, a new racing mystery by award-winning novelist
Tammy Kaehler. It features fictional professional race car driver
Kate Reilly who already has an official logo, a fan club, sponsors and a Twitter presence:
@katereilly28. News media wishing to request additional information about Red Flags or Tammy Kaehler, please contact
Maryglenn McCombs by phone – (615) 297-9875, or by email –
firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Team Kate visit:
www.tammykaehler.com . . . . For serious
Ferarri and Ford fans and collectors, Autobooks-Areobooks in Burbank, Calif. has copies available of the limited edition
Ferrari Gli Otto Cilindri 1954-1965 by Francesco Scaletti at $199.00 and
The Original Ford GT 101 by Ed Heuvink at 109.95, For more information, contact:
818-845-0707 or email@example.com.
pit notes |
Rod Hall ran in his 50th 1,000-mile Baja race this year. It is another record for the likeable79-year-old driver whose career has gone largely un-ballyhooed outside of his niche within the motorsports niche of
off-road racing. Even his current PR person did not respond to a request for a head shot (this one's from
Wikipedia) or results from the race. Some of that is simple economics: the four wheel drive truck class he owned represented a much smaller market for his sponsors and drew less media attention than other racing and racers. And, unlike many of his contemporaries, Hall did not embellish his un-matched string of championships with swagger, braggadocio or
provocative quotes, relying instead on winning – which he did more of than any other four-wheel-drive racer. He won one Baja 1,000 crossing the finished line in reverse when he could not get his truck in a forward gear. Typically, he is among those nominated this year for the
Off-Road Motosports Hall of Fame - an honor Wikipedia says he was accorded in 2005. In or in again, the modest, humorous Californian deserves the recognition.
"Landspeed Louise" Noeth deserves recognition, again, for her persistence in battling to restore the
Bonneville Salt Flats.
She is not alone but she is the PR voice for the groups struggling with government bureaucracies to save the storied venue. Most recently she blasted the
Department of the Interior for a tourist pamphlet extolling and picturing a pristine,"5-feet-deep salt surface and 46 square miles of recreational space," that no longer exist. She says the salt is blotched and closer to 5 inches deep while the available recreational space is more like 20 square miles.
Lee Iacocca should be recognized for bringing Jeep into what is now
Fiat Chrysler Automotive. Now celebrating its 75th year, Jeep outsells the
Dodge and Chrysler brands, combined. . . . Fireball Tim is closing in on his vow to post a
Fireball Malibu Vlog every day for a year. His 327th and 328th reached this desk May 14. Check them out at:
. . .SEMA advises Collector Car Appreciation Day (CCAD) will be celebrated on July 8, 2016. The group urges all car lovers to encourage their Congressional representatives to make sure converting a car for racing is made legal.
If you haven't heard, 20 of the only cars that can travel fast on land or water are on sale for $250,000 each.
Brian Laviolette describes them and their history in
fastamphibians.com . . . The erstwhile UK
Top Gear trio, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard
"Hamster" Hammond and James May, have settled on
"The Grand Tour" for their new Amazon –distributed show debuting in the Fall. . . .
Carl Malik reports on AutoinfoQuest that Faraday Futures announced at the groundbreaking for its Nevada plant that arrival of its first model has been postponed two years until 2020. For a current update on Faraday, check
Andrew J. Hawkins summary of the company's most recent statements on
And, here is an image of what Donald Brannon believes could be the
"2017 Truck of The Year." It is truly an all-purpose pickup he describes as
"revolutionary as the Doge Mini Van was to the station wagon." Check out the video presentation at:
awards and events
The Texas Auto Writers Association named the 2016 Ford Shelby GT350R as
Car of Texas and the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica as the
Family Car of Texas following two-days of driving and evaluating by 33 journalists of 53 vehicles entered in TAWA's ANNUAL auto
Roundup at Texas Motor Speedway. . . .
Roger Penske will be honored by the International Motor Racing Research Center for his outstanding contributions to motorsports on June 30 at the
Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY. Dinner details, sponsorship packages and reservation are available at 607-535-9044.
ANSA Productions, owners and operators of the Los Angeles Auto Show (LA Auto Show®), will combine LA Auto Show Press and Trade Days with their four-year-old auto-tech conference,
Connected Car Expo (CCE), to form a four-day pre-show event,
AutoMobility LATM. It will be held November 14-17, at the
Los Angeles Convention Center and includes the Technology Pavilion – a new 50,000-square-foot building being constructed to accommodate double the auto-tech exhibits over last year's CCE. . .
. In World Car of the Year judging at the London Auto Show,
Mazda's MX-5 won the top honor as well as
"World Design Car of The Year" while the Audi R8 Coupe won for
Performance, the BMW 7 series for Luxury and the
Toyota Mirai for Green Car. A new category has been added for 2017 judging,
World Urban Car.
Due for some good news somewhere, Volkswagen got it in Fiji when the Fiji Sun Online devoted a column to awards won by the
2015 Golf: Canadian Automotive Journalists' Car of the Year,
best in show at the Montreal auto show and category awards in judging by
Motoring TV, Car Guide and the North American Car of the Year. . . . .Toyota and
Acura topped Edmunds.com's "Best Retained Value" awards for 2016. A total of 24 were given out based on projected private party residual value five years after a model's launch, based on their average
"cash" True Market Value price.
NEMPA's annual MIT Tech Conference May 26 at is themed "Technology Intersecting Design" and features high-powered panelists from the auto industry, the world of art and fashion and the school itself. All registered media have free access to the speakers and panel sessions. For more information and to register, contact:
Lisa Fleming Brock at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-378-5644.
WAPA invites all Mid-Atlantic auto media to its Rally on October 13th in Kent Island, MD. Registration is open now for the informative annual drive event on the roads just beyond the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Learn more at:
washautopress.org/rally2016. . . .
Melanie Batenchuk, WAPA President Emeritus, has launched a
monthly newsletter curating
news and stories.
Earlybird admission tickets are available now at
concoursusa.org for The Concours d' Elegance America to be held in Plymouth, MI. July 29-31. Up to 400
are sought to staff the event. . . .
The Lake Michigan Clean Cities Consortium hosted MAMA journalists at its recent annual
Green Drives Conference and Expo, at Northern Illinois University's Conference Center in Naperville.
Beach Concours d'Elegance starts June 4th with a Rod & Custom Show in
the Park and a salute to "Donut Derelicts." Sunday Cadillac and
BMW will be saluted and Grand Marshal Dave Kunz, KABC-TV
Automotive Specialist will be the Master of Ceremonies. For more info
Volunteers are needed for this event.... The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA), returns to Sonoma Raceway for the
Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival June 2
- 5 to celebrate the
50th anniversary of the Can-Am, and the 50th of the Trans-Am Series.
The Blackhawk Museum, in partnership with SVRA, the Sonoma Raceway, and the
Simraceway Performance Driving Center, will again host a Museum Day at the Races' activity on Saturday, June 4, including the opportunity for participants to drive laps of the track in their classic or collector car during the lunchtime session. . . .
The 20th Anniversary Ironstone Concours d'Elegance is slated for Saturday, September 24, at the Ironstone Winery outside the goldrush town of Murphys, California. Some 315 vehicles will be on display, including antique and classic cars, racecars, period motorcycles, vintage trucks and trailers.
Contact: Michael Lamm,
MPG Members toured the Tom Malloy Collection in Corona, Calif. and the impressive collection of racecars and memorabilia at
Riverside International Auto
Museum, which is in need of a benefactor (s) for an upgrade and to keep its doors open. . . . MPG members can obtain free admission for any Thursday night at the
Irwindale Dragstrip through July 31 by Emailing Doug Stokes by the Tuesday prior at:
email@example.com. Registration is still open for The
"Highway Earth Car Show" at Franklin Canyon Park, Los Angeles is Sunday, June 26. Go to:
Also on June 26 the annual, the Society of Automotive Historians (SAH) Literature Faire and Exchange will be held at the
NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona, Calif. from 8a.m. until 3.p.m. It is primarily for private sellers and offers a fast
"treasure hunt" through collectors' automotive books, brochures and memorabilia . . . .
WAPA members had a chance to get the direct word on the DeltaWing Coupe, when company chairman and founder
Don Panoz agreed to speak at a dinner meeting May 3 in South San Francisco. . . . Non-stop auto journalist/entrepreneur
Tim Lawrence, with the help of L.A.'s mayor and the cooperation of the renowned
Gladstones at the foot of Sunset Blvd., has launched a "Wheels and Waves" car show in the restaurant's huge parking lot every third Sunday morning of the month.
The collection of auto journalists and aficionados gathering under the name of "Ed Racers" will hold a British Car Day, May 29th in cooperation with the
British Car Club of Hawaii and local British Car dealers. Starting at 9 a.m, they plan to parade through Waikiki to Kapiolani Park with a trophy presentation at noon, followed by a luncheon.
Michael Jordan retired as West Coast Editor of Automobile Magazine last month, "40 years almost to the day" he recalls,
"since I showed up at One Park Avenue in NYC for my first day at
Car and Driver." He is not through writing though.
"Still writing car stuff, he says, "but more
adventures, fewer road tests of shitboxes. Even better, more roads, fewer airports." To reach him: email:
The server for
EverydaydriverTV has changed so co-producer hosts Paul Schmucker and Todd Deeken have new email addresses:
firstname.lastname@example.org and Tdeeken@gmail.com . . . . If emails to
JayRitchie@earthlink.net don't go through at
KVOR radio try email@example.com . . . . And, if you want to email the editor at
PWA Newsline, in Palm Desert, CA email editor Tracie
firstname.lastname@example.org . . . . Tanya Gazdik
has confirmed in
a posting that she replaces Karl Greenberg as the staff writer covering Automotive for MediaPost.
To get better acquainted with her check out:
"Back in The Driver's Seat." She has covered autos in the past for
Ward's Automotive Reports and Ward's AutoWorld and is based in Chicago. Try her at:
email@example.com . . .
Shirley Powell, formerly chief communications officer for The Weather Company, is now VP of communications and community relations for
Cox Automotive, owner of Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book. Try her at:
Please let us know if you change jobs, email
or other contact information you would like other professionals to have.
Glenn F. Campbell
MAMA Luncheon | Haartz Corp.
"Car guys and gals" trip to Cuba (Havana, Cojimar, Las Terrazas, Varadero, Cardenas, Coliseo & Matanzas)
IMPA | Spring Brake |Harriman State Park &Bear Mountain
MPG Droptops & Dirt All-Day Driving Event
MAMA | Spring Rally |Elkhart Lake,WI.
APA Luncheon | J.D. Power | Detroit AC
MPG Luncheon | Superperformance| Irvine, CA
APA Luncheon | TBA
MPG Luncheon | TBA
WAPA Ride'N Drive Luncheon | Chrysler | Alexandria, VA
MAMA Luncheon | Honda Ridgeline
Cadillac Headquarters Tour | New York City, NY
APA Luncheon | J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS)| Detroit AC
TAWA| Excellence in Craft Comptetition
MPG Luncheon| TBA
MAMA Luncheon| Mecum Auction
IMPA| 2nd Annual Conference | Whitestone, NY
AMA Luncheon| Annual Track School
21 Billington Global Automotive Cyber Security| Cob Center | Detroit, MI
Concours d'Elegance America| Plymouth, MI
Int'l Automotive Media Competition Annual Awards| Plymouth, MI
CAR| Management Briefing Seminars | Traverse City Michigan
MPG| Luncheon | TBA
MPG| Luncheon | TBA
MAMA| Fall Rally
Paris International Auto Show Public Days| Paris, France
MPG Track Days| Willow Springs, CA
APA/NADA | DAC | Detroit, MI
IMPA Test Days| MOnticell Motor Club | Monticell, NY
APA Luncheon| Consumer Reports | DAC Detroit, MI
across the finish line
Bill Tuckey – He became editor of Australia's Wheels magazine in1963 and his colorful, exuberant writing is credited with influencing some of the top auto writers that came after him there and in the U.S. and the U.K. as well.
A Call For Help
Auto journalist Bob Long's has updated his status and expressed thanks for the auction participants and fellow auto journalists who are bringing him closer to his gofundme goal of $25,000 to help him and his family cope with onerous medical debts.
You can read it
Items still available include one of the very few remaining signed Phil Hill posters from Amelia Island, a unique Bentley Badge photo, and a complete Mothers Detailing Kit. Make your bid at
A Trend To Print
Glenn, I enjoy your monthly newsletter and thanks for supporting our industry. As you know, I have published one
of the few auto newspapers in the U.S. for almost 30 years with both print and an online editions.
(See- www.autonewsonline.com). While reviewing our data from 2015 I noticed a trend you might want to share
with your readers. I discovered there was a trend with both our readers and advertisers back to print. Readers are experiencing "technology and computer overload" and advertisers are starting to find their online advertising is not working because of too many options. I'll keep you posted "down-the-road."
Bill McCallum, Editor
Are They Serious?
I'm trying to recall the last time — or any time — a company supplied one of my writers with a disclaimer/agreement that
required an editor to sign over editorial approval of a story before an interview would be scheduled.
"You agree to provide XXXXX with a draft copy of your article, and to publish it only after receiving XXXXX's written consent to publish. You agree to cooperate with XXXXX to promptly make changes to the article that XXXXX, in its sole discretion, deems necessary due to the concerns described above."
Automotive Media Professionals
Thank You Chris!
Somehow I had dropped off your mailing list, until I saw an email today from Autowriters.com. Glad to find it, as your newsletter is as helpful as ever. I re-signed up on the website.
A couple of notes from your most recent newsletter (re: Scott Burgess, Karl Greenberg)
My updates: Scott Burgess left Yahoo! Autos as that outlet closed down. He is now back in school for a master's but I don't know which school. I don't have a current email for Scott.
Karl Greenberg left Media Post to take a position as in the communications department at New York University's School of Engineering. He is now reporting to Kathleen Hamilton, who you'll remember from her Ford and Jaguar days.
Executive Director, Corporate Communications
Makes Sense Here
"I rarely write anything political on Spare Parts but this is transportation oriented.
Lyft & Uber take their bat, ball & glove and go home.
I read this morning that Lyft and Uber are at least temporarily suspending operations in Austin, Texas because the voters did not overturn what the two companies deem unfair rules. According USA Lyft stated they "want to stay in the city," but Austin's rules "don't allow true ridesharing to operate." Both companies said the new rules make it hard to follow their business models. Aw gee.
I have never used either but I know many like the service. But let's face it, neither is a true ride-sharing program.
Ride-sharing is when Joe Blow is heading downtown and he gives someone a ride, maybe in exchange for gas money. Plain and simply Lyft and Uber are businesses. Their drivers are not helping out someone who needs to go in the same general direction. Lyft and Uber dispatch a car to pick up a rider and take them to a destination. So get over yourselves Lyft and Uber you are defacto taxi companies.
The biggest difference is your drivers do not cruise the streets looking for a fare - you dispatch your drivers.
I'm all for competition but it must be fair and equal. If a taxi company has to jump through specific hoops so should Lyft, Uber and anyone else.
One of the things Austin now requires are fingerprinting of drivers. That is too onerous? Lyft and Uber want greater self-regulation. Trust us we'll always do the right thing. Sure.
I'm not saying government regulation is perfect. I worked for a regulatory agency and I know how screwed up they can be. But I also know that business does a very poor job of self-regulating.
So you know what Lyft and Uber? If your business model requires that you not be regulated please take all your toys and go home. Come back when you're ready to play by the rules. In other words go f**k yourself.
Spare Parts Columm
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