As someone who has been playing on the eCommerce side of the automotive industry for some time now I find myself having to explain things quite often. Some folks get it, others don’t. And that statement can be used for just about any venture I’ve worked on in the past 8 years of doing this.
I also have a degree in History and have always been fascinated with how many similarities can be found since man began recording things (yeah, I know I’m a dork). We seem destined to repeat ourselves over and over again, but with bigger toys. I will say that I have struggled to find a similar thread in history that can relate to this Information Revolution we’re in. The only major event before, when things moved very rapidly, was during the Industrial Revolution, but things are much cleaner this time around. And you didn’t have two major widespread-philosophies in the industrial revolution. Yes, there were the workers and the owners, but that was not as global as the users and the doers are in our current revolution. So, what piece of history can we correlate things to today?
I know! The transportation evolution. Not sure if we can really call that one a revolution because it took so long, and is still occurring even today. But if we look at the earlier parts of the evolution we have the wheel, the horse/camel, and the boat.
Sailing vessels did more for humanity than any other form of transportation. It brought villages together, it created commerce on a large scale, and it created exploration. Communication, Commerce, Advances – these themes sound fairly similar don’t they?
The sailors of the day were on the cutting edge. These were tough individuals who understood the mood of the sea, knew how their hull cut the waves, and what type of rigging material could get them to port before the competition. They were delivery men who were paid on how much and how often they could get a product to market. A product, in this case, could be grapes from Italy to France or a map of a “New World” with scientific studies of the indigenous people or wildlife.
Then there were the people who just booked charter on a ship, or simply waited at market for the latest products to come in. Is all of this really starting to sound familiar now? Sometimes products failed because it was too much for people to stomach. There might not have been the financial resources available for the expedition or nobody knew what to do with that silk you were hauling back.
Essentially, we had the doers and the beneficiaries. The sailors and the customers. And all the same principles that govern us today were in existence thousands of years ago.
Today, most of us on DealerRefresh are sailors and our customers are both our coworkers/bosses/vendors and the people who buy or service their cars at our stores.
So, what is the take-away from this article? Next time you find yourself against a wall, trying to get something accomplished, find some relief in that you are on the cutting edge attempting to take someone on a voyage with you who is just doesn’t get it. And you’re definitely not the first person trying to get the ship out of port amidst adversity.
And here’s a little quote that popped up in Viigo for me yesterday of Putt’s Law:
“Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand.”
Disclaimer: I’m sure I am not the first person to ever compare the information revolution to the transportation evolution, but I didn’t do a single bit of research on this article. I’m claiming it to be 100% original to me. It actually stemmed from a Sunday afternoon chat with my grandfather about the evolution of car sales from the horse trade and his struggle with technology. During that conversation I formed the similarities between these two different periods of human history in an attempt to help him understand things a little better.