The white tape

I was a car guy in a former life. My first ride was a 1982 Mazda RX-7 which got stolen the first time I took it out. My second was a Ford T-bird Turbo which always had people telling me how cool it was that my dad let me borrow his car and I still have vivid dreams about my Formula Firebird. Growing up in Montreal was interesting as the freeway was a free for all and having cars that couldn’t abide by the speed limit was always exciting. Life seemed to change as my middle ages arrived. Back in the day I’d be hammering down the road listening to Sammy Hagar screaming that we both couldn’t drive 55 and these days the thought of listening to Sammy makes me want to throw down a bottle of Geritol. I’m now driving a Volvo station wagon that’s held together by fur and drool and as far as 0-60 goes….well being beaten by a Toyota Prius really makes you wonder if the combo of Geritol and Depends do work well together. I’m not in a rush anymore, much of my spare time is spent hiking in some remote wilderness areas, with safety being the primary concern and I tend to move at a more reasonable pace.

I’m now involved in a start up that’s meant to shake up the world of subprime sales for dealerships and while it’s exciting and requires youthful exuberance it also requires a sensibility that only experience itself can provide. Andre and I have had a number of discussions regarding his previous career as a racer and it’s proven to be a metaphor for our growth. Andre was mentioning how he used to have a strip of white tape on the dash indicating slow in, fast out. If he didn’t abide by that he’d slide into the curves and then spend precious milliseconds trying to recover. In this era of digital disruption we need to stay the course and fine tune our approach or we could get left in the dust as well. Whether you’re a vendor, a sales rep or the dealer principal there are always critical items that need to be addressed in order to lead and have everyone else chase after you. To get to the front of the pack is a fully functional team effort and without that collaboration nothing functions seamlessly.

A number of years ago I managed to be part of a team that won the global website of the year award and once that happened the demands came in fast and furiously. At the time we had built a unique platform that was geared to work with agencies that wanted to be known as cutting edge; it certainly simplified the roll out process. We’re now focusing on the OEM dealership world and while subprime offerings make sense it’s easier said than done to enable them in a manner that’s going to work for their clients. Slow in, fast out. We have tools that work but they will absolutely fail if any dealer partner wants to race with them until it becomes systemic. As a vendor it’s hopeful but not possible to assume that everything is plug, play and race with your offerings. Our approach has been to provide a pit crew, provide training that ensures the dealer team doesn’t fall back and complement it with tools that are built to accommodate their current structure. We will apply the white tape approach but you don’t compete without loads of practice and a full support crew. Slow in, fast out.

I’ve been trying to get Andre to come hiking with the dogs and I for quite some time, so far my sales skills have failed me in regards to convincing him. He’ll eventually get me into race mode with him one of these days (remember how I mentioned Depends earlier?) but on a purely metaphorical basis the combination of our passions has lent to how our implementations and dealer partnerships flourish. I’ve been through numerous iterations of digital technology over the past couple of decades and while it’s great to be an accomplished racer I believe that a sure and steady approach gets us up and down the mountain safely while looking forward to the next expedition. I’ll get Andre and his four pound poodle in the woods one of these days and it better be soon, I hate watching grown men cry over mosquitoes.