Category transportation

Mobile is eating the world (and that’s just the beginning)

This deck isn’t about phones. It’s about looking backward to understand the context for where we are today, how mobile is the current bellwether for technological proliferation… but perhaps more important than all that, what this all means for the next 10 – 15 years.

Must watch. 30 min.

Mobile Is Eating the World, 2016 from Andreessen Horowitz on Vimeo.

Italian sculpture on French wheels

citroenSMMy Uncle Frank drove this car.

I remember sitting in the back from time to time as he motored around the New England countryside.

Some cars make you feel different than other cars do; some make you feel special.

Driving my kids around town in our CJ (with no doors or roof) does this same thing. When you’re in the Jeep you’re keenly aware of the weather and time of day. If the sun is rising it’s in your eyes; if it starts to rain you’re wet.

The Citroën DS had a similar effect except the feeling was connected to art and industrial design.

You weren’t just wishing Jetsons-inpired innovation and design would take root at some point in the future because you were running an errand in a car that looked like it actually might fly.

This vehicle was styled by Italian sculptor and industrial designer Flaminio Bertoni and French aeronautical engineer André Lefèbvre. It was Italian sculpture on French wheels. This Citroën was introduced in 1955 yet, looks fresh enough that it could make a successful debut today. 

Exploring the near past with a futuristic vehicle

car_mxHistory moves swiftly.

We tend to have our eyes focused on the future but what’s right behind us can sometimes be even more interesting.

Changes are thrust upon cultures with decisions that are well out of their control; strokes of a pen at the Federal level can change transportation routes and even shift societies.

To try and better understand this Mexican artists Ivan Puig and Andres Padilla Domene created what looks like a NASA-meets-Brooklyn-meets-Kickstarter vehicle.

The goal was simple… to explore railway lines that were end-of-lifed when the Mexican government privatized the rail system in the mid 90s.

These two are “Los Ferronautas, intrepid explorers of dead railway lines.”

How they explored the country is novel, innovative and even punk. What they found is even more interesting. Check out the film below of the project and their travels.

Keep in mind they are exploring a political decision that is less than 20 years old.

Tell me the most important thing

I used to drive a Mini Cooper S and the only gauge I looked at was the tach. Similar thing with my old CJ7, one important gauge.

With both user experiences they assumed drivers want one piece of information above all others and they thrust it front and center. They made it oversized and pushed every other gauge well out of the way.

Great design enables you to “feel” the most important measurements connected to a product. It achieves this by pushing everything else into the background.

My current car, much less fun on twisty roads, is a Prius. Like the examples mentioned above, one gauge trumps all others. “The” gauge on a Prius is an updated every minute fuel consumption bar chart. This single gauge has transformed the way I drive (and my string of speeding tickets).

I used to be a lead-footed Mini driver I’m now a feather foot Prius driver. Every day is a game to see how high I can average my MPG.

For all these reasons I love what Geckoboard is doing. All the vital signs of your business on one dashboard. Simple, elegant and understandable presentation.




The most modern transportation on the planet?

I don’t think the Leaf or the Tesla represent the most modern transportation options available to the public, I think this (electric assist) bike very well may be.


Here’s why this may be the best option out there.

1. It’s healthy. We all know the foods we eat are too fattening and the exercise opportunities we embrace are too limited. Skip the latte, bike to work… you’ll wake up soon enough.

2. It get’s you from point A to point B with a tiny amount of energy. It goes 30+ miles on a three hour charge (battery is in the top tube). Take the train most of the way and this puppy the rest of the way.

3. It doesn’t require massive amounts of energy to make. There is a dirty little secret with electric cars, they take a ton of energy to make. Yea, that also applies here… just less so.

4. It’s fun. Last time I was in D.C. I jumped on their new bikeshare program. It was the most fun I had the entire time I was there… ok, that’s not saying much. “Joy” and “DC” tend not to accompany one another in the same sentences. Still, grab a bike next time you’re there and I bet you’ll crack a smile.

5. It’s an option. D.C., Paris, New York… bike lanes are the new black. Or maybe urban composting is the new black… nevertheless it’s great that more and more cities are embracing bikes as an option for commuters and tourists alike. Of course US cities are followers here, lots of cities abroad have been bike friendly for decades.

6. This particular bike looks better than the next Tron-inspired alternative. Less is more. Look at this bike! It’s gorgeous. Leave it to the Dutch to come up with something this clean.

Spiffy video below. Their site is here.

Necessity is the mother of innovation


I saw this photo on FastCompany a few months back and a highly-unoriginal thought hit me, necessity truly is the mother of invention… and thus the of driver innovation.

We make innovation seem complicated. It isn’t.

Innovation is this photo.

I’m guessing some will look at this guy and think “that guy’s stupid, those boxes are going to fall.” They will focus on the risk. I look at the photo and think the guy is a bit smarter than the next delivery person carrying one less box and much smarter than the delivery people carrying a fraction of the number of boxes.

This guy is scaling his service.

Of course he has options, he could spend the entire day and deliver bundles of five packages at a time… or he could strap them ALL to his bike and get deliver everything in one trip. Notice the three-wheels, extra stability… he architected his solution to succeed even at high-levels of service.

Think of the photo as a cellphone… a two-wheeled bike with a single package is an early cellphone and this guys three-wheeler delivering super-high packet-rate is a current phone. This guy has even addressed the powersource-battery challenge; this deliveryman has ratcheted up service levels while keeping the powersource constant… one-person.

What I keep finding myself spinning on is “what was the forcing function that pushed him to this “invention.” My guess is that he’s like most of us. If we have a lot of work to do we try and find ways to automate, systematize it.

That makes me think of another post, If this then that.

My favorite invention stories are ones like. Simple, perhaps even visible tasks… and a person enabling themselves to push traditional thought enough to find a better solution.


Hacking your vehicle’s interior

I wrote about the surfers transportation of choice a few months back. The truth behind that post is that I saw a photo of a Jay Nelson… altered vehicle… and found a way to write a piece around it.

Below is another Jay gem. This time he’s altering Rob’s Save-Mono-Lake van that some of us see around town. Simple van, generic van… until Jay arrives.

There is something quite simple about this idea, if you don’t like something… find a way to change it. I’ve written 21 posts on various DIY approaches, this makes one more. I know… you don’t own a vehicle like this… so customize something else… make something undisputedly… yours.

The $9 cardboard bicycle

I’ve always been smitten with alternative materials… including cardboard.

Cardboard has very high strength-to-weight characteristics, wide-scale availability and even looks great. It looks natural… almost like the wood it came from.

Years ago Frank Gehry’s cardboard chairs captured my imagination for these reasons. They are fun, light, surprisingly comfortable… but they aren’t exactly “design within reach.” It’s this last point that always rubbed me the wrong way. $1,000 for a chair made of cardboard feels extremely exclusive… not exactly an option for a person looking for an alternative to Ikea.

I love everything about the story told in the video below.

I love that everyone told him it couldn’t be done. (why do we do that… why do we have such a tiny amount of imagination for what is possible?) I love that he didn’t listen. I love that his wife supported his exploration and his vision. I love that he struggled with process. I love the price point. I love that there is a kids version.

I love… this story.

Izhar cardboard bike project from Giora Kariv on Vimeo.

When ads try harder… by doing less

Less is more.

Bold color, interesting line quality and stark minimalism… this ad just works for me.

What doesn’t work for me is when advertisements expect me to read a ton, plow through a dozen cultural references and attach those things to a concept, service or product.

Introduce us to the essence of your brand.

If we’re intrigued we can always go deeper.


In the age of the smart machine; Lazareth Wazuma Bio V12

Anyone else notice how wild the world of non-mainstream vehicles has become?

A Tesla hardly turns a head, now it takes something truly different to make us look twice.

This puppy is a quad with a supercharged BMW V12 netting 500 horsepower that can run on E85 bio-ethanol but… I’m not suggesting it’s… green.

Wild gyrations in the transportation sector… I blame Batman.

motorevue – Essai Lazareth Wazuma Bio V12 from NightAngel on Vimeo.