Now it’s Detroit’s turn to rescue Silicon Valley

Go Lean Commentary

“I see dead people.” – Movie quote from The Sixth Sense (1999); see Appendix VIDEO below.

This is what Detroit is saying to Silicon Valley: “they see dead people” along the road of development for the autonomous vehicle (AV). Automobile accidents are one of the leading causes of death in most countries, therefore developing cars that drive themselves and interact with real world conditions on real streets is bound to have some mishaps/fatalities along the way.

CU Blog - Now it's Detroit's turn to rescue Silicon Valley - Photo 2

CU Blog - Now it's Detroit's turn to rescue Silicon Valley - Photo 4

Detroit: “Been there, done that!”

This consideration is in line with the book Go Lean… Caribbean; it serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). One of the features of the Go Lean/CU roadmap is the development of an automotive industry for the Caribbean region. Of course the reference here to Detroit is a metonym; so too the reference to Silicon Valley. Other metonym references were defined in a previous Go Lean blog-commentary, which detailed these ones in the book:

  • Detroit – Page 206 – American Automakers Planning/Design
  • Silicon Valley – Page 30 – AmericanHighTechCenter
  • Wall Street – Page 155 – Big Banks/Financial Center
  • Hollywood – Page 203 – US Movie/TV/Media Producers

The issue now is the risk associated with road traffic. Detroit has been there before. They were the Silicon Valley of the early 20th Century, as regards innovation for the automotive industry. Detroit has competence for this industry. Today, Silicon Valley wants inroads in the automotive industry. They need to tap Detroit’s legacy and insights. See the related article here:

Title: Now it’s Detroit’s turn to rescue Silicon Valley

CU Blog - Now it's Detroit's turn to rescue Silicon Valley - Photo 1
Five years ago, when the U.S. auto industry was just beginning to recover from the Great Recession, there was widespread speculation that the old model of the car business was broken, and that only the new economy could come to the rescue.

And with good reason. The U.S. auto market had cratered, plunging from a peak of over 17 million to a devastated 10 million in yearly sales.

Both General Motors and Chrysler had been bailed out by the federal government and gone bankrupt. Ford saw its stock price fall to less than $2 a share. Gas had spiked to over $4 a gallon in some parts of country. Credit, the lifeblood of the car business, had been wiped out.

Meanwhile, Apple was on a path to become the world’s most valuable company. Facebook was tasking over the media landscape. And Tesla, after suffering a brush with financial death in 2009, looked like the most innovative company of four wheels.

Silicon Valley and California in general was suddenly filled with new and futuristic ideas about transportation, from Google driverless cars to numerous electric-car startups. Detroit, by contrast, was lurching toward the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history (it would come in 2013), and its great automakers looked to be crippled dinosaurs, completely out of step with the times.

The U.S. auto industry was a problem to be solved, and Silicon Valley specialized in solutions.

A doomed industry?
“The automobile industry is in the middle of a fundamental transformation,” wrote in 2009. “There is a lot of information available on how companies have dealt with major changes in their business environments, but little is known about the transformation of entire industries.”

“History shows that most companies do not deal well with transformation.” he continued. “One reason has to do with senior managers. They usually ‘don’t get it.’ They have a difficult time accepting that the future will be vastly different from the present because they rose to power in the old business environment. They excelled in the old environment and didn’t acquire skills necessary to operate in the new.”

Fast forward to 2016 and the senior mangers in Detroit that Grove worried about have deepened their engagement with Silicon Valley and the technology industry to an unprecedented degree. General Motors already had a venture-capital arm before it invested $500 million in Lyft and bought Cruise Automation for its innovative self-driving tech.

Ford had such a solid connection with Microsoft that outgoing CEO Alan Mulally was discussed as a successor to Steve Ballmer, earlier this year. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has teamed up with Google to create driverless minivans. And all the automakers have a Silicon Valley presence, which enables them to scout emerging technologies and act on them quickly.

An auto sales boom in the U.S. that started in 2013 and set a record in 2016 with 17.5 million new cars and trucks delivered has fueled Detroit’s engagement, as has the broad realization among the car maker’s executive teams that this is their opportunity to disrupt themselves and profit from the experience. Cheap gas, an improving employment picture, and ample credit means that Detroit is selling pickups and SUVs and raking in cash. The game plan is to take some of those winnings and send them in search of rapid innovations that Motown can’t create on its own.

Not-so-smooth sailing
At the same time, Silicon Valley has started to encounter some investor turbulence. Startups with hefty valuations don’t see IPOs as a way to pay back their investors. That leaves getting acquired as an option, but a level of saturation with social networking and apps might have set in.

The Detroit automakers aren’t in the market for messaging apps, but they are looking for technologies that can future-proof them, or advance the process of making cars smarter. In conversations with people in the auto industry, there’s a sense that the tech sector has begun to figure out that Motown has money and wants to spend it.

The signals from the top are also strong. “We’re going to disrupt ourselves, and we are disrupting ourselves, so we’re not trying to preserve a model of yesterday,” . “And when you think of the assets the company has — the scale, the control of the vehicle platform, the ability with embedded connectivity, the knowledge we have of just every aspect of the vehicle and how we’re putting it together now — I think there’s a lot of plus signs, and we can lead.”

That attitude was echoed by Ford CEO Mark Fields, who BI also interviewed. “It’s a very exciting time at Ford, because we are transitioning from an auto company to an auto and a mobility company,” he said. “Mobility for us, at the very simplest level, is to allow people to live, play, and work where they want. How do we help enable them to get around to do that? And there’s a lot of talk around technology companies disrupting the auto industry. Our approach is very simple: We’re disrupting ourselves.”

Birds of a feather
So how did this reversal come about? Even if Detroit isn’t really in a position to rescue Silicon Valley — Silicon valley doesn’t really need to be rescued — then why is the dinosaur now so enthusiastic about participating in its own disruption?

Simple: Detroit was the Silicon Valley of the early 20th century, a hotbed of entrepreneurship, fascinated with the most high-tech contraption of the time — the automobile. True, over the decades the culture of the auto industry has become stratified and bureaucratic, but despite that, the car itself has been steadily improved. Detroit has never backed off from technology, and the engineers and executives who have chosen to work for Ford or GM are still excited about new stuff.

When they look at Silicon Valley, they see a place ruled by engineers, a contemporary version of Detroit’s own origin story.  And that’s why Silicon Valley and Detroit’s newfound mutual admiration could be the beginning of a long and beautiful friendship that stretches from the Bay Area to the banks of the Detroit River.
Source: Microsoft Network (MSN) Technology Column – Retrieved 08-14-2016 from:

VIDEO – Inside Silicon Valley’s secretive test track for self-driving cars –

Published on Jun 2, 2016 – A former military weapons depot is now a track where companies can test their autonomous cars in private​. The media has never set foot in the guarded GoMentum Station, until now. The track is not only attracting the attention of automakers like Mercedes and Honda, but also tech companies like Google and Apple. CNET’s Brian Cooley shows us how Honda is testing its latest self-driving car there.

See a more detailed VIDEO on GoMentum Station and a competing Michigan site in this VIDEO here:
“Inside the self-driving car facilities of Silicon Valley and Detroit” –

For the Caribbean effort, it will be important to observe-and-report on the developments of the Detroit-SiliconValley synergy. Both industries are being transformed. What can we learn about cooperation, collaboration and coordination among aligning stakeholders? There are jobs, public safety and public administration at stake. This relates to the CU/Go Lean roadmap, which also has a focus on the same 3 areas. This is communicated as the prime directive of the roadmap, pronounced as follows:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy, and create jobs (2.2 million new ones).
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these above engines, considering the separation-of-powers between Caribbean member states and the CU federal government.

The Go Lean roadmap recognizes the benefits of Research & Development (R&D). The book presents R&D as a community ethos, the fundamental spirit of a culture that drives the beliefs, customs and practices of a society.

Caribbean society must embrace the R&D of autonomous vehicles, automobile advances, safety innovation, and transformative technologies. We cannot ignore the formations of industrial advances. We must not just consume; we must produce as well. This is where the next generation of jobs are to be found.

The automotive industry have always been a source of high-paying jobs, that in previous generations, have transformed society. Today, Silicon Valley is a source of high-paying jobs. The transformations are continuing.

This aligns with the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Page 14) in the Go Lean book, as conveyed by these statements:

xxvii. Whereas the Caribbean region must have new jobs to empower the engines of the economy and create the income sources for prosperity, and encourage the next generation to forge their dreams right at home, the Federation must therefore foster the development of new industries, like … automobile manufacturing. In addition, the Federation must invigorate the enterprises related to existing industries … impacting the region with more jobs.

xxviii. Whereas the region has endured a spectator status during the Industrial Revolution, we cannot stand on the sidelines of this new economy, the Information Revolution. Rather, the Federation must embrace all the tenets of Internet Communications Technology (ICT) to serve as an equalizing element in competition with the rest of the world. The Federation must bridge the digital divide and promote the community ethos that research/development is valuable and must be promoted and incentivized for adoption.

Producing and not only consuming – especially related to autonomous vehicles and robotic technologies – has been a consistent theme in prior Go Lean blog/commentaries; see this sample here:

Building the Infrastructure for Streetcars
‘Olli’ – The Self-Driving Public Transit Vehicle
3D Printing: Here Comes Change
Drones to be used for Insurance Damage Claims
Robots help Amazon tackle Cyber Monday
Here come the Drones … and the Concerns
Where the Jobs Are – Computers Reshaping Global Job Market
Google conducting research for highway safety innovations
Ghost ships – Autonomous cargo vessels without a crew

The Go Lean book provides a roadmap for developing and fostering a domestic automotive industry, and for fostering R&D. The process starts with the spirit to want to improve the status quo, to innovate and make things better and safer. This spirit is described in the book as a community ethos for Research-and-Development. The book details other ethos to adopt, plus the executions of the following strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to forge innovation in Caribbean communities:

Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification Page 21
Community Ethos – Job Multiplier Page 22
Community Ethos – “Crap” Happens – Like Car Accidents Page 23
Community Ethos – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Return on Investments (ROI) Page 24
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Help Entrepreneurship Page 28
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact Research & Development Page 30
Community Ethos – Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Vision – Caribbean Integrated Single Market Page 45
Strategy – Agents of Change – Technology Page 48
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Tactical – Growing Economy – New High Multiplier Industries Page 68
Separation of Powers – Public Works & Infrastructure Page 82
Separation of Powers – Department of Transportation Page 84
Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change Page 101
Implementation – Ways to Implement Self-Governing Entities Page 105
Planning – 10 Big Ideas – Cyber Caribbean Page 127
Planning – Lessons from Detroit Page 140
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Technology Page 197
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Transportation Page 205
Advocacy – Ways to Develop the Auto Industry Page 206
Appendix – Job Multipliers – Detroit’s 11.0 Rate #1 of all industries Page 260

There is a business axiom:

Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.

This is the goal – autonomous vehicles not mousetraps – of so many stakeholders in the technology and automotive industry space, in Silicon Valley and in Detroit; see Appendix VIDEO 2. A self-driving car is not the future, it is now; well soon. (According to the foregoing VIDEO, one automaker projects an AV for the 2020 Model Year).

Mideast Dubai Driverless CarsThis is the type of innovation now being urged for the Caribbean. Yes, we can … make an impact in this industry. We do not have to be the inventor, but at least an “early adopter”. The controlled environment of a Self-Government Entity – campus or corridor – is ideal for AVs. Imagine a toll-road across a Caribbean member-state (island or mainland) that traverses 70 miles that encourages self-driving cars, buses and trucks.

This vision is being fostered … elsewhere. Why not here?

The Caribbean region has historically been slow at adopting technological innovation. This roadmap presents a change to the Caribbean status quo. We urge all stakeholders – governments, businesses, and drivers – to lean-in to the innovations detailed in the Go Lean book. With the proper planning, preparation and participation, yes we can, we make our homeland a better place to live, work and play.:-)

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Appendix VIDEO 1: Next Big Thing – Self-driving cars: Why? –

Published on Oct 9, 2013 – – Why self-driving cars make a whole lot of sense, how gesture control will augment — but probably not replace — a lot of technology, and is there even a third seat left at the mobile platform table?


Appendix VIDEO 2: The Sixth Sense ….. I See Dead People …scene –

Published on Sep 9, 2012 – In Your Dreams ? ….No. While You’re Awake? …Yes. All The Time, They’re Everywhere.




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