Kramer in a Driverless Car, Jim Farley Pod, Exchanges approach bear market

May 20, 2022
With Paul on the ground at VeeCon, we hear from him and invite Brian Kramer to the show. We are talking cars with ghosts (seemingly), a new podcast to listen to, and how markets are impacting dealers.
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Brian Kramer shared a video in a driverless car

  • Technology by Qubis
  • Kramer stated use cases like
  • Delivering rental cars
  • Chase cars for vehicle drop off
  • Retrieving vehicles from storage lots
  • Take Away: You may not have an army of driverless cars in your area sometime soon, but preparing for potential business opportunities is a best practice.

Jim Farley, Ford CEO, to host a Spotify podcast

  • Drive with Jim Farley
  • Guests include: ​​Tom Brady, Dax Shepard, Harley Davidson CEO Jochen Zeitz, YouTuber Emelia Hartford, The Duke of Richmond and Patrice Banks.
  • “Spotify is footing the bill for putting the show together, and it's sponsored by customer-relationship software giant Salesforce.”
  • “Auto executives are stepping further into the spotlight to build and burnish their personal brand, and ideally boost their company's share price.”
  • Take Away: Never underestimate the power of personal brand on a company brand. Think about your dealership and how the brand of those in the store can impact profitability.

Stock exchanges on pace for bear market

  • Glenview Trust CIO Bill Stone wrote. “For the first time in the post-Covid period, retailers have been stuck with some excess inventories. Costs due to inflation are also taking their toll on their earnings.”
  • “The S&P 500 fell 0.6% on Thursday and is now about 19% below a record closing high set in early January. This would be the first bear market — defined by many on Wall Street as a 20% drop from a high — since the pandemic decline of March 2020.”
  • Futures may have gotten a boost after China overnight cut a key benchmark rate for mortgages as Covid shutdowns hit the economy.
  • Take Away: With consumer sentiment waning, interest rates rising, and markets continuing to turn down, a consistent and complete used car inventory strategy is a must for any operator. Now is not the time to be sitting on bloat aged inventory.

Kyle Mountsier  0:24  

Good morning. It's Friday, May 20. The guy next to me doesn't have a beard because Paul's in Minneapolis at V con and Brian Kramer was in a driverless car.

Good morning, Brian Kramer is joining us. He's got his pushed back shirt on. If you can't see it, he's ready to go. Is he's basically ripping through it because it's just a medium and he's got arms the size of gigantor. So we're good to go.

Brian Kramer  0:59  

I told I told Paul that I needed a bigger shirt, but at least I'll just like a fat guy and a little coat.

Kyle Mountsier  1:05  

That's perfect. All right, we got a lot to talk about today. We're gonna dig in. If you haven't seen Brian Kramer's video in a driverless car, which, obviously driverless car technology isn't any, you know, absolutely brand new thing. But you know, just learning about it, thinking about it, getting that first hand experience. And then we're gonna go, we're gonna talk that we're going to talk. Jim Farley, the CEO of Ford has a new podcast. And then a little bit of socket changes. But first, before we do that, Paul is out at V con Gary V's conference that is access only by having an NF T. And if you don't understand it, you can check back on yesterday's email that we had on and learn a little bit more there. But we haven't video from him on on location this morning. So we're gonna watch that first before we get going into the show.

Paul Daly  1:55  

Here we are in front of US Bank Stadium. Day one of V Con last night was the welcome reception and just Look what the cat dragged in this morning. Hey,

Claude  2:04  

hey, great to see everyone.

Paul Daly  2:07  

We had a great dinner last night. This is Claude and Jen. You know them already? Maybe not Gen as much Gen Y Introduce yourself?

Jen Rosa  2:12  

Sure. Hey, I'm Jen Rosa, and I'm the EVP on the people and experience team at Vayner x. So excited to be here.

Paul Daly  2:19  

And I hear that Jen is actually the one that does most for

Claude  2:22  

Jen's the Shi T yes, she gets it all done. I work for her.

Paul Daly  2:26  

And if some of our audience might not know, this is Claude silver chief Heart Officer of Vayner x. So how many people do you make sure are tucked in and happy and healthy?

Claude  2:35  

well, about 15 to 1600? Depends on what Jen tells me every single day, just a couple a lot

Paul Daly  2:41  

that number probably changes quite a bit

Claude  2:43  

on the daily. I mean, basically, we would take care of every single person here. If Gary said to which basically 10000 to take care of. We think we can pull it off. Yeah, I think so. Yeah. Yeah.

Paul Daly  2:53  

So we're gonna check in with you throughout the next few days. Just wanted to tell you about the energy. Just 1000s of people lined up here in downtown Minneapolis. My Uber driver was telling me how great it was to have people and energy in and around the city. Again, one of the reasons Gary put on the event here, he just wanted to, you know, contribute some life. He's already doing that my Uber driver actually thanked me for the business.

Claude  3:13  

That's amazing. I love that. Yeah, we've had repeat Uber drivers. So that's always good. We never repeat why No, we're happy. We can't wait to get inside. We are

Paul Daly  3:21  

just wanting to check in with you this morning. We'll come back to you with a lot more stuff. But I'm glad I ran into you too. This morning. I'll probably send 20 other times at the grocery store. Thanks, guys. Here we are in front of us bank.

Kyle Mountsier  3:38  

All right. So if you don't know Vayner X is is Gary V's media company. And they they span a lot of different kind of things that they do they support a lot of the big brands across the country and across the world. So Paul, Paul has a little bit of familiarity with that crew just because of his his early Vayner mentors, kind of inclusion and then has been a part of that crowd. He was out to dinner with James Orsini and with the Sasha group and, and that whole crew so yeah, we'll check in with him, obviously. And if you follow him around social media, Instagram, LinkedIn, you'll probably see more of that as we go. But with

Brian Kramer  4:20  

the best part one of this podcast I've heard is with Gary, Gary Vee and Mark Zuckerberg, when they're talking about the metaverse, if you want to hear the best breakdown, and FTS how it all goes together. Look that up. That's the that's the best breakdown I've heard.

Kyle Mountsier  4:35  

Yeah, you know, actually, I think someone was saying that there's there's just this that the energy around what Gary Vee is doing with web three technology, how he is implementing, you know, NF T's and really seeing them as projects and not as just individual items where they they have kind of a web out to other access and an engagement with communities. He's got this whole discord channel that's extremely active. So it's much past like a lot of people are like, why would I want to buy this little, you know, you know, a little like goofy looking, you know, hand drawn thing. And I think that he's really done a great job at building community and building access around, you know, web three technology, Metaverse, technology and FTS and things like that. So maybe we'll find that podcast and link it up in the show notes or share it out there for everyone. If Brian can grab that. So Brian, I want to ask you about you were in a driverless car, I guess earlier this week, the technology is by a company called quibus. Did I say that? Right?

Brian Kramer  5:38  

So that's what I thought it was Cubis Cubis?

Kyle Mountsier  5:42  

Naturally, yes. Because they're from Wales or something. Right? They don't tell you.

Brian Kramer  5:49  

Yeah, I'll tell you what, those are some of the, you know, Leonid, who's the founder of that company, has worked with that technology and other publicly traded companies. And he basically created it, when he came to the, the dealership to install that, I guess it wasn't there, he thought it was a Prius Prime. And it was a Prius gasoline. So he said it took them a little, you know, a little extra time, it would have taken me, I don't know, 30 days, if given like about an hour to reroute the whatever it is that he did, but it was just a basically a about the size of an iPad, the magnetic, almost like an antenna that goes on top of the the rear passenger, no the rear driver's side. But it was a black exterior, so you couldn't even see it. Now he's got a more sophisticated one that has cameras on the outside, like you'll see in San Francisco, right on the highways and that sort of thing. But it requires drilling two holes. So we didn't do that on on that demo, just for in-city driving, but it's actually driven remote like a drone.

Kyle Mountsier  6:52  

Okay, I that's what I was wondering, I was wondering if it was like embedded technology, understanding the road or if it was remote driving. So essentially, like they were they were able to take a Prius that you had sitting on the lot or a demo or something like that, and just reroute a couple of things, put it put an antenna on it, and then be able to drive the car around remotely. Is that right? Yes.

Brian Kramer  7:12  

So if you if so I've seen the device on the other side, which was in Eastern Europe. So the person driving that car was in the Eastern Europe. And Lena was in the backseat, just talking to him. But the crazy the Chris thing is what that the drivers doing, if you picture Guardians of the Galaxy to when they're all in those pods, you know, the I forget what they call it from Xandar or whatever, right or the Zandalari. And it's similar to that. But it's a gaming console with a it actually has a 420 degree viewing bird's eye view. So it can actually see more than we can. But at one point we were driving, and it stopped and I looked over and I said Is there something wrong and all of a sudden the Sienna went by us because they didn't know that there was nobody in the driver's seat. Right. And Lenin said he goes, Yeah, they can see more than we can.

Kyle Mountsier  8:03  

That's not okay. So here's, here's my real question, though, because we see the driverless technology, and it's starting to get used for things like delivery, you know, a lot of the like Uber and Lyft, and things like that are utilizing it for food delivery, and, you know, parcel delivery. But where do you see this, particularly for auto dealers, because you had a couple of notes of like, how you might actually implement this, especially in something where it's easy to install, right, and get in and install something quickly. Where do you see this in the next like one to two years, from an auto dealer perspective, enhancing their ability to do business?

Brian Kramer  8:41  

So I see different opportunities. Now that I'm tuning into the frequency. I'm seeing opportunities everywhere. For instance, this morning, you know, my daughter, we just got her a car, right, so I drove her car home last night. But now my car's was back at the dealership. So this morning, my wife had to give me a ride back to the dealership to pick up my car, and then drive all the way back over here. Whereas I could have just had that thing picked me up, and then driven it back and left it there. If somebody if you're flying into Fort Myers to Naples, I could instead of having to take two cars about this. I was gonna drop a car off for you at the airport. Right sitting having two people go out there. I just have that car drive there Park and short term parking. You get off the plane, you get into the vehicle, started up, drive it around. You don't have to go back to the dealership, turn it in, fill out the forms and all that stuff. So if you picture Turo, and I'm sure a ton of people on this on this podcast are familiar with that. I rented one in Jackson Hole because there was available. I had a walk, I don't know three miles to somebody's apartment. Because I couldn't get any Ubers over there, he unlocks it. But that whole process was consumed a couple hours, you know which a nice place to go walking but the point is, yeah, but if I could have just had it pick me up then not have to do all that, especially in urban areas where you've got like auxilary lots, you got people that have storage, lots for offsite service. And some people have offsite body shops. Or if you're taking a sublet car, and you're taking a you want to do a, you know, gotta use cards under warranty, and you want to take it to the local Ford store, you typically have to up quarters, the driving over there, you got to chase car than they both right back in that car.

Kyle Mountsier  10:25  

So time expenses, like an extra car, miles gas, all of that type of stuff takes up instead of just like that car getting there, right.

Brian Kramer  10:35  

And typically, when you take a hot car, you get an A, you know, for those those like that benstock Or somebody you know, Brad Mulligan and La people that have like, you know, very limited space. Yep, they think they can have, you know, the salesperson typically will jump on one of those cars go to the other lot, find the car looking forward, leave another desirable piece of inventory at the other end. Now you can just summon it back. For parts and deliveries, there's so many possibilities.

Kyle Mountsier  11:01  

And yeah, so like, I saw benstock He was like I but I still like driving cars. And I think the I think like the first iteration of this is not that you go get in a car and do your morning commute every single day. Now, there may be some people that are attached to that. But I think the first kind of layer and iteration is solving those friction points along, you know, people resources and time resources, whether that be personal or business related. And that's going to be really the first place where we see this driverless technology, especially remote, I think, especially remote driving, where where there's like, no one near the car, right? I think that that's probably going to be the place where we see that first. So it's really interesting. How did

Brian Kramer  11:46  

he enjoys driving a Porsche? You know, whatever it is that he's driving cars, but he doesn't, I promise you enjoy driving. He's not getting into a car giving somebody a ride across queens, right? Another one of his auxilary lots in rush hour traffic. He definitely doesn't. So that's the kind of driving that we're trying to eliminate. Not exactly the joy of driving,

Kyle Mountsier  12:07  

not the joy of driving, like keep the joy of driving eliminate the hassle pieces. So I just have to know how did it feel like was there this anxiousness this nervousness this gut thing? Or did it like immediately go? I've been been around this enough, right. And so now, it just

Brian Kramer  12:26  

that was the first time I was in it. Right? So they had walked me through this show me videos about it. And you know, Eric Davis, who used to be with upstart is the one that introduced us and Zach Forester is the other partner in it with with Lena. And they're just, they're a tech startup, basically. Right. So you never know how it's gonna go. And I know that with most autonomous driving cars, and you know, you got Tesla and you got some other ones similar tech, but you gotta be sitting in the front seat, you can take your hands off the wheel, but you can't get out of the vehicle, right. And when I was in there with Lena, because no, just you know, just take your hands off the wheel. And I said, Come on, you've got to be able to, you know, can't be we need somebody not in the front seat. And you could tell he wasn't thrilled about it. But I've seen him, they did it with the Prime Minister of Lithuania, over in Europe, and they do a lot, a lot of business. So it's not like it's some brand new thing that he's there from San Francisco, where that's the epicenter of all of that right, to just pass the legislation, but I mean, they've been doing this in Europe for some time now.

Kyle Mountsier  13:26  

They got a dog in the background, I absolutely love it, ya know. So I mean, obviously, people have been doing this for quite some time and you, you know, closed environment, you know, being in that passenger seat. Obviously, there's a lot of nervousness around not being in the driver's seat. But I think it's a technology that's coming in and something new. If you're watching the video, you can kind of see Brian, sitting in the passenger seat explaining what's going on and looks like a ghost is in the driver's seat. But that ghost is obviously overseas. And just a really interesting environment. I think that there's going to be some use cases really soon. We've got the link to the for full video in the show notes if you want to check it out.

Brian Kramer  14:13  

The client at the end was we pulled around the corner. He was he was waiting to get picked up and he's staring into the car. And I rolled down the window and I said what do you think? And he said, Who's driving that the Invisible Man? Yeah, so after we interviewed him, so what do you think and he's like, you gotta watch that video. But it's his reaction is priceless.

Kyle Mountsier  14:36  

He's just like, No, this is the weirdest thing. Right? And I think again, California people are used to it but like, you know, Naples, Florida. That's it's not that's not your every day. So

Brian Kramer  14:50  

some people call it heavens waiting room. Yes.

Kyle Mountsier  14:55  

I've heard it said that before. And I know exactly what you mean. My grandparents used to live In Naples. I know exactly where you're headed there. Well, I've got a couple more things. I want to talk to you a little bit about Jim Farley, the Ford CEO, and you're now a Lincoln dealer. So you are closer to the Ford environment has started a podcast that is being completely paid for and supported by by not just Spotify, but also Salesforce. He's interviewing guests like Tom Brady, Dax Shepard, the Harley Davidson CEO, Jackson zetes, Amelia Hartford, the Duke of Richmond and Patrice Banks, who a lot of us know through women of color automotive network, and she she has the she can't fix that she just a really neat thing. So interesting to see a another like that. Watching Elon from a distance, I think, another CEO of an OEM going, Hey, gotta implement some personal branding, and connect to all of these high level connections. And you kind of had a couple little quick takeaways before we got on thinking about how CEOs might actually be engaging with some of these, not just technologies, but people and brand, right?

Brian Kramer  16:11  

Well, it makes it makes him seem a lot more real. You know, he used to be our district manager, regional manager, when I was at Lexus back in the late 90s, calling on Jermaine Lexus up in Ohio. So it's, it's his cousins, actually, Chris Farley, who was at the beginning of the show. But he's he's got a lot of personality. Remember, he was the vice president of Saigon, when he launched that brand, he was disruptive with the way in which they launched that and he's definitely the biggest disrupter in franchise automotive right now. I mean, he's that adapt, without a doubt. I mean, he was what he's doing with the lightning with EVs spinning all this stuff off, he hired, you know, the, I know that, you know, the first rule about Apple, you know, Titan project is nobody talks about Apple Titan project, but the guy that was running that is now you know, in the C suite at Ford, so he's bringing in, you know, you bring in that level of talent, things are going to are going to be big. And he the meeting where I was that he was talking about massive scale, he said, We need to quit looking at 20,000 30,000. Unit estimates forecasts because you take a look at Tesla, they're talking 100,000 200,000 per model. And they also simplified the build. And and that's where he's going. I know that for a fact is the simplification of where you can do over the air updates for whatever options you want. So that requires less chips, more robust, you know, what Tesla limited that break issue?

Kyle Mountsier  17:33  

Well, and Paul and I have been talking about how it's, you know, software as an update, but also software as a service, right? And so they are leaning heavily that way. And you think about bringing someone from apple into the C suite. That is it. Like everyone thinks it's a phone, a hardware piece, but it's 100% Software as a Service, because your recurring revenue, you're always getting the new phone, and you're always getting over the air updates, and you're paying for elements within an app store within, you know, cloud based technology. And so that level of thinking coming into an OEM is obviously happening. I really think that the the really interesting thing here to me is that Ford isn't the like, it's not brought to you by Ford, it's brought to you by Salesforce. So you've got to think that there's some level, I mean, Ford probably uses Salesforce as their CRM, maybe for direct does, but there's got to be some level of attention that Salesforce has on automotive, specifically retail automotive right now that we might see coming in, in the near future, right?

Brian Kramer  18:31  

Well, if you if you think about the amount of data that they have with their connected vehicles, and how they communicate and how their consumers behave, and you know, we only see the tip of the iceberg from from the all the data that they collect, I'm sure that they're looking at the efficiencies that they can do from a retargeting standpoint, a, tier two and tier three, I think is really going to get disrupted in the next five years, in terms of what that looks like, and the OEMs involvement. And I'm preaching to the choir, but it's going to dealers are going to have to go more towards branding, branding, their experience, branding, what they do. And the OEMs are going to be launching models like, like movie printers, like Top Gun too. And when a new model comes out, it's going to be surround sound, you know, like what you were talking about earlier, NF T's launching it and morphing into all these other? Well, I think that top gun too, if you take a look at the marketing campaign for that, that's a great template for what it will look like.

Kyle Mountsier  19:29  

Yep, without a doubt. And I also think that the other piece of this with thinking about brand Plus technology is yes, dealers need to be thinking brand thinking about experience, but I think they also have to be thinking about their data, understanding how their data is being leveraged by their OEM, and also how they can leverage their data, clean their data, and make it sufficient enough to prove to the OEMs that they can utilize that data in a good way because if Salesforce is trying to come into automotive more, it means they're trying to implement things like Salesforce marketing cloud Want customer journeys? And so if the OEM is looking to do that dealers should be looking to do that right now because they can pivot faster and move quicker with the data that they currently have. Well, that is all the time we have for today. We went through some stuff web three, talking driverless cars and podcasts by CEOs Brian Kramer, thank you for joining us. Get out there and serve someone today and do it

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