The future of mobility

Today many people talk about mobility. Many so-called automotive experts and innovators use this topic to bring more popularity to their personalities. Being an ex-McKinsey consultant & founder of a startup dealing daily in this area, I would like to share couple of thoughts here as well.

First no one knows the future. Many companies try to play on this market with their own vision. You can just google it and will find dozens of famous names. However, there is no a real consensus of what the unified solution will be look like in the next 10 to 15 years. There is even no consensus on self-driving cars either: how they would appear on our roads, what would be the regulation and who would pay for infrastructure. Seriously, what routes they would use?

Second, while top players invest billions in mobility, they are not actually real adventurers. Innovations in this field, as in many others, come from small teams, dedicated to solving a single problem. The best people (tech geeks) work in startups. Period. The reason is simple: if the person can work for himself and make all the money he needs for life – why would he work for someone else? Put one of top-notch tech giants. When a creative tech mind comes there – dozens of procedures, agendas, deadlines, KPIs come on the ground, which take on average 30-40% of this “brilliant engineer’s mind”. And if you multiply it by 3x hen you have fully demotivators working together to make happen some average thing. Where is a passion to survive? Where is a motivation to become a tech hero, whom TEDeX audience applauses? Â

And last, but not least: innovations usually are limited by “stairs principle”. As these global companies are so damn cool & spend billions on PR and HR and IR and whatever, when one gets in she thinks that risk is a bull-shit. Why she needs to put all here brilliant career on the table for some silly and kind of uncertain thing? From the other side of the equation, a startup career requires different qualities than corporate track. Only those who believe in themselves and work hard to become better and better, can achieve success here under constant uncertainty. Only those, who believe that their vision is correct can change the world. The person in corporate world with clear mind would never take the same level of risk as the one in a startup. That’s why, having much less resource & experts, the progress in startups usually goes much smoother and faster. And that is why to foster this entrepreneurial spirit C-executives from corporates create small teams inside.

As we were initially talking about mobility I want to stress that core innovation here will come from a small startup, which will be eventually acquired by a large corporate player. Irony, right? Corporates love acquiring startups. They are like small candies for their shareholders, bringing them extra 0.1% of EBITDA growth.

But as in life, here you have balance too. If the entire team of a startup would be acquired & then fired after the acquisition, and all the next sexy future projects in its pipeline will be diminished. The acquirer will get what he was looking for, but will stop an innovative process in this small ecosystem, called startup. If this team will be maintained, it will lose the power to take risks as now it achieved so kind and warm “comfort zone”.

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