On February 9th, a bunch of us got together with seven-hundred and fifty new friends at the Royal Oak Music Theatre to talk about careers in the Automotive economy. The 3rd “Ignite Automotive” was a complete success with many amazing talks given. If you have never been to an ‘ignite’ event, make sure you attend one in the future. It’s about giving a five-minute talk – twenty slides – timed at fifteen seconds a slide. Yes, timed. It’s harrowing for the speaker, because if you miss a cue, or slow down, or have a brain-fart, you’re basically screwed. My talk was “Chasing the Connected Vehicle” and I only had a couple brain farts.
There were many students in the audience and our goal was to inspire them to seek employment in the automotive industry. Advances in technology and design has really opened up opportunities for young people to participate and lead the way in building the next-generation connected vehicle. I focused on technology because there is a dramatic shortage of technology talent, and these young people have the aptitude, skills and attitude that we need to keep in Michigan.
I tried to focus on the fact that a lot of auto companies are chasing ‘connected vehicle’ products, but no one really understands what drivers really want because there are so many demographic differences between drivers and their connected vehicle needs. Because of this, products have been rolled out unevenly and even dangerously.
This has caused delay in product rollout while the technology continues to advance.
This gap needs to be filled by young people who have lived with connectivity for most of their lives, and better understand the needs for connected products in the future. The job opportunities are enormous and these are great jobs!All in all, I got to talk to a lot of young people and thought leaders in the industry. I kinda felt like a poseur because I’m not a ‘car guy’ and never will be. However, the industry needs tech-folks as well as design-folks to help automotive engineers design the next generation of connected vehicle.
Cheers! Paul Cz