Friday, December 12, 2008

How I would revive the Big 3 Automakers


How the Big 3 can save themselves...

As you know, the Senate denied the bailout for the Big 3 automakers yesterday. There were mixed reactions (see the comments). I drive an American car, while my family drives primarily Japanese cars, and many friends drive German, Australian, and Swedish cars (well, I guess Indian too, now that Tata has bought up Jaguar and Land Rover). Its clear which ones are seriously lagging in quality in the American market.

A couple of us were sitting around talking about it yesterday...what now? theonlyrepublican.com proposes an interesting solution: rather than put a $14 Billion dollar bailout, put a little bit of that money (about $1 Billion) into an X PRIZE type of competition.

Well, as you know...we already have one...the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE...and none of the Big 3 have entered yet, even though they could have a lot to gain out of it. I think they should. What have they got to lose right now??

Actually, if I were them, and faced firing hundreds of my employees, I'd open up the X PRIZE competition to my employees instead, and possibly add a couple of bonuses on top. Thinking $1-$5 M bonus on top to anyone who came up with a truly innovative idea the quickest (essentially incentivizing them to beat out the competition). This is what I would tell them:
  1. Form your teams
  2. Enter the competition.
  3. Show me your project plan.
  4. Once approved, the company will pay half your entrance fees, $2000 per month flat for each team, plus upto ten team members per team get to keep their benefits (health insurance, etc) for the next year (to prove progress)
  5. Deadline to the enter the competition is Feb 28, 2009...so get cracking.
  6. Once entered and officially approved, you can use company facilities for office space; and company labs on a case-by-case basis.
I mean, seriously...its incentivizing grassroots innovation for such a low cost. Why NOT?? isn't it time for innovation?? Plus, create a sense of purpose and hope for the good employees of your companies. Use them in a way that is good for them, the companies, and the country!!

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