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Automotive Reject, Vendor CEO?

Can a failed automotive agent be a decent vendor CEO calling on dealers?

  • Yes, I will try anything once!

    Votes: 2 28.6%
  • No, they’re snake oil salesmen!

    Votes: 5 71.4%

  • Total voters
    7
  • Poll closed .

FrigginBandit

Getting Refreshed
Feb 11, 2018
37
38
8
Not so sure they are former, some look like they still are dealers.

http://socialdealer.com (Castle Automotive)
http://snap21.com (Bobby Rahal)
http://zmot.auto/dealer-to-dealer/ (Cardinale)
https://www.automotivemastermind.com (Johannes Gnauck, Marco Schnabl formerly of Manhattan Mercedes-Benz -- AM was sold for nearly $400M)

There's a bunch more... some successful; most not
Alex and I have had this conversation before... What would the technology solution landscape look like if an actual, successful GM of at least a small dealer group set-out to build useful technology that streamlines operations in the dealership? Someone with real experience managing customers and cars across multiple profit centers...

Hard to believe it would resemble the fragmented (silo'd), overlapping solutions dominating today's marketplace.
That is the question, isn't it? What would happen? Think of it, what if we had technologies from accomplished retailers vs. failed retailers? What if we had ideas from automotive successes vs. automotive frauds? Imagine how wonderful it would be if each vendor would show you their previous manufacturer statements and proof with pay stubs or articles of incorporation that they were a part of it and actually could show you trend increases in dollars, hard dollars, which is all that matters. Bolstering the bottom line is what all this tech exists for in the first place, doesn't it?
 

Alexander Lau

Sr. Refresher
Feb 11, 2015
2,189
606
113
First Name
Alex
VERY well said, it's like all vendors have a get out of jail free card and they also can make it up as they go along. "I was a GM" or "I owned a store" or my personal favorite "I sold 100 cars in a single month" hahahaha really buddy?
Yeah, those skills do not necessarily constitute a good automotive digital entrepreneur or start-up founder.
 

craigh

Super Moderator
May 19, 2011
1,665
1,076
113
First Name
Craig
Yeah, those skills do not necessarily constitute a good automotive digital entrepreneur or start-up founder.
It's a healthy mix.
Our company, as well as Strathcom and a handful of other Canadian vendors, all started from "dealers".
Almost our entire management team has dealership experience, but our sales, programming and execution teams don't necessarily need that experience.

Having sat through many meetings with those who have and have not worked at dealers, I can tell you that a very common phrase is "that's just not how dealers work" and if it weren't for those of us raising these points, poor decisions would be made.
 

reverson

Jr. Refresher
Mar 21, 2012
288
317
93
First Name
Ryan
It's a healthy mix.
Our company, as well as Strathcom and a handful of other Canadian vendors, all started from "dealers".
Almost our entire management team has dealership experience, but our sales, programming and execution teams don't necessarily need that experience.

Having sat through many meetings with those who have and have not worked at dealers, I can tell you that a very common phrase is "that's just not how dealers work" and if it weren't for those of us raising these points, poor decisions would be made.
Yeah it's definitely important to have a good mix. I've heard many "ground breaking tech/digital ideas" from dealers that are either horrible or simply can't be executed. You need the unicorn that can understand both the car business and the tech industry.
 

jon.berna

D.R. Truth
Nov 14, 2011
137
160
43
First Name
Jon
The first dealer that I worked for explained our industry in a way that really made a lot of sense.

Essentially he said automotive is the industry of second chances. Everyone can start at the same position and with the right combination of intelligence and hard work anyone can become incredibly successful. It is a great equalizer that offers a path for anyone to build a great career regardless of their past errors.

For me, instead of going to college out of HS I joined the Navy as my family had to use college savings to buy out a partner. After the Navy and 5.5 years in online education startups I couldn't advance because I didn't have a degree. I found the auto industry a place where all that matters is how much value you create. I have had the fortune to be a part of organizations that I could add value and for that I was rewarded and forever grateful.

Are there individuals that create fake value or as @FrigginBandit said overstate their previous value, yes. The market will address their ability to create value now and in the future so why worry about it.

@reverson is 100% correct, it's the right combination of auto/tech skills that make great founders and inspire the next ideas. I would add that people that have overcome 'tough things' tend to be more prepared in creating new companies/ideas than those that haven't.
 
Reactions: Alex Snyder

John Colascione

Getting Refreshed
Feb 24, 2018
46
22
8
First Name
John
I know of a company right now that is attempting to get into the automotive portal business as a lead gen provider; the guy came to be to work together as he is looking for data partners and ways to get-hold of inventory. I was very impressed by the 'lingo' he knows because it certainly goes a very long way in this industry. Pitching an automotive product without that lingo down is very difficult. I decided not to work together because it is too much a conflict of interest for me being that I run my own portals and we're in the same market, but I must admit, being aware that he knows the lingo and inner working of the retail end of the business, and seeing a viable product does lend credibility to his likelihood to succeed, but this stuff is far from easy, so even with the lingo and the money, its likely not 'practical' without the strong technology foundation. but I will admit that this business is more tightly nit than many I've seen. For what I can tell, car people want to talk and work with car people. If the solution provider is not ultimately focused on cars, its likely not a good fit. Even for something like Social. Car people want to work with not the best social media company, but the best cars marketer, with the best social media team. Niche rules in automotive.
 
Reactions: Steve Stauning