Procrastination. It does us no good. Even as I’ve contemplated this blog post, I procrastinated writing it. But, there is no better time than the present to act.


One of my favorite sayings, framed on my desk, reads: “This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind … let it be something good.”


Now is the time for me, you, Detroit and Silicon Valley (and everywhere in between), the auto industry, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, the state of Michigan and the U.S. Government to do “something good,” to make the investment in our future, right here, right now. There certainly are pockets of success, but too often entrepreneurs, small- and midsized businesses (SMBs) and suppliers right in our backyards who are smart, can really make a difference and are agile are often overlooked, not funded, and end up closing up shop.


We all lose, the days pass and the procrastination continues. We are then left with the old, slow, stodgy companies that say they are reinventing themselves, bringing innovation, branding themselves as “new” and looking for “outsiders” to reinvigorate the company. Been there. Done that. Again, some pockets of success, but at General Motors for example, outsiders were brought in the 1990s, but ended up resigning, or as the years passed, they have become an insider. Today, GM is looking once again for an “outsider,” this time to fill its CEO position.


How much longer do we have to wait for efficiencies, innovation, for alternative energy that will become mainstream?  Having just attended the LA Auto Show with client Faurecia and in anticipation of the “Electric Avenue” display at the North American International Auto Show in January, I’m hopeful that in time we will get there. There are some promising moves toward green, cleantech and alternative energy vehicles, but we’ve been waiting too long.


As a kid in the 1970s, due to the oil crisis, I remember the long lines for gas and having to wait a day before you could get gas based on your license plate number. It was just last year that gas hovered at $4 a gallon and sales of pickup trucks and SUVS tanked. There was suddenly renewed interest in smaller vehicles.


Surprised? Did we not see this coming? Have we just been procrastinating? Ford’s EcoBoost™ is a nice short-term approach and there’s certainly a lot of talk about alternative energy vehicles on the horizon by all the major automakers, but when will we see natural gas, diesel, electric vehicles and hybrids become mainstream?


I don’t blame supply and demand. We’ve just been putting off the inevitable, relying on the big guys to carry us through. Procrastination.


— Rich Donley