Mary Barra, the new CEO of General Motors, is the first female CEO of a major automobile company in history. This is news – big news!
But here is a slice of an interview with her from Popular Mechanics, Interview: New GM CEO Mary Barra that is telling about her understanding of the way the world has changed.
Popular Mechanics, Question:
People are used to updating their digital technology every couple of years, but cars last a decade or more. How do you keep up?
Think about it. Yesterday I was downloading [the new iOS update] and it said, “For new features and bug fixes.” And we all look at it and go, “Oh, good. Let me press the button and get the new thing.” How do we make sure that what we’re delivering to you is not going to require eight product fixes and then, especially in the infotainment space, how do we develop coverage over a three- or four-year period? Think about how fast technology moves in that space.
[Imagine if], instead of driving out of the dealership and your car losing value, your car just keeps getting better because we keep providing [updates] as technology advances, as you get a phone that’s got more capability. But how do we stay with it and provide more technology in the vehicle so that it matches that phone that didn’t even exist when the car was first developed?
So, Ms. Barra is thinking about updating the technology in a car just like we now update the technology in our devices.
Great insight. Forward thinking insight. And… it’s about time insight!
So, let’s reflect on this new normal. This is the word we now live in:
We now buy something.
When it is given to us, it is already “buggy.”
But, we accept the “bugs,” because we want the capabilities in spite of the bugs.
Then, we expect the “bugs” to be worked on, and fixed, pretty quickly.
But, we know that even with the fix, new bugs will be found, and they will need to be worked on, and fixed.
And, before all the bugs are fixed, we will have another rollout of the next bigger update.
And the “find bugs, work on bugs, fix bugs, roll out new features” cycle continues.
How long will this process continue? Until the end of the world! We really have “taught” ourselves to expect this cycle – “find bugs, fix bugs” — to be the expected norm. We’ve made peace with it. Oh, we curse the bugs; we curse the mistakes, but — do we really want to go back to the first version of IOS, with never an update? Nope!
Good for Ms. Harra to think about this in her cars. I’ve got a hunch that we all have to learn to think this way in whatever arena we work in.
What “bugs’ do you need to identify? Then work on, then fix?
And, what features would your customers be delighted with, that you need to rollout — even if you rollout the features with a few bugs that will then need to be fixed?
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