Citisun: Shining light on our faith, politics & culture

Detroit Just Got Crushed By Elon Musk

Elon Must Schools Detroit on how to sell cars

Sometimes, you need an innovator to show you what you didn't know you were missing.

Innovation and disruption of the big auto's outdated ways has been the Tesla trajectory since Elon Musk founded the company back in 2003. Yes, it's been almost 15 years, can you believe it? Last week, Elon Musk showed why he's the most feared car salesman on earth. On Thursday, Elon Musk conducted what will go down in history as the largest crowdfunding campaign ever, with servers at full capacity, taking in $1,000 at a time, with total sales commitments in excess of $12 Billion (and the tally board is still clicking).

Hey General Motors, the 1970s Called. They Want Their Business Model Back.

Tesla's new Model 3 car designs themselves are evolutionary, distancing Tesla from their competitors with sexy body styling, a glass roof (seriously cool), speed (0-60 in under six seconds!), a 200+ mile battery life, and a host of other fresh new features. But the gamechanger that put real distance between Tesla and the rest of the pack was Tesla's fully functional distribution channel.

Musk schooled us all on how to do direct-to-consumer sales of high-ticket items. In about twenty minutes, with a high-impact presentation and unveiling, Elon successfully positioned Tesla as important new and sustainable consumer technology (think Apple, Oculus Rift, Facebook, etc.), while simultaneously branding his competitors as relics.

Forget the feature and benefits chart, just by comparing distribution methods, Tesla's presentation of a car "for the rest of us" leads us to quickly conclude that the rest of the car manufacturers are still stuck in a decade that at best was pre-internet, but more likely, pre-color TV (1950s or 60s?). Whatever decade they're stuck in, we all finally GET IT now, and can share in Musk's vision. And that's not so good for Michigan, Germany, Korea or Japan. The sales distribution method itself ages the alternative brands, making them into "grandpa's oldsmobile," before they've even rolled off the truck.

Detroit's C-level folks must've shit a brick when Tesla's tally board went live, displaying in real-time how many pre-orders Tesla sold. The retail folks at the local Ford, GM and Chrysler dealers must be on the horn to Detroit today, asking what the executives have in mind to get people into the dealerships this fall, knowing over hundreds of thousands of willing and able buyers (and their families) won't be coming in for a test-drive this year, nor any time soon. Harsh news, given car sales are just beginning to rebound since the housing crisis of 2008.

If the past four days are any indication of how the next year's going to go, America's smokestack automakers could be in peril soon, and the next Presidential administration may not be as generous with a bail-out this time around. The American consumers have grown to love Tesla for the past decade, and now that the Tesla's pricepoint is competitive, after a year of whetting consumers' appetities with the Roadster models, they can't wait to get one for themselves.

Taking a page out of Steve Jobs' playbook, Elon Musk introduced the world to the new Model 3 Tesla. He did so from the stage of his SpaceEx headquarters in Los Angeles, California. Lee Iococca would have been proud of his performance last Thursday; not only for its perfectly choreographed pitch and staging, but its perfectly delightful results. In less than 15 minutes, Elon Musk closed more car sales in one day than all the "traditional" car dealers in the USA make in a fiscal quarter.

It's only been three days, and as of midnight last night, over 300,000 Tesla Model 3 units are pre-sold. Sales of Tesla Model 3 will likely exceed $20 Billion in less than a month's time. With that said, do you think the CEO of GM will be making an announcement soon, pre-selling the Chevy Volt?  Gosh, it sucks to be second, because Elon Musk locked and loaded a whole new generation of car buyers, and the likelihood of GM, Ford and Chrysler exec's holding their own successful crowdfunding effort is pretty slim. The likely strategy by Detroit's "big three" is all-out warfare with Tesla, in the hopes Musk misses his anticipated delivery date of "late 2017."

Here's the video from the livecast event last Thursday.

 

Houston: You're Next.

It was pretty clear in 2003 that Elon Musk was going to do his level best at re-defining the automobile itself, after he walked away with hundreds of millions in proceeds from the sale of his previous businesses (including PayPal). That said, well over ten years later, what most of us didn't realize then was, he'd not only re-define the automobile, but the entire manufacturing, distribution, marketing and sales process. 

What we haven't seen yet is what effect Tesla's success (and other electric car sales) will have on fuel sales. In other words, we've only gotten a glimpse of what the business model behind the cars is all about: energy. When 500,000+ vehicles hit the road next year, where will they turn for re-fueling? It won't be at the local gas station. It'll be in their own garage, re-charging their Tesla batteries. The ripple effect a million-plus new electric cars on the road will have will be enormous, and very interesting to witness, don't you think?

Your comments welcome!

 

Posted in Culture

Settlers of Catan: Two Thumbs Up!

Settlers of Catan Board Game

I love games, but I'm one of those stick-in-the-muds that has to warm up to playing. Earlier this week, my daughter and son-in-law warmed me up to a game I had never heard of, called "Settlers of Catan." Apparently, I've been missing out, because this board game is beyond trending. Well, now, I'm hooked. We played till midnight last night (a work night!), and while I lost for the fourth time, and I'm not a very kind loser, I'm starting to get the hang of it. 

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Divine Mercy

Divine Mercy

It's Good Friday, and today my wife and I prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3:00 PM.  It's the first time I've prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet, so I thought I'd take some time to post an article on it, for some background, along with a reprint of the prayer itself to share with you. The background information on this comes from EWTN and The Divine Mercy website.

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Saint Michael The Archangel

Saint Michael The Archangel

Devotion to Michael the Archangel is one of the oldest devotions of the Church; indeed, his roles in God's divine plan date back before the Incarnation. It was St. Michael who led God's army against Lucifer and the other rebellious fallen angels, St. Michael who guards the Catholic Church and her pope, and St. Michael who, at God's commands will reprise his role against the Antichrist in the End Times.

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Vatican: Pope’s Words Not a Personal Attack on Trump

Pope Francis in Rome

By Cruxnow – ROME: Reacting to widespread media coverage of a perceived war of words on Thursday between Pope Francis and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, a Vatican spokesman on Friday insisted the pope’s comments — that someone who would build a border wall is not Christian — were not a personal attack.

“The pope said what we all know when we follow his teaching and his positions: that we should not build walls, but bridges,” the Rev. Federico Lombardi said to Vatican Radio. “It is not a specific issue, limited to this case,” he said.

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In the Arms of My Father

In the arms of my father

I don't know much, but I do know that every time I walk into a Catholic Church – anywhere in the world, any time of day or night – it feels like home, like walking into my father's arms. 

My earthly father has been gone over 12 years now, and I miss him every day! When I walk into church, my Heavenly Father welcomes me with the same warm, accepting, pure love that I felt every time my dad hugged me!

Yes, I encounter God  wherever I go.

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Trump Takes South Carolina

Donald Trump leads GOP in South Carolina primary 2016

Trump Wins South Carolina Primary, Followed By Rubio & Cruz. Bush Bows Out.

Donald Trump took the winner's spot in South Carolina's GOP primary, after a rocky week on the campaign trail.  He continued to touch the nerves of voters in South Carolina, with blistering rhetoric about combating terrorism, ending illegal immigration, and a less than presidential retort to Pope Francis. 

Despite the tumultuous week, Donald Trump prevailed, with a commanding lead of the pack in the State GOP primary, with Rubio and Cruz virtually tied for second place. 

Posted in Politics

Did Pope Francis Really Imply Donald Trump Is Not Christian? Unlikely.

CNN headline

I read this CNN headline, and it perplexed me. So, I looked up the actual interview between the Pope and reporters. Here is the quote, from Pope Francis on February 18th, 2016:

"A person who thinks only about building walls,
wherever they may be, and not building bridges,
is not Christian. This is not in the Gospel.”  

It sounds to me like there may be a serious misunderstanding between Pope Francis and Donald Trump. Rather than speaking directly to the Pope or his communication staff, Donald has lashed out against the Pope, calling him a "pawn of the Mexican government," among other things. And at minimum, Pope Francis has not been clear about his concerns about the man who may soon be the next President of the United States.

To head this off at the pass, perhaps one or both of them should refrain from speaking about one another via news outlets, and speak directly, face to face?

What do you think? Does the quote fit the CNN headline? Is CNN out of line, or is the Pope really suggesting Donald Trump is not a Christian?

Posted in Politics

OOPS! Did Texas Judge Guevara Just Fuel Scalia Death Conspiracy Theorists' Fire?

Judge Gives Lesson On How NOT To Handle Conspiracy Theorists

Infowars correspondent David Knight goes to the source of the possible scuttlebutt that's now smoldering in West Texas, and asks Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara for an explaination of how she handled the procedure in the recent death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Judge Guevara is the judge who declared the cause of death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to be "natural causes," via telephone on Saturday, February 13th – without having seen the body, and without a post mortem medical examination.

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Should Obama Appoint a New Supreme Court Justice To Replace Scalia? Rubio's View

In this interview by George Stephanopolis on ABC This Week, Senator Marco Rubio shares his view on whether or not President Obama should appoint a new candidate for Supreme Court Justice, to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who passed away last week at the age of 79. He also comments on the intense debate now brewing between he and Senator Ted Cruz.

Posted in Politics

Trey Gowdy Endorses Marco Rubio For 2016 GOP Primary

After Senator Cruz's apparent attempt to misrepresent the truth about Trey Gowdy's support for the upcoming GOP Primary election, the Rubio campaign released this ad, leading up to the South Carolina Primary and Super Tuesday votes, coming up soon.

Do you think this ad for Rubio will be enough to counter the misinformation / disinformation circulated by Cruz supporters, that Gowdy "switched his support to Cruz?"

Posted in Politics

What Pope Francis told a stunningly large crowd of Mexican youth

Pope Francis in Mexico

Pope Francis is cheered by youths as he arrives to the stadium in Morelia, Mexico, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016. Francis arrived in the heart of Mexico's drug-trafficking country to offer words of encouragement to clergy trying to minister to a people tormented by the violence and gang warfare of the drug trade. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)


EWTN (see original article here): In his visit to Morelia – one of Mexico's most violent cities – Pope Francis had a strong message for the country's youth: rather than allowing themselves to be used and trampled on, he told them to recognize their value and to place their hope in Jesus.

One of Mexico's greatest treasures “is that it has a youthful face: its young people...you are the wealth of this land,” the Pope told them Feb. 16.

However, “I did not say the hope of this land, but its wealth,” he added.  This, he said, is because “you cannot live in hope, or look to the future if you do not first know how to value yourselves, if you do not feel that your life, your hands, your history, is worth the effort.”

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The Promise of Hope

The Promise of Hope

 

When a friend makes you a promise, be trustful.
When a stranger makes you a promise, be concerned.
When a politician makes you a promise, be guarded.
When a politician promises you hope,
be alarmed.

Posted in Politics

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Dead at 79

Supreme Courty Justice Antonin Scalia
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Pronounced Dead of Natural Causes at 79

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died Saturday, February 13th. A devoted Christian Catholic, last rights were administered to Justice Scalia by a Catholic Priest, and his family is making funeral arrangements.

Justice Scalia died while on vacation in his sleep either Friday night or Saturday morning, at the Cibolo Creek Ranch, a luxury hunting resort compound, owned by Houston businessman John Poindexter (no, not that John Poindexter). The 30,000 acre 5-star resort is less than an hour from the Mexican border, approximately 40 miles south of Marfa, Texas.

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Evangelize Your Faith, Not Your Hipster Brand

Guy Kawasaki: Chief Evangelist

I bump into tech folks often these days who have the word "Evangelist" in their title, or even "Chief Evangelist." Yeah, I get it. "Evangelize" had that cool factor, ever since Guy Kawasaki coined it over two decades ago to promote the Apple brand. Since leaving Apple, among other endeavors (Google, etc.), he's now the Chief Evangelist for Canva, a design software firm – same hat, different cattle. 

Guy was, and is one of the modern technology sector's greatest minds. He coined, and defined Evangelization Marketing for technology, brilliantly borrowing a word from the Christian faith at a time when Christians weren't all that excited about spreading the good word. In a world chock-full of young turks all too eager to spend Sunday mornings hacking vs. praying, evangelizing tech became an instant hit with Gen-Xers from Silicon Valley to Boston Harbor. But that was then. This is now.

OK Guy, you had your turn. Can we have our word back now?

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ACLU Files Suit to Force Catholic Hospitals To Commit Abortion

Mother Mary: Please pray for us

ACLU Files Second Lawsuit Attempting to Force Catholic Healthcare System to Perform Abortion

On October 1st, 2015, the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed an amended lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Detroit against the Livonia, Michigan-based Trinity Health Corporation, a Catholic health care system, operating 86 hospitals in 21 states. 

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