Money where your mouth is
Ever since we found that the statistics used to justify building toll roads and tunnels were so far out of whack with reality, you’d think that all researchers who conduct these studies should have learned from these findings so as not to repeat them. Actual traffic flows that turn out to be a fraction of the projected outcome is dreadful. As is so often the case, there is a BIG difference between saying you want something and actually putting your money where your mouth is and being happy to pay for it.
It all comes down to the wording of the question and if you want it to “support” a particular outcome or give you the real answer. Normally Roy Morgan’s research is well respected, and personally I believe their unemployment statistics for instance are a much better gauge than the Australian Bureau of Statistics ones. However, when they make the bold statement that a majority of vehicle owners (55.7%) would consider an electric based vehicle (Hybrid or fully electric), and 36.2% would consider fully electric vehicles (EV), I think they’ve been smoking too much CO2… By comparison, their research shows “only” 45.5% would buy diesel vehicles.
Why I call Bull Shit is this: Electric cars have actually been around for over 100 years, so it’s nothing new. There has been heaps of media coverage over the past decade, and all manner of Government subsidies are offered to the sector (the price of petrol and diesel for instance consists of roughly 2/3’s taxes, and registration fees are lower for EV’s). Despite all this, there were only 2,424 EV’s sold in 2017, which is 0.2% of all vehicles sold. Of those, a measly 203 were bought by Private buyers (0.018%), and 467 by businesses. The number of privately purchased EV’s were up by 3 (yes, three) on the prior year. The bulk of EV’s sold were to Government departments (72% of all EV’s). Back to putting your money where your mouth is: there were more fuel guzzling Toyota Landcruiser’s sold in the one month of June than all the EV’s sold in a year (2,558 for June, and increase of 388 or 17.9% on June the prior year).
EV supporters regularly request more Government spending on the sector through subsidies and infrastructure investment. With the Qld Government having spent over $3 million on 17 EV charging stations and users not having to pay for recharges, these stations were still only used 1,240 times in the year. With over 1,000 EV’s registered in Qld, that means they were used just over once per vehicle in a year. One would suspect that it’s probably the same people using them multiple times, hence the statistics are even worse in reality. A newly constructed Hospital has more EV charging parks (usually empty) than they do Handicapped parking bays (usually full). And somehow tax payers are supposed to be supportive of spending a further $2.5 million on even more stations. Enough already, the market has already decided…
Smart people can explain complex issues in simple terms
The recently deceased Stephen Hawking may very possibly be the smartest person yet to live (Albert Einstein is of course also high on the list). The thing that businesses can learn most from Hawking’s is perhaps not from his scientific brilliance, but rather from the importance of clear and concise communication.
What set Hawkins and Einstein apart was that both of them could explain very complex issues in simple terms that the average person could understand. Below are some of my favourite Hawking’s quotes. But the point I want to get to is that most people respond better to clear and simple communication, than overly complicating things, particularly documentation. Here are two recent examples that have been brought to my attention:
EH&S – Cover your Arse, or keep people safe? One has to question what the main objective of safety is: is it measured by the volume of paperwork, or the outcomes? Two large and well respected Australian companies both had an incident recently. One incident report was 70 pages long over an item that fell causing comparatively minor damage. The other was 2 pages long related to a relatively serious injury and had 3 practical recommendations. One report was read and actioned in full immediately. Which approach do you think was most effective in terms of outcome and engagement?
Contractual documentation – What is the purpose of a contract? To agree on a measurable outcome (Party A will provide a product/service in return for party B making an agreed payment)? Or is it to be a weapon that lives in a filing cabinet only to be brought out when relations between 2 parties are beyond repair – with the main objective to keep the legal profession on the money merry-go-round? After having a mutually beneficial business relationship spanning many years without problems, a business engaged a legal team to review all their supplier T&C’s. For one supplier, the previously signed off and agreed 1 page standard document now needed to have an addendum explaining each clause to avoid “confusion”. Negotiations on the first point of order (11 words) became 7 pages of back and forth “clarifications”. Seeing where this was heading, the supplier decided to simplify the negotiations by reverting to the most simple form of contractual arrangement: payment on purchase. Complex problem, easily solved.
As always, onwards and upwards!
Stephen Hawking’s brilliance on display:
“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change. I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road”.
“Science is beautiful when it makes simple explanations of phenomena or connections between different observations”.
“I believe alien life is quite common in the universe, although intelligent life is less so. Some say it has yet to appear on planet earth”