This past week, as I finished up the final touches before taking this site live, I kept struggling with the tone of this first open post. One part of me was writing from a negative This-Is-It point of view, while the other half insisted on looking into the future. Unable to choose, here is my attempt to keep it straight:
- first the bad news: itMoves, at least the itMoves I have been taking on the road for the past twelve months, is officially dead. I gave myself one year to get to a certain development point, an undefined point, with or without funding from which I could justify to continue. One year has gone by and I can not say I arrived to that point. As you can imagine there are many explanations/excuses, but at the end of the day, an entrepreneur is someone who makes something out of nothing, and although I did managed to produce quite a lot of work, that something was not enough to get funding or a strongly commited team. Time to move on.
- on the other hand, the fundamental reason why I decided to start itMoves has not changed: I still believe there is a profound mismatch between how cars are developed, produced and ultimately consumed and the rational approach to mobility (specially in cities) that we would take today if we were starting a transportation grid from scratch. This mismatch, born out of one hundred years of almost free and unlimited resources, places an increasingly unsustainable burden not only on the environment but in many families and individuals who would prefer to spend their money elsewhere.
When there is a mismatch, there is inefficiency in the system, and when there is inefficiency there is a business opportunity for entrepreneurs to take advantage off. Unlike other areas of the economy though, the auto industry is a very harsh environment for the entrepreneur, with very powerful incumbents, an almost unlimited need for capital, and yes, that Coppola movie to fight against. But fundamental laws like supply-and-demand (increasingly tested by China's raise) always win the race in the long run. Opportunities to improve the system (and to do the right thing for our kids' future) are not going away.We (itMoves), in our own modest way, failed this time, but failure does not invalidate the original assumptions. Maybe the timing, the aim or the pilot were wrong, but the target was (and still is) correct.
(PS. The image above is the ultra sophisticated itMoves' countdown clock, the official reminder at the entrance of my home office of how many days I had left before turning into a pumpkin. It is two days off...)