James Bond vs. Le Chiffre in “Casino Royale”

Going all-in and not just half way

When I was first thinking of buying an electric car, I thought I wanted a hybrid electric-gas car and so I gravitated to the Fisker Karma.

Fisker Karma

It was a beautiful car, designed by Henrik Fisker who had also designed the Z8 and Aston Martin DB9. The hybrid car assuaged my range anxiety and allowed me to buy into the future in what I thought would be a “safe” way.

BMW Z8 (appeared in James Bond film “The World Is Not Enough”)
Aston Martin DB9

Well, Fisker didn’t turn out so well as a company. It went bankurpt after taking almost a billion dollars in investment money. There was a great Gigaom article on how it met it’s demise. Thankfully I did not buy a Fisker Karma, though I did put a deposit on one, but ended up buying a Tesla Model S.

The Tesla Model S is everything it’s cracked up to be. It deserves the off-the-chart score from Consumer Reports and it’s a paradoxical blend of a super sports car and a family mini-van (it seats 5 adults and 2 kids in the back jump-seat with a front truck to spare!). But what I didn’t truly comprehend, until I had first hand experience with the Model S, is what Elon Musk said about going all electric. If you just go half-way, you don’t fully get the benefit of going electric and you still have all the burdens and problems of an internal combustion engine. If you fully commit, there is no range anxiety since you don’t need the space for the gas engine and you can use it for more battery. You get a spacious amount of cubic feet in the car (no big lump in the middle for the transmission since the motors are attached directly to the wheels) and luggage space both in back and in front. And so on and so on.

As I thought about it some more, the concept of fully committing to an idea and not just going half way applies to other areas too, both big and small. Simple things like what you wear, if you decide you want an new look (I’m trying to wear more collared shirts in the new year) it won’t work if you only do it every once in a while, if you fully commit to a new style, it’s more likely going to look good and more likely you will stick with it. It applies to big controversial things like vaccination or universal health care. Neither of those concepts work if only half the population commits to it. But recently I found this to be true with some work-related stuff, where if you have a great new design concept for a product, you can’t just implement half of the idea because all of these little things will start to break and the product will no longer function properly. You need to go all in or go back to traditional design concepts that are known to work.

So basically the moral of the story is to go big or go home. It’s a cliche term but for ideas that fundamentally change the way something works, you really need to fully commit otherwise it is unlikely to work.