Back around 1989 I became a Lotus enthusiast. Yellow even became my favorite color. While I never got to the point where I would dress up in a yellow suit, I would describe myself as somebody who would bleed yellow. With my Lotus I could do almost anything. I could proudly proclaim Lotus Knows how to get me safely to and from work. Lotus Knows how to get me to class on time. Lotus Knows how to get me home safely from the pub of an evening. Lotus Knows how to find a parking space within walking distance of every Melbourne suburban AFL ground. Gosh at that time, Lotus even Knows where to find the best looking eligible females. But now its 2017 and I’m starting to question why I still have that old Lotus. My mechanic is now working for SalesForce. The annual Lotus rally held in Orlando was attracting much smaller crowds as Lotus enthusiasts moved on to other things. There was even talk of next year’s event being held in Las Vegas. The 8-track drive can’t compete with the music capabilities of an iPhone connected via a USB drive. The leather seats are badly torn and in need of replacement. My Lotus is starting to cost more and more to maintain and spare parts are getting harder and harder to find after they moved from releases to feature packs. Worst of all, when I play golf, the other CEOs are laughing that I still have a Lotus.
I decided enough was enough and it was time to replace my Lotus. It took me a while as the lotus.com web site seemed to be owned by some obscure software product I vaguely recall using around the same time I purchased my Lotus. But eventually I tracked down my old Lotus salesman, a guy by the name of Jason Gary. He was now working for the new management team and he said he could help me out with the latest and greatest Lotus. Apparently he had been involved in designing this himself. I couldn’t believe what he was showing me… Lotus Pink!
This simply wasn’t for me. I decided it was time for me to move on from Lotus. So I took a drive around town to find a replacement. Each place I went to I was asked what I wanted. I said “I didn’t care, as long as it wasn’t Lotus”. To my surprise what I was offered differed significantly depending on who I asked and what I asked for. When I approached Microsoft it came as no surprise they offered me a shinny new Microsoft car. It was great for a professional driver but didn’t seem appropriate for a CEO who only got to drive on weekends. A similar thing at the Google suite where they had a high-tech offering but seemed to be lacking the type of support I needed. When I decided to think a little more about what I thought was important in replacing my Lotus the results were even more confusing. I would describe my current yellow Lotus and how much passion I once had for it. One salesman told me how little it would cost and how easy it would be for me to migrate to a Yellow 1989 Volkswagen Beetle. They would even transfer the contents of my trunk and gas tank for free! I later found out from a friend that the 8-track deck wasn’t supported in the beetle and it would cost me a lot extra to convert all the tapes. When I pushed to get the lowest price, I got a car or sorts but hardly one that was going to meet my current needs, let alone my future needs. When I sought the best performing replacement I found a Lamborghini that looked totally cool but unfortunately well outside my budget and not very practical for a family man. When I asked for something totally modern I was offered a car that was not only electric but ready for the new era of self-driving cars. And those falcon wings sure would turn heads at the golf club. It was going to cost a little more but it was much cheaper to operate and would position me well for the next 25 years.
There was a lot to chose from and everyone was offering a way for me to trade in my old Lotus on a replacement. Some were offering a migration while others were offering to modernize my driving experience. Some still ran on gas, others had hybrid or electric offerings. There was so many to chose from the decision seemed beyond me. Perhaps I should keep my Lotus a little longer and see if one eventually dominated the market to make my decision easier. Or should I?
In Lessons Learned Replacing Lotus: Part 3, I will explore a similar dilemma. Not with Lotus the car, but Lotus the software.
But before we get there I would like to extend this analogy a little further in Lessons Learned Replacing Lotus: Part 2
Note: All characters, products, and events portrayed in this article are totally fictitious. Any resemblance to any product living, dead, or somewhere in between is totally coincidental.