What do SpaceX and Ai Have in Common?

What do SpaceX and Ai Have in Common?

Written by – Hoss Devine
Kansas City, MO – September 22, 2021

Last week, as I watched the live coverage of the Inspiration4 launch and landing, I thought about the similarities between SpaceX and Automotive Innovations. Elon Musk’s thought process of building rockets and what he was trying to do with SpaceX was described in “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future.” Obviously, he wouldn’t be the first to build rockets but he could still impact the world by building rockets in a different way. He had in his head that he could build a more cost-efficient rocket and make manned flight and private satellite launches affordable. When he was looking into what it would cost to build a rocket, he realized that the majority of the current rocket manufacturers were heavily dependent upon foreign companies for parts. If building a rocket was expensive then, in turn, the cost of a client using the rocket was going to be a very expensive venture. He thought that he could make it less expensive by building and manufacturing the majority of the parts himself and not be reliant on other companies. He felt relying on foreign companies to build rockets was a recipe for disaster because if something happened politically or with that company, then what would happen to the parts supply?

We’re seeing this with the chip shortage now. One of the major chip suppliers in Japan had a fire. Texas had problems with the winter storms. Taiwan is having a drought (lots of water is required for chip manufacturing). Coupled with worker shortages and shipping bottlenecks, carmakers are shutting down production because they don’t have the chips they need.

When it came to the inspiration for building Ai, I had a similar thought process. My goal was to build a platform from the ground up from scratch that wasn’t dependent on other companies and technologies. I wanted to be in control of our tech and our customer experience, and not have to worry about what if that company goes out of business, or their servers go down, or whatever.

But control means so much more than just owning the tech. In my 20+ years of experience, I watched as technology companies were buying up other companies and technologies and trying to get them to talk to each other. It really has never worked very well – just a horrible customer experience! On top of all that, the majority of today’s automotive software was designed by tech guys. They may tell you that car guys built it, but as soon as you begin to use the software you can tell whoever designed it never worked in a car dealership. What happens is someone with a little car experience says, “I have an idea for some software,” then they hire people to build their idea. But they let the tech people make the majority of the calls in both functionality and look and feel. So, in reality, a car guy had an idea, shared it, and then let the ponies run and gave them the creative freedom to build it however they wanted.

With Ai, my approach was different and unconventional for the industry. I literally designed every screen you see. I spent months designing hundreds of pages and then gave them to developers to build. When they said, “Do you know how hard it is to build what you designed?” my response was “No and I don’t care how hard it is. This is what I want.” Some of them would continue to try and convince me to change my design to something easier and my response to them was, “You’re the wrong guy to build this.” I learned a long time ago that to control my destiny, I must persist without exception! If you want to accomplish anything in life you can’t let the opinion of others or any other roadblock stop you from what you want. I tell my team all the time, “To truly innovate in any industry, you must be willing to do what no one else is willing to do; think outside the box, work tirelessly and never let the words ‘it can’t be done’ become your reality.”

If you look at the people in our country, or world for that matter, the ones who have truly provided innovative change to any industry have been told many times, “It can’t be done!” But thank God they were undeterred in their vision. If they had stopped, we wouldn’t have a lot of things we’re so reliant on today. Ask yourself, “What are you trying to accomplish that others have told you can’t be done?” I would encourage you not to be deterred and push through the negativity and doubt of others, embrace the suck, control your destiny, and fight claw and scratch your way to success.

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Tony Gomez Hired as Chief Operating Officer

Tony Gomez Hired as Chief Operating Officer

Kansas City, MO – August 30, 2021

Gomez brings over thirty years of experience in automotive retailing and technology solutions, serving most recently as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) & Partner of ZipDeal, a customer-driven, digital vehicle delivery system that unifies and monetizes the key touchpoints between the end of vehicle negotiations and entering the F&I office.

Gomez also served as COO of CallRevu, one of the industry’s premier call management solutions serving thousands of auto dealers across the country.  During his tenure, his team grew the company over 200 percent before being acquired by Serent Capital, a private equity firm home-based in San Francisco, CA. Previously, he served as Platform President of a large Midwest dealer group with 10 rooftops and 15 franchises supporting over 350 team members. Prior to that, he was the Managing Partner & General Manager of Capital Honda in Okemos, MI, from 2004 to 2011. 

“Tony has unparalleled experience in all aspects of automotive retailing and is known for developing high performance teams and creating, implementing, and scaling business models to drive bottom-line results,” said Hoss Devine, CEO and Founder of Ai. “He’s also a car guy who’s been in the trenches and knows the ins and outs of managing a dealership. This understanding is invaluable as we bring our solution to market to help dealers gain immediate visibility into their businesses with actionable data that enables real-time, impactful decisions.”

Ai consolidates six core dealer products into one 360-degree operating solution for the most comprehensive and accurate suite of analytics and operational tools on the market. The solution was founded on simplicity, one login, and one low price, to positively impact business in the moment – not in retrospect. The spectrum of Ai’s automotive solutions are designed to increase sales and gross profits in the showroom, F&I office, and on the service drive, at a fraction of the price of acquiring these solutions independently.

Commenting on his new role at Ai, Gomez stated, “I’m excited to work with Hoss and our whole team of industry veterans to bring our solution to dealers across the country. Ai was developed for car guys by car guys and that’s reflected in how easy it is to use and how it delivers real-time data so dealers can make decisions when it still counts, not after the fact. Today, too many dealers have to stitch together data from multiple technology providers to create their own spreadsheets to manage their businesses. That’s a poor use of management’s time and more often than not, it’s managing by results, which is an ineffective business model. With Ai, they get immediate data, for immediate decisions, while opportunities are still viable.”

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Automotive Innovations Launch Release

Automotive Innovations Launch Release

Kansas City, MO – August 16, 2021

The most comprehensive and accurate suite of analytics tools to date was founded on simplicity, one login, and one low price, to positively impact business in the moment.

Automotive Innovations(Ai), an all-in-one solution that allows dealers to replace multiple tools, increase profits, and get real-time visibility into their business, launched today. The 360-degree operating solution offers one platform with an entire spectrum of automotive services to increase sales and gross profits in the showroom, F&I office, and service drive, all at a fraction of the price of acquiring these solutions independently.

Industry veteran Hoss Devine began creating Ai in 2016 after identifying the need to consolidate all of a dealer’s supporting technology under one platform. After a successful pilot, Ai is now in broad release for all dealers to deliver meaningful real-time, actionable data to executive-level and front-line management. It offers a format dealers can digest and act on to positively impact business in the moment – not in retrospect. The platform is unique because it provides six products in one.

“Dealerships have a lot of technology solutions but for us car guys it goes back to wanting easy-to-use products that offer immediate visibility into our business so we’re not managing by looking in the rearview mirror,” said Devine. “Ai pulls information from the dealer’s core systems and feeds that data into performance to easily identify and act on the critical KPIs that are most important and impactful to their bottom-line.” Devine went on to say, “There’s no reason dealers should have to download data from multiple technology providers and consolidate it into spreadsheets they have to build just to be able to look at data in a way that’s meaningful to them. Our solution removes that time-consuming task and frees dealers and their teams to manage their business with the real-time intelligence they need.”

Ai’s easy-to-use and intuitive software allows dealership management to know in the moment exactly what’s happening with fixed and variable operations, used car reconditioning, F&I, sales, and scheduling. Managers can stop managing by results and instead use real-time data and manage desired outcomes in the moment while opportunities are still viable.

Ai solutions apply to real-world dealership scenarios, are native to one platform, and require only one login. Consolidation also provides a less expensive solution for better ROI. The platform currently includes six products with more under development:

  • OpsVision – The flagship business analytics software combines data from a dealer’s current systems with artificial intelligence to populate interactive and drillable dashboards for variable and fixed ops to deliver actionable data and pinpoint possible trouble spots – complete with mobile alerts.

  • Recon Central – Recon software organizes, consolidates, and connects the process to management to provide a real-time snapshot of vehicles, estimated KPIs, and inefficiencies in the process, all accessible by desktop, tablet, and mobile device.

  • SmartChoice – The interactive, intelligent, and innovative digital F&I menu is driven solely by a customer’s personal ownership and driving habits, with dealer pricing control, live menu reconfiguration, and e-contracting.

  • DayTracker – Brings organization to chaos with a shared scheduling solution that allows salespeople, service advisors, and management to create appointments without conflict and feature them on display monitors in the showroom and service drive.

  • SmartDesk – The only seamless custom desktop integration that is compatible with virtually all DMS providers, affordable, and requires no monthly maintenance fee.

  • Ai University – The learning management system for onboarding staff, custom trainings, meetings in a box, and the ability to track staff course completion and score to stay on top of additional training needs.

“We know car guys because we are car guys,” said Devine. “Ai is the direct product of what we wanted to manage a dealership. It makes data analysis a snap, delivers quality reporting, is easy-to-use, and costs as much as 50 percent less than the solutions it replaces. It takes car guys to deliver what car guys need.”