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Web2 Conversations: Shai Agassi

By - October 30, 2008


Continuing my crowdsourcing of Web2 conversations (and this is nearly the last one), on the third day, and just a few hours after Elon Musk, I’ll be talking to Shai Agassi, founder and CEO of Better Place, and former President at SAP. Agassi is yet another example of a tech executive who left the IT industry to boil a new ocean, in this case, the automobile industry. Wired recently put Shai on the cover, his plan to “sell cars like cel phones” is audacious, and some say impossible.

Remember that I’m running a contest for best comments: I’ve decided to take three of my personal complementary passes to Web 2 – yes, even the Program Chair only gets so many – and give them to those who comment on my site about these Web 2 conversations. My decisions are entirely subjective, but I plan to pick the three best questions, and reward them with a fress pass – a street value of nearly $4000 each. Yes, commentators from the past six posts are already eligible:

Mark Zuckerberg

Jerry Yang

Larry Brilliant

Paul Otellini

Lance Armstrong

Elon Musk

So what would you ask Shai?

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4 thoughts on “Web2 Conversations: Shai Agassi

  1. paul says:

    I watched your videos and I hear you discuss a business concept as if it were operational, when are we going to hear from your customers?

  2. James Navin says:

    Question 1: Obviously the model’s success requires that all parties involved receive sufficient return on investment. Can you project some of the economic specifics for each market participant? e.g. What will the electric cars cost? What about the batteries? How much will it cost to subscribe to the battery exchange network? How will the battery exchange station operators get paid? etc.

    Question 2: How will you work with (or displace) the corner gasoline stations that are franchises of big oil (Shell, Chevron, etc.)?

    Question 3: What unexpected lessons have you learned with the (pilot?) project in Australia so far?

  3. If Better Place works, how will society and life be changed beyond the fact that we don’t pay for gas and have (perhaps) less significant geopolitical risk?

    If Better Place fails, what would be the most likely reasons for it to fail? And what are you doing about those reason?

  4. Josef Heiss says:

    Wouldn’t it be much more efficient if we could get people to share rides instead of selling them electric cars? Thus we would not only reduce energy consumption per person on the road but we could also save space and buidling cost for roads, parking lots, have less accidents, and much more. Maybe with Web 2.0 we could provide communities to support car / ride sharing and help to make an old idea more successful?