I have a 400 mile commute to work. That isn’t a reason to work at XOS, it is a statement of what XOS means to me that I am willing to tolerate such a commute. I live in Silicon Valley. I work in Los Angeles. I have a family.
Build the future I want to live in. Build the future I want for my kids, family, society, and civilization. That building is a conversation open to everyone — you just need to stand up and consciously participate. For me, that participation looks like putting disruptive new products into the market. If the best economic choice is also the greenest and most sustainable choice, at least some folks will make that choice.
People do not like paying extra for “green,” though many are willing, enormous portions of the world’s population simply lack the freedom to make the choice to pay more for sustainability. If sustainability comes along with the best economic choice, more people choose the sustainable option.
Easy? No. It is all about the Market. That is why I work in Los Angeles. That is why I work at XOS.
Technology is a fungible commodity. Understanding the market you are serving, not just the quants but the people, the issues, the concerns, the needs, the things that keep your customers up at night and the things that make them celebrate, that is key to reaching that market. That is the key to success.
The founders of XOS, Gio and Dakota, are not technology gurus. They are trucking fleet operators. The entire company came into existence simply from the statement “there has to be a better way!” They knew how much time and money it was taking to keep their diesel trucks on the road in California. They knew the pain of having to own 7 trucks to keep 6 trucks on the road. With ever tightening emissions standards, maintenance costs were rising fast and uptime on their increasingly complex trucks was falling.
The initial customers of XOS are trucking fleet operators. I have never seen them walk into a customer interaction and fail to immediately identify the real customer pain points and needs. They sound like their customers. They speak the same language, have the same priorities, and are of a kind with the folks to whom are selling trucks. They are not in love with any technology — they want to get it right for their own fleets and for their customers. The product of XOS is not a technology. The product of XOS is a solution that solves real and economically critical problems for their customers.
I am in inventor at heart. Admittedly mixed results on that front. The point is that I enjoy technology. Technology that sits on the shelf and is not part of a compelling product that addresses a real customer need, however, is some odd form of artistic expression. I enjoy technology when I see it drive by, in the wilds of Los Angeles or Shanghai or Johannesburg. If technology doesn’t contribute to an amazing product and superlative experience, it is irrelevant. Gio and Dakota get this. They are not in love with electric trucks because they are electric. They are in love with making trucking better.
My own version of this: how do we know when the electric transportation revolution has truly won? My answer: when electric trucks and electric cars once again are merely trucks and cars, and the fact of their being electric is a detail, and the function they serve once again names them. I am here to work alongside a dedicated, driven, and resourceful team to bring this technology to the market on the market’s terms, not the terms of the underlying technology.
We deliver trucks.
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If you want to get to know Rob even better, check out this video from the Internet’s Way-Back Machine of him being grilled on electric vehicle technology by none other than Moby!