A Glimpse into the Future of Shared Vehicles, EVs, and Solid State Batteries (Part 1)

The following is based on a conversation I had with Roger Atkins,  EV Specialist and Founder at Electric Vehicles Outlook Ltd, who has been highly engaged with all aspects of the electric vehicle journey for the past 15 years. In this post you’ll find insights related to keys to career success, the future of solid state batteries, advantages and disadvantages with AI, and of course, electric vehicles. You can hear the full conversation on his podcast, Electric & Eclectic with Roger Atkins.  Roger: How is Jack McCauley the guy you are today from everything that’s happened in all those previous days in your life? Jack: I couldn’t have been successful without the support and mentoring I received from people I’ve come to know throughout my career. I’ve made it a habit of staying in touch with folks I’ve worked with over the past 35-40 years. For instance, the guy I worked for at Kodak Research, one of my first jobs – he and I worked on entertainment and a sound system. Long story short, I stayed in touch with him until he passed away in 2019, and I made a habit of doing that. Another example is the guy I worked for who got me the gig at Activision on Guitar Hero, for which I was the design engineer. He now shares a workspace with me here at my R&D facility and hardware incubator because he wants to build a startup and he needs a place to do it. I have all the tools, the facility, and I owe him, and so he’s here.  I am a very persistent person and I’m the type of person who doesn’t give up very easily. If I run into a problem I keep attacking it until I get it, but I’m where I am now, in large part due to the fact that I relied on other people, and got a really good education for a middle-class guy. Truly, the gift that I got from my education is the primary motivator for where I am today.  Now on the art part. I especially like dystopian science fiction. Things of that nature, things that get blown up. And so I’m kind of a natural in video games. I always like to throw a little bit of art into my coding. For example, I’ll put names of characters in games from movies to see if anyone catches it. I kind of like that stuff. So, all of that combined with great parenting is part of who I am today. I would get hired, gig after gig because they knew I would do the work and get along with folks to make stuff happen. And of course, there comes a time when things are so far behind, you have to crack the whip, and I can do that too. I used to work for Lee Iacocca in the 90s. Roger: Oh, that’s fantastic! Jack:  I built an electric bicycle for him. He loved Chrysler, had a start-up company and they were making electric bicycles and the company is still around though of course  Lee has passed. I watched guys like him very carefully to see how they interacted with people. And I would say of all the people that I’ve worked with, he is the most talented.  There’s another guy I work with who is good at getting people running and motivated. He’s like a football coach. He’s a tough guy too, he didn’t put up with much. I just watched those guys and I just copied what they did and it kind of worked. I don’t have any great gift in management, I just watch what works with people and what doesn’t.  In a creative environment, particularly in video games, it’s more or less a thing of getting people into the right position that they’re supposed to be in and letting them work together and interact, and then moving the team around a little bit to get things to go the way you want them to go. And also being a little bit of a whip cracker when you need to be. These are things I learned just by watching people. At Oculus we had a first-rate CEO. He was able to convince Mark Zuckerberg to buy our business. This guy could sell water to the ocean, he was that good at it. He was so good with people and could just read every twitch on your face, and then structure his pitch to make it appeal to you. I also know the CEO of Ferrari, Benedetto Vigna as well and I worked pretty closely with them, on various ventures like Guitar Hero and Oculus. It’s all about people skills and getting a giant group of people to follow your lead.  Roger: That’s a lovely journey. I sold some advertising space over the telephone to Lee Iococca once and it gave me the biggest thrill in the world because I’d rung up the company early in the morning. He picked up the phone straight off, there was no one else in. He listened to my pitch kind of halfway through and he said, “Look, Roger, I’m really busy. We’re gonna take a page in color, speak to this guy when he comes in, and tell him Lee said we’re taking a page.” And he said, “Roger, early bird gets the worm, remember that.” And I kind of thought, in just a few minute conversation with somebody I vaguely knew who was a bit of a superstar, it must have impacted my life. When I reflect on it now, so much more than I realized then, because, you know, get up early, get on with it. Don’t fear, going for all of those things. So for you to have worked with him, I’m fascinated.  Roger: Jack, you are one of the most successful, profound and super smart technologists, talking about people and human skills, character, personality and relationships. And I think a lot of people