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 Totaled: The Billion-Dollar Crash of the Startup that Took on Big Auto, Big Oil and the World
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 Totaled: The Billion-Dollar Crash of the Startup that Took on Big Auto, Big Oil and the World

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Totaled: The Billion-Dollar Crash Of The Startup That Took On Big Auto, Big Oil And The World

TOTALED lays out the story of what happens when change hits a company on multiple fronts, sometimes all at once. Do you double down and stay the course or pivot like your company’s life depends on it? TOTALED plunges deep into the riveting rise and fall of a company that sincerely wanted to change the world but couldn’t quite get to the finish line. TOTALED will captivate you, whether you’re interested in electric cars and mobility; green energy and the environment; or you simply enjoy reading business biographies. TOTALED is a compelling case study on the importance of managing change – and what happens when you don’t. Through the Better Place story, entrepreneurs and executives will learn practical lessons they can take back to their own businesses, no matter the size.

Blue Pepper Press

Blue Pepper Press

Brian Blum

Brian Blum

No of Pages
358
Publisher
Blue Pepper Press
ISBN-13
9780983042815
Awards
None
Book Format
Published Date
Aug 20, 2017

Circles

Not in any circle

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Author InterviewInterview with Brian Blum 

Interview Date : Oct 23, 2017

Please sign up to listen entire interview of at least 45 min.

Interview Summary

In 2008, Shai Agassi set out to build electric car infrastructure with a grand vision to change the world but without any experience in the auto industry. A born salesman, young Agassi had the necessary tech savvy and political connections, but went on to build a company that lacked specific purpose.

The rise and failure of Agassi and Better Place is going to be the subject of management schools for decades to come. Was it Agassi’s hubris, his lack of attention to detail, or simply his blind conviction that led to the fall of the once promising startup whose founder lacked operating experience?

In an interview with Readara, Brian Blum, author of Totaled, chronicles the meteoric rise and fall of Better Place along with its founder in four short years. Better Place promised to deliver 30,000 cars at the end of the third year of its existence, only managing to sell a mere 500.

Why did Better Place stumble so fast despite raising astronomical amounts of capital? Blum details how an impatient Agassi failed to appreciate management challenges, was caught up in his hyperbole, ignored customer needs, and ultimately failed to understand what it takes to build a business. 

Key Topics

  • Who was Shai Agassi and what was his grand vision?
  • Why did Agassi believe in building electric car charging infrastructure rather than in batteries or electric cars?
  • How did Better Place plan to tackle the electric car range anxiety and price hurdle?
  • +

Table of Contents

Introduction
1 The Early Days
2 A Modern Day Moon Shot
3 Building a Better Place
4 Hiring the Team
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About Brian Blum

Business and technology journalist Brian Blum loves to tell the stories of the world’s most fascinating entrepreneurs and the companies they create. Combining deep research with the ability to translate complex concepts into conversational language, Brian can bring your story – and the story of your company – to life. Brian writes regularly about people, business and technology for The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, Israel21c, The Jerusalem Report, Hadassah and the AIM Group, as well as for a number of universities, publicly traded companies and non-profit organizations. His personal blog, This Normal Life, has appeared online weekly since 2002. Brian knows the hi-tech world first-hand: his Internet publishing startup Neta4 raised $3.2 million in 1998. He subsequently served as entrepreneur-in-residence for Jerusalem Global Ventures, and was an assistant vice president of marketing for telecommunications provider Comverse. Before there was the Internet, Brian was producing multimedia CD-ROM titles. His first book, Interactive Media: Essentials for Success, was published by Ziff-Davis Press. Brian Blum has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Oberlin College and a master’s degree in Instructional Technology from San Jose State University. Brian is an engaging and lively presenter who has spoken at conferences, forums and roundtables around the world, lectured at universities in Israel and the United States, and served as the international president of the IICS (International Interactive Communications Society), the largest professional association for the multimedia industry. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Brian lives today in Jerusalem with his wife and three children. In his spare time, he produces the eclectic indie music show “Brainwaves,” which appears weekly on several Internet radio stations.

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Testimonials

TOTALED tells an amazing true story that reads like fiction. Shai Agassi is an endlessly fascinating, larger-than-life figure, and Brian Blum's TOTALED ferrets out every colorful detail. In the process, the book gives us vivid living history from the early days of today's electric vehicle revolution.

Jim MotavalliAuthor of High Voltage and Forward Drive, columnist for Car Talk at NPR and longtime contributor to The New York Times

Brian Blum tells a story of unfettered ambition, unchecked hubris, bad luck and worse timing with the skill and dexterity of a professional driver on a rainy course. TOTALED takes us on the wild ride that is the spectacular rise and fall of the most audacious startup of the last decade.

Chris ShipleyExecutive Producer, DEMO conference

Brian Blum's deeply researched account is like playing a car-wreck video in slow motion: You can watch every stroke of bad luck, bad timing, and bad blood reduce a once-thrilling idea to dust.

David PogueYahoo Finance, former New York Times tech columnist
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