The Story of my visit to Better Place. Coincidence? I DON’T THINK SO!

Maya_Elhalal_Better_Place_1So I go to Better Place visitors center today, to meet with Inbal who does their marketing. Meeting was great, we discussed some very cool co-op that I’m excited about, I drove the electric car, got the grand tour, loved it and went on with my day to other meetings.

So far, so good.

Around 4pm I make my way back home to the marina in Herzeliya. I’m in zomet hakfar hayarok, on the phone, the light already turned green, when an Indian guy comes running to me, middle of the junction, with suitcases and malle’ paklaoot and puts a sign to my window that says “can you take me to better place?”. I open the window of my rental to ask if he means the visitors center and people behind me already beep cause I’m blocking traffic so I let him in the passenger seat with all his stuff and my car now looks like an Indian bus from the movies.

[Thought: my description of the bus reminds me of the awful campaign to re-brand Israel running in the local media these days – the one with the camels.]

On the way to drop him off in glilot gas station (where he can grab a taxi – traffic was crazy and I was heading the other way…) he tells me this whole story of how he’s been studying the company for more than a year, that it’s his dream, that he’s an MBA student from Bangalore or something, and yada yada…

Inbal gave me this info postcard of the center so I give the place a call to say there’s an Indian guy with suitcases on the way and I give the postcard to him. End of story.

Then it hits me! Isn’t that the weirdest shit ever??? Think of it, in any other context, an Indian guy, running to your car with suitcases, asking you to take him to a better place, would sound totally whack and most people wouldn’t let him in. Most people probably didn’t. Let’s assume, with the PR they’ve been getting lately, and the vicinity, that more people now know what Better Place is. But the visitors center only opened a week ago. Yesterday, I too had no idea where the place was and it was totally out of my focus. But today, of all days, when I’m open to ‘Better Place experiences’ – with the visit and all, this guy who just landed fromĀ  India ‘falls’ on my car, like the coke bottle from ‘kulam naflu al harosh’, so that I can take him to Better Place and give the center a call to ‘soften’ his pop visit.

Coincidence? As I said here before, I DON’T THINK SO!

The visit by the way, was very impressive. You should go there even if it’s just for the lesson in marketing. It’s like nothing we know here in Israel. The ride was, well, just like any other vehicle only very silent and smooth. And it’s overall a very cool car. When we pulled back in I said, “WOW, this is the future!” and Raanan, an obviously highly trained “switcher” (which is the Better Place word for the guy that takes you on the test drive) replied: “No, it’s the present”.

Am I switched? Yes.

And as for my Indian friend, well… we exchanged cards, and I hope he does well. Actually, I have no doubt he will.

And following are some pics I took of the visit today, and Shai Agassi’s talk about Better Place at TED2009 – because like any marketer, I can’t pass on an opportunity to embed a TEDTalk in context…

Some people believe in coincidences. I’m not one of them.

“I always wondered…
when a butterfly leaves the safety of it’s cocoon,
does it realize how beautiful I has become,
or does it still just see itself as a caterpillar?”

ButterflyThis is the opening monologue of a brilliant movie I saw last night, The Air I Breathe. It’s based on an ancient Chinese proverb that breaks life down into four emotional cornerstones: happiness, pleasure, sorrow and love. Here’s the trailer:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8JGh5z9IDk[/youtube]



The monologue continues with:

“When I was a kid, I knew the secret to a happy life.
Play by the rules, work hard in school.
And if you work hard in school,
then your reward is… more school.
And after more school,
you are given the best that life has to offer,
a job and money and a future,
filled with unending pursuit of more…”

It was amazing that of all movies, and on a night it was my spouse’s turn to choose, I should watch the one that raises the exact same questions that have been going through my mind all past week.

At some point in the movie (I don’t want to spoil it for you), Brendan Fraser says: “Some people believe in coincidences. I’m not one of them.” This, on the day I finished reading Deepak Chopra’s book about harnessing the power of coincidence, gets speacial meaning.

Better together: (the movie) The Air I Breathe and (the book) The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire