Shai Agassi At CeBIT Global Conferences 2015 – Video


Better Place Founder Shai Agassi Was Eventually "Removed" As CEO Of Better Place By Its Board

Better Place Founder Shai Agassi Was Eventually “Removed” As CEO Of Better Place By Its Board

Shai Agassi, former founder and CEO of Better Place, earlier this year gave a presentation at CeBIT Global Conferences 2015.

Almost 10 years have passed since the foundation of Better Place and three years since its bankruptcy, including nearly a billion dollars of losses.

Agassi is now trying to develop a new venture Newrgy, which is still in stealth mode.

At CeBIT, Agassi’s transport vision includes autonomous, electric, personal pods and vehicles, without ownership. Driving would be like service from the utilities.

Someone save us from driving autonomous pods please!

Source: Globes

Category: General

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31 responses to "Shai Agassi At CeBIT Global Conferences 2015 – Video"
  1. James says:

    I’d be happy to ride around in autonomous pods, save driving for a track where I could really drive the car. I find little joy in excursions to Target for groceries, or grueling stop and go driving of rush hour.

    As for Agassi, I wish him luck but won’t be investing any money in his ventures.

    1. Open-Mind says:

      I don’t wish him luck. He’s a serial con-man who has become wealthy squandering the money of those foolish enough to believe him.

      1. Chris O says:

        Despite his failure with Better place (start ups do fail sometimes you know, that’s not the same as being a con man)I think I would still give him more credit than a Koch Brother advocate such as yourself.

        1. Open-Mind says:

          I am not a Koch brother advocate. I simply don’t hate them.

      2. wavelet says:

        I know quite a few people who know him well… He didn’t make any money out of Better Place, so how does a failed business idea make him a con-man?
        I don’t happen to like Agassi’s brand of PR, but please don’t abuse the English language by throwing words like “con-man” around unless you mean them, and, if so, please elaborate.

  2. Speculawyer says:

    I don’t mean to be a jerk . . . but why would we care what he has to say?

    1. Big Solar says:

      because he is better than the Koch bros???

      1. Speculawyer says:

        Yeah, I can’t argue with that.

        1. Open-Mind says:

          Hmmm … here we seem to have two more examples of completely out-of-context Koch-hate. Either these notions of Koch-hate were implanted into your brains, or you might have the Koch brothers confused with ISIS.

          If the former…

          When these notions of Koch-hate were implanted into your brains, did your thought-programmers instill any substantive reasons why you think you should feel that way? That will help us understand the extent of your programming.

          So far, all specimens I’ve encountered have only received partial Koch-hate programming, so they can express hate in response to the “Koch” stimulus, but they cannot articulate why they think they feel that way. But they still feel the need to express their Koch-hate, even without stimulus in completely out-of-context situations such as this.

          If the latter…

          The Koch brothers are the guys who make “Brawny” paper towels, “Angel Soft” toilet paper, “Mardi Gras” napkins and towels, “Quilted Northern” toilet paper , “Dixie” paper plates, and a bunch of other stuff. They employ about 100,000 people.

          ISIS are the Islamic sadists known for burning and beheading Christians in their recruitment videos. Last weekend, they killed several hundred more Iraqi civilians in Ramadi.

          1. Big Solar says:

            “When these notions of Koch-hate were implanted into your brains, did your thought-programmers instill any substantive reasons why you think you should feel that way? That will help us understand the extent of your programming.”

            I have more than substantial reasoning but a more than adequate answer to the above pasted question would be I could have put many many peoples names in place of the Kochs but they were the first I thought of as an easy win comparison for Agassi. Also, besides the point but equally as good an answer to your question would be as an American (and really as a human) I am allowed to hate whomever the Ef I want to. Am I right? Lemme guess, you don’t hate and now I’m a bad guy for admitting I do?

          2. Big Solar says:

            The Koch brothers are the guys who make “Brawny” paper towels, “Angel Soft” toilet paper, “Mardi Gras” napkins and towels, “Quilted Northern” toilet paper , “Dixie” paper plates, and a bunch of other stuff. They employ about 100,000 people.

            If this is all you know about the Kochs and you don’t work for them I would suggest you do a little more in depth homework on them.

          3. Big Solar says:

            ISIS are the Islamic sadists known for burning and beheading Christians in their recruitment videos. Last weekend, they killed several hundred more Iraqi civilians in Ramad.

            I don’t see the connection to the Kochs. Are you saying if a person or group of people are not as obviously bad as ISIS then they are ok? Sounds kinda like you work for Charlie and David to me.

            1. Open-Mind says:

              No I do not work for Koch, nor do I know anyone who does. I just find the left’s pathological Koch-hate amusing. They never explain the rational of the hate, and they usually just imply that I should know. Like you just did. Granted the Koch’s are conservatives who donate to Republicans, but so what? Liberal billionaires donate money to Democrats in the same way. I just don’t get it.

              I mentioned ISIS because they seem to be the #1 evil group in the world right now, and (IMO) actually deserve to be hated. And like the Koch brothers, they have absolutely nothing to do with this article. So I mentioned them to be equally absurd.

              1. EV_Drive says:

                Yes, I hate the koch brothers because they are fascists. They have so much money that they are controlling our government. They are buying politicians and votes at the same time as their policy is to defund education at all levels as well as public assistance for the poor. Then they can go in and privately sponsor educational institutions with the stipulation that their foundation dictates the curriculum and even the faculty being hired. Nothing good about those fascist koch bro losers. Oh wait most of their money is from refining oil, that must be good? No actually it isn’t and I hate gas cars and the oil that fuels them. I pray for the day we make plastic from only plant oil and our cars run on sunshine. Until that day, I hate the 1% of fascists in charge who own 99% of this country.

                1. Open-Mind says:

                  Thanks. This is all new to me, but I don’t see how it’s possible.

                  If they’re controlling the government, then they must be controlling President Obama, since all Federal laws go through him or his regulatory agencies. How are they controlling his government and budgets? I don’t see how that’s possible. Can you provide an example?

                  As for education … today it’s nearly all controlled by liberals, especially our colleges. Been that way for a long time. Even staunch liberal billionaire Mike Bloomberg says so:


                  Can you name an educational institution under Koch control? How do they force people to go there?

              2. Ricardo says:

                Not being an American, therefore, never having heard of them except here, yeah, it’s like these koch brothers are the green antichrist. I specially enjoyed the “just imply that I should know”. I love it when people do that.

          4. Trace says:

            Actually a few of us in this site have expressed to you thoughtful, factual and relevant arguments for criticism of the 2 Koch brothers, their political activism and their propaganda machine in the past months. That you refuse to listen does not make your statement of “all specimens…” true in any way, other than to reinforce your preconceived notion that anyone to the left of Attila the Hun is a commie and as you say “programmed” without any sense of irony.

            Lay off the John Birch materials (Americans for Prosperity/ALEC) and then we can have a conversation.

          5. Speculawyer says:

            Don’t be a condescending jackhole.

            I don’t like the Koch brothers because they fight against green energy initiatives, they fund climate change denial groups, and they support a lot of policies & politicians that I don’t agree with.

            You may not agree with my view but don’t you dare insult me with that garbage like I’ve had ‘Koch-hate were implanted into your brains’. Quite the contrary . . . using my brain I have determined that they purveyors of policies and politicians that I view to be quite destructive to the country.

            1. Open-Mind says:

              I’m sorry you were offended by my sarcasm.

              Do you see the irony of your reply? You tried to offend the “condescending jackhole” while lecturing him about being offensive. That actually made me chuckle a bit.

              I don’t hate people I disagree with, I usually try to understand them. But I find liberals hard to learn from, because they often respond to my questions with contempt.

              1. Speculawyer says:

                No, there is no irony. I did nothing to warrant your condescending garbage (which you just provided again). You insulted me, so I returned the favor.

                I think you find people hard to learn from because you are not very good at learning. People have provided you with many reasons for their views but the reasons all apparently sail right through your brain and you then repeat the incorrect statement that people do not provide you with reasons why they do not like the Koch brothers.

                1. Open-Mind says:

                  So far, all the “many reasons” are one of the following:

                  1) Vague impossible made-up things like “dictating curriculum” in schools. No evidence.

                  2) All the same things that liberal billionaires do, such as donate money to the politicians and causes they like.

                  Nutshell … you hate them because you disagree with them. And you hate people who point that out.

                  1. Big Solar says:

                    Open mind your reason for being here is becoming pretty obvious. I’m sure you will give us your “true” reason though now in a big long “american” paragraph though…..

  3. Lensman says:

    Shai Agassi is a visionary, and an excellent public speaker; I’ve watched videos of one or two of his previous talks.

    I guess he’s a great promoter, too. But any practicality or business sense the man ever possessed has been drowned in the all-consuming fires of his fanciful visions for the future.

    I’m neither a businessman nor an investor, but even I could see from the start that (Project) Better Place was doomed to bankruptcy within just a few years. The up-front costs for building battery swap stations, and buying battery packs to stock those stations, is far more than could ever be recouped in the first few years of selling subscription service for battery swapping. Furthermore, battery swap stations will only be even marginally viable for passenger vehicles until EV batteries improve somewhat; only until charge times come down, and they’ve already come down a lot.

    Two things about how things progressed (or rather, didn’t) with Better Place surprised me:

    First, that the monthly subscription fee was so high that it virtually wiped out any savings vs. buying gas, even in Israel where the price of gas is sky-high.

    Second, that the bankruptcy of BP happened so soon. I figured they’d realize they would be losing money during the first couple of years, so would have sufficient funds to cover the loss.

    The world needs visionaries. It needs people like Shai Agassi. But it also needs people with some common sense, to provide practical considerations as a counterweight to building castles in the sky, and to rein in wasting money on unrealistic goals.

    1. Open-Mind says:

      I would say he’s a visionary in the same sense that Bernie Madoff was a visionary. Both men knew they were selling snake oil. The proof you already stated … that BP was so obviously doomed from the start.

      1. Lensman says:

        Are your accusations here based on actual evidence, or are you just stating opinion as fact? At worst, we should remember the axiom “Innocent until proven guilty”.

        Perhaps the screen name “Open-Mind” is meant to be taken in the same ironic fashion as “Lensman”? 😉

        My opinions regarding the financial viability of (Project) Better Place turned out to be reasonably accurate. But I never made the mistake of confusing them with facts.

        1. Open-Mind says:

          I was stating my opinion based on circumstantial evidence, some of which you mentioned. This is a blog, not a court room. Any person can have an opinions and still be “open minded”. I think he’s a well-connected con-man, but cannot prove it.

          I also cannot prove the Amtrak engineer deliberately crashed his train when he accelerated it to 106 MPH right before a 50 MPH curve. He may have been a visionary hoping it would take off like an airplane.

    2. wavelet says:

      (I’m very familiar with Better Place, as I was considering joining them when they were still <10 people, and had multiple meetings & discussions with them; I also personally knew several people who worked there, including in senior engineering positions, and followed the company's progress and/or lack thereof later)

      A common misconception needs to be corrected here.
      The battery swap stations were in no way, shape or form a key component of the concept. They were simply a temporary method to allow reasonable long-distance travel until battery capacities caught up.

      For illustration, The plan was for Israel (about the size of New Jersey, and 8M population) in its entirety to have 500000 charging points, but only 200 swap stations.

      (Note that it would not have been possible to charge from a home socket, only outlets installed by the company; part of the deal was they would install 2 charge outlets for every customer, one at home and one at the workplace, in addition to charging points at malls etc.)

      The innovative aspect about BP was that they wanted to try a cellular carrier business model with cars (customers would own the car but not the battery, paying a fixed monthly charge for a given # of miles per year. They would be insulated from electricity costs & issues).
      In Israel, this made some sense, since most cars here (60%+) are already employer-provided and leased, treated by the public as appliances.
      It was impossible to tell in advance if they would fail — as they themselves told me, 100mi range might be not enough to start with, and range anxiety might be an issue, but there was no way to know in advance without actually launching a service. They were expecting that their 24/7 call center + charge & swap -station aware routing would alleviate the range anxiety enough.

      They failed because they overspent by far: They grew their HQs to about 2-3x what they needed to be, and tried expanding globally in too many markets, instead of concentrating on 1-2 markets to build a successful service in (natural ones were Israel & Denmark). Lacking money due to this, they raised the price of the launch plans to far above what they had promised, to the point they didn't make economic sense (esp. since it was an open question what the cars would fetch as resale, given they were worth less without the batteries… No Tesla-like guarantee was involved).

  4. Warren says:

    Environmentalist’s demonization of the Koch’s is easy to explain. We are destroying the planet. Telling people they are selfish a__holes doesn’t work as a strategy to gain support. They see choking off supply as the only way to stop us, since more evidence is easily offset by a little propaganda, when we really don’t want to know the truth.

  5. Lad says:

    Talking Politics:
    Ain’t seen a decent Republican since Eisenhower; ain’t seen a decent Democrat since Truman. Current politicians are all bought off by the 1% and their special interest(Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Finance, Big Guns, Big Auto, Big Religion, etc …enter the Kochs and their elk. Perhaps it’s time for a third party and Public-paid elections to save the middle-class…Bernie Sanders?

    Talking BP;
    Swapping seemed a good idea at the onset of EV battery development; however, the actual development of the process and the finances proved it unworkable as defined by Agassi. Is Agassi a conman or did he really believe in swapping? The answer really makes no difference. The only way he can recover his integrity is to prove one of his ideas will work; but, would you invest in another of his ideas? Who would?

    1. Open-Mind says:

      So far there at least three presidential candidates that are advocating congressional term limits. I think that would help neuter the special interests. No more political dynasties or career politicians to bribe with donations.

      As for Sanders … he is a self-described “democratic socialist”. I like his honesty, but is the s-word still taboo? I know you can’t say it around President Obama, else you’re quickly branded a racist. And Sanders is actually to the right of Obama on some issues. Sanders is also quite old, so the “old white guy” stigma could hurt his chances a bit. And you better pick a really good VP.

      As for the Kochs and their elk … I’m not sure what kind they own, but they’re definitely not Roosevelt Elk:

      President Roosevelt was pretty far left! 😉

    2. Lensman says:

      Lad asked:

      “Is Agassi a conman or did he really believe in swapping?”

      Looking over Agassi’s history in his Wikipedia article, he’s clearly made a success at prior businesses. Certainly there’s nothing there to suggest a serial con artist, and most cons are run by serial scammers. (Not all; Bernie Madoff didn’t start out as a con man.)

      I think those who are accusing Agassi of being a scammer are forgetting that something like 90% of startups fail in their first year. Does that mean 90% of startups are run be con men? If your answer is “Yes”, then we’re clearly not going to agree on what is and is not a fraud or a scam.