If you built cars, what would they be?

“If the websites that you build were really cars, what type of cars would they be?”

This question came to me from a member of my local co-opetition. The lady beamed at me. “My company builds Cadillacs” she announced proudly. Like that was meant to be the end of it. I mean, how could I compete with that? Well, let’s not get into what Europeans like me think when they first see a real Caddy. Let alone a pink Mary Kay Caddy!

I was flailing for an answer… “Hybrids?” Because we are efficient and cost effective? VW Beetles or Mini Coopers because we are kind of friendly, funky, fast and a tiny bit alternative? Morgans because we have style, Baby, style? Maybe I’d better dig deep and come up with an American car.

Umm… No.

My final answer is that the question itself is wrong: Cars – at least those on the road – are an incredibly narrow subsection of the overall world of ‘Vehicles’. Vehicles range from  broken down $5 skateboards up through kid bikes, performance bikes, motorbikes, family cars,  sports cars, SUV’s, luxury cars, commercial trucks, HGV’s, earth movers, tunnel diggers, light aircraft, commercial jets, space rockets.

Cars tend to have a new / resale value somewhere between $2,000 for a used beater to $75,000 for new luxury. I know that there are a few up in the $200,000’s but they are a real rarity. Any running car has a certain real or donation value, if only for its parts.

Websites on the other hand? Not only is the sky the limit at the upper end with the big retail stores investing tens to hundreds of millions annually, but there is a lower end to the web world that not even wheel-less shells of old cars sitting on bricks in the front yard can lower themselves down to.  You’ve seen some of these sites… yellow, purple and striped survivors from 1997 who are somehow out there still at the lower end and LandsEnd.com at the high end.

So back to the original question – what kind of vehicle do we build? Let’s just say we are more like the manufacturer than the vehicle. Volvo builds cars, trucks, buses, boat engines and aeronautical components. And that is what we will do for our customers: give them the vehicle they need for the journeys they plan to take.