A dialog of thoughts and ideas about software, usability, and products, with random science and wacky ideas thrown in for good measure.

I have a question for companies like BP, ExxonMobil, Sunoco, and so on:

Are you an oil company, or an energy company?

Because if you're an energy company, it's in your vested interest to honestly and thoroughly explore alternate forms of energy. You want to pour money into research and development, because you can see that we're heading away from oil and towards renewable energy sources. You want to be the first to develop facilities that can store solar energy for use at night; you want to be the first to devise ways to transport energy from the Arizona desert to Alaska during the winter. You - not GM, not Ford - YOU want to build the solutions that let cars run on something other than gas, so you can lock us into "HydroGen(TM) from ExxonMobil" or something like that, and license the engines to the auto industry. You see decentralization of energy on the horizon, as more homes and businesses generate energy at their location with localized solar and wind generation, and you want to tap into that market. Solving those problems will put you ahead of the competition. From a business survival perspective, you want to make sure that your company continues to exist if oil runs dry, if public opinion moves away from oil, if evolving national security concerns make it unrealistic to rely on foreign oil, and so on.

If you're an oil company, you're already a dinosaur. We'll see your demise in the coming decades.
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