Two Product Launches, Two Decidedly Different Timelines

May 2, 2016

I’m both a little amazed and humbled by the success of Stockwave, a tool that helps dealers efficiently source wholesale vehicles.

In less than 30 days after the product’s official launch at the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) convention last month, more than 1,000 franchise and independent dealers have signed up for Stockwave.

Frankly, I’m blown away by the positive response. It suggests that Stockwave’s benefits are right for dealers, and the product arrived at a time when dealers are hungry to find ways to spend less energy and time finding the auction vehicles they need and buying them on the money.

But I’m also reminded of how long it took to reach the 1,000 dealer customer mark with vAuto.

By my calculations, four years passed between the time I pitched vAuto to the first dealer (and promptly got asked to leave) and we had 1,000 dealer clients. That’s 1,460 days, nearly 50 times longer than it took Stockwave to reach the same milestone.

Why the difference? Two reasons come immediately to mind.

First, dealers are far more receptive to Stockwave than they were to vAuto in the early days. Looking back, vAuto hit the market a little before its time, and my family can attest to the emotional and financial pain of a father pursuing a vision others simply didn’t yet see.

Second, and most important, Stockwave represents a level of collaboration and commitment vAuto never had. When vAuto started, it was just my co-founder Mike Chiovari and me sitting at my kitchen table, hatching a new software idea.

By contrast, Stockwave represents the best and brightest at Cox Automotive. Its development and launch resulted from a high level of collaboration and cooperation from all corners of the company—marketing, product development/research, sales and support.

Given this backdrop, one might think Stockwave was destined to be a winner.

But I take a different view.

In any large company, there are entrenched and vested interests that, by their nature, tend to stifle innovation. In any other organization of Cox Automotive’s size, Stockwave might well have died in the woodshed.

Thankfully, Cox Automotive’s leadership team understands this risk, and actively cultivates a culture/work environment that prevents such resistance from taking root.

That’s the reason I continue to work for Cox Automotive, and Stockwave continues to shine.