Wednesday 7 December 2016

Japanese petrol Vs the world!

Here in the UK we often speculate about such things as RON levels, who is the best supplier of gas and why can't we be more like Japan who do not seem as encumbered by green issues like the rest of us. We all know that Japanese petrol is 99 RON (if not 101) and made by the great petrol Gods of mount speedy. Well lets take my perspective and get a British low down on any Skyline Owners second home.
I hate busy petrol stations! 
In the US and UK, whether or not there is a difference at all is actually up for debate. The general idea with cheap petrol in England, at least, is that it's used to attract customers to what is usually a supermarket (remember all the petrol stations we used to have?). In Japan, the cheap petrol is from "unnamed" standalone stations (i.e. not the big players like Shell etc). There doesn't seem to be any solid proof that anyone's gas is better or worse than anyone elses. However much like in the UK would you put an unknown in your tank? It is pretty universal in the UK that no one buys BP for instance and even though one hears many claims as to why, no one actually can definitely prove its terribly bad. Equally no one can prove Shell or Tesco are really good.

One day we will all be looking for a socket to plug in?

You've probably heard of the Japanese gas station attendants and their ridiculous over-courtesy. It's true, but there are also self-service stands which will save a couple of yen per litre. These stand out with the セルフ (serufu) sign. So, for the cheapest fuel find a city relatively close to a port (at least without mountains in the way) and go self-service.

The universal language of petrol cars

It's possible to also save a few yen with store discount cards, so when on holidays in Japan snap one up if you see them at your local Eneos or Cosmo etc.Now it this all sounds depressingly familiar consider those that do not live in the city it's much more expensive to fill your tank there than in other places. in the mountains, Petrol tankers aren't allowed to drive through tunnels because of the potentially devastating results of an accident, so to get to cities they need to do some massive detours. This results in an almost 10% markup.

Admit it, we have all been here! 

The current price of fuel in Japan sits at 120 to 124 yen per liter (about £0.88) compare that to the UK at £1.20+ for a high RON, so with purely this in mind I am starting to think that there is a bonus attached to Japanese petrol, the price!

Monday 5 December 2016


Seasons Greetings to all!

The blog has been getting a little dusty, not that I have not been being industrious in my imaginings, but more due to efforts being focused elsewhere. There was a lot of froth and hoo'ha being directed at a motoring television show called the Grand Tour, here (and abroad) a resurrection (at least in presenters) of the BBC show Top Gear. A further off shoot of this new show is a new social media platform called Drive Tribe. As an 'admin' on Facebook's Skyline Owners Forum I felt compelled to investigate this new media and create a presence. Well as an early VIP and creator of a 'tribe' now I have dipped my electronic toe into the water I can say, it's okay. Bit pointless, but okay. Here is my review!
What's that coming over the hill?

Drive Tribe... A digital media platform for petrol heads. You join, you make a tribe, you hope others will join.
Digital media platform Drivetribe has completed a USD5.5 million Series A funding round led by Breyer Capital with additional participation by Atomico and other individual investors.
We know that quite probably Drive Tribe was not simply invented "just for us petrol heads" (even though that is the claim) and someone needs to get paid. In fact it is headed up by a chap called Ernesto Schmitt. German Schmitt was named as one of the richest young entrepreneurs in the UK by The Guardian in 2000, with the newspaper putting his net worth at £17 million ($22.5 million). As for Amazon, they are said to be relaxed about Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May setting up what could be seen as a rival motoring brand to "The Grand Tour." All I wonder is where does the payoff come from?
Cunningly artistic point.

What is to keep you the reader coming back? The whole premise does seem to rely quite heavily on the main protagonists (Clarkson, Hammond and May) keeping on posting. Am sure this is great for  fluffy motoring gentle banter (you guys.. sheesh) of "I don't like motorbikes, to shall I stick some stripes on my car and lets not forget the classic 'gentleman's area' gags".
But surely that is the point isn't it? It is a case of, they are 'celebrity'. I can't for one moment imagine that the readers will be at all excited about my individual thoughts on BGW's or what Fred has done to his car. However perhaps you would all get excited on the paint code of Nissan KH3 and if it is described as Super Black or Obsidian.

Random car shots... Keep em coming

Currently the posts I am seeing are a large majority of Instagram style posts. A photo of a car. This is marvelous especially if you want to show off your pride and joy. However isn't that Instagram?... "No, no" they cry, "here you can see everything in a tribe, you know, like Facebook?"
Umm... Of course it does not help that (this being a democracy) everyone can make a tribe (competition is good) although does dilute the content somewhat and simply encourage more photo's. Also the fact that this tribal system is being set up as an adversary type of system does not help anyone. Drive Tribe themselves are sending out messages like this:
"Your Tribe is roaring along, your Tribe members are flocking in and you’re busy creating awesome new stories. Fist bump the person nearest to you: life is good. What if we could make it great? Introducing the Super Heavyweight TRIBE Competition. We’re talking about a unique prize: a creative collaboration between you and the guys. Yes. Really. In early 2017, you could be working alongside them to produce a video, co-author an article or create something that no one has ever done before. So how do you win?
Here’s what we’re looking for:
Grow your Tribe faster than anyone else by adding more new members to your Tribe
Rack up a mountain of bumps and shares by posting the sort of content that has your members bumping until their fingers cramp. We’re talking about really blowing their socks off with stuff that inspires, excites and provokes them to the point of distraction.
 The two best ways to do this?
Post your Tribe page link using "Share & Promote" on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, email
Create and share eye-poppingly good stuff that spreads far and wide across the internet"
Fist bump? Marketing 101 right there.

Nothing wrong with spamming the world to drive visitors here is there? Posting a load of individual photo's and getting people to bump them? Or reducing your article to a "Quote" and calling it an article. Add to that the imbalance of how Drive Tribe was initially set up, where some groups were sent early invites and others not, where if you get a mention from Hammond you are guaranteed a bazillion followers overnight. Who would want to be a 'Tribe Leader' anyway. Personally I can think of nothing worse than being a legend in my own mind and (like the current UK government) I defaulted to a position of power and respect without actually having a clue what I was on about.

So following the money: Scouring the internet (so you don't have to) the plan is to offer paid and native advertising across the site and presumably across Facebook. There's no doubt this could be a potentially very powerful tool for the automotive sector. Knowing what types of content users are engaging with, alongside all their Facebook data, will surely mean that manufacturers could easily find a valuable target audience here. They could create their own content, too, if DriveTribe eventually allows for official manufacturer accounts. I must admit at first I thought that there must be some agreement with Facebook as that was the required login path.

I don't know about the rest of the members there, but I do seem to be getting a lot of sexy followers... Just what I and the world needs a new way to have porn shoved into our collective face!
There is a time and place for your bottom young lady. 
DRIVETRIBE also have a powerful algorithm that only directs content that you are interested in. Does it work? No, not at all. I'm not sure I have ever been interested in Italian super-cars, Mini's or whatever else is trending at the moment! I would consider myself as the absence of a trend (although Skylines seem to be hot at the moment now finally legal in the USA).

DriveTribe, is it a force of good that will take over the world or just a pile of dingos kidneys?

Clarkson pie in face? Check out security mans dance moves!