One reason we enjoy our work with MIT: we find their enthusiasm for innovation infectious. That enthusiasm was very much on display at an event yesterday, the MIT Enterprise Forum’s ICE (Ignite Clean Energy) competition.
Capping the day’s events was a captivating keynote address by Chelsea Sexton, executive director of Plugin America. With an intriguingly varied background that includes a lead role in the sleeper 2006 documentary, “Who Killed the Electric Car,” as well as firsthand work on GM’s EV1 electric vehicle program, Sexton offers a unique perspective on the clean tech boom.
Of the thoughtful observations Sexton shared, one that jumped out at me was the importance of knowing and understanding the electric vehicle target consumer audience. To illustrate the point, Sexton debunked the conventional wisdom that environmental advocates comprise the preponderance of electric car early adopters. In fact, technology enthusiasts are driving adoption. Even if we try to rise above stereotypes, one quickly senses the substantially different approach called for in marketing electric cars to environmental advocates on the one hand, and technology enthusiasts on the other. “Know your target audience” must be, in my experience, one of the most seemingly obvious yet frequently overlooked business maxims.
Congratulations to the event’s winners (link to a Mass High Tech article on the winners) and to the MIT Enterprise Forum for another event that keeps our own entrepreneurial fires stoked!