Void in US Manufacturing

I often hear from others and even find myself saying "I’d pay more for a version of product X if it were made in the U.S." According to this Forbes piece by Steve Denning, most companies couldn’t manufacture or even design a lot products here, even if they wanted to. The facilities and know-how all got shipped overseas along with the jobs and money.

One example that struck me:

The lithium battery for GM’s [GM] Chevy Volt is being manufactured in South Korea. Making it in the U.S. wasn’t feasible: rechargeable battery manufacturing left the US long ago.

Some efforts are being made to resurrect rechargeable battery manufacture in the U.S., such as the GE-backed [GE] A123Systems, but it’s difficult to go it alone when much of the expertise is now in Asia.

Interesting, given that my neighbor here in Franklin, TN—Nissan—will be manufacturing the batteries for the Leaf in near-by Symrna, TN (one of their larger plants in N.A.) by next year. I think it is far too early to make any claims as to the viability of one choice over the other, as both cars just hit the market and production lines have probably yet to even hit any sort of regularity. However, that seems to be a glaring hole in the argument that batteries, at least, cannot be made in the states.

Or, on the other hand, it may soon serve to prove that point. Only time will tell. I, for one, am rooting on Nissan to make it work.

On Jobs’ Retirement as CEO of Apple

I’m an Apple fan and as much as I’d like to write something on Steve Jobs’ retirement, the Internet is pretty much already filled to the brim with ruminations on the topic. If you do choose to read a piece on this, I suggest MG Seigler’s piece at TechCrunch. It summarizes why Jobs’ leaving is broader than just a tech news piece and delves into what is next for Apple.

I will summarize why this matters to me: Apple was formed a few months before I was born and Jobs retired on my 35th birthday. I have grown up with Apple in a very real sense. From playing "Oregon Trail" on an Apple ][ to carrying a device ripped from a science fiction novel as my phone, these devices have really mattered to me. The attention to detail in them and the amount of vision it took to get them in my hands has always been phenomenal. The fact that so many others are taking note of this change in leadership means that they meant a lot to all of us, regardless of what computer of phone we use. It was always so much more than just that.