An interview with our program sponsor, Mercedes Benz USA:
What do you think makes a person a game changer?
A game changer thinks about things in unconventional ways. He or she is someone who looks at the future and instead of asking "why" asks "why not?" There are no sacred cows and a game changer isn't afraid to blow things up. And while this is a person who thinks big, more importantly, this is the type of person who is able to inspire others to believe that they can turn dreams into reality, finding ways to make the world - or the enterprise -- a better place.
What makes your brand a Game Changing company?
I think the area that probably stands out to most people is our work in the area of safety. Mercedes was the first automaker to introduce a sedan with standard dual airbags. We also pioneered many safety features that are taken for granted today, including crumple zones that absorb the energy of a crash, anti-lock brakes (ABS) and traction control.
We continue to innovate. For example, our parent company in Stuttgart is today asking the question: "What would it take to bring about 'accident-free driving'." So we have a concept car called the Experimental Safety Vehicle (ESV) that "talks" to other cars telling them of dangers ahead like fallen black ice and contains a host of futuristic safety technology that is finding its way into today's Mercedes-Benz models. If you have any question as to whether this type of technology is a game-changer, you have only to listen to our owners who have relied on this technology at the most vulnerable time of their lives. (Watch Video)
What do you personally consider the biggest advancement in your industry in the past 10 years?
I would have to say broadband and the ubiquitous access it provides. This has transformed every aspect of our business - and almost every savvy company's business. As broadband enables new forms of entertainment and new ways to consume and manage media we're seeing radical transformation in the marketing realm, calling all of the traditional models into question. This is a shift in power on the part of consumers who can now find and aggregate new levels of information. The resulting expectations on the part of consumers are changing the way we talk to, interact with and, yes, sell to, our customers.
What prompted did MBUSA want to sponsor HuffPost Game Changers?
The "Game-Changer" concept appealed to us because Game-Changers - and the people who are interested in them - factor prominently among our buyers. These are the early adopters, the people who aren't afraid to be the first to try something that might revolutionize the way things are done and set the status quo on its head. And by doing that, they rewrite the rules and embolden others to do the same.
Among the Game Changer nominees, what qualities stand out to you most?
Personally, the game changer who I've always admired most is Steve Jobs and his ability to transform almost everything he touches. How many business models has he blown up and reinvented? He once said that his goal was to put a ding in the universe. Most of us are lucky to have that one transformative accomplishment to hang our hats on - Steve Jobs just keeps clicking down the list........