Around 3 years ago, a neurologist named Lyle Dennis decided he just had too much free time on his hands and decided to start a site chronicling the progress and development of a vehicle named the Chevrolet Volt.
Since then, Lyle has researched, interviewed and penned well over a thousand articles on the subject. To date, not a day has gone by without a fresh article for the readership to comment on, no small feat...especially considering his day job.
A few months ago, Lyle ruined his consecutive streak of articles by graciously allowing me to fill in and do some guest pieces, and ever since then I have been nagging him to let me do a story just on him.
Until today, Lyle had rebutted my requests saying that the readership would prefer more Volt-related news, and that the site was not to focus on him, blah, blah, blah. I'm chalking his refusal up to him just being a all around humble/good guy who really doesn't crave the spotlight...because what he has accomplished here, the hours he puts in, and the access he has been granted inside GM for our benefit is nothing short of remarkable.
So what changed? How did this article come to exist? Well, charity finally got him to buckle...as in, I promised to give Lyle's charity a pop in exchange for 7 questions. Lyle agreed.
On Sunday Lyle will be running in the NYC Marathon for the American Heart Association. The event looks to have over 40,000 participants and covers 26 miles of New York asphalt. Perhaps you have seen the little ads poking their heads up around the site to donate? I encourage anyone who can, to support Lyle on his run .
...and now the questions.
1.) I'll start you off easy, can you fill us in on the NYC Marathon, your charity...and how does one run marathons, be a doctor and still find time to run this site?
I love running the NYC marathon, this will be my fifth in a row. It seemed like a good idea to do it for charity this year. As a stroke neurologist, I chose to run for the American Heart Association which is the parent organization of the American Stroke Association.
The only way to find time for all these things is to get up very early in the morning, and go full steam until its time for bed again. Every day is kind of a marathon itself. As you can see I'm not one to sit idle.
2.) Follow-up question: What does your family think of the site? Does your spouse still speak to you?
I am very fortunate to have a supportive wife and 3 beautiful children ranging in age from 3 to 10. There are times my wife has heard enough about electric cars, and my kids know a little too much about them too.
3.) If you had the option to buy either the Concept or Production Volt in November of 2010? Which would it be?
Believe it or not, I actually prefer the production design. Yes the concept was cool but it doesn't seem realistic. Also I think making a car palatable for the widest swath of the population will help lead to highest sales volume and thus lead to less oil used. The Camaro, for example, is very striking in design, but not everyone is willing to drive one.
4.) It is a well known fact that all .com owners are multi-millionaires, does it cause conflicts with GM executives when you are able to fly your jet to all corporate events and they now have to fly commercial?
Sorry that .com rule doesn't apply to bloggers =)
5.) From your own 'want' list survey. What is the most you are willing to pay for a Chevrolet Volt (in USD)?
I think $40,000 is the number. I realize its high for the mass market but to me its worth it to be an early adopter. With time it will come down considerably.
6.) We know you are currently driving a electric Mini, and have tested several electric cars from different manufacturers, if GM gave you a free pass and let you change one thing about the Volt, what would it be?
I'll pick two; a third seat in the rear and 50 amp 220V charging capability.
7.) What happens to GM-Volt.com past the launch of the actual car? How do you see the site evolving once the car is mainstream?
The site has been a fascinating experiment for me. I started it with no idea if it would ever be noticed, so all of its attention has been a great surprise.
In my very first post in January 2007 I promised to continue the site to the launch and beyond, so that hasn't changed.
I hope post-launch it will be the go-to place for all things Volt and for Volt owners to hang out and interact, free of corporate oversight and spin.
I also hope to implement, besides the forum, the ability for anyone to create their own microblogs within the site and to be able to post frontpage content in real time, along with what I contribute.
8.) Yeah I said only 7 questions, but this is one is important...and Lyle will probably not answer anymore questions from me. Ever. Who are you pulling for? Yankees or Phillies in the World Series?
I was born in the Bronx and live in NY Statik...do you really need to ask?
Sidenote: My thanks to Lyle for doing this quiz even though he didn't really want to...and for giving us a little piece of the internet to call 'home' everyday. Please donate to the American Heart Association in support of Lyle's November 1 2009 marathon run by clicking here .