Commoditization – Car rentals (courtesy: Doc Searls)

I am attending the Open Source Business conference today and tomorrow. Open source is a key focus area for our company CIGNEX and it was definitely a good decision to attend OSBC 2005.

One of the highlights of the conference was that I met with Doc Searls.
I wanted to meet Doc for a long time it was exciting to spend a few
minutes with him. It was an experience! We met for a short time but in
that time we talked about a topic that is of great interest to me:

Doc talked about this in his weblog today. The topic was commoditization in car rental companies.

Doc was talking about the “sameness” in the way all the rental
companies operate. Doc’s preference is to rent a Ford Focus from
Budget. Apart from the fact that Doc likes the car, one other reason is
that Ford Focus has a radio that can play MP3s. Interesting. It’s a
small change but what a way to distinguish and stand out from the crowd.

Here’s my $0.02:

The car companies, I am sure know that they are in a commodity
business. What if they learn a bit more about why their clients rent
what they rent and go out of their way to ensure that they get what the
car they like. I think there would have been other folks who didn’t
have a preference for Ford Focus and would have been happy with any
other car. If they had reserved a Ford Focus for Doc, I am sure he
would have been happy. Of course, Budget had to walk the extra mile to
get there and they didn’t 🙁