Learn and Grow | Author Interviews | Book Summaries | Book lists | Summaries | Author Interviews | Shop Nonfiction books | Booklists | Non-fiction books | Book Reviews | Best Business Books | Best Management Books | Best Leadership Books | Best Business Strategy Books | Best Finance Books | Best Investment Books | Best History Books | Best World History Books | Best China History Books | Best India History Books | Best British India Books | Best American History Books | Best Science Books | Best Technology Books | Best Slavery Books | Best Economics Books | Best Macroeconomics Books | Best Health Books | Best Medicine History Books | Best Travel Books | Book Events | Author Events | Virtual Book Launch | Latest nonfiction books | Upcoming nonfiction books | Best University Presses | Harvard University Press | Yale University Press | Stanford University Press | Columbia University Press | Oxford University Press | Cambridge University Press | Chicago University Press | Pulitzer Prize | Recommended Books | Readara Book Experts | Readara Booklists | Readara Book summaries | Best Author Interviews | Best Nobel Prize Winners Books | Connect with Book Editors | Book Designers | Book Printers | Book Cover Designers | Best Book Agents List | Book PR and Marketing Agencies List | Book Wholesalers List Nonfiction books | Booklists | Non-fiction books | Book Reviews | Best Business Books | Best Management Books | Best Leadership Books | Best Business Strategy Books | Best Finance Books | Best Investment Books | Best History Books | Best World History Books | Best China History Books | Best India History Books | Best British India Books | Best American History Books | Best Science Books | Best Technology Books | Best Slavery Books | Best Economics Books | Best Macroeconomics Books | Best Health Books | Best Medicine History Books | Best Travel Books | Book Events | Author Events | Virtual Book Launch | Latest nonfiction books | Upcoming nonfiction books | Best University Presses | Harvard University Press | Yale University Press | Stanford University Press | Columbia University Press | Oxford University Press | Cambridge University Press | Chicago University Press | Pulitzer Prize | Recommended Books | Readara Book Experts | Readara Booklists | Readara Book summaries | Best Author Interviews | Best Nobel Prize Winners Books | Connect with Book Editors | Book Designers | Book Printers | Book Cover Designers | Best Book Agents List | Book PR and Marketing Agencies List | Book Wholesalers List | Book lists, Summaries, Author Interviews, Shop

Expedite your nonfiction book discovery process with Readara interviews, summaries and recommendations, Broaden your knowledge and gain insights from leading experts and scholars

In-depth, hour-long interviews with notable nonfiction authors, Gain new perspectives and ideas from the writer’s expertise and research, Valuable resource for readers and researchers

Optimize your book discovery process, Four-to eight-page summaries prepared by subject matter experts, Quickly review the book’s central messages and range of content

Books are handpicked covering a wide range of important categories and topics, Selected authors are subject experts, field professionals, or distinguished academics

Our editorial team includes books offering insights, unique views and researched-narratives in categories, Trade shows and book fairs, Book signings and in person author talks,Webinars and online events

Connect with editors and designers,Discover PR & marketing services providers, Source printers and related service providers

Book Image
Interview Profile Picture
Brian Blum

Totaled: The Billion-Dollar Crash of the Startup that Took on Big Auto, Big Oil and the World

Interview with Brian Blum

October 23, 2017

Sign Up. Full interview.

About Brian Blum

Business and technology journalist Brian Blum loves to tell the stories of the world’s most fascinating entrepreneurs and the companies they create. Combining deep research with the ability to translate complex concepts into conversational language, Brian can bring your story – and the story of your company – to life. Brian writes regularly about people, business and technology for The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, Israel21c, The Jerusalem Report, Hadassah and the AIM Group, as well as for a number of universities, publicly traded companies and non-profit organizations. His personal blog, This Normal Life, has appeared online weekly since 2002. Brian knows the hi-tech world first-hand: his Internet publishing startup Neta4 raised $3.2 million in 1998. He subsequently served as entrepreneur-in-residence for Jerusalem Global Ventures, and was an assistant vice president of marketing for telecommunications provider Comverse. Before there was the Internet, Brian was producing multimedia CD-ROM titles. His first book, Interactive Media: Essentials for Success, was published by Ziff-Davis Press. Brian Blum has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Oberlin College and a master’s degree in Instructional Technology from San Jose State University. Brian is an engaging and lively presenter who has spoken at conferences, forums and roundtables around the world, lectured at universities in Israel and the United States, and served as the international president of the IICS (International Interactive Communications Society), the largest professional association for the multimedia industry. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Brian lives today in Jerusalem with his wife and three children. In his spare time, he produces the eclectic indie music show “Brainwaves,” which appears weekly on several Internet radio stations.

Interview Summary

In 2008, Shai Agassi set out to build electric car infrastructure with a grand vision to change the world but without any experience in the auto industry. A born salesman, young Agassi had the necessary tech savvy and political connections, but went on to build a company that lacked specific purpose.

The rise and failure of Agassi and Better Place is going to be the subject of management schools for decades to come. Was it Agassi’s hubris, his lack of attention to detail, or simply his blind conviction that led to the fall of the once promising startup whose founder lacked operating experience?

In an interview with Readara, Brian Blum, author of Totaled, chronicles the meteoric rise and fall of Better Place along with its founder in four short years. Better Place promised to deliver 30,000 cars at the end of the third year of its existence, only managing to sell a mere 500.

Why did Better Place stumble so fast despite raising astronomical amounts of capital? Blum details how an impatient Agassi failed to appreciate management challenges, was caught up in his hyperbole, ignored customer needs, and ultimately failed to understand what it takes to build a business. 

Key Topics

  • Who was Shai Agassi and what was his grand vision?
  • Why did Agassi believe in building electric car charging infrastructure rather than in batteries or electric cars?
  • How did Better Place plan to tackle the electric car range anxiety and price hurdle?
  • How did Better Place manage to raise nearly $1 billion dollars?
  • Why did Better Place need so much capital to build its business?
  • Why did the electric car Renault Fluence Z.E. fail to catch on in Israel?
  • What challenges and blind spots did Shai Agassi face in building sales and management?
  • Why did the company run out of money and fail to deliver what it promised?
  • Was Agassi’s vision faulty or was he in a hurry and simply lacking fiscal discipline?

Other Books by Author