My apologies for the indulgent nature of this post, but sometimes you can’t get to write the things you should until you’ve cleared away all the stuff that’s clogging you up.
The gut
I have a pretty good gut. I have a very large gut because I feed it too much, but that’s a whole other story, and thankfully its largesse hasn’t decreased my capacity to feel.
At age 16, my gut told me it wasn’t OK to try and drink my father’s death away one night. So I didn’t. I’ve barely touched a drop since and I’m ever so grateful for it.
At age 18, my gut told me it would be bad news to go out with that girl. But who listens to their gut in that situation? I should have.
At around age 21, despite a purely Australian automotive upbringing, my gut told me that the Saab 9000 I was riding in was absolutely brilliant and would probably change my life. It has.
At age 24, and with no job or higher education, my gut told me everything would be alright. And it is.
At age 34 and 11 months, my gut told me that this new-fangled blogging thing might be worth a try, and seeing cars (and Saabs in particular) were the only things I felt passionate about, that’s what I’d write about.
The head
Like everyone else, I can feel right and wrong in my gut sometimes. And yet somehow, I don’t tend to act on it anywhere near as often as I should.
Some of that is down to timidity. I’m a fairly cautious person by nature. But it’s more than just timidity. It’s where my head comes in to the picture. Whilst my gut’s all emotion, my head is infatuated with a desire to reason. I am more often than not the devil’s advocate, no matter how lame the plight of the weakened argument I try to support.
At age 28, my head told me to marry my first wife, despite any misgivings I might have about us at the time.
After a national IQ test was held on television, my head told me to go and sit the IQ test being held locally shortly thereafter, sponsored by Mensa. My gut told me not to join, though.*
My head’s told me for the last four years that things will work out with Saab, that the next killer model is just around the corner.
My head tells me that I should continue negotiations with the media company that’s interested in buying Trollhattan Saab because I’ve worked bloody hard on it for four and a half years and something concrete should come out of that.
But then come the bones.
The bones
The bones are like the gut, but much, much stronger. When you feel something in your bones, it’s like you can smell it in a high wind. It’s the fear of loss. The thrill of imminent pleasure. The joy of a promosing road and knowing there’s not a soul around.
At age 30, my bones told me I’d never really loved my first wife. We divorced and it was 100% the right thing to do. At age 31 my bones told me I’d met the perfect woman for me. We married two years later.
At the same age my bones told me I was making a mistake selling my 99 Turbo. I bought it back three years later.
Your head can reason with your gut, but the bones are undeniable. I’ll probably buy that 99 Turbo a third time before things are all done and finished (if Bill will sell it).
At age 38, my head is arguing that Saab are on a knife’s edge. My head tells me that the most promising way forward for Saab is with as little interruption and instability as possible, as if they’re doing a finely balanced juggling act and the slightest interruption could send it all tumbling. My head keeps telling me that the best way forward is for GM to still own Saab in few years from now, because that’s the most promising way for a continued existence.
But my gut tells me that Saab would be much better off without GM. My gut tells me that Saab are always going to be like a neglected child in GM’s house, eating scraps from the table and wearing hand-me-downs from older, more important siblings.
My gut tells me that if Saab were given one unrestrained chance at hitting a home run, they’d slug it into the next suburb.
My gut tells me that Saab will survive this somehow, in some form.
My bones don’t tell me anything other than the fact that this journey, this blog, is tied to Saab’s own journey, in as much as that journey still holds some promise of Saab being the company that I think they can be. The negotiations to sell this site are off becuase I can’t, in good faith, tie myself contractually to a brand when there’s a chance I may not believe in that brand any more.
Saab will survive. It’s just a matter of how, and how well.
For what it’s worth, I think GM is too full of ‘head’ guys and too devoid of ‘gut’ guys. I think Bob Sinclair was a great businessman, and a ‘gut’ guy at heart. I think Bjorn Envall was totally a ‘gut’ guy, and most designers are. Their problem is that the ‘head’ guys are the ones with all the power. You can’t work gut into a ROI formula.
And a final thought….
My head tells me that a replacement flagship vehicle in the Saab 9-5 is incredibly important for Saab, but my bones tell me that a smaller Saab 9-3 like the one they’ve talked about is the vehicle that Saab need more than any other.
* Yes, I sat the Mensa exam and yes, I passed and was told I was in the top percentile of people who had taken the exam. This should tell you little about me, though, and more about the nature of perceived intelligence. If you want to know something about my own intelligence, witness the frequent mistakes here on this site. I’m just as dumb as the next guy.

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