Buy Your Next Car with Data

In the future, the data about a thing might be more valuable than the thing itself. This future may be closer than people realize. This is the premise for the new book The Zero Dollar Car, from author, TEDx speaker and global technology expert, John Ellis. The Zero Dollar Car explores how data collection and smart technologies are changing consumers’ lives and how big data will dramatically change the world we live in. Published by Barlow Books, The Zero Dollar Car is available now on Amazon in the US and Canada. The book hits US bookshelves on November 10.

From Zero Dollar Email to Zero Dollar Car

The Zero Dollar Car takes readers head-first into the connected world of the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart technology, exploring the concept of how data collection is the business model of the future. Every day consumers use smartphones, social media and smart electronics, and while doing so, their data is harvested. Technology giants are currently profiting greatly from the sale of this personal information, while in exchange, consumers receive things like zero-dollar email accounts, cloud storage and other services.

In The Zero Dollar Car, Ellis suggests that in the future, consumers will trade their valuable data for money, ultimately drastically reducing the cost of purchasing just about anything.

''We live in a world surrounded by technology, we are connected to everything, and we are constantly being monitored and having our data collected,'' says Ellis. ''Even so, most people have no idea where this data is being used, or how.''

Monetize Data

Ellis continues, ''The Zero Dollar Car is so important as it will help consumers understand just how valuable their data is, and ultimately challenge and potentially disrupt the current data collection system. Businesses are monetizing data collection, and I think in the future consumers will consider that, understand it, and get in the game.''

The Zero Dollar Car details Ellis’s experience at Ford Motor Company as their Global Technologist and developing their first connected car strategy. Ellis advocated strongly to view cars as more than a means of transportation, and as an incredible tool for data collection. With a captive audience who are often in their car for a significant period of time, Ellis recognized opportunities to monetize this type of data.

As Ellis explains, ''with the connected car and its myriad sensors, it’s possible to identify a driver’s gender, ethnography, demographic, and even compile data on travel patterns.''

Beyond the auto industry, The Zero Dollar Car explores how companies of all kinds are using The Zero Dollar model and inserting sensors in their products with the intent of collecting valuable consumer data. From baby blankets to vacuum cleaners, companies are unwittingly becoming software companies. While pushing smart products to their consumers many are failing to realize the new fiduciary responsibilities of becoming a software company. Ellis discusses this concept, and their increased responsibilities throughout the book, encouraging a healthy dose of paranoia from his readers.

As he explains, with the continual invasion of smart technology, comes potentially worrisome issues of privacy and security: ''there is a saying popular in cyber security circles: Anything that can be connected, will be connected; and anything that is connected is capable, sooner or later, of being hacked.''

''Now that a company has decided to include sensors in its product, they are a software company, but often times they don’t even realize what this truly means,'' explains Ellis. ''This is a worrisome problem for both the company, and its consumers. What kind of privacy implications are there? Is the data collection secure? How will they update their products if there is a problem? And on the other hand, if you’re a consumer, do you realize what data is being collected from you? What is it being used for? How is it stored? The future of big data is moving fast and furiously, and it’s vital that both businesses and consumers understand the effects on their daily life.''

About John Ellis

John Ellis,, is an expert in Big Data and how it will change the business models of the world’s leading sectors like transportation, insurance, telecommunications, government, and home building. From 2012 to 2014, he was Ford Motor Company’s global technologist and head of the Ford Developer Program. Prior to that, John was an executive at Motorola Inc., where he delivered wireless software products and services to the mobile industry.