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No Way to Control It. It’s Totally Automatic.

Linda BodieComment

Almost everything is a song to me. If there’s not a song associated with something, I’ll make it up. So when I bought this little Automatic gizmo thingy for my car in 2013, I never really stopped singing that amazing song from the Pointer Sisters. And now I’ve got you singing too!

This little device plugs into your car’s diagnostic port. Download the app on your phone, connect it to your Automatic device, and now you can track your driving habits and find all kinds of useful data. 


You can use Automatic to improve your driving habits in real time—it started a little rough for me! Thankfully, there was no shock therapy involved… only annoying beeps if you brake too hard, take off too fast or exceed 70 MPH. After a few days, I turned out to be a pretty good driver after all.

It will also let you know if your car is having mechanical issues and needs attention. And it can help you find your car if you lose it. That would never happen, right? And it does a whole bunch more stuff that’s really cool and helpful (and could be used for stalker-ish purposes).

The app has matured quite nicely in the last few months. The monthly reports have been great. But this year, I received an end of year report that I simply must share. I’m old enough now to overshare personal information, so here goes. Linda Bodie’s Year at the Wheel.

Some interesting things I learned about my 2015 driving year.

  • I traveled 17.3% of the Earths’ circumference.
  • I spent 7.4 days behind the wheel.
  • I produced 4,009 pounds of CO2 which requires 80.2 large trees to offset the emission.
  • I spent $511 on fuel.
  • I stopped to pee 57 times on longer trips. (Oh wait. That’s not really on there).

In the past, I received some numbers and a driving score, which was really neat. But now, I get really meaningful data that is so much more than numbers. I receive a monthly report with tips and tricks for better gas mileage. I see a comparison of my data with other drivers of 2003 Subaru Baja’s. 

I see my driving habits and my driving impact in a very different light. I have made improvements based upon this data and have become a better and more responsible driver and vehicle owner and maybe even a better planet resident.

This leads me to the financial realm and what we are doing to make a difference with our members. There are plenty of products that give us the numbers and the budgets to better plan our financial lives. But how are we dealing with immediate feedback, suggestions for improvement specific to each member’s behaviors and needs, the impact of our behaviors on our families, our communities and our planet? 

How great would it be to receive a report and real time updates, interactions and suggestions (on your watch, on your dashboard, in a Bat Signal):

  • You used your debit card 600 times last year and generated $50 for The Humane Society and saved three dogs’ lives.
  • If you switched to eStatements, you would have save 10.2 large trees.
  • You’re still driving a Ford Pinto? It might be time for a new ride. You’re pre-approved for -1.0% APR loan now!
  • Really!!? 756 trips to Starbucks? Do you work there? You could have taken the family to Disney World… twice!

You get the picture. We have so much data and so many ways to use that data. How do we, and how will we, make this more than a numbers thing? Once you attach meaning to the numbers and to the data, it makes a all the difference. 

Find a way to control it, and make it totally automatic. I’m there.


Linda Bodie is the Chief Innovator at Element Federal Credit Union. Linda has transformed Element from a traditional banking environment to one that is innovative, personal and interactive. She has developed processes including digitizing 99% of the paper at her credit union, streamlining a multitude of business processes via technology and implementing electronic check deposit services. Her most impressive accomplishment was co-developing and deploying the world’s first remote deposit capture iPhone application in July 2009.