Musk | A Whiff of Genius
Wouldn't that be a great strapline for a new aftershave (or cologne if you're that way inclined)? (Hey Elon, I know we're Twitter buddies and all that, but don't steal my idea).
So here's the thing, for a long time, I viewed Elon Musk as someone that was posing as a lentalist (a lentil eating mentalist) ... wanting to save the planet by trying to prove that his all-electric car was better than a big thumping V8, bringing the motor industry to their knees, all the while being a billionaire ... those two facts didn't really marry up in my brain.
We should also think that the Tesla Roadster was a slower, less practical (if there could be such a thing), heavier Lotus Elise. The thinking behind it was great, but the technology wasn't there, and as for the price ... surely this Tesla bloke was just playing with his trainset?
This was just going to be another failed 'next big thing'.
We've seen it many times before - a multi-billionaire with a passion for cars, setting up a new car factory, and claiming that it will outperform/outlast/outstyle anything previously available. Ever.
That's great when it goes well, but it's an easy way to start losing money ... I'm paraphrasing, but there's an old joke that goes along the lines of "How do you become a millionaire in the automotive industry?"
"Start with £10 million" (B'doom tish. Thank you. I'm here all week)
The Marketing Genius
I guess if you're like me, you probably underestimated the marketing genius of Musk ... I mean ... who else is going to send a car in to space and claim the 'fastest car in the universe' tag?
Tell me that's not marketing genius.
As much as you have to admire Musk's marketing creations, you should admire his sense of humour also ... BFR anyone? Officially, BFR stands for Big Falcon Rocket, but you know ... instinct tells you exactly how that name came about ... "Yeah, let's create a massive rocket, something big, really big ... a big f***ing rocket" and the great thing is, Musk embraces that sort of thing and it makes him human ... not some evil genius plotting to take over the world (or at least the car industry).
The Passion to Do Good
I've gone from a complete skeptic in to a fan. When everything went the way of the pear in Thailand, Musk was one of the first to offer help. Yep, his solution didn't get used in the end, no, his mini evil-genius submarine contraption wasn't perhaps as practical as it could have been, but he was there doing what he could, and offering solutions rather than just offering to pick up the tab.
OK, things may have gone a little wrong later on, with that tweet, but even the most placid of us get pissed when people knock our every effort to do something right for the good of others.
Putting everything aside, you'll always have detractors and fans (I'm sure there's a joke in there somewhere about agricultural show fans ... 'da tractor fans') but I feel that Musk has made more of a legacy than he yet realises.
That's a pretty bold statement, but here's why I think that:
As production of the latest Tesla model rocketed (BFP ... Big Falcon Production), there were issues regarding delivery and on-boarding of new owners - they just couldn't physically keep up with demand, but instead of rolling off the gas and telling people that they'd have to wait, the enlisted the help of other owners to do just that ... on-board new owners.
That in itself is quite staggering, not something that you'd see one of the more traditional companies do, but even going beyond that ... the very fact that hundreds, possibly thousands of owners were willing to do that tells you something ... that they believe in the spirit of Tesla, the 'greater good' and that their cars are just so awesome that they can't wait to give others the same sense of ... awesomeness.