Have You Ordered Your Tesla?

Linda LaitalaBusiness, Marketing, SalesLeave a Comment

The Quartz Daily Brief (www.qz.com) is one of the first things I read every morning!
This article by Steve LeVine made me think about visionaries, the people who draw us into their dreams and make us believe the impossible is possible.    ====
In 1952, Wernher von Braun, the Nazi inventor of the V-2 rocket, wrote a famous article that, with astonishing prescience, foresaw the reach for space. He called the creation of a space station “as inevitable as the rising of the sun.” Von Braun went on to oversee the invention of the American Saturn V rocket, which took the US to the Moon.
In a way, von Braun was a loose forerunner of our own age’s new hybrid entrepreneur: grand showmen—really technological propagandists—who lay out a fantastical future, then go on to make it happen. These are no mere Silicon Valley cellphone designer-engineers. Rather, like von Braun, they are thinkers with a larger purpose and often an interest in rocketry, like Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and of course, Elon Musk. The Tesla and SpaceX founder’s “reality-distortion field” eclipses even that of Steve Jobs, whose company, Apple, celebrated its 40th anniversary this week.
Musk polarizes opinion—is he a grounded entrepreneur? A conman? Perhaps an unhinged nut? But much of the sniping has fallen away as he has produced much-admired electric cars.
Still, the jury remained out until this week’s unveiling of the Tesla Model 3, Musk’s make-or-break, $35,000 model. Musk said it would bring electrics to the masses; detractors said neither the technology nor the market was there yet.
But now the market has spoken. In less than 24 hours,about 200,000 motorists around the world plonked down $1,000 each to reserve a Model 3, sight unseen, at least 18 months and possibly three years before delivery. If completed, those orders will be worth over $8 billion. True, those deposits are refundable; but in effect, Musk has made every Tesla customer a venture capitalist, a triumph that is partly technological, but partly one of extraordinary marketing. Even Jobs might have been jealous.—Steve LeVine
Steve LeVine is Quartz’s Washington Correspondent. He writes about the intersection of energy, technology and geopolitics. He is a Future Tense Fellow at the New America Foundation and an adjunct professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University. His newest book, The Powerhouse, will be published in February by Viking. It tracks the geopolitics of lithium-ion batteries.Success has a price – and this 60 Minutes interviewtakes a look at the highs and the lows of Elon Musk, man who created Tesla and SpaceX.

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