Tesla’s Success due to “Make it Better” AttitudeFebruary 22nd, 2020
When products are developed, there tends to be a point where most workers will state "Good Enough!".
But not at Tesla. The question is always, "How Can We Do BETTER?".
Technology builds upon itself. In order to improve, most look to the latest superficial customer facing issues. But to really improve, to the point where you have an edge over your competition, you need to go deeper. Right down to the electron.
If you can identify inefficiencies, you can work towards reducing the friction.
If better solutions exists, it does no good to stand by and talk about how it can't be done.
It is definitely not easy to remove core anything. The more that gets built on that core, the more fallout effect there will be.
One example Elon recently gave was how the Tesla batter became a box in a box with modular pack design. Throughout Tesla's process of Roadster development modular pack design was a thing. These decisions are still apparent in the Model 3 even though the requirement for modular packs has vanished long ago.
Another example is how the Model S and X were still battery swappable in 2019 even though this decision predated Super Charger deployment.
The difference with Tesla and what gives them the biggest advantage is their willingness to learn from their mistakes, identify them, engineer solutions to them to reduce friction and make it the best way they possibly can until such time when they identify more inefficiencies.
This makes Tesla impossible to beat. Impossible. If you give a company like this, a head start like a 6 year battery lead, then in 6 years, Tesla is still going to be 6 years ahead (but in reality way further than 6 years). If you copy Tesla where they are right now, and they continue to remove inefficiencies, then your company needs to run things even better than Tesla to beat them.
But this is not where other Automotive is. The truth is, other Automotive companies are built on 100 years of inefficiencies. Worse than that, they will have morale issues. Are employees motivated with stock incentives? Are they happy with seeing their companies payout $4B/year in advertising budgets and $2B/year dividends? How will they feel about Tesla jobs that recently benefited from the stock raising from $300 to $900 tripling their work investment in Tesla? How can other car companies keep the top talent of their hundreds of thousands of employees?
How does one catch a faster runner with a head start?
The short answer is, they probably don't. Unfortunately for other auto companies, Tesla removed too many inefficiencies. To level the playing field today, Big Auto needs to:
- Release compelling products
- Release cost competitive products
- Stop paying dividends
- Stop advertising
- Incentivize employees with stock options
- Secure supply chain
- Have high product margins
- Attract top engineers and other important talent
- Build a solar business
- Build atonomy
- +16 other major advantages found under Benefits Include on this page
There is no catching Tesla. Tesla's death was the last hope for Big Auto. But now Tesla is spreading too fast to eradicate. Love for Tesla is an epidemic.
I do feel sorry for other car companies. I do not wish them harm. I guess all I can say is, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
Mediocre Developer always striving to be better. Learn from others' mistakes, learn by doing, fail fast, maximize productivity, and really think hard about good defaults. Computer developers have the power to add an entire infinite dimension with a single Int (or maybe BigInt). The least we can do with that power is be creative.