Is Elon Musk the next Steve Jobs?
Judging by the Tesla founder's Twitter feed, Musk is clearly trying to replicate the masterful way Jobs stoked the public's anticipation for Apple devices by hinting at upcoming Tesla product launches.
Major new Tesla product line -- not a car -- will be unveiled at our Hawthorne Design Studio on Thurs 8pm, April 30-; Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 30, 2015
So what will Tesla be unveiling on Thursday night? After Musk's initial tweet, a company spokesperson shared the fact that it will be releasing details on Tesla's batteries built for home use, and a "utility scale" battery. The products should be among the first to come out of Tesla's manufacturing plant known as the Gigafactory, and could have a major impact on both the clean energy sector and utility companies.
One reason Musk's tweets about Tesla's new batteries feel so distinctly Apple-esque is that, aside from Steve Jobs, few innovators have had the cult following necessary to generate public interest by leaking out product information.
"Despite Tesla and Apple's showmanship here, I can't think of many tech companies who do teasers like this," says Pepin Gelardi, a partner at New York City-based product design company Tomorrow Lab. "This is a very cinematic approach."
Indeed, Steve Jobs's original strategy when it came to teasing out information about Apple had a lot in common with the way movie studios release movie trailers.
"It's a very fine line between giving away too much information before it's out and just enough," says Dana Loberg, co-founder of movie marketing startup MovieLaLa. "A lot of times people complain that the trailer shows too much and they don't want to go to the movie."
While Steve Jobs had no trouble straddling this line for all of Apple's product announcements, another thing that made him great from a marketing and PR perspective is how he aligned himself with his company, according to Loberg.
"Hardcore Apple fans are really hardcore Steve Jobs fans," she says. "Everyone relates to his story and ups and downs, and Elon is very similar."
So has Musk successfully positioned himself as the voice of Tesla the same way Jobs did with Apple?
"He really has become his products," Loberg says. "He does a great job of teasing it all out."