Before I start, let me just ask that instead of sending tweets telling me how wrong I am, and how I'm spreading misinformation about Telsa, understand this: I have nothing against its cars. Really.
The cars are super awesome--they're the fastest, have the longest range, are the most aerodynamic, the best looking, and most innovative electric cars being made. They're also the most successful mass-production electric car ever. Well, except for the part where they don't actually make any money.
But that's hardly the point. The cars are cool. In fact, Tesla is really, really good at designing cool cars. I don't know anyone who would argue otherwise.
But there's something Tesla is even better at than designing its cars: Talking about its cars. I'm serious. Tesla's CEO, Elon Musk, is a master of the strategically designed "press release."
Except Telsa rarely actually puts out a press release. I know this because I get a hundred or so press releases every day in my email inbox and Elon Musk has never sent me a single email (though his fans send me plenty). Instead, he tweets. In fact, most of Tesla's 'press' comes from the many incredible (in all senses) things the company's founder and CEO decides to tweet about on a given day.
Porsche introduces a new all-electric car? There's a tweet for that.
Jeff Bezos talks about Blue Origin launching and landing a rocket? Not technically Tesla, but there's a tweet for that.
Making predictions that run afoul of the SEC? There's more than one tweet for that.
You get my point. But Tesla's Most Successful Release Is--a Tweet, as a headline just doesn't have the same poetry.
Which brings us to the latest example, and a lesson:
The only thing beyond Ludicrous is Plaid-- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 12, 2019
In case it's not clear, Musk is referring to its future "Plaid" powertrain--a three-motor variation of the Model S sedan and Model X SUV that will (in theory) be capable of 0-60 mph in 1.9 seconds--which is probably faster than Jeff Bezos' sub-orbital rocket. Okay, not really, but it's still wicked fast. It's also ridiculous, if you think about it, for a four-door earthbound sedan.
I like fast cars, and a Model S P85D that I drove for about 30 days back in 2013 was probably the quickest car I'll ever drive, but that only hit 60 mph in something like 4 seconds. My neck is still sore from the g-forces. Anything faster than that is just showing off--which I guess is the point.
Actually, it may be the only point.
Tesla is constantly showing off, and I don't mean that necessarily in a bad way. In some ways it's brilliant, if only because the company's competitors can't possibly keep up. Telsa not only made up the rules to this game, it constantly changes them based on its most recent accomplishment. And it hasn't ever played by the ordinary rules you might expect to govern the development and marketing of an automobile.
While Musk has 28 million Twitter followers when I last checked (which was like 40 seconds ago), the real purpose of his tweets isn't to share information, but rather to reinforce the feeling that Tesla's customers have about the brand and its human embodiment.
I think it was Seth Godin who once said that marketing is storytelling and the best stories are exclusive--meaning, they reinforce the connection among those who are a part of the 'tribe.' That's what Tesla is most successful at: creating a feeling about its brand through the way its founder talks.
It's been often said that Steve Jobs had a superpower called a 'reality distortion field,' where Apple's fans automatically loved whatever he talked about just because he talked about it. I'm an Apple fan, and even I have to admit there's a lot of truth to that. Jobs had a way of convincing people to ignore everything they thought they knew about a piece of technology and only hear what he wanted them to hear.
While I reject most of the comparisons made between Musk and Jobs, in this regard I have to admit there is a striking similarity: Musk is absolutely the spiritual heir of the master of the reality distortion field.
It turns out, that may be Tesla's most incredible product release yet.