Last week, Consumer Reports pulled their recommendation of Tesla's Model S, Elon Musk's electric car. Once touted as the best-performing car they ever tested, now it has a "worse-than-average" reliability rating. Actually this might not be that big of a blow to Tesla, yet. Typical Model S customers are folks who own two, three or more cars. The Model S is a novelty. If it doesn't work, they have something else to drive.
But Tesla is making a huge bet that their upcoming Model 3 will strike it big in the mainstream market with a price target of $35,000. That's a market where drivers often rely on a single car as their sole means of transport. One that would be less forgiving of reliability problems. If Tesla can't get it right now, can they satisfy an even more demanding crowd? Tesla's stock dropped 7%.
In 2004 at Burning Man, a yearly gathering in the Nevada desert, someone erected a 30 foot wooden pole with a dancing platform on top. Dozens of people failed to climb the pole. And then there's another who gives it his try. He doesn't look like someone who could climb it. And as he's trying, suspicions are confirmed. He's terrible and looks like he's about to fail. He hugs the pole the whole time as he squirms and inches his way up. With sheer determination he reaches the top of that platform. Who was he? Elon Musk.
That's one of many stories you can read in Elon Musk's recent biography from Ashlee Vance. And if you read some of these stories, like how he battled through getting fired from Paypal or survived a close-to-death case of malaria, you might come to the conclusion that it's his perseverance that will help him see Tesla out of this current predicament. But you'd be missing a key ingredient that makes Elon who he is.Continued…