#elon musk

Elon Musk on the ruling that you cannot buy a car directly from a manufacturer in the state of New Jersey:

It is worth examining the history of these laws to understand why they exist, as the auto dealer franchise laws were originally put in place for a just cause and are now being twisted to an unjust purpose. Many decades ago, the incumbent auto manufacturers sold franchises to generate capital and gain a salesforce. The franchisees then further invested a lot of their money and time in building up the dealerships. That’s a fair deal and it should not be broken. However, some of the big auto companies later engaged in pressure tactics to get the franchisees to sell their dealerships back at a low price. The franchisees rightly sought protection from their state legislatures, which resulted in the laws on the books today throughout the United States (these laws are not present anywhere else in the world).

The intent was simply to prevent a fair and longstanding deal between an existing auto company and its dealers from being broken, not to prevent a new company that has no franchisees from selling directly to consumers. In most states, the laws are reasonable and clear. In a handful of states, the laws were written in an overzealous or ambiguous manner. When all auto companies sold through franchises, this didn’t really matter. However, when Tesla came along as a new company with no existing franchisees, the auto dealers, who possess vastly more resources and influence than Tesla, nonetheless sought to force us to sell through them.

The reason that we did not choose to do this is that the auto dealers have a fundamental conflict of interest between promoting gasoline cars, which constitute virtually all of their revenue, and electric cars, which constitute virtually none. Moreover, it is much harder to sell a new technology car from a new company when people are so used to the old. Inevitably, they revert to selling what’s easy and it is game over for the new company.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: an outdated law being twisted to impede progress and maintain the status quo. Even better:

An even bigger conflict of interest with auto dealers is that they make most of their profit from service, but electric cars require much less service than gasoline cars. There are no oil, spark plug or fuel filter changes, no tune-ups and no smog checks needed for an electric car. Also, all Tesla Model S vehicles are capable of over-the-air updates to upgrade the software, just like your phone or computer, so no visit to the service center is required for that either.

This is so clearly the future of the automotive industry, so this is ultimately just delaying the inevitable. But consumers have every right to be outraged and New Jersey should be ashamed of itself.

Dolly Singh (the former Head of Talent Acquisition at SpaceX) on Elon Musk rallying the troops after a problematic launch:

I think most of us would have followed him into the gates of hell carrying suntan oil after that.  It was the most impressive display of leadership that I have ever witnessed.  Within moments the energy of the building went from despair and defeat to a massive buzz of determination as people began to focus on moving forward instead of looking back. This shift happened collectively, across all 300+ people in a matter of not more than 5 seconds. I wish I had video footage as I would love to analyze the shifts in body language that occurred over those 5 seconds. It was an unbelievably powerful experience. 

Musk gets a lot of credit for being a visionary (and rightfully so, of course), but his leadership in getting incredible people to do incredible things may end up being just as important a trait.

Ashlee Vance spoke to Musk about his Hyperloop idea:

As for safety? Musk has heard of it. “There’s an emergency brake,” he says. “Generally, though, the safe distance between the pods would be about 5 miles, so you could have about 70 pods between Los Angeles and San Francisco that leave every 30 seconds. It’s like getting a ride on Space Mountain at Disneyland.” Musk imagines that riding on the Hyperloop would be quite pleasant. “It would have less lateral acceleration—which is what tends to make people feel motion sick—than a subway ride, as the pod banks against the tube like an airplane,” he says. “Unlike an airplane, it is not subject to turbulence, so there are no sudden movements. It would feel supersmooth.”

The hot thing amongst pundits at the moment seems to be to snark this to no end and mention it in the same breath as things like the Segway. But I unequivocally love everything about this. I want to live in a world where this exists. I really hope someone builds it.