Tesla has long been admired in the technology circles and on Wall Street. Tesla's brash CEO seems to make the impossible, possible guiding the company since 2008, while also running SpaceX which just launched a manned rocket ship to space for the first time in over a decade.
Though considered a Co-Founder, Musk joined Tesla a couple years after it started taking the majority of the Series A investment, quickly leading as the Product Architect and then as CEO in 2008. Elon has lead the company through incredible growth, merger of his other company Solar City, and the release of new car models and increased production, including the Cyber Truck unveiled late last year.
It seems easy to say now, but even 10 years ago it was hard to see a world in which we reduced our dependence on oil. With the lead Tesla has taken, this seems to have become a reality with every major auto manufacturer now investing heavily in electric car production. Though the incumbent car companies may have intentions of shifting to electric, as with any company, shifting from foundational methods, legacy technology, and dependence on oil wont happen over night, which is what has allowed Tesla to have such amazing growth, especially as people stay-in-place due to the COVID19 pandemic.
As Tesla has become the most valuable automobile company in the world, now worth more than Toyota and have done so in just 10 years since going public and from the March 2020 sell off left Tesla stock at 322.16 USD, it has since rocket shipped to new highs closing yesterday, July 1, 2020 at 1,119.63 USD
Product Strategy successes for Tesla
Tesla has gone from niche player for early technologist and fans to market leader for quality, experience, and brand. While the value of Tesla is more than any automaker in the world, Tesla still does not produce at the level's of the incumbent car manufactures. Tesla is a technology company which happens to produce vehicles and have found success in large part to always treating Tesla as a technology company instead of just a traditional car company.
Perhaps the most important juncture for any product, startup, or corporation to pass is product market fit, which means when a product has proven a level of demand where there are substantial buyers of the product and they love the product for its offer.
Let's break down the Product Strategy to how they were able to reach product market fit and reaching the feat of becoming the most valued auto manufacturer in the world.
Innovation is not just a buzzword for Elon Musk and Tesla, as they have completely reinvented the game for selling cars. Pre-Selling, adding over-the-air software updates and features, sleek and elegant design, direct sales, show rooms in malls, and its Supercharge network, just to name a few. Tesla has forced incumbent auto manufactures to follow suit, with most investing in 100% electric cars.
The basic principles of Supply and Demand are supply goes up, demand goes down; demand goes up, supply goes down. Tesla has set the done for demand in the auto market. Just like sneaker lovers line up for days to buy the latest pair of Jordans, Tesla aficionados are waiting at their computer to be the first to click on the Tesla website to reserve their place in line for the privilege of purchasing a Tesla. Within the first day's of a car announcement, there are already several hundred thousand pre-orders all with deposits made. By keeping supply down and quality high, Tesla has build an exclusivity in its brand which leads it to be admired.
Tesla remains Technology First
While there have been electric cars in the past, none came from a technology mindset. Teslas has build the infrastructure, ecosystem, and community around its car brand. Vehicle charging and the speed of charging has long been a problem before Tesla invested in its Supercharge network that spans the entire US. Tesla's technology is not only for cars, but also used in the home via its batteries and its solar panels and roofing shingles.
Community is often the most overlooked and under appreciated aspect of any technology company. Not only has Tesla served is customer base, but by having their launch events, pre-orders, wait list, and great content strategy, they have been able to create community with potential buyers and future buyers.
We'll likely begin to see Tesla licensing its technology to other car and battery manufactures. Tesla cars are simply the niche market to the drive the entire ecosystem, pun intended.
Product for Startups Course at TF Labs
TF Labs works with companies, brands, startups, and founders on product strategy, management and execution. Through this process we have learned there are many entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, and early startup employees, who would greatly benefit from learning product through the lens of a startup.
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