What Can You Learn from Elon Musk’s Launch of the New Tesla?


Elon Musk had a good and a bad day last week. He launched the new Tesla model x – a fully electric SUV! That is an amazing accomplishment and he and his team should be congratulated. The car is nothing short of great engineering.

It’s simply gorgeous to look at, is well thought out for its target customer (families with children) and has a futuristic feel.

It wasn’t all good according to an article in Venturebeat.com

First, the actual physical launch should be rehearsed until it’s second nature.

This article bemoans the ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ of Elon Musk and maybe unfairly compares him to Steve Jobs, who was a rehearsal fiend. Another mistake the article points out is that Musk kept his audience waiting. Some wait time is to be expected, but two hours could be seen as extreme and can produce a less than receptive audience, no matter how amazing your product. So don’t keep them waiting!

Entrepreneur Lesson: Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

The next lesson is to start with the whiz-bang – the exciting news – if you sell a sexy product, then show that first. If it’s innovative in it’s design as the Tesla is, show how; focus on the expectation and blow it out of the water. Then add in the safety, the filtering systems, etc. the ‘unsexy’ but important things. Because the target audience is families, it is understandable why Musk touted the extreme safety of the vehicle, but maybe it shouldn’t have been first for this audience.

Entrepreneur Lesson: As an entrepreneur you are a storyteller and the outcome you are looking for is influence.

The reviews we saw for the Tesla model x were raving – from its Falcon-Wing Doors, large windshield, to the self opening drivers seat, to middle seats that make accessing the furthermost seats easy, even with child seats in the way (the vehicle seats 7 adults). Plus it can tow a trailer and stash luggage in the rear trunk AND the front trunk. And besides all this utility, it really is a beautiful looking vehicle.

The final lesson came after the launch; get your pricing right. The price tag on the Tesla model x is $132,000. Analysts believe it is priced $15 – $20,000 over expectation. While the company states it will have models below the $132,000, it is really not expected this year. What’s bad about that is that it resulted in an announcement by Morgan Stanley that they cut their price targets on the company’s shares from $465 to $420. Ouch.

Entrepreneur Lesson: Get industry and financial analyst input prior to your launch; they are your industry’s experts.

No launch goes perfectly, but you can minimize the negative effects by rehearsing the spokesperson and the team and being ready well in advance of the press conference launch. Start with the Whiz Bang, grab their attention and never let it go – when your audience is overwhelmed by WOW, it’s a good thing.

And test your pricing; making sure the new launch raises your company’s share value instead of lowering it.

We have no doubt a man with such vision as Elon Musk will take all this in stride and come back and wow us even more. We can’t wait!

What did you think of the launch? What would you do differently?