18 September 2018

Tesla, software and disruption

When Nokia people looked at the first iPhone, they saw a not-great phone with some cool features that they were going to build too, being produced at a small fraction of the volumes they were selling. They shrugged. “No 3G, and just look at the camera!”

When many car company people look at a Tesla, they see a not-great car with some cool features that they’re going to build too, being produced at a small fraction of the volumes they’re selling. “Look at the fit and finish, and the panel gaps, and the tent!”

The Nokia people were terribly, terribly wrong. Are the car people wrong? We hear that a Tesla is ‘the new iPhone’ - what would that mean? Tesla, software and disruption

I can’t wrap my head around this at all.

  1. The success of the iPhone is largely because of the Apple eco-system. Without the AppStore, the iPhone would surely not have reached the masses in the same way. So while the iPhone is great, it’s also things like the AppStore (and exclusive apps), Macs, iPads and even how the iPod’s track record that made the iPhone a success. Tesla has none of these things. They have the charging stations, but as far as I’m aware, they are not exclusive to Tesla’s and even for Tesla owners, they don’t offer free (unlimited) charging anymore.

  2. Nokia’s fall was largely due to the fact that they were too late to bet on an operating system - and when they finally placed a bet, they picked the wrong one (Symbian). Had they had the knowledge to create their own iOS years ahead of Apple, who knows where we’d be today? Nearly all other phone makers adopted Android but wanted to put their own version of it on their phones making it a mess for users to use. In fact, this is the problem many non-Apple phones still struggle with.

  3. One of the worst customer experiences I’ve ever had was at a Tesla showroom. Some of the best experiences I’ve had has been in Apple Stores. Now consider that Tesla sells a product for hundreds of thousands of dollars and Apple for a thousand dollars.

  4. What can Tesla do that no other car company can’t copy?