By competing on service, style, and the dependability of its vehicles, [Tesla] can sell a lot of cars while also letting rivals use its core technology. But to be a great tech company, it’s no longer enough to just make great products. You’ve also got to let others build stuff on top of your technology—you’ve got to build a platform.
-Farhad Manjoo, Slate Magazine
I don’t agree with everything stated in the article, including the idea that Apple is only a product company (or even the idea that Google is solely a services company), but I do agree with the fact that the Tesla is doing things that are innovative in a space in which I am (and you should be) thoroughly invested. I believe electric cars to be the way of the future and that transition will not occur as fluidly if the infrastructure necessary to support drivers is not in place. Tesla is helping forge the way to building that infrastructure, and creating its own advantages because of it.
Therefore, instead of “a little bit of company x”, I would say exactly what I quoted above: Tesla is building a platform for the empowerment of the many, while keeping in mind that its investment in the future will provide a clear advantage to the technologies they personally have created. In that way, Tesla is forging ahead exactly as Apple and Google have, not simply a little bit of one or the other.
Posted: June 6, 2013
In 2022, I am participating in two leadership training programs. This should be a social experience, so I am writing about it. Check out the full list of posts in the series here.