Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

Articles/megaposts by DaveT

Status
Not open for further replies.

TSLA_Hopeful

Member
Feb 21, 2014
278
1,800
Chicago
Hey Dave, in this time of internal reflection, one of the things I miss most is a Hangout. Would you be interested in hosting one this weekend? Or host a call after the Q1 numbers come out. I know I would be interested, as well as many others I am sure. And I think we could all use each other's opinions and feedback.
 
Last edited:

DaveT

Searcher of green pastures
Nov 15, 2012
3,494
10,495
Texas
Is Tesla losing control of their narrative?

Delaying, delaying and delaying production goals hurts credibility.

Constantly saying you're in production hell doesn't give confidence to the public about your ability to be execute.

Excuses don't matter after the first couple.

Now, even my landscaper tells me how much Tesla is struggling with production... and quality. Because to him if you struggle with production it means quality is poor.

Person in the parking lot looks at my Model 3 and says, "Is that a Model 3?" Yeah I answer. He says, "I hear they're having a lot of problems making those" with a very concerned look.

When you tell people you have a ton of problems making something and you give a lot of excuses and delays, this doesn't communicate competence. This is what a cargo bike company that my wife purchased a cargo bike from did before it went bankrupt and took my wife's money recently. I'm not saying Tesla is going bankrupt. No, I think they have a bright future. But, what am I saying is it appears Tesla is struggling with controlling the narrative around Model 3 production.

Sure, we can blame dishonest media, etc. But I'm not sure if that's the core problem.

I think Tesla could have and should be managing their narrative better.

Some suggestions:

1. Tesla should keep the weekly run rate stats for themselves internally and not use them for guidance. It's too vague and also imprecise to be used for guidance since weekly run rates can change and could be burst run rate to end the quarter.
2. Instead, Tesla should just say how many cars they will produce and deliver in the next quarter and make the guidance very conservative, so that they know they can beat their own guidance. And then on the next earnings call, they should give guidance for the next quarter in terms of production and deliveries. Since earnings calls are usually over a month into the quarter, Tesla should have some decent foresight by then.
3. Tesla should give guidance on how many Model 3s they will deliver in 2018, and they should make that guidance conservative.
4. Tesla needs to take control of the Model 3 production narrative and start communicating a lot of more optimism. Start talking about how well the production line is going. How well the cars are being received by new owners. Highlight mass shipments of cars going out. There should be a flood of good news going out. That's how you control the narrative. Tesla is already ramping production and has gone through the bulk of the ramp challenge, but the public doesn't know Tesla is close to a defining tipping point in their history by going profitable soon. Tesla needs to take ownership of this narrative and share it more. Tesla is relying too much on assuming people will give them the benefit of the doubt. In this modern world, it's more about what people constantly see and hear. And with Tesla not talking too much, they've given over power of the narrative to whoever chooses to write about it and whoever feels strongest about it... and at this point, it's a lot of bears and pundits. But if Tesla was to take control of the narrative themselves and share more, people will listen. And the word will get out... "Tesla is doing awesome and is on a roll!".
5. There are some on this forum that think volunteers should be writing comments and defending Tesla on media outlets more. I'm not against that. But I think that's largely Tesla's role, that is to control their own narrative.
6. So how does Tesla communicate anyway? Mostly Elon tweets. And his tweets are erratic, at best. Yes, I like him tweeting but his tweets are all over the place... candy company? Tesla needs a better and more comprehensive strategy to communicate with the world. (Note: I don't want to discount the other channels Tesla uses to communicate like their email newsletters, @tesla twitter, PR, shareholder letters, etc. But I think if judging on effectiveness, Tesla needs an overhauled approach.)
7. Lastly, if Tesla takes control of their own narrative and communicates effectively how awesome they are doing and how awesome production of Model 3 is going and how awesome a car the Model 3 is, then you'll see media outlets all turn around (at least most of them). Because they are easily influenced. Problem right now is there's a lack of leadership from Tesla in terms of communicating, and thus others are filling that void.

It's time to step up, Tesla.
 
Last edited:

schonelucht

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2014
5,080
8,770
Nederland
Agree 100%. Only issue for 2&3 is : that ship has sailed. Giving conservative quarterly guidance now inevitably will be seen as yet another failure. They’ll just have to thoughen that self inflicted wound out. Getting positive consumer stories out is an absolute must. I remember a time where Tesla had a blog with user stories on it. So effective.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 9837264723849

kbM3

Active Member
May 22, 2017
1,907
9,925
Orlando
Disagree.

Impossible public goals are a key part of Elon’s success.

More and more research is backing this up.

People are not inspired by long term. Give them unbelievable deadlines and they become more inspired and pull off things they never imagined they can do.
 

kbM3

Active Member
May 22, 2017
1,907
9,925
Orlando
Is Tesla losing control of their narrative?

Delaying, delaying and delaying production goals hurts credibility.

Constantly saying you're in production hell doesn't give confidence to the public about your ability to be execute.

Excuses don't matter after the first couple.

Now, even my landscaper tells me how much Tesla is struggling with production... and quality. Because to him if you struggle with production it means quality is poor.

Person in the parking lot looks at my Model 3 and says, "Is that a Model 3?" Yeah I answer. He says, "I hear they're having a lot of problems making those" with a very concerned look.

When you tell people you have a ton of problems making something and you give a lot of excuses and delays, this doesn't communicate competence. This is what a cargo bike company that my wife purchased a cargo bike from did before it went bankrupt and took my wife's money recently. I'm not saying Tesla is going bankrupt. No, I think they have a bright future. But, what am I saying is it appears Tesla is struggling with controlling the narrative around Model 3 production.

Sure, we can blame dishonest media, etc. But I'm not sure if that's the core problem.

I think Tesla could have and should be managing their narrative better.

Some suggestions:

1. Tesla should keep the weekly run rate stats for themselves internally and not use them for guidance. It's too vague and also imprecise to be used for guidance since weekly run rates can change and could be burst run rate to end the quarter.
2. Instead, Tesla should just say how many cars they will produce and deliver in the next quarter and make the guidance very conservative, so that they know they can beat their own guidance. And then on the next earnings call, they should give guidance for the next quarter in terms of production and deliveries. Since earnings calls are usually over a month into the quarter, Tesla should have some decent foresight by then.
3. Tesla should give guidance on how many Model 3s they will deliver in 2018, and they should make that guidance conservative.
4. Tesla needs to take control of the Model 3 production narrative and start communicating a lot of more optimism. Start talking about how well the production line is going. How well the cars are being received by new owners. Highlight mass shipments of cars going out. There should be a flood of good news going out. That's how you control the narrative. Tesla is already ramping production and has gone through the bulk of the ramp challenge, but the public doesn't know Tesla is close to a defining tipping point in their history by going profitable soon. Tesla needs to take ownership of this narrative and share it more. Tesla is relying too much on assuming people will give them the benefit of the doubt. In this modern world, it's more about what people constantly see and hear. And with Tesla not talking too much, they've given over power of the narrative to whoever chooses to write about it and whoever feels strongest about it... and at this point, it's a lot of bears and pundits. But if Tesla was to take control of the narrative themselves and share more, people will listen. And the word will get out... "Tesla is doing awesome and is on a roll!".
5. There are some on this forum that think volunteers should be writing comments and defending Tesla on media outlets more. I'm not against that. But I think that's largely Tesla's role, that is to control their own narrative.
6. So how does Tesla communicate anyway? Mostly Elon tweets. And his tweets are erratic, at best. Yes, I like him tweeting but his tweets are all over the place... candy company? Tesla needs a better and more comprehensive strategy to communicate with the world. (Note: I don't want to discount the other channels Tesla uses to communicate like their email newsletters, @tesla twitter, PR, shareholder letters, etc. But I think if judging on effectiveness, Tesla needs an overhauled approach.)
7. Lastly, if Tesla takes control of their own narrative and communicates effectively how awesome they are doing and how awesome production of Model 3 is going and how awesome a car the Model 3 is, then you'll see media outlets all turn around (at least most of them). Because they are easily influenced. Problem right now is there's a lack of leadership from Tesla in terms of communicating, and thus others are filling that void.

It's time to step up, Tesla.
The real problem is not the negative press about production delays. That is fair.

They problem is the press accentuating the accidents, panel gaps, likelihood of Tesla going bankrupt.

The press is trying to hammer home:

1). Teslas are unsafe.
2) Teslas are low quality.
 
  • Like
Reactions: mrdoubleb and JRP3

Singer3000

Member
Apr 26, 2018
756
5,134
Singapore
Disagree.

Impossible public goals are a key part of Elon’s success.

More and more research is backing this up.

People are not inspired by long term. Give them unbelievable deadlines and they become more inspired and pull off things they never imagined they can do.

Maybe this is true. But take the recent braking issue... within 24 hours of the CR piece, Tesla were able to agree with their findings and promised a fix within days. Which means with more care prior to release they’d have caught it themselves.

Seems to me that the unbelievable deadlines must have at least played a part in this, at some unquantifiable cost to the brand. It’s an easy win for those out to do kill Tesla. At least they’ve learnt the lesson by pushing Model Y out a bit.
 

hpartsch

Member
Aug 6, 2014
626
437
wa
Maybe this is true. But take the recent braking issue... within 24 hours of the CR piece, Tesla were able to agree with their findings and promised a fix within days. Which means with more care prior to release they’d have caught it themselves.

Seems to me that the unbelievable deadlines must have at least played a part in this, at some unquantifiable cost to the brand. It’s an easy win for those out to do kill Tesla. At least they’ve learnt the lesson by pushing Model Y out a bit.

Wait until the press and more customers experience the part delays and lack of information (tracking numbers) when their car gets in an accident. This is only going to get worse.... The issues and experiences I'm having are mind blowing and I'm a pretty level headed patient guy. I wish Tesla the best of luck -- but the part situation has to drastically improve for them to succeed. A beating will come from the general pubic and media in regards to how they ship and deal with parts. Not everyone has USAA which will provide a long term car rental...I wish Tesla the best of luck. I still believe they will succeed -- but it's likely going to be a very bumpy ride.
 

Waiting4M3

Active Member
Apr 13, 2016
3,328
12,066
San Jose, California
Wait until the press and more customers experience the part delays and lack of information (tracking numbers) when their car gets in an accident. This is only going to get worse.... The issues and experiences I'm having are mind blowing and I'm a pretty level headed patient guy. I wish Tesla the best of luck -- but the part situation has to drastically improve for them to succeed. A beating will come from the general pubic and media in regards to how they ship and deal with parts. Not everyone has USAA which will provide a long term car rental...I wish Tesla the best of luck. I still believe they will succeed -- but it's likely going to be a very bumpy ride.
I agree with the 1st part, lets wait and see if Tesla has learned from MS/X, before crucifying them. I disagree with that part the this will only get worse. M3, with >3X higher volume than MS/X and fewer configurations, should probably be easier in terms to ordering spare parts.
 

hpartsch

Member
Aug 6, 2014
626
437
wa
I agree with the 1st part, lets wait and see if Tesla has learned from MS/X, before crucifying them. I disagree with that part the this will only get worse. M3, with >3X higher volume than MS/X and fewer configurations, should probably be easier in terms to ordering spare parts.

From my experience, I'm not sure it's all about the parts availability but more of the warehousing, shipping procedures, tracking, and lack of communication/connection between parts, shipping, the body shop team, and the body shop. I'm not going to go into details about this process but let's just say I don't think this process and the problems I've seen will be resolved for Model 3 customers.
 
  • Love
Reactions: neroden

Ovulation

Member
Oct 27, 2016
350
1,078
Italy
Disagree.

Impossible public goals are a key part of Elon’s success.

More and more research is backing this up.

People are not inspired by long term. Give them unbelievable deadlines and they become more inspired and pull off things they never imagined they can do.

The problem with that idea, of course, is that it's very hard to verify how much putting out difficult goals ads to faster execution

To Dave's criticism of Tesla's communication. I don't know how much harm is done by negative press coverage, I mean VW was hammered very hard by the media after the Diesel-Scandal and still they sell more cars than ever, I don't know how accurate the notation is "there is no such thing as bad publicity" but I suspect the coverage Tesla get's is not very harmful, It's of course annoying. But with so much shorting and the incentive that comes with it to bring as much FUD out as possible it's hard to imagine that the stock will get less controversial with a more conservative communication approach, In other words, I'm not convinced that a different communication approach would be better, If something brings clicks and Tesla does, the media gives a flying **** about ethical reporting, think of Trump, he said in the campaign one audacious thing after another and the fringe contender got more and more free coverage.
 
  • Like
Reactions: neroden and kbM3

GoTslaGo

Learning Member
Dec 25, 2015
3,063
4,712
US
Are you proposing Tesla should Advertise?

Most, pretty much all companies control the narrative by advertising. Look at the recent mea culpa type ads by Uber.

Is your suggestion that they should advertise?

Otherwise, how else can they control the narrative. Tweets from Tesla brand (not Elon)?

That being said, the two newest board members are in media...
 

jeewee3000

Active Member
Sep 1, 2015
1,077
5,852
Belgium
Tesla doesn't bother to control their narrative much right now, because they don't care about the stock price in the near future (given they don't want to raise capital this year).

In the past there have been times a cap raise was brewing behind the scenes, and Tesla did control the narrative to bump up the stock.

I personally don't mind longer term stock price weakness (i.e. staying below 300$ for now) because then the stock will pop with much more vigor on the next good news rally.

Also, the way Elon communicates (Tweetstorms) is just part of his character, so I accepted long ago that'll never change. Although I too am not very happy about frivolous things like "I'm gonna make candy just to confront Warren Buffet". Those efforts could be spent elsewhere, but hey, it's who Elon is and without him at the reigns of Tesla I wouldn't even be an investor.
 

renim

Active Member
Apr 6, 2013
1,801
2,255
Oz
I don't think Tesla can be conservative in statements and not expect suppliers to be conservative in supply ramp.

a rule of project engineering, delays are cumulative & conservative forecasts are self fulfilling.

unless Tesla upfront pays suppliers, a supplier, somewhere will take the conservative forecast as optimistic anyway.
 

kbM3

Active Member
May 22, 2017
1,907
9,925
Orlando
Maybe this is true. But take the recent braking issue... within 24 hours of the CR piece, Tesla were able to agree with their findings and promised a fix within days. Which means with more care prior to release they’d have caught it themselves.

Seems to me that the unbelievable deadlines must have at least played a part in this, at some unquantifiable cost to the brand. It’s an easy win for those out to do kill Tesla. At least they’ve learnt the lesson by pushing Model Y out a bit.

No doubt the ABS software problem shows Tesla quality control was inadequate in this instance. I agree there are definite downsides to the impossible deadlines. But Elon has been doing this forever. I'm pretty sure he really knows what he's doing and has determined that the positives outweigh the negatives.

I'm sure there will be lots of lessons learned, but I think they will stay with the impossible deadlines and just come closer with fewer mistakes on future ramps.

I believe another Elon quote is "If you're not failing, you're not innovating quickly enough."
 
  • Like
Reactions: neroden

SPadival

Active Member
May 7, 2016
1,013
9,306
Texas Terafactory
Disagree. Because you have seen this movie before (I was not even there). Tesla cars catching fire etc. etc. In the end, reality trumps media created perception.

It sounds worse this time round because it is intense. I think media is actually losing the narrative - Sure, their viewership numbers look large, but the click-bait headlines is a dead giveaway that media is actually piggybacking on Elon's popularity for survival and get those ad $$s.

Half a million people voted on Elon's online twitter poll. I repeat that. Half a million in less than a day.

Elon Musk on Twitter
 

aubreymcfato

Supporting Member
Sep 16, 2016
1,147
8,955
Italy
Sometimes I think that Elon wants to disrupts just too many things at the same time, like
transport, rocket, energy, tunneling, AI... but also how to be a CEO, how to sell/distribute/advertise, shareholder communication, crowdfunding, etc.
It's exactly what makes him great, but it's also the source of many errors, misteps, mistakes.
At the moment, I think the net gain is positive: Elon does what Elon wants.
But I sometimes hope there was someone capable of challenging is ideas... I guess JB and Shotwell are the only ones that comes to mind, but just related to their specific domains.
 
Nov 18, 2017
253
1,264
EU
Is Tesla losing control of their narrative?
It's time to step up, Tesla.

Best post I've read on this board in a long time. I sincerely hope it'll somehow find it's way to TSLA/EM.

Sidenote: Isn't it funny how it's always the same 5-10 people "disagree"-ing with critical posts?
 
  • Disagree
Reactions: MitchJi
Nov 18, 2017
253
1,264
EU
But only 3 people disagreed.

What if I told you my observation isn't solely based on this particular post, but rather on a range of postings from different authors on widely different topics?

Although, credit where credit is due: Those three individuals in question undoubtedly are the spearhead of those "critical minds".
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top