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Overview of TMC Connect 2015

slcasner

Active Member
Supporting Member
Feb 20, 2011
1,426
969
Sunnyvale, CA
Tesla just didn't carry their bit. They are, after all, the greatest benefactor here.

I don't understand this comment. As I heard it, Tesla did not contribute money to the conference, only to allow some employees to speak, allow use of the room at HQ (all contents had to be provided by the conference organizers), and provide factory tour slots.

I wish Tesla would contribute more to TMC connect.

EDIT: To clarify, I agree that Tesla didn't do as much as I would expect or hope. That is what my previous sentence says. The part I don't understand is the "greatest benefactor" statement -- Tesla was not much of a benefactor at all, as my first paragraph says.
 
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jbcarioca

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Feb 3, 2015
5,985
37,772
I don't understand this comment. As I heard it, Tesla did not contribute money to the conference, only to allow some employees to speak, allow use of the room at HQ (all contents had to be provided by the conference organizers), and provide factory tour slots.

I wish Tesla would contribute more to TMC connect.
Maybe I could try to explain. Ray Newman came from Australia, some people came from Belgium, Japan, Russia and other faraway places. I came from Brazil. Possibly it was unfair of us to have expected more when we came so far. After all it was our choice. There was really nothing organized to deal with any substantive issues nor did Tesla representatives say anything we had not read in general interest publications.

1. Without disclosing anything confidential it would have been reasonable to expect that charging infrastructure could have been discussed specifically, in particular conflicts in charging infrastructure country by country (Norway vs most of Europe, China national EV policy vs Tesla Superchargers, home charging in Hong Kong, CHAdeMO limitations, etc.). A panel of three non-North America owners was interesting but did little to help us understand the practical future. The presentation from EV Multi-family dwelling perspective was superficial, without context and had no insight whatsoever. Sad.
2. The battery presentation was possibly the best thing for wide audiences because we had a presentation of real world battery life results. Yes, it was all on the website to read, but the presentation was informative and productive.
3. With little support for introductions or context we were all left to our own devices. We either needed to be very extroverted or veterans of these affairs, preferably both. Many of us were neither.
4. A large part of the interest was about how Tesla might support the various clubs. That information was closely-held and not shared, nor was there any active discussion of how Tesla might interact with us as wildly enthusiastic owners and supporters. If any single thing was disappointing it was that. Why not mention Belgium specifically and discuss how the Belgium club is the most successful one of all; many of us would have been very interested. Similarly why cannot TMC use the tesla logo? That should not be a secret, nor should Ricardo have been able to avoid the question.

I do not wish to sound churlish. Putting on this sort of event is a big challenge. However, it would have been quite nice to have had some content.

High point of the event for me: We did silence the absurd display of the Tesla imitating an idling unmuffled Lamborghini.
 

Oba

Member
Jun 7, 2015
234
7
SoCal
Wow, that's quite a luke warm review of the event, particularly considering the costs involved and the talent that was present.

I spent that weekend with Tesla friends talking about Tesla cars, and showing off my new car. Took a nice drive and had a BBQ. With the money I saved, I think I'll venture out to the Giga factory site and see it for myself... from a hill top.
 

Doug_G

Lead Moderator
Global Moderator
Apr 2, 2010
17,884
3,394
Ottawa, Canada
The one part of this year's conference that disappointed me were that a couple of the discussion panels turned into what felt like long commercials. I think at least one ended without any actual discussion (no Q&A or discussion between presenters). I'd hoped for more discussion of the topic at hand or questions from the audience instead of solely covering the background of the speakers.

We asked our presenters to minimize the commercial content. There's a lot you can talk about without doing an infomercial; for the most part that worked out fine. In one session there were a lot of questions from the audience that were of a commercial nature; we're not about to cut those off and say, "You can't answer that."

The morning Energy & Environment panel was a bit of a disaster. I can say that as the moderator! We were behind schedule so the slot was shortened 10 minutes, and then there were technical problems with the projector. That resulted in there being no time left for questions, very unfortunately. You can't stop Murphy's law.

My criticisms are in line with previous posters about the variation of quality in speakers from poor to excellent. in any case I appreciate ALL the speakers for their efforts.

I was the program organizer, so that's on me. We did our best. It is always difficult to assess ahead of time which presenters will do the best job. Some went better than expected... some worse.

I was puzzled by the reception at the Tesla HQ. drive there, drink, get a taco and some ice cream off the truck, drive back to the hotel (into the wrong direction chaos)

Yes, we've had better Tesla receptions in the past, like when we had the Model X prototype and Car of the Year trophy in the room. Food was good, though!

Maybe I could try to explain. Ray Newman came from Australia, some people came from Belgium, Japan, Russia and other faraway places. I came from Brazil. Possibly it was unfair of us to have expected more when we came so far. After all it was our choice. There was really nothing organized to deal with any substantive issues nor did Tesla representatives say anything we had not read in general interest publications.

Tesla calls the shots on their presentations. I think the Production segment was the most informative.

Tom Saxton's battery presentation is always a highlight. I thought the Ashlee Vance / Chelsea Sexton segment was entertaining.

High point of the event for me: We did silence the absurd display of the Tesla imitating an idling unmuffled Lamborghini.

LOL thank you for that!
 

W0QR

Member
Feb 4, 2015
184
64
Lincoln, NE
Well, come on. No videos? Stills? Hot tub videos/stills? What am I saying..
TMC, next year consider a subscription plan for those of us that can't travel and LiveStream it! I'd pop a $50. And mix my own drink.
I think this would have been a great time to test Periscope too.
 
Doug_G is the best (and other Doug and organizers and volunteers too). Awesome event overall.

Yea, I would have appreciated some screening of the quality of presenters, but there are limited resources here and supply of good speakers. As far as the cost of the event, this was fine.

- K
 

Bet TSLA

Active Member
Dec 8, 2014
2,949
12,389
Cupertino, CA
There were two NDA's: one for the Saturday night party at Tesla headquarters, and one for the factory tour. There was no NDA for the Saturday sessions, nor for the Sunday breakfast for that matter.

And yes, there was very little that a regular reader of these forums would not know already. The event was basically a nice opportunity to be social with your fellow Tesla enthusiasts. As such, I thought it was successful. It also afforded an opportunity for a factory tour, which was excellent.

For interesting information, pretty much the only sessions I found valuable were Production VP Josh Ensign talking about what's going on at the Fremont factory and Mark Wimmershoff talking about collision avoidance and emergency braking. But I wasn't at all of them, and I'm sure others found other things valuable. All in all it was about what I expected on that front.

The food was quite good, and they did a great job providing for those with dietary restrictions. They definitely exceeded my expectations on those.
 
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raynewman

Active Member
Oct 11, 2014
1,522
542
Brisbane, Australia
I don't understand this comment. As I heard it, Tesla did not contribute money to the conference, only to allow some employees to speak, allow use of the room at HQ (all contents had to be provided by the conference organizers), and provide factory tour slots.

I wish Tesla would contribute more to TMC connect.

EDIT: To clarify, I agree that Tesla didn't do as much as I would expect or hope. That is what my previous sentence says. The part I don't understand is the "greatest benefactor" statement -- Tesla was not much of a benefactor at all, as my first paragraph says.
Sorry - typo - meant to say beneficiary - then it sort of makes sense.
 

jbcarioca

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Feb 3, 2015
5,985
37,772
My earlier post did not make clear that I understood the biggest benefit to be meeting fellow Tesla fans, with personal interest in meeting a fair number of people with whom I have had lively exchanges on this Forum. That was a success. The factory tour was a plus too because I would not have made the trip only for that, and the tour with fellow owners did have quite nice moments. Particularly for those of us who are long time EV fans, (especially those of us who drove/drive the original California EV's such as the EV1, Honda, Toyota cars) it was delightful to see several of us at TMC Connect. The ~eighteen years since my last EV experience prior to my new Model S were devoid of contact with many serious EV fans. TMC Connect rekindled that fervour.

Thus, while not retracting my earlier comments, I'd still do it again.

In a way the TMC Connect event was similar to the Model S experience. I do adore it, and because of that I want it to be better.

That does not detract from the dedicated effort of all the organisers. Doug and the sadly-absent Bonnie clearly did everything possible with limited resources.

Moral for me: As the TMC membership continues to rise rapidly we need perhaps to fund these events more generously that was formerly possible. Ray Newman did that as did a number of others. The organisers asked for volunteers this time. I, a critic, did not volunteer. Thus I fully recognise my own responsibility to help make the future events more of what i hope them to be. Just as in politics, if you do not like what you have, do something about it. Nobody accused me of that failure, so I thought I should do it myself.
 

arnolddeleon

Member
Supporting Member
Jul 21, 2012
948
1,020
SF Bay Area
As a first time attendee I was impressed by the quality of the organization (particularly as a volunteer effort). Thank you to the folks that made it happen.

Given that Tesla is not going to make any "news" at these kind of events that best we can hope for is some color to things that are already known. I think Ricardo was just getting into things but schedule constraints cut things off. I really enjoyed hearing Marc talk about some of the challenges and approaches they have used in working on the driver assistance software (e.g. having two version of the software loaded with the version in test shadowing the released version and sending data back). Those are the kind of stories that I hoped to hear. Josh had stories about the insane schedules. The audience might know the basic of the story but a good speaker will take you into in the experience. Ashlee's chat gave us that kind of insight into the process of creating his book.

I also generally was happy with the non-Tesla speakers. "Dr. EVS" was particularly entertaining.

The lunch table topics is great idea. Having a buffet was somewhat in conflict with it but it's hard to imagine what else could have been done (table service was probably not an option) given what I assume was a tight budget.

Holy cow that factory tour went by fast. I don't know if that is their standard tour now but it was overwhelming and I knew and was expecting a lot of the stuff already (a had a tour a couple of years ago).

FWIW, I'm long time reader of this forum, a long time EV driver (drove a 2002 RAV4-EV for over 120,000 miles). We currently have a 2011 Nissan LEAF and 2012 Toyota RAV4-EV (the closest thing I could manage to a Tesla for now).

arnold
 

brianman

Burrito Founder
Nov 10, 2011
17,615
3,217
I think the Production segment was the most informative.
Completely agree. I wish we had another hour of Q&A for him.

- - - Updated - - -

Hot tub videos/stills?
IIRC all attendees in 2013 of the hut tub gathering said no to "media". For 2014, we were hot tub challenged (by the venue). For 2015, we carried on the 2013 tradition.

- - - Updated - - -

3. With little support for introductions or context we were all left to our own devices. We either needed to be very extroverted or veterans of these affairs, preferably both. Many of us were neither.
That's a good point. Next year a bit of a formal meet/greet would probably be a good idea.
I'd still do it again.
Excellent. I hope to see you next year.
 

ggies07

Active Member
Nov 8, 2012
3,965
8,298
DFW
Not sure if this short vid has been posted, but here is the Chelsea Sexton Interview. I found it on youtube from another video I was watching and it was nice to see since I wasn't able to go.

 
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gg_got_a_tesla

Model S: VIN 65513, Model 3: VIN 1913
Jan 29, 2010
6,534
788
Redwood Shores, CA
Thanks for sharing. This isn't the Chelsea Sexton - Ashlee Vance Q&A at the conference itself but, something that Nick Howe had shot on the sidelines.

Chelsea is a very pleasant person to talk to - had a chance to chat her up at Teslive 2013 - and her passion for the EV movement is contagious.
 

rolosrevenge

Dr. EVS
Feb 7, 2009
1,864
139
Saturday Presentations
There was a nice mix of official Tesla and TMC presenters. Ricardo Reyes kicked things off and discussed Tesla communications. Nice guy, thoughtful, gave us some Elon insight through his stories. He got peppered with some tougher questions than I'd imagined, not that he shouldn't have to field those, just that some seemed very specific to a personal situation. No vegan interior questions though. Perhaps him with a moderator might have worked better - so it didn't jump around so much in Q&A.

The panel of Tesla Engineers was great - we heard each one for about 15 minutes talk about Tesla Energy, the Fremont Factory production and Autonomous Driving. My takeaway - Tesla energy is off to the races; the Fremont factory is poised to be able to handle a quantum leap in production both in the next two months (Model X) and the next two years (Model 3); and autonomous driving is really hard - but most importantly, this is a company hell-bent on changing the world. I think there's a lot going on we don't know about - there will always be a few cards taped under the table...

Obviously since there were dual tracks of TMC members speaking at the same time in the afternoon, I couldn't see all of them. Plus, I gave a talk as well so that sort of wiped me out a bit from looking in on the other. I think Tom's presentation on battery characteristics/degradation was helpful, if only to make us all feel better that the packs are delivering more than what Tesla had originally represented.

The final keynote had Chelsea Sexton asking and fielding questions for Ashlee Vance. I loved this section, Ashlee got a view into the world of Elon Musk that is really unique and his statement that Elon was the most intense person he had ever met - accepting there's both good and bad that goes with that - was really powerful to hear in person.

...

Cheers,

cattledog

No mention of the panel I was in? I was so forgettable? :crying:

- - - Updated - - -

I also generally was happy with the non-Tesla speakers. "Dr. EVS" was particularly entertaining.

I have a fan! :love:
 

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