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This is why Tesla always overpromises and underdelivers

mspohr

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
10,999
14,103
California
Interesting insight in BI today:
So why does Tesla do this: overpromise and underdeliver?

Because, at this point in the company's history, there's nothing to be gained from underpromising and overdelivering.

Don't get me wrong, Tesla has wildly overdelivered on the product side. It's cars are widely considered, by owners, observers, and the motoring media, to be incredible.

But on the business side, the story has generally been one of missed targets and delayed launches. The Model X, spectacular though it may be, was two years late. There's certainly no guarantee that Tesla next vehicle, the mass-market Model 3, slated to arrive in 2017, will be different. In fact, a betting man might prepare himself for 2018 or 2019.

Ultimately, Tesla is a company constructed out of a vision: change the world. Replace fossil-fuel-powered transportation with clean vehicles. You might be skeptical about this, but trust me — this is what Musk believes. This is what drives him, far more than money. (He's already spent a fortune once and would be happy to do it again.)

Job One at Tesla is to nurture and perpetuate that vision. Musk doesn't want Tesla to grow up to be Ferrari — he wants it to displace the Toyotas and GMs of the world, or at least compel them to join him in transforming the way we get around.

Tesla is a completely different story. You don't change the world without expressing ambitious stretch goals. Ultimately, you don't have much of a story without ambitious stretch goals. So Musk really has no choice but to overpromise, knowing that underdelivering is probable.
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I found this insight profound... I think we can all relax now that we understand. Tesla will overpromise and underdeliver (on production, not product). We may gripe but we love it.
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Why Tesla always overpromises and underdelivers - Business Insider
 

CHG-ON

Still in love after all these miles
It is that vision that will make Tesla successful. Remember that Bill Gates' vision was to have Microsoft on every desktop in the world. Look what happened. And he was just as prickly. And doubted at first. It'll be much harder for Tesla because MST didn't have the entrenched competition that Tesla has. I believe that they will succeed.
 
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Musk knows his teams can't make the deadlines. He doesn't believe in realistic deadlines, he believes in impossible ones.

Why? Because he knows that the team will stretch itself no matter how impossible the goal. In reaching for the impossible time line, they will far surpass the competition working on "realistic time lines".

Look at the unbelievable pace that SpaceX is on. Branson, Bezos and others all stated they would be in space by now.
 
I agree with a lot of this, but I'm not sure about the last line ("So Musk really has no choice but to overpromise, knowing that underdelivering is probable.")

I really think Elon thinks they will be able to do things quicker than they are often able to. For example, look at the autopilot delay. I think it's pretty clear he expected it to roll out sooner. And I think this sort of thing has happened several times, where he saw the path but missed a couple of speed bumps or problems that made the timelines unrealistic. I don't think he has expected to miss deadlines. I think it's just built into his rather optimistic outlook and not realizing he needs to provide more of a buffer for unforeseen issues.

I could *definitely* be wrong, but that's my 2 cents. And while I see this as a flaw, I'd rather take this flaw than the ones that plague most big CEOs.
 

CHG-ON

Still in love after all these miles
That's the world and mindset of tech, as opposed to the older auto industry. Something that Tesla will need to learn to balance. It builds hype. But at what price? Software can be fairly quickly fixed. Hardware can not. They are dealing with both. Not easy.


I agree with a lot of this, but I'm not sure about the last line ("So Musk really has no choice but to overpromise, knowing that underdelivering is probable.")

I really think Elon thinks they will be able to do things quicker than they are often able to. For example, look at the autopilot delay. I think it's pretty clear he expected it to roll out sooner. And I think this sort of thing has happened several times, where he saw the path but missed a couple of speed bumps or problems that made the timelines unrealistic. I don't think he has expected to miss deadlines. I think it's just built into his rather optimistic outlook and not realizing he needs to provide more of a buffer for unforeseen issues.

I could *definitely* be wrong, but that's my 2 cents. And while I see this as a flaw, I'd rather take this flaw than the ones that plague most big CEOs.
 

Grendal

SpaceX Moderator
Moderator
Jan 31, 2012
6,432
8,666
Santa Fe, New Mexico
I agree with a lot of this, but I'm not sure about the last line ("So Musk really has no choice but to overpromise, knowing that underdelivering is probable.")

I really think Elon thinks they will be able to do things quicker than they are often able to. For example, look at the autopilot delay. I think it's pretty clear he expected it to roll out sooner. And I think this sort of thing has happened several times, where he saw the path but missed a couple of speed bumps or problems that made the timelines unrealistic. I don't think he has expected to miss deadlines. I think it's just built into his rather optimistic outlook and not realizing he needs to provide more of a buffer for unforeseen issues.

I could *definitely* be wrong, but that's my 2 cents. And while I see this as a flaw, I'd rather take this flaw than the ones that plague most big CEOs.

I agree. Elon thought autopilot would come out a lot more soon. I think they discovered some safety issues in testing that took much longer than Elon thought to clear up. Tesla is all about safety and the last thing they need is to make headlines over some idiot not being aware and driving into a wall because the software got confused.

Elon is a very optimistic guy and often believes that something can be done much faster than it really can be.
 
I also thought this was a good article and it makes a lot of sense. I also think that Elon is so enthusiastic about letting us know his plans for the future, which is evident by his deleted tweets and how he is on stage (unlike a lot of people I don't think he's nervous at public events as much as he is giddy and excited to talk about something he's so passionate about, like he just can't wait to get what he wants to say out) that he can't help but over promise on dates/etc. because he wants to see his dreams become a reality as soon as possible
 

jkn

Member
Nov 29, 2013
504
331
EU
I don't think the Model 3 will be delayed that long, only because it's going to be a simple car.....no fancy doors and whatnot.

It must be designed so that it is cheaper to manufacture and does not have high service costs. They also must build a lot of new efficient manufacturing capacity. This is not easy. I would not be surprised if it is delayed to 2019.
 

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