If there’s any company that defied all odds in the last five years, it would be Tesla Motors.
Tesla broke all the stereotypes of electric cars. To this day, Tesla has been the only car company to create a practical, attractive, and fast electric car.
Tesla disproved the economic difficulties forecasted by experts, ignored everything that people have been saying about American car companies, all while shattering all safety records.
Tesla has pretty much single handedly ignored every single notion of what is possible within our modern day economy.
Like any successful entrepreneurial venture, the way that Tesla positioned themselves in the market and to their audience is nothing short of brilliant, and is probably why they have been as successful as they have.
They understood their customer. I’m sure that Musk knew that people thought electric cars were impractical and low range. Tesla proved that they could build a quality car that would compete with high end luxury cars in the same price range. They understood that their customers were in the luxury / tech / geek world, so they created a flagship car that appealed to Silicon Valley professionals.
They understood the market. They took time to design a car that doesn’t only sell because it is electric, but they took the time to understand what potential car buyers are looking for. By incorporating a frunk, they understood that sometimes people have a lot of things to transport.
They understood timing. The fact that they came out with the roadster in limited quantity before they came out with the Model S shows that they understood that they had to earn credibility before people would simply buy their cars.
They understood automation. Just a quick tour through their factory (watch the video) show that they are using modern day technology to streamline their process of production.
They understood their customer’s concerns. The fact that you can go to any Tesla supercharger and charge your Tesla absolutely free of charge is a brilliant move on Tesla’s part. Not only do they create an infrastructure to support their new technology, but they make it easy for people to make long trips.
I’m sure there’s a ton more that I’m overlooking, but definitely keep a look out for the future of this company.
The obstacle to bringing new innovations into the hands of the consumer is not the technology.
In fact, much of the tech products being released today haven’t had any real technological breakthroughs for the last twenty years. Even the latest iPhone is just a new permutation and optimization of technologies developed decades ago.
The bottleneck of innovation lies in the social and economic factors that surround bringing new innovations to the public, and within a capitalist society, it becomes even more challenging.
The power of our businesses, nonprofits, and individuals lies in the exchange of money. Even if businesses are in it for the betterment of the world as a whole, money is still the ultimate underlying foundation of a capitalist driven, “invisible hand” society. In fact, the power of individuals, companies, and nations rests in the money that they have.
So what’s the conflict?
The conflict occurs when a new technology is brought about that will revolutionize everything, to the point where it weakens the ability to generate revenue. By providing access to knowledge to anyone with an internet connection, Wikipedia has essentially created an open, powerful collection of knowledge that has effectively weakened the revenue of traditional encyclopedias, while failing to create a stream of revenue itself. Facebook and Twitter have completely changed the way that people interact socially, while failing to truly create a significant revenue stream.
Capitalism has created a world where businesses strive to optimize revenue, not necessarily innovation. That’s why many of the most powerful and significant changes to our world have been through grassroots movements.
There’s so much more to unpack about the extent of capitalism on our society that I’ll save for later posts.
Everyone has a paradigm, a perception of reality, and a mental framework that they think within. To them, their perception of reality shapes what they believe to be “normal”.
But what is normal?
Nikola Tesla was an inventor from that past that pioneered some of the most outrageous and extraordinary innovations. His most famous innovations include alternating current, wireless radio, wireless power transfer, and the ubiquitous tesla coil.
Mr. Tesla’s perception of reality and what was possible reached beyond the box that people of his generation thought within.
The box told him that alternating current would never be adopted.
Innovating without Boxes
There are countless stories of individuals who were told that they could never amount to anything, that their invention would never work, or that their ideas were outright ridiculous. But yet, these are the people that have stepped forward and completely revolutionized the world that they lived in.
“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.” – Albert Einstein
There are so many things that we’ve been socially conditioned to accept. We accept it because it is a box that has been passed down for generations. However, we don’t always recognize how much the box has changed prior to it being passed down to us, nor do we always recognize how much of a change the box is about to experience.
Maybe you’re sitting there asking yourself the same question right now. Maybe you’re wondering how blogging about your ideas is going to change anything. Maybe you’re concerned about disrupting traditions in your family, maybe you’re afraid of stepping out into the unknown.
Humans make new discoveries all the time, and somewhere down the line, if you aren’t the one to think outside the box and revolutionize what people think, someone else will. Someone else is going to make a new discovery that changes everything, and you’ll be faced with a shift in the way that you see things whether you like it or not.
“I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.” – John Cage
And when you begin to see things outside of the box that has been widely accepted, “normal” looks different to you.
What are some ridiculous ideas that you have that other people have dismissed as crazy? Just hit reply in your email or submit a comment below! (I read every response)
A good friend and I recently released a web application named Tallymark.
After a long development process into the wee hours of the night with a good friend, we were able to create a product that helps divide living expenses among people who live together, by simply adjusting the amount of the final rent check. You can check it out here.
Since it was such a significant project to me, I wanted to document the creation process a little bit. If you want to look at the code, it’s all on Github.
For me, Tallymark was a project where I had to pick up everything as I went along, because I had no prior knowledge of or Django. Setting up the server and repository took nearly two weeks, as figuring out the server setup was probably the difficult barrier of entry.
I picked up on the model, view, template structure pretty quickly, because it made a lot of intuitive sense to me. I quickly realized how powerful Django is, and how it is a lot more flexible and simple compared to PHP.
The first couple weeks were largely dedicated to figuring out how to navigate Django. I made objects in the models file, and started learning how to integrate them into my application. It took me another week or so to generate a dynamic dashboard.
And after about 2 months of work, with all too many visits to StackOverflow, I uploaded it to my server, turned debug mode off, and let it into the wild. Within the first hour, we had 45 people sign up, and people started logging in their houses and items.
For me, seeing the process from concept to reality was extremely exciting, as this is probably the biggest and most significant project that I have done to date. Despite the fact that this was framed as merely a summer project, it feels much more significant to me than that.
We still have features to implement, bugs to fix, but learning how an application is written from start to finish has been a blast for me.