It Pays to Play Well With Others

Jul 26, 2019

Tesla, Musk and a crazy idea

I recently had the pleasure of featuring Asoka Veeravagu, CEO of Revolve Technologies on the BROWN on BRAND podcast. We talked about Drive Revolve, his premium automobile subscription service. During our conversation, the subject of Tesla became a point of discussion.

I’ve always admired Elon Musk and have come to love Tesla for the way it’s revolutionizing the automotive industry with its pioneering development of electric cars. I don’t think anyone can challenge what Tesla has been able to overcome in achieving its goal of sustainable transportation.

Musk has the proof to back up his company’s success, having sold 67,650 of its Model 3s in the U.S. this year through June – over seven times the sales generated by the next best-selling electric vehicle, Tesla’s own Model X.

But Tesla does have its challenges: the company has a track record of high executive turnover; the operating system is notoriously buggy and not very user friendly and its vehicles are sometimes criticized for being uncomfortable.

Aside from that, Tesla is doing for the retail automotive buying experience what Apple did with The Apple Store. And they are innovating in a space flanked by competitors who have dominated the auto industry for over 100 years.

As competitors like Ford invest in electric-truck start up, Rivian, and Nissan announces an electric pickup truck of its own, I believe that Tesla can set itself apart from its competitors by also positioning itself as an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) for its pioneering lithium-ion batteries and electric powertrains.

It Pays to Play Well With Others

Be the Pipeline

It’s a crazy idea, but it wouldn’t be the most outlandish either.

Ryobi, for example, disrupted a stagnant power tools market by developing a cordless battery to power their entire lineup of power tools. The move set the company apart from its competition by cutting the cords that traditionally made the storage and handling of power tools cumbersome.

It Pays to Play Well With Others

GitHub is a good example of an open platform that became a thriving ecosystem for software developers to collaborate and share their projects. The company has over 37 million users, 100 million software repositories and was recently acquired by Microsoft for $7.5 billion.

Speaking of Microsoft, let’s not forget that the company’s operating system is installed on 78 percent of the PCs in use around the world. They lease their software to hardware computer manufacturers, who incidentally use processor chips powered by Intel.

It Pays to Play Well With Others

And of course, my company, ThatsUs.com, leverages open-source technology. The software products we develop, like ThumbStopper, enable brands to connect their digital content to their local retailers’ social media feeds.

Collaborate, Don’t Consolidate

The businesses that I’ve built and the technologies that my team has created have always been built with the goal of reducing or eliminating menial human labor. Tesla could expand its reach and influence in its own space and other verticals by embracing collaboration and interoperability.

History has shown time and again, from the Browser wars of the early 2000s, to the streaming wars being waged today, that when intellectual property gets consolidated into silos by monopolies, innovation is stifled, and consumers get the short end of the stick.

Tesla batteries and powertrains could become the de facto standard for electric OEMs. The shift would be another example of Elon Musk’s ability to innovate and achieve a future of sustainable transportation.

Besides, how cool would it be to add a Tesla-powered battery and powertrain in a 67′ Chevelle?

P.S. Tesla’s recent earnings report showed the company lost 13 percent of its shares in the second quarter of 2019.

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