Tesla’s Motor for Growth

How Musk uses stories to present powerful pitches, attract over half a million preorders and solve “impossible” problems.

Tesla launched into a highly competitive environment with an idea that many thought impossible. Yet today they’re accelerating the uptake of renewables with cars, trucks, batteries and other innovative technologies.

To reach this point Tesla had to do a lot more than create an electric car. They had to convince investors, recruit a talented workforce, design and build complex products (and the supporting infrastructure) and overcome customers’ reservations.

Every startup faces similar challenges. And with skyrocketing growth expectations, success hinges on their ability to quickly convey not only what their product does, but also its significance and differentiation.

Half a Million Preorders and Millions of Eager Fans

The Tesla Model 3 has over half a million preorders, while the new Tesla Semi is poised to revolutionise the trucking industry. Fans are eagerly awaiting the second Tesla Roadster while the production of the Model S and X can’t scale fast enough to meet demand.

To get this far, Tesla has rapidly grown their workforce and successfully raised over $12 billion to fund the capital intensive tasks that they undertake.

Tesla’s Secret Motor for Growth

To achieve this success, Musk and his team have crafted strategic narratives that enabled him to present powerful pitches, attract over half a million preorders and solve “impossible” problems.

Stories Transcend Features

A masterly example is The Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan, published in an article by Elon in 2006. It ends with this summary:

The master plan is:
1. Build sports car
 2. Use that money to build an affordable car
 3. Use that money to build an even more affordable car
 4. While doing above, also provide zero emission electric power generation options.

Don’t tell anyone.

This creates a very powerful narrative that transcends product and builds an emotional connection with their audience.

Not only will buyers receive an impressive car, but they’ll also support the development of more affordable products and ultimately a transition to sustainable energy.

Great storytelling enabled Musk to convey Tesla’s value and differentiation to their audience, even with his quirky approach to presentations.

And this audience is much more than potential customers. Their story successfully reached and inspired potential recruits. Experts in their fields who likely could have received better compensation at established brands flocked to be part of the change that Tesla stood for. And it bought sceptical investors onto their side.

Stories are Strategy

The benefits aren’t limited to sales. Any complicated technology requires teams of experts to execute toward a common goal, making millions of small decisions that all add up to the end product. With a clear strategic narrative that focuses on the consumer, teams have a framework that can guide those decisions in the right direction. This avoids errors and miscommunication while maintaining autonomy.

“The company story is the company strategy”
— Ben Horowitz, Partner and Co-founder, Andreessen Horowitz

Customers, employees, investors, fans… Everyone has a vivid vision of the future that Tesla is building. And they want to be part of it.

The pace of innovation is accelerating and expectations are skyrocketing. Your advantage is a compelling strategic narrative. It’s your Journey to Utopia.