Photo Credit: Hilal Özbaşak - istanbul banker

Cables from a Turkish Uprising

I spoke with several supporters of the Turkish uprising in Istanbul, Ankara, and outside of Turkey. Here is what they want the world to know. 

COPENHAGEN, 2 June 2013 at 5:30 am CET for Distilled Magazine


What began as Turkey’s #OccupyGezi has become something much more representative of a decade of political tension. I gathered the stories of several Turkish citizens on the ground in Istanbul and Ankara over the past twelve hours. They help shed light on what is rapidly becoming one of the most violent events in recent Turkish history, on what could well become a watershed moment for the country. 

Since 2002 Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development (AKP) has governed Turkey. They have ruled over a country with deep divisions in almost every aspect of its society. Through a combination of international support, pandering to religious groups, and a programme that promised economic growth they have managed to maintain power though. However, this week a pretty unimportant plan to increase tourism and consumer spending in the capital has seen the mosaic of Turkish society unite against the AKP. 

Gezi Park, a relatively small green space in Istanbul, was slated for development into a shopping mall to be housed in a newly built replica of the Ottoman era Taksim Military Barracks. Environmental protesters subsequently occupied the site and sent #occupygeziparki to the top trending spot on Twitter. Police responded severely; burning tents that were housing protesters, launching tear gas, rubber bullets, and using water cannons — non-lethal tactics that have since become lethal.

Escalation

The public response to the government’s violence though far eclipsed what they thought they were dealing with. After all, Gezi was a relatively small and innocuous park. It began 24 hours later with the arrival of a bus of full of “Çarşı” the fanatics of the Beşiktaş football team who began defending the peaceful environmental protesters against against police to secure the square. Today not only Gezi Park, but also Taksim Square and İstiklal Avenue have been fully overrun by opponents of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan governing AKP party. Tens of thousands have marched across the Bosphorus from Asia to Europe to swell the number of occupants. 

Taksim Square has a lineage of violence and demonstrations and including clashes between Turkey’s right and left in 1969 and 1977. Now though, for probably the first time in Turkey’s history, the right and left are side by side. As are the supporters of Turkey’s football clubs, otherwise famous for killing each other in Taksim. In Ankara also, our source from Guvenpark in the Kizilay neighbourhood reported shoulder-to-shoulder solidarity between activists from all alignments. Banner-waving members of the Islamist and right-wing National Movement Party (CKMP) and the socialist Workers’ Party are protesting side by side. 

Supporters of Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe, and Galastasaray side by side in Taksim, Istanbul

Back in Istanbul, Sırrı Süreyya Önder, a film director and politician for the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) with wide socialist and Kurdish support has joined the protesters. Originally elected as an independent, before joining BDP, he is well-liked by many in attendance. The same cannot be said of the larger opposition parties (CHP and MHP). In the eyes of the demonstrators, and the words of at least one “they just come to Taksim for votes, not change.”

The police has attempted to clear the square this afternoon, but were forced to relent eventually. Nonetheless, emergency rooms in the vicinity of Taksim were and still are at capacity and not everyone in need is currently receiving treatment. Local businesses have stepped in to help with the overflow however. One protester I spoke to had been at the Marmara Hotel on Taksim square, which had opened its doors and rooms to victims of tear gas and the injured. Another source reported that the Hilton, Continental, and Divan were equally accommodating.

The violence was worse still in Ankara. I talked to one man who had been sent into a vomiting and coughing fit when canisters of orange gas, were dropped onto the crowd by helicopter, fracturing the shoulder of his friend and fellow occupant. He also witnessed this attack of a man being run over by a TOMA (Toplumsal Olaylara Müdahale Aracı — an anti-riot tank). That man is reportedly in critical condition, although there are reports of others killed in the same manner. Just one of countless examples of the increasingly violent tactics of the Turkish police.

Other actors

The military is an extremely important actor in Turkish politics. Traditionally, there has been a faustian pact between Turkish society and its armed forces to ensure the government could not endanger Turkey’s sacrosanct secularism. But over the past decade, the military has been unprecedentedly co-opted into supporting the AKP party. A series of high-profile sackings of generals set the stage for a neutered military leadership, despite the fact that many below top level may feel differently. 

Over the course of the past day though, they have been quietly supporting the protesters. They have refused to cooperate with Police requests to use military zones for transportation. At a military hospital in Istanbul they refused to treat police officers, instead handing out gas masks to dissidents. As this exchange between a policeman and soldier attests, relations between the two armed groups are indeed frosty at present. Part of the dialogue translates as:

Policeman: “Next time we should also throw gas bombs here [a military zone].”

Soldier: “If you do it, we will find something to throw to you as well, rest assured.”

Another important factor to keep an eye on are the Turkish media. According to the International Press Institute, Turkey has more imprisoned journalists than Eritrea, China, or Iran. Amnesty International explains this was accomplished through the government’s wide-ranging definition of terrorism used in anti-terror legislation. As a side note, this is why many of those I spoke with wish to remain anonymous.

That’s probably why only one channel — Canli TV — has been reporting fully the events of the clashes. All other media, often accused of being government propagandists, have avoided completely showing images of the violence. Earlier today, when the police finally relented their pressure on the Taksim occupants, as soon as the violence stopped, cameras began rolling. At that point they began showing the crowd’s positive demeanor as if nothing was wrong. In reality they were celebrating, for they perceived themselves to have successfully withstood a police offensive.

With no mainstream media contradicting his claims, Prime Minister Erdogan has been able to distance himself from the police’s actions, claiming the use of tear gas was excessive. This is internationally expedient as well as Amnesty has called for the immediate end to its deployment in the conflict, condemning it as a violation of human rights against peaceful protestors. Nevertheless, Erdogan’s claims remain unchallenged domestically.

He has also remained rigid on the increasingly marginalised origins of the protests saying that “The Ottoman Barracks will be built and there will be a shopping mall here instead of those trees, which we’ll plant somewhere else.”

And now?

Tonight, many of the protesters are not sleeping. Instead, they are defending Taksim erecting barriers of bricks and crowd-control fencing in Beşiktaş, the scene of some of Istanbul’s heaviest fighting earlier in the night. Multiple sources in Istanbul speculated this had been seen as a favourable tactical location by police attempting to retake Taksim, although it now appears they have withdrawn from there as well for the moment. The chants in that video translate as “tayyip resign”.

Many are unsure of what will happen next. Turkey’s myriad of political, social, religious, ethnic and indeed athletic factions have never been so united in recent history, as evidenced by the hundreds of groups represented today. They are finding a deep sense of strength in the peace between what was formerly a series of divisions continually simmering below a thin veil of national unity. They are working together as well to ensure theirs is seen as a peaceful movement, preventing demonstrators from responding violently to police - for now. 

Several solidarity events are planned across the globe in the coming days as well including one in New York’s Zuccotti Park — the site of the original #occupiers. They are hoping that the government will begin to feel the pressure from the events of the last and coming days. Whether that will result in wider calls for early elections or increased international pressure remains to be seen. As the sun is rising right now over Istanbul, the tension is palpable across the country, and the world is watching.

As one young citizen of the Turkish Republic put it: “The truth is, it’s not about the trees anymore.”



Editorial notes:
An earlier version of this article claimed the orange gas was agent orange, which was not confirmed by a source but rather by this CNN iReport. As that report has been corrected as has this one.

It also said that the TOMA victim was dead. This has turned out not to be true in that case in Ankara, although another protester was killed by a TOMA in Istanbul.

Next Story — #YallQaeda is the internet at its best
Currently Reading - #YallQaeda is the internet at its best

#YallQaeda is the internet at its best

But it will be sadly forgotten

The internet turns out a good deal of mediocre trending material. The Dress, was one of the most absurd things to unfortunately blemish lesser mass discourse last year. We’ve also had Pepe go big in 2015, which, again, just is not that great for some reason. In my own personal, meaningless view, for the most part, there is Doge, and there is the rest of the internet.

Until now. #YallQaeda, a response to the takeover of a wildlife centre in rural Oregon by armed rednecks is going to be difficult to beat for the rest of 2016. It has all the fixings: a good pun, it’s poignant, political, and a thick dose of internet surrealism.

Unfortunately, it probably won’t be that big. At the moment, #YallQaeda has around 9.5K uses on Twitter. This pales in comparison even to #OregonUnderAttack, the still tongue-in-cheeck, but not nearly as stinging, principal hashtag being used to describe the developing situation in Oregon.

In the realm of Twitter none of these numbers mean much of anything. Alex from Target for more new followers than #OregonUnderAttack has retweets after his brief stint with fame in 2014.

Still, there is something to be said about quality over quantity, even on Twitter (though I may have a hard time selling that in social marketing circles…). For the moment, #YallQaeda has the internet crown to lose.

Next Story — Cables from a Turkish Uprising pt. II
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taken by anonymous personal source

Cables from a Turkish Uprising pt. II

Imagery and Images of a people reclaiming their voice

COPENHAGEN, 4 June at 15:30 CET for Distilled Magazine

The past four days in Turkey have seen enemies become brothers and a nation discovering they can make themselves heard. Eleven years of rule by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan and his Development and Justice Party have seen the space reserved for civil society in Turkey shrink at a constant pace. After years of rising tension, a nighttime ban on alcohol two weeks ago set many on edge; a nominal event seen by some as a way to divert attention from previous abuses of police power. Thursday, environmentalists occupied Gezi Park in Istanbul to prevent its conversion into a shopping mall. This was the flashpoint. Riot police arrive. In turn, the country’s youth, and gradually other members of society joined in solidarity, either in the neighbouring Taksim square, elsewhere in the country, or in city centres around the world. Chaos ensued.

The struggles across Turkey have now yielded the preservation of the trees in Gezi Park, the recognition of the Taksim demonstration as legitimate, and a spate of retrospective misinformation by the government. More importantly though, Turks have found their voice. This has come at a steep price however. I discussed what life this past weekend was like with one man imprisoned by police and several other additional participants in the events.

We at Distilled have been doing our best to cover the past days’ events in Turkey. For more information on the beginnings of the events in Gezi Park and Ankara you can read Cables Pt. I here. For analysis please see Distilled author and Editor-inChief Sarang Shah’s piece, Dispatches from Istanbul here. At the end of this article is included a short gallery of images submitted to me directly by proprietors.


Currently, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan is away in North Africa. He left behind a country exhausted by four days of intense struggle. If nothing else, it appears now that many of Gezi Park’s trees may have been saved. Deputy Chairman of the ruling Development and Justice Party (AKP), Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu today claimed the government did not have plans to build a shopping mall next to Taksim and that the number of trees will in fact be increased. This is patently false, but in the dystopian world of a country where media is controlled by the government, many will be convinced. Furthermore, there are reports that a temporary peace has been reached at Taksim Square. Police have acknowledged the right of citizens to occupy the square, while protesters have stopped attempts to march on the Prime Minister’s office. Deputy PM Bulent Arinc has apologised but remains insistent on the role of terrorist elements. The protesters yesterday issued these demands:

1- Gezi Park will stay as a park. We will neither allow you to build Ottoman Barracks nor to plunder our green areas.
2- Those responsible, especially the Mayor of Istanbul and Chief of Police who have given the orders to oppress people with violence - wounding hundreds - should resign immediately. In addition to that, usage of gas bombs should be banned.
3- Our friends who have been taken under police custody should be immediately released, no further prosecution should be pursued.
4- The bans of protests or meetings in any public space of Turkey should be ended.

Many of the comments on that picture suggest there is one more: “Tayyip resign”.

The trees and settlement are only a small part of what Turkey’s citizens have won however. They have found that by pushing hard enough they can still be heard. Even if their own media, CNNTürk specifically, would prefer to show penguin documentaries than the country’s largest upheavals of this generation; at least rest of the world is willing to listen.

It has not been easy putting the AKP on its heels. Many are still and will be suffering from injuries sustained this weekend for months to come, or indeed the rest of their lives. Others will be mourning the loss of those close to them.

One man I spoke with was arrested Friday night in Ankara. His story is a fascinating look into the dynamics of the protest and of the attitudes of police. Friday afternoon, a Facebook invitation prompted him to join his friends in Kuğulu Park, Ankara. When police arrived with tear gas they began moving with the crowd towards kızılay - a 30 minute walk. Upon arriving and seeing more clashes he and his cohorts took to a fifth floor café to watch and wait out the worst of the clashes before going to stand in solidarity. That plan would never materialise.

Police approached the buildings, firing canisters. One other source was struck by one in a Starbucks, so it is no surprise that at this point café owners quickly closed up, leaving along with patrons. After descending the building he and his four friends were confronted directly by police. Along with one of them his hands were tied, and he was beaten. As journalists arrived taking pictures the beatings stopped and police instead threw him in the back of their car, bound for police holding cells.

Arriving at the station they were met by unlikely allies. Communist Party lawyers had taken up vigil in the jail’s processing center. They were there to provide food and moral support but more importantly to use the threat of future testimony to keep things civil. After being examined by a doctor, he was charged with terrorism, and lead to the cells. Access to the holding facilities was forbidden to the lawyers.

Outside the view of prying eyes, the treatment of prisoners was starkly different. He shared a cell - three to a 3 x 1.5m pen - with a hysteric claustrophobic and a wounded and pepper-sprayed man denied any medical treatment. They would spend the next 15 hours in an unclean pen with one concrete bed. Once inside, food was scant, and water and access to toilets provided only with two hours notice and accompanied by physical threats.

After a total of 24 hours in custody he was released. He credits the work of the Communist Party’s lawyers for not being held the full 96 hours allowed by law. As nearly 100 detainees were waiting to take his coveted spot, one could wonder though if the police simply did not have the capacity they wished for.


Meanwhile, early Saturday morning, another protester, also unwilling to have his name published, was still on the streets of Ankara. 

He had been called out for a spontaneous march from ODTÜ (Middle East Technical University) to the Parliament at three in the morning. A few thousand people, escorted by cars would not achieve their destination, though, blocked by police armedwith water cannons and tear gas, the sunrise demonstration would disperse.

The potential energy of the night before would be carried over to Saturday night. At Kızılay Square, crowds estimated in the high tens of thousands and by some into the hundreds of thousands included vandals - stopped in their tracks by those wishing to keep the protests peaceful. They knew much of their international sympathy would depend on trying to maintain a non-violent image.

Sunday afternoon he was out again. This time with a garbage bag in hand, joining the cleaning brigades at Kızılay Square. After cleaning, the resistance began immediately with a sitting occupation at the police barriers. They did not remain long as pepper spray forced them back to the care of medical students armed with milk and vinegar. This young man was cared for by a complete stranger, instructing him to inhale the vinegar deeply - soothing the coughing pain in his lungs slightly.

Not far away his friends had been corralled into a school gym - converted by police into a makeshift holding cell. Indeed the jail that housed the first man the previous night had simply run out of room.

Makeshift protester holding centre

__
Around 9:15pm the crowd back on Izmir street began moving - quickly. Immediately after the screams began, clouds of tear gas wafted over the crowd. It cannot be described better than in this man’s own words:

2 tear gas cans fell right before my feet. I felt that I was being asphyxiated
suffocated.
my lungs were burning
I couldn’t see or breath
people were screaming
“help, help, Allah, I can’t breathe”
“I am dying”
do you have any idea how it feels?
to hear screams like that?
and not be able to help, because you are on the verge of death yourself?
and a women fell, screaming, right next to me.
I don’t know what happened to her.
I… I, god, I don’t know
my lungs were burning, my heart was spasming, the crowd was pushing me forward
and I felt like I was dying.

He was ushered only a few minutes later by another frantic protester into a nearby building. Hesitant, as there would be only one way out of the building, there was little other choice. Plainclothes police, or perhaps AKP supporters, with batons and other weapons had arrived on. After running to the 8th floor, the group of protesters shut all the lights in the building and hid in a bridge club. They hid for the next 20 minutes as the armed group searched other floors and rooms of the building. The demonstrators were not found.

They descended to a nearly deserted street and found a cab a few blocks away.

I talked to this young Turk about an hour after these events. Despite his own beaten and tired body, all he could say was:

And I am deeply sorry for that lady
I did not see her
I don’t know who she is
but I will remember her forever, I swear that.
the policemen who did that to her won’t remember her, but I will.

There are plenty of stories from Turkey over the past few days. Many have been exaggerated, although many have not. These are words submitted to you at face value. While not taken by anyone I spoke with, this video should be ample insight into the attitudes of the police in Turkey this weekend. Furthermore I have included below a few images submitted to me. They are not the same people mentioned above. The last photo is from BaşakÖzçelik, an Istanbul student of Dokuz Eylül University whose arm and leg were broken after being beaten by police. The rest are from an anonymous student in Ankara.

Before the images, which are at once inspiring and heartbreaking, I would like to end on a light note. This weekend I was given an introduction to Turkish humour. Firstly, as I explained in the first article, this vehicle is called TOMA, which is an acronym in Turkish and translates as Vehicle for the Suppression of Social Events. Carsi, the same Beşiktaş football supporters I also mentioned on Sunday morning have invented something they call a POMA - a Vehicle for the Suppression of Police Events.

POMA in action


…Also, CNNTürk was called multiple times on Sunday with requests for more penguins - oblivious or not, they diligently obliged.

____________________


Images:

A break in hostilities in Ankara
Tear gas canister
Solidarity among groups
Tear gas treatment


I would like to extend a thank you to everybody who contributed information and pictures for this article as well as Pt. I. Stay safe and all the best.

All Distilled coverage can be found at distilledmagazine.com,@distmag or on our facebook page.

Next Story — Bel Pesce e o empreendedorismo de palco: porque a Menina do Vale não vale tanto assim
Currently Reading - Bel Pesce e o empreendedorismo de palco: porque a Menina do Vale não vale tanto assim

Bel Pesce e o empreendedorismo de palco: porque a Menina do Vale não vale tanto assim

Quando fiz meu vídeo sobre o hilariante fiasco da campanha de crowdfunding da “hamburgueria” Zebeleo (sim, ainda tenho um implicância quase irracional com esse termo desnecessariamente gourmetizado), fui duramente criticado por reduzir a tal Bel Pesce a “um desses playboys aí” com o que muitos julgaram ser um ar de desmerecimento.

O vídeo da presepada dos três foi tirado ao ar, mas a internet jamais nos priva dessas coisas. Aqui está o reupload:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MSb5y6tDwI&ab_channel=MatheusB.

Eu jamais tinha ouvido falar na moça, pra surpresa de muitos, e minha suposição é que ela era apenas mais um rosto entre essa turminha de hipstersmillenials descoladinhos e cosmopolitas que orbitam o mundo marketeiro brasileiro enquanto repetem jargões da propaganda. Você sabe, aquela galera que está sempre inovando o mindset 2.0 do paradigma com sinergias do brand pra agregar ao engajamento do upcycling de um job e coisa assim.

Ledo engano. Fui informado que, em vez disso, a garota é uma wunderkind brasileira sem paralelos. Formada pelo célebre MIT, a menina passou por pelas mais consagradas instituições do mundo da tecnologia — Microsoft e Google –, e até meteu o dedo no sistema bancário. Não parando por aí, ela também fundou várias empresas (uma delas que, seguindo a cartilha de sucesso no Vale do Silício, foi posteriormente vendida por milhões).

E após todo esse sucesso que não deixa a desejar perante as biografias dos grandes luminários da tecnologia como Bill Gates, Steve Jobs ou Elon Musk, Bel Pesce voltou ao Brasil pra injetar uma necessária dose de empreendedorismo na nossa combalida economia.

Em outras palavras: eu sou um perdedor imbecil invejoso e a garota é um prodígio promissor que trouxe reconhecimento e o espírito empreendedor ao Brasil.

Da mesma forma que minha falta de respeito com os respeitáveis louros da garota provocou incômodo em muitos, houve um outro tipo de chateação no vetor oposto — alguns inscritos se revoltaram com a oportunidade que eu perdi de expor a moça que, de acordo com eles, é uma charlatã do emergente (e lucrativo) mundo do chamado “empreendedorismo de palco”. A mulher é uma fraude, insistiam alguns, e quando ouviram seu nome saindo de minha boca, eles esperavam que o foco do meu vídeo seria desmantelar a fachada de sucesso que a garota montou à base de palestras de auto-ajuda vazia salpicada com clichês requentados do tipo “acredite no seu sonho” e “cada derrota é uma lição aprendida”.

Esses detratores fizeram a moça soar como um Robert Kiyosaki de saias, isso é: um suposto empreendedor que é referenciado e reverenciado exclusivamente por gente iludida com promessas de riqueza e glória através de esquemas furados. Da mesma forma como o Kiyosaki é um profeta da galera das pirâmides financeiras, a Pesce seria da turminha com gana de “empreender”.

Incerto de qual dessas versões de Bel Pesce seria mais fiel à realidade (e já antecipando que a verdade estaria mais ou menos na intersecção das duas, o que é geralmente o caso), fiz o que fui ensinado a fazer dois mil anos atrás nas minhas aulas de Metodologia Científica na UFMA — observei sistematicamente, verifiquei a veracidade dos fatos propostos, e elaborei uma hipótese passiva da revisão por pares.

E a hipótese em que cheguei, lastreada nos fatos que discutirei nesse texto, é a terceira etapa do processo. Sejam meus pares e digam-me aí vocês o que pensam.

Então. Pra entender melhor a biografia da moça, fiz o mesmo que faço quando a solução de um puzzle num videogame me escapa: recorri ao Google.

Fui levado ao seu site em inglês, onde é declarado que:

She studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she got Majors in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and Management Science, and got Minors in Economics and Mathematics.

Eu franzi a testa. É uma forma particularmente curiosa falar qual a sua formação acadêmica dizendo que tem “majors em X” e “minors em Y”, e pra entender porque, preciso explicar como funciona a educação superior gringa.

Nos EUA/Canadá, o processo de formação acadêmica permite que as disciplinas eletivas (ou seja, aquelas que não são diretamente fundamentais para o seu diploma) se agreguem de forma que você pode ser dito um mini-especialista num determinado assunto que foge da sua área principal, mas é também do seu interesse. Por exemplo: tenho um amigo que é formado em Biologia (ou seja, esse é o seu “major”; ele é biólogo, essa é a área de enfoque da sua carreira acadêmica e seu título), com um “minor” em Psicologia. Ele não é um psicólogo e nem pode se meter a diagosticar ninguém; ele tem apenas conhecimento superficial dos fundamentos da psicologia.

Que fique claro: o objetivo do minor é puramente saciar um interesse leve duma disciplina. Academicamente falando, é pouca coisa acima de ler artigos na Wikipédia sobre um assunto. Não é vantagem que se conte.

Além disso, dentro da cultura norte-americana, a linguagem do “tenho um major em X” é típica de alguém que cursou algo, não completou, mas quer ainda usar este fato para imbuir-se de autoridade acadêmica num determinado assunto, levando o interlocutor a concluir que está falando com um especialista formado naquela area.

Seria como eu querer usar o fato de que “cursei Física!” pra soar erudito e detentor da razão num assunto científico, omitindo o fato de que não me formei e que foi há tanto tempo atrás que não lembro mais de quase nada do curso.

Isso talvez se deva, naturalmente, a uma certa de falta de familiaridade da garota com a cultura e a língua (ou não, já que ela morou lá por sete anos), mas me deixou com várias pulgas atrás da orelha. A sintaxe mais comum seria dizer algo como “I have a degree in X”; informar major e minor é desnecessário.

…exceto, é claro, caso você queira pintar-se como um super-especialista que domina inúmeros campos diferentes. Ao longo da minha “investigação”, descobri que parece recorrente o hábito da empreendedora de exagerar seus feitos usando palavreado vago.

A impressão que acabei tendo da Bel Pesce é, talvez mais do que os “Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and Management Science, Economics and Mathematics” que seu site enumera, a área em que ela é realmente expert é aumentar seu capital social aparente inflando seus feitos através de uma linguagem cirurgicamente específica que, embora evite entrar descaradamente na mentira, tem um claro design de induzir o interlocutor ao engano em relação às suas realizações.

Sabe o cara que descreve seu trabalho de caixa no McDonalds como “analista responsável pelo fluxo de capital operacional de uma grande empresa multinacional”? É nesse território em que estamos, e eu acho que posso provar isso de forma inegável.

Foi por isso que a moça parecia ter diplomas de Schrodinger — o número de canudos dela sempre variava entre 4 e 6 dependendo de quem estava escrevendo a matéria em português, um sintoma perceptível da dificuldade brasileira em compreender o que diabo seriam os “majors” e “minors”. “Bota aí que ela tem seis ‘diplomas’ mesmo, porra”, consigo ouvir mentalmente o redator preguiçoso ordenando alguém a simplificar a coisa.

E se a Bel Pesce se incomodava em publicarem erroneamente que ela era uma multi-profissional especialista em tudo e um pouco mais, ela não fez grandes esforços pra esclarecer isso.

Esse detalhe de “major/minors” (ao mesmo tempo que parce deliberadamente evitar se identificar como formada) foi justamente o proverbial “onde tem fumaça, tem fogo” que desencadeou meu interesse em verificar as supostas conquistas da moça. Se a moça tivesse dito desde o começo “sou formada em X e Y, ponto”, eu não precisaria ter que escrever 10 parágrafos explicando isso, porque ninguém estaria pensando que a mulher tem um número surreal de formações e usando isso como argumento de que ela não pode estar errada. Como falei, fazer acreditarem que ela é uma profissional com múltiplas áreas de expertise não foi acidente — foi por desígnio.

Olha até a porra da UNICAMP falando que a mulher “se formou simultaneamente em cinco faculdades: engenharia elétrica, ciência da Computação, administração, matemática e economia“.

Em seu site em português, ela diz com todas as letras que se formou em cinco disciplinas. Ela também omite, mas é óbvio, que “Electrical Engineering and Computer Science” é um curso só no MIT,e não dois como ela obviamente tenta fazer parecer.

Diga-se de passagem, através do link aí do OpenCourseWare você pode literalmente assistir todas as aulas, acompanhar todos os exercícios do curso, fazer as provas e tudo. Espantoso!

Voltando às lorotas da Bel. Essa forma estranhamente inflada de descrever sua formação, somado a sites gringos dizendo explicitamente que ela “dropped out of MIT” (ou seja, “largou o MIT”), me faz pensar que nem formada ela é. Não estou dizendo que ela não é — estou dizendo que ela usa linguagem típica de quem não é, e que isso é… estranho. Uma formanda do MIT não deveria precisar desse tipo de palavreado pra inflar seu currículo.

O que ela está tentando esconder…?

Em seguida, voltei minha atenção à Lemon, uma (finada) empresa de planejamento financeiro que a mídia brasileira reportou que Pesce teria fundado. A página de Economia do UOL diz explicitamente que a brasileira fundou a Lemon, adicionando o floreio poético de que a empresa “nasceu das idéias dela”. A IstoÉ confirma que a autoria da Lemon é de Pesce, dizendo que a moça “montou sua própria empresa”. Nesta outra matéria, o UOL dá crédito de fundadora da empresa à Pesce (além de martelar novamente as supostas 5 formações da garota, num exemplo prático da máxima da “mentira contada mil vezes que se torna verdade”).

A fonte disso, evidentemente, são afirmações da própria Pesce — visto que nada no registro histórico da empresa confirma isso. De acordo com a Wikipédia, o fundador da compania é um empresário chamado Wences Casares.

A propósito, Casares deu em 2012 ao The Next Web esta entevista falando sobre a adição de Bel Pesce ao time. Por que um outro maluco estaria apresentando a suposta fundadora da parada como “uma adição ao time”, eu não sei. Ela não é citada como co-criadora ou nada assim.

Literalmente todas as matérias escritas sobre a Lemon que falam sobre um fundador (que não sejam brasileiras, e portanto usando como fonte a própria Bel) identificam Casares como tal. Aí estão algumas:

http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/blog/techflash/2015/08/lifelock-lemon-founder-locked-in-dueling-lawsuits.html

http://www.coindesk.com/lemon-wallet-acquired-lifelock-42-6m/

http://mashable.com/2013/12/12/lifelock-acquires-lemon/#YLeyy1Qj4mqf

http://www.recode.net/2014/3/13/11624538/lemon-digital-wallet-founder-wences-casares-gets-20-million-in

https://aerolab.co/lemon

http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/money/2013/12/20/son-sheep-ranchers-lemon-wallet-co-founder-wences-casares-is-serial/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/brucerogers/2012/08/23/will-wences-casaress-lemon-com-replace-your-wallet/#697a181d43cc

É claro e inegável — A única pessoa alegando que Bel Pesce fundou a Lemon é Bel Pesce. Curiosamente, ela jamais corrigiu os repórteres que atribuiram a empresa a ela (de onde você acha que veio a versão em que ela é a criadora da parada, afinal de contas…?).

Ela trabalhou na empresa, sim, mas exagerou os detalhes de sua atuação, o que é bem similar ao exagero dos quatro ou cinco ou seis diplomas.

Veremos que isso é um padrão no currículo da “empreendedora”.

Antes da Lemon, a Bel já era conhecida como uma história de sucesso por “ter trabalhado no Google, Microsoft, e Deutsche Bank”.

Exceto que ela não “trabalhou no Google, Microsoft e Deutsche Bank” da forma que vem em mente quando lê esse currículo, e essa ilusão é mais uma vez intencional. No seu LinkedIn, ela é atipicamente franca — na verdade, ela fez apenas curtos estágios facilitados por um programa do MIT que envia estudantes pra trabalhar em grandes empresas. A realidade é que não há nada de muito glamuroso nesses estágios — os estudantes geralmente executam afazeres triviais ao redor do escritório e participam em modo “read only” (ou seja, só observando, sem muito input ou autonomia) de alguns projetos paralelos das empresas. Basicamente, pra ver como é que é trabalhar no Vale do Silício.

Diga-se de passagem, o MIT manda aluno a rodo pra ser escraviário em empresa de tecnologia. Não é algo particularmente excepcional ou prestigioso. Vários destes estágios sequer são remunerados.

Somando todo o tempo que ela passou nessas três empresas, dá pouco mais de um ano — 4 meses no Google, 4 no Deutsche Bank, e outros 8 na Microsoft (embora neste vídeo ela diga que só passou 3 meses lá…?). E, novamente, o registro histórico não confirma suas alegações de que ela participou de projetos das empresas.

Por exemplo. No LinkedIn, Pesce diz sobre sua atuação na Microsoft:

[Bel Pesce] was part of a project to develop software that uses a webcam to track users’ actions. The main goal was to create a Multi-Touch interface that would let people interact with computers by only using a webcam and colored objects. The project also included a Software Developer Kit (SDK) that would allow other users to create their own Multi-Touch applications. Bel was part of the day-to-day of the project, documented the SDK, produced a demo to show the power of the SDK, recorded walkthrough videos to teach how to use the SDK.

Só tem um probleminha. Aqui está a lista de coordenadores e desenvolvedores do projeto. Aqui há uma página onde o grupo responsável pelo Touchless presta agradecimentos a membros da comunidade que também os ajudaram. Repare a distinta ausência do nome da Menina do Vale nas duas.

E este é o vídeo da apresentação do SDK do Touchless:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJuJJOK7MMc&ab_channel=MikeWasserman

A empreendedora brasileira também não se faz presente nessa apresentação. O que é muitíssimo provável é que em sua curta curta passagem na Microsoft, ela fez nada além de auxiliar o grupo em tarefas triviais de escritório — ou seja: coisa de estagiário mesmo.

Isso não a impediu de, aos 24 minutos deste vídeo, se caraterizar como líder/organizadora do projeto. Michael Wasserman, o real idealizador do Touchless, talvez não gostaria de saber que uma autora brasileira de livro de auto-ajuda está tomando crédito por sua invenção.

Quando fala de seus dois meses no Google, Bel diz que…

Developed a tool that help find bottlenecks in the machine translation code. The tool puts together CPU, RAM and disk usage information, along with periodic code profiles.

Mas que “tool” foi essa? Cadê o nome da ferramenta? Por que omiti-lo…? E a documentação? Referência em algum lugar qualquer? Confirmação externa de seu envolvimento com tal ferramenta?

Não existe.

Em sua outra passagem pela Microsoft, ela atribui a si mesma…

Development of software for Smartphones
Fully experienced Program Manager, Developer and Tester roles during the project:
Program Manager: organize the project as a whole — write specifications, negotiate features, drive meetings, research technologies, design project website
Developer: Write clean and efficient code, making use of the newest technologies to improve coding solutions
Tester: Create smart test cases and debug the software

Que software ela desenvolveu pra smartphones? Estagiária program manager? Como assim? Aliás, é curioso que esta prolífica programadora e “fully experienced program manager” não tem uma página no github, ou uma linha de código sequer atribuída a ela. Como alguém frequentou uma das maiores faculdades de tecnologia e se formou em Ciência da Computação sem ter literalmente UMA LINHA DE CÓDIGO PUBLICADA chega a ser fantástico.

Já na Ooyala, uma plataforma de vídeo online que ninguém nunca ouviu falar na vida, ela teria “liderado três times de engenheiros”. Aliás a citação é perniciosamente recorrente:

Eu te desafio aqui e agora a achar QUALQUER menção da moça trabalhando na Ooyala, qualquer documentação, e liderando os tais “três times de engenheiros” que não seja um texto citando isso como seus atributos de palestrante. Vai lá.

Ela só diz que fez e aconteceu, e a mídia acreditou sem pestanejar. Além de aumentar sua contribuição em projetos, essa é a outra marca registrada de Bel Pesce — a estranha ingenuidade que a mídia brasileira tem perante suas alegações facilmente refutáveis.

Além dessas conhecidas empresas em que Bel Pesce teve uma brilhante participação [citation needed], a inovadora também iniciou inúmeras empresas próprias. Quando eu digo “inúmeras” é literalmente porque não consigo enumera-las; quando mais eu pesquisava, mais empresas supostamente criadas pela Bel Pesce apareciam. A garota é uma boneca russa de empreendimento, você abre uma e tem outra empresa dentro.

Por exemplo. Neste artigo, aparentemente escrito por algum tipo de fanboy da garota, aparece a menção do Talenj, uma empresa co-fundada e comandada pela Bel. O site descreve o Talenj como “a company that makes and designs websites”. No Twitter, ela diz que a proposta da Talenj era “conectar consumidores a marcas por meio de competições“. A UNICAMP descreveu o Talenj como uma empresa que “promove aprendizagem por meio de desafios on lines“.

É quase como se ninguém soubesse que porra afinal é o tal Talenj, né?

Hoje eu farei algo que ninguém da mídia fez: vou te mostrar o que é realmente o Talenj.

É disso aí que a garota é CEO. Ou nem isso, já que de acordo com a política de privacidade da “empresa”, o responsável pelo site é um tal de “Alex”.

Voltando ao LinkedIn da moça, vemos que ela foi responsável pelo “business development” de um tal de Krowder.com. A página é defunta, e até o Wayback Machine tem dificuldade de catar seus elementos. Por que ela estaria clamando atuação com título glamuroso numa “empresa” morta, que ninguém jamais ouviu falar, supostamente num estado onde a Bel Pesce nunca morou?

Acho que podemos imaginar.

Ela é também a CEO e fundadora do WhatIf, um site com design que eu esperaria de um adolescente em 1999 e não de uma graduada em ciência da computação pelo MIT. Novamente — página quebrada, defunta, sem qualquer referência a ela como fundadora, e que muito evidentemente não rendeu um centavo qualquer.

Entre 2007 e 2008, Bel também diz ser a CEO e co-fundadora do “WaterAfrica”, engajada no “Development of a solar-powered piping system that enables better water distribution in Africa“.

Achei duas WaterAfrica na internet inteira. Uma foi fundada em 2006 por alguém chamado Bill Savage, e a outra existe desde 2001. Lembre-se disso da próxima vez que um fanboy da empreendedora disser que a menina “gastou tanto de seu tempo com ONGs beneficentes”, como foi o caso nos comentários do meu vídeo. Talvez ele ache que ela DE FATO fundou tais empresas, quando a realidade é que eram devaneios esparsos de uma garota imaginativa.

Eu paro pra pensar que esse texto seria bem menor e mais fácil de escrever se a Bel não tivesse inventado TANTA história.

Eis a minha hipótese. O mérito real da Bel resume-se a ser aceita e formar-se (?) no MIT. Lá ela tentou entrar na indústria da tecnologia, e aparentemente não obteve muito êxito, porque tudo que ela conseguiu fazer foi estágios curtos e sites mal-acabados sem muito propósito ou sequer usuários. A empresa que ela supostamente fundou foi vendida por US$ 42 milhões e a menina não recebeu um centavo sequer, aparentemente não manteve equidade na empresa, nadica de nada.

Com o visto de estudante expirando e nenhum prospecto trabalhístico concreto que a permitisse estender sua estadia na gringa (em um vídeo que agora não encontro, ela deixa esse detalhe escapar, chegando a brincar que cogitou casar com um americano pra permanecer nos EUA), o jeito foi voltar ao Brasil. Foi aí que ela decidiu reinventar a “Bel Pesce que se formou numa das mais prestigiosas instituições de ensino tecnológico do mundo e que não conseguiu transformar esse diploma em NADA rentável e sequer permanecer nos EUA” pra “Bel Pesce prodígio com cinco formações, quarenta startups de sucesso, posições prestitiosas no Google e na Microsoft, autora de inúmeros produtos e serviços”.

Não importa quão absurda seja a sua lorota — alguém vai cair nela. Tem gente que acredita no Inri Cristo, afinal de contas. Eu não esperava é que a porra do nosso jornalismo nacional (mesmo tão sedento por histórias de brasileiros vencedores) deixasse a peteca cair tão lamentavelmente, repetindo feito papagaio o suposto sucesso da mulher, inquestionavelmente dando respaldo a “empresas” como a Talenj, sem excercer o mínimo de ceticismo responsável, e assim sendo cúmplice em seu processo de finalmente abrir uma empresa de verdade:

Uma empresa que ensina os outros a fundarem as próprias empresas — com cursos ministrados por alguém que nunca fundou uma própria empresa.

Uma ouroboros do empreendimento. Um loop recursivo de “inovação”. E como não falta trouxa nesse mundo, um moto-perpétuo de dinheiro.

Se a história parece inacreditável, se a despeito de todas as provas que você mesmo pode verificar você ainda acha que a mulher DEVE ser tudo que alega ser “porque apareceu na TV, saiu na IstoÉ…”, eu tenho que te informar que você é muito novinho, ou tem memória curta. Não é a primeira vez que um suposto intelectual com mais títulos universitário do que a maioria das pessoas tem bonés foi à TV relatar seus feitos fabulosos, salpicando suas abobrinhas travestidas de sabedoria. Lembram do Omar Khayyám?

Diga-se de passagem, esse negócio de empreendedorismo de palco lembra muito o esoterismo de rituais religiosos. O culto de personalidade em volta dos”líderes” dos quais não se pode falar mal, lendas passadas de boca a boca sobre seus feitos magnânimos, essa histeria de SIGA SEU SONHO REALIZE SEU POTENCIAL… agora tem até videoclipe chifrim semi-gospel declamando as virtudes do estilo de vida empreendedor:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtu5jiGOAzA&ab_channel=Gera%C3%A7%C3%A3odeValor

Que negócio brega do caralho. Troque uma ou duas palavras e você pode passar esse vídeo numa reunião de Herbalife ou em culto evangélico.

Esquecemos do Luiz Almeida Marins Filho, outra estrela do circuito de palestras motivacionais, com passagens por liderança de empresas gringas e inúmeras formações (até DOUTOR ele era!) — até o dia em que alguém olhou a fundo e descobriu que boa parte do currículo era aumentado. Já esquecemos do Bernard Madoff, um dos maiores charlatões que o mundo já viu, que abusou de sua influência no mundo finnaceiro pra fraudar investidores por mais de 18 BILHÕES de dólares?

Há uns cinco anos atrás, certamente alguém que tentasse alertar um amigo admirador do Madoff ouviria um “afff mano, ele é bilionário, tá lá em Wall Street e o caralho, apareceu em mil matérias sobre empreendimento, você acha que sabe mais que ele?” Hoje Madoff, que atende por “Prisioneiro #61727–054”, anseia pela data de sua liberação do chilindró: 14 de novembro de 2139 (sério, ele pegou 150 anos de cadeia. Os gringos não passam a mão na cabeça dos 171).

Algumas pessoas obtém reconhecimento (merecido ou não) e usam isso pra vender o ilusório. Parece exatamente ser o caso da Bel Pesce — foi aos EUA, frequentou uma instituição prestigiosa, passou (rapidamente) por várias empresas, apareceu em algumas matérias na gringa, o que a conferiu o verniz da legitimidade, e pronto: mesmo sem jamais ter empreendido na vida, faz pose e fala como especialista.

E pior, vende como especialista. Ela não fala muito sobre isso porque talvez ainda esteja explorando a validade do modelo de negócios, mas aparentemente a Bel planeja em breve iniciar franquias da FazINOVA, sua escolinha de empreendimento/auto-ajuda, prevendo tiers de investimento superior a cem mil reais.

Bel Pesce não tem literalmente conteúdo algum. Esta é a verdade inconveniente. Ela é basicamente um equivalente feminino do Tai “Here in my garage in Beverly Hills” Lopez: tem dinheiro, é supostamente um famoso empreendedor, já falou no TED também… mas todo mundo sabe que o cara é um charlatão do caralho, e ele é zoado abertamente por isso.

Ela tentou enturmar-se no Vale do Silício, mas nem a formação no MIT ajudou. Sem sucesso, voltou ao Brasil enaltecendo os próprios feitos na Meca Tecnológica tipo o Alfaiate Valente que anuncia “matei sete!”, omitindo que foram na verdade sete moscas — e como o protagonista da fábula, uma vez que a patuléia acreditou no homicídio séptuplo, manter a fama foi só uma questão de malandragem.

Seus livros são repletos de anedotas que, a julgar pelo sua característica de falta de compromisso com a verdade, tem o valor histórico das estorinhas do Sítio do Picapau Amarelo. Os conselhos de “empreendimento” não chegam nem a ser rebuscados como os dos outros autores de auto-ajuda venerados por piramideiros e outras amebas intelectuais. Eu te digo pra “acreditar nos seus sonhos” e “continuar perseverando” de graça.

As “empresas” atuais de Pesce citadas em suas biografias são a tal FazINOVA, que como mencionei é um cursinho de auto-ajuda que ela tem aspirações de transformar em franquia; a Enkla, uma editora que só publica livros dela, A “Figurinhas”, uma agência de publicidade que nem site tem, e oBeDream, com um site tão vago e piramidesco que eu te DESAFIO a me explicar do que se trata.

A moça não fez nem metade do que é atribuído a ela, e seus “empreendimentos” são transparentemente um veículo pra reafirmar sua habilidade de empreendedora. Empreendedorismo vindo do nada e servindo pra alimentar o próprio empreendedorismo: há algo quasetermodinamicamente errado com essa equação.

E nem precisei ir pro MIT pra perceber isso.

(Postei o texto neste tal de Medium porque meu site tá caindo desgraçadamente desde que o publiquei. Isso que dá não ter 5 diplomas do MIT e não saber configurar servidor. Meu site é www.hbdia.com, e estou sempre lá pelo Twitter como @izzynobre)

Next Story — How I Used & Abused My Tesla — What a Tesla looks like after 100,000 Miles, a 48 State Road trip…
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How I Used & Abused My Tesla — What a Tesla looks like after 100,000 Miles, a 48 State Road trip, 500 Uber Rides, 20 Rentals & 2 AirBnB sleepovers.

Most $100,000 cars are babied by their owners. Never taken out except on a warm Sunday. Garaged and kept with extremely low mileage. Only driven by the owner, not even allowed to be driven by a spouse, much less a stranger.

Not my poor Tesla.

I’ve worked that thing like a rented freaking mule.

So, you ask, how did the Tesla hold up? What’s it actually look like now? What are the exact operating costs, repair numbers and dollars spent & earned on this car over the 2 years of ownership?

Read on to find out all the gory details…and the photos to prove it.

It all started on August 27th, 2014 when I purchased my Blue Tesla Model S P85. I bought it used with 35,000 miles from a local Phoenix owner for $79,000. It originally sold for well over $100K when new.

Here’s the car when I bought it with the original 21" Turbine wheels:

In just under 2 years, on August 16th 2016, I reached dual milestones: 100,000 Miles and 500 Uber Rides.

100,000 Miles & 500 Uber Rides happened within the same hour on August 16, 2016

As this was the first really expensive car I’ve owned, I needed to find a way to help pay for the car. Naturally, Uber came to mind so I signed up and actually gave the first official Uber ride in Flagstaff AZ when they opened the market on September 17th, 2014. As it turned out, this would be just one of many firsts for this particular Tesla. Here’s the tweet from the Uber rep in Flagstaff:

I ended up getting commercial insurance as I wanted to do UberBlack, the high end service. However, I didn’t actually get activated on Black for another 5 months as there was a waiting list in Phoenix. My first UberBlack ride was worth the wait: It was during the SuperBowl in Phoenix, and it was a ride that cost $305 of which I made $225.

My First UberBlack ride during SuperBowl 49 in Phoenix

During the same SuperBowl week, something crazy happened. My Tesla was getting world wide press.

Why?

Oh, just this little story about how I rented out my Tesla as “The World’s Fastest Hotel” on AirBnb. The story went completely viral as it was on CNN, CBS, ABC World News Tonight, and more blogs than I could count.

And yes, while I turned down several potential renters I did have 2 automotive reporters pay $85 & $385 (after I upped the price hoping to discourage more guests) to sleep in my Tesla as it was parked in my garage.

Awkward? Oh hell yes.

Funny? Certainly.

A real business idea? Ummm, that would be a big fat NO.

That media frenzy is what inspired my next Tesla adventure, the admittedly poorly named “Million Dollar Tesla Trip”. It was a 4.5 month, 27,615 mile journey across all 48 States plus Canada where I video interviewed interesting & inspiring people in the Tesla as we drove across the country. Interviewees ranged from founders of incredible charities, to the former Driver for Martin Luther King, several authors, lots of fellow Tesla owners, and another cross country road tripper who was volunteering with 50 youth organizations in all 50 States. It became the longest continuous road trip in an electric vehicle (unofficially) and I was the first Tesla owner to visit 200 SuperChargers. Read about my Top 11 Tips for Road Tripping in a Tesla.

After completing the massive road trip, I started renting my Tesla out on Turo.com, the “AirBnB for Cars” in October of 2015. Since my job is renting out Vacation Rentals, it wasn’t much of a stretch for me to rent out my Tesla. Turo provides the match-making service as well as insurance, so it’s worth their 25% cut.

Since I ditched my commercial insurance before the trip and wasn’t too excited about the low UberX rates, I didn’t restart driving for Uber till July of this year. I’m able to do UberX, the cheapest service, along with Select which is reserved for nicer cars and is about 2X the price although only about 1 in 15 rides is Select. Once I started though, it’s become somewhat addicting, but the beauty is I can quit or slow down any time.

Uber’s prices are so low, it really doesn’t pay to drive for Uber in an expensive vehicle especially if earning an income is your only goal. Personally, I wouldn’t Uber in any car besides a Tesla. I do it for several reasons: a great excuse to drive more, sharing the Tesla experience, and it’s fun meeting the mostly cool passengers. If you use it smartly, it can be a lot of fun, and slightly profitable.

There is no better way an individual owner can help Tesla achieve its mission “To Accelerate the Advent of Sustainable Transport” than to drive for Uber or Lyft.

One of the ways to Uber with very little time investment is to use Uber’s commute option where it only offers you riders going your same direction. This way you are paid for going where you were going already. Make someone smile while making some lunch money. Not too bad.

Total Cost of Ownership:

Cost of Tesla: $79,000 used with 35,000 miles

Regular Maintenance Cost over 65,000 miles in 24 months:

  • “Annual Service”: $600 (Yes, I’ve only done this once at 49,000 miles. Probably not a bad idea to do another soon)
  • 2 sets of tires: $1700
  • Oil Changes: Hahahahaha
  • Brakes? Nope. The regenerative braking does 95% of the work and recharges my battery at the same time.

Total Maintenance = $2300

Out of Pocket Repairs from 50,000 to 100,000 miles:

  • 12v Battery $400
  • Door Handle Repair $1000
  • Wheel well fasteners $80

Total Repairs = $1500

Total Maintenance + Repairs = $3800. Keep in mind, 65,000 miles is 5 years of “normal” driving at 13,000 a year.

I’d love to hear about any other $100K car go that far (with 50,000 miles out of warranty) and cost less than $4000 ALL IN? Oh, and I’ve probably spent less than $1,000 on electricity as well.

Earnings:

Uber — 500 Rides totaling $6,142.47 in 9 active months = $682 average per month. Less than 1 month was on UberBlack. Most of it was on UberX & Select.

Other Rides: $360

Turo — 20 Rentals totaling $6652.25 in 11 months = $604 average per mo.

AirBnb— 2 Rentals totaling $470

Total Tesla Income =$13,624.72 / 24 months = $567.69 a month average

Tesla Road Trip Savings: My 27,615 mile (the circumference of the Earth is 24,901 miles) 48 State plus Canada road trip cost $8.37. I had to pay for electricity 2 times, the rest was FREE thanks to the Tesla SuperCharger network. There were about 180 SuperChargers when I started the trip. There are now almost 300 in the USA. Gas savings assuming a 25 MPG car using a national average of $2.75 a gallon = $3037.

I also used the “Tesla Hotel” about 20 times out of the 132 nights on the road since the Tesla allows you to run the A/C or heat all night with no issues. With an average hotel cost of $75, this saved me $1500.

Total Road Trip Savings of just over $4500.

Should I have purchased the Extended Warranty?

As 50,000 miles approached, I had to decide wheather or not to purchase the Tesla Extended Warranty for $4000. This would extend the regular warranty to 100,000 miles. My choice? I was confident in the Tesla so I rolled the dice. No warranty for me.

As I hit 100,000 miles, I finally found out if I had made the right decision.

As noted above I spent $1500 out of pocket versus $4000 on the warranty so I made out by $2500.

Tesla also has an 8 year, unlimited mileage warranty for the Drive Train & Battery. This was great, as I did have the drive train replaced at about 65,000 miles and the battery replaced at about 76,000 miles. Tesla service was beyond fantastic in dealing with both issues and I was on my way with zero out of pocket cost.

The moral of the story? The Tesla isn’t a typical prissy $100,000 car. It’s meant to be driven, and driven hard. It’s not just a daily driver, it’s a high performance yet practical and extremely safe car. It’s better than a traditional car in so many categories it’s fall down funny.

So, you want to see the 100,000 mile photos??

Tesla with 100,000 miles and 19" Cyclone wheels — not as sexy as the 21’s but more economical
A few bits of road wear. The Xpel protectant has helped avoid rock chips
Some Road Rash courtesy of the concrete jungle: Manhattan, NYC

In my opinion, the Tesla has held up very well. Most of my Uber riders are very surprised when I tell them the car is almost 4 years old. Yes, there are a few more minor blemishes on the paint, but nothing out of the ordinary for 100,000 miles. I really don’t think you could tell any difference between my car and any other with similar milage even though I’ve given 500 Uber rides and rented the car out 20 times to complete strangers on Turo.

I implore any Tesla owner to throw out any notions of keeping your Tesla to yourself because you are worried you will ruin the car.

Share the hell out of it!

Sign up for Uber or Lyft and give people rides. Trust me, their reactions alone are worth it when they hop in your Tesla. Let others get a taste and they will soon realize what we already know. Let’s help spread the word about these world changing cars. My experience should prove that your car can take all the abuse you can dish out and then some.

Bonus Prediction:

I think even Tesla fans and industry analysts are massively underestimating what Tesla will do in the next few years with the cheaper Model 3 that should be fully autonomous shortly after it’s released. I think Tesla could sell 1 to 2 million units a year by 2020.

Tesla Model 3 starting at $35,000

To clarify, I believe the demand for that volume will be there, but the hard part is being able to ramp up production that fast. Odds say that will be tough to pull off.

However, once people realize they can pay $35,000 for a killer car that can earn them $30,000 in a year by simply pressing a button and telling your car to go pick up passengers for you while you work or sleep — it’s game over.

Wait, a car that makes me money?

Wait, a car that can drive me across the state for free, while I sleep or get work done? It can autopilot me through stop and go traffic, but I can drive it like Mario Andretti on the weekends?

Yes, please.

Not only will this affect car sales, but airlines will see more people shifting to driving vs flying and it will even make not owning a car more practical. This, along with many other ripple effects we are not even thinking about yet.

Bring on the disruption. It’s coming and coming fast. Just like a Tesla.

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