I Want A Tesla Toaster
News that Tesla may be considering its own streaming music service suggests there’s no limit to what it could do. I want a Tesla Toaster.
It’s not inconceivable, if you think about it, considering the confluence of three attributes in the company and its leader:
First, describing Elon Musk as a bold, visionary exec is probably an understatement, considering one of his smaller ideas is to populate the Solar System. That doesn’t mean he’s always right, or even reasonable, but his penchant for taking risks large and small stands is in stark contrast to the way a prior generation of corporate leaders looked to reduce it via operational efficiencies (a la Jack Welch).
This goes to the heart of understanding innovation, since it’s founded not on asking what a company can do, but experimenting to learn what it can’t do (see Jeff Bezos).
Second, technology is the philosopher’s stone of innovation, giving its believers the confidence, and often the tools, to do just about anything. No problem or human failing can resist a tech solution; this is why we have tech companies purportedly building cars, and tech startups planning to replace most companies (and their employees) with smartphone apps, AI, bitcoin, or whatever.
Again, and also not necessarily reasonable, is the assumption by technologists (and of technology) of unlimited potential.
Third, anything can be branded, since the thinking today is that all it takes is telling the right stories. The authority of Tesla’s brand — with Musk wrapped in it, along with themes of empowerment and future coolness — is what the marketing experts might call a “platform” on/from which to add other things. How consumers connect to it has less to do with anything tangibly real, and more with what stories they get told.
It shouldn’t be much of a leap to imagine a Tesla-branded toaster that featured a setting that enabled “sentient conversation” just to the left of its highest toasting level, or something equally necessary and miraculous. Oh, and it would be electric, of course.
But why stop there?
Tesla Floor Polish
Technology-infused aerosol spray designed to disrupt the way we interact with floors.
Tesla Baby Food
For discerning parents who want to invest early in their own little startup.
Tesla Weather App
Just one component of the Tesla Cloud of services powered by data collected from its cars and toasters.
Tesla Particle Supercollider
Because, well, why not?
I’m president of Arcadia Communications Lab, a global collaborative solely focused on helping established businesses get value from communicating about innovation. You can follow me @jonathansalem