Tesla Means Something

Sharp take by Ben Thompson on the new Tesla Model 3 and the parallels of Tesla to Apple:

When it comes to the iPhone I have argued that Apple’s smartphone was, relative to the phones on the market, Obsoletive: the iPhone effectively reduced the phones that came before it to apps on a general purpose computer, justifying a higher price even as it made cheaper incumbents obsolete.

This doesn’t quite work for Tesla: at the end of the day a Model S is still doing the same job as a traditional BMW or Mercedes-Benz. It just does it better: a Model S accelerates faster, it has more storage, it has innovative features like limited auto-pilot and a huge touch-screen interface, and you don’t have to stop at the gas station. Most importantly, though, it is a Tesla.

The real payoff of Musk’s “Master Plan” is the fact that Tesla means something: yes, it stands for sustainability and caring for the environment, but more important is that Tesla also means amazing performance and Silicon Valley cool. To be sure Tesla’s focus on the high end has helped them move down the cost curve but it was Musk’s insistence on making “An electric car without compromises” that ultimately led to 276,000 people reserving a Model 3, many without even seeing the car: after all, it’s a Tesla.

Thompson refutes the Clayton Christensen’s idea of ‘disruptive innovators’ like he and many others claim Apple and Tesla to be. It’s the strength of the Tesla and Apple brands that allows them to do and achieve what they do, not because they’re necessarily disruptive.

Put that in your disruptive pipe and innovatively smoke it, Christensen.

Twitter Moments

Last week Twitter debuted a new feature called “Moments”. It shows up as a new tab at the bottom of the Twitter app and features a curated list of breaking events by category.

At Statechery, Ben Thomspon is excited and sees it as (potentially) nothing less than the reinvention of the newspaper:

Well, the product launched…and it’s fantastic. Moreover, it’s not only that it’s fantastic from a product perspective — actually, there is a lot to nitpick — but that it is fantastic from a strategic perspective.

And:

That’s right, Twitter just reinvented the newspaper. It’s not just any newspaper though — it has the potential to be the best newspaper in the world.

Startup L. Jackson is a sees a need for a strategy adjustment:

Moments should be a standalone app. Period. It can still use the Twitter namespace and shared login. Be made by Twitter, etc. But Twitter needs something it can market to users that is not Twitter.

By making it a standalone, Twitter can avoid all of the problems that exist with implementing it as a tab. There is no dual onboarding experience, no @mentions, no main feed to educate the user on, no DMs, etc. Just great content and an occasional invitation to “join the conversation” or “follow all of Bieber’s posts” at just the right time. See graphic representation below.

“Have you tried Moments? It’s like Snapchat stories meets Buzzfeed. It’s my new go to on the train.”

The important part is ‘Moments’ has launched.

Now Twitter just needs to keep refining and iterating.

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