There were legitimate complaints about the Model X launch event. There usually are about most launches. Venture Beat took Elon Musk to the cleaners, calling his performance during the Model X launch “…a marketing and PR disaster, concluding:
“I know it’s an unfair comparison for anyone, really, but given Musk’s incredible entrepreneurial achievements, I can’t help comparing him to Steve Jobs. Jobs famously was not only a top-notch presenter, but he was also famously a rigorous preparer for launches.”
By any and every conventional standard, VB is right. But Musk isn’t conventional. Nor are his products.
I think he crushed it. Let’s break it down….
Re: Choppy delivery
“But what’s not amazing is Elon Musk’s public speaking abilities”
No. His style is so stripped down, so utilitarian that you have nowhere else to focus but his product. Jobs mesmerized you with his oratory skills and that required that you keep swapping your attention between Steve and his <insert apple product here>. Elon keeps your focus on the product.
Re: Being unprepared
“Jobs famously was not only a top-notch presenter, but he was also famously a rigorous preparer for launches.”
No. Musk was very very prepared. Whilst Jobs prepared for his delivery, Musk prepared to flawlessly deliver the most detailed facts about the “why” behind every single engineering and design decision. He did the work of both Jobs and Jony Ivy. In half the time. That takes mad skills.
Re: Being boring by talking up safety
“When you are marketing, sell what’s awesome.”
Whilst Steve would have undoubtedly left this for later, Musk is selling a car that’s presumably going to be used to schlep kids and families around, or be most suitable for all sorts of terrain. Everyone who doesn’t need to solve for these scenarios (and can afford a Tesla) would go for the Model S. Not clearly positioning as such, cannibalizes his products. Selling safety has to be awesome.
Re: the outcome
“Tesla will go on. The Model X will sell well.”
The ModelX will need to create $120,0000 SUV owners. They don’t exist in high quantities. But it will do well, relatively speaking. Because of Elon. Not in spite of him.
My work requires me to speak at a lot of events. Convincing a large audience about a point of view is a sport to me. It was an absolute pleasure to watch him do his thing.
Jobs was brilliant at presenting but Musk raised the bar: he unapologetically celebrates the fact that in the times we live in, at least in the business of software-defined products, the product IS the marketing.
Comments on LinkedIn.
(Cross-posted @ Pretzel Logic)