If Elon Musk Can Admit His Mistakes, Then So Can You
Tesla held its annual shareholder meeting yesterday at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif.
Co-founder and CEO Elon Musk took to the stage to give a presentation about the state of the company and what he hopes to accomplish in the future through the development of the solar roof portion of the business, and the expansion of Tesla’s retail presence. Just to get a sense of the scale Musk has in mind, he has his eye on opening one store for every half million people.
This year, he said the company is aiming to double the number of Tesla superchargers available across the world and then possibly double that number again the following year. At the end of 2017, there are plans for there to be more than 10,000.
He also highlighted some new products on the horizon. The semi-truck prototype will be unveiled in September, and the Model Y vehicle will also be rolled out in 2017. In talking about the development of the previous models, he admitted that while he was excited about the Model Y, he was hoping to avoid missteps with this vehicle that he felt were made in the past.
“There’s been some criticism that we should sort of do it derived from the Model 3 platform. But I think actually, we made a mistake in trying to derive the Model X from the Model S platform” Musk explained. “It would have been better to just design an SUV the way an SUV should be designed. Design a sedan the way a sedan should be designed. Otherwise you’re just trying to shoehorn something in that doesn’t make sense.”
Towards the end of July, Musk said that a Model 3 configurator -- the options drivers have to customize their vehicle -- would be going live. He noted that with previous models, miscalculations were made on that front as well. He said that the biggest mistake the company made with the Model X was providing too many options for the customer right out of the gate.
“Going back to the launch of the Model S, it only had one configuration at start of production. It had one configuration because that was all we could do, not because we were really clever,” Musk explained. “Then Model X -- hubris extraordinaire. It’s really an amazing product, but it has way too many cool things in it that really should have been rolled in with version 2, version 3. That would have been the sensible way to do it. We got overconfident and created something great that probably will never be made again. And perhaps should not be.”
With those lessons in mind, there will be far fewer choices for the soon-to-be-released Model 3. Musk said in the early go, it’s going to be mostly selecting what color and what size wheels you prefer.
If a guy whose day job includes developing a global high speed charging network, sending reusable rockets into space, solving the world’s traffic woes and connecting humans with machines can admit he was wrong and move forward, we can all admit and learn from our mistakes as well.