Much like the internet was in the early nineties, electric vehicles (EVs) are a new and highly disruptive technology today. Startups in the EV industry as well as larger, established automotive companies have been developing new technologies in the EV space, with firms such as Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) and Aptera making advancements that could completely change vehicular transportation. And speaking of Tesla, the pioneering EV firm has achieved plenty in just over a decade in the game.
Tesla introduced the Roadster in 2008, proving that EVs are a viable concept, and the company has been refining its technology ever since. The company recently announced that it was working on a low-cost “million-mile battery” that could theoretically last a million miles and significantly lower the cost of EVs. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who also helms SpaceX, the Boring Company, Neuralink and OpenAI, credits Tesla’s innovative advancements to the following questions:
Have you tried it? You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. According to Musk, the first step is always to try — and to try hard. Several firms in the EV space, including Tesla, had many false starts and close failures before they found their rhythms. Aptera, which recently announced a lightweight, solar-powered EV that could theoretically run without ever being pluggedin, shuttered its operations in 2011 before coming back with its three-wheeled “never-charge” EV.
How can you improve it? Once your product is out, Musk says, go out and get as much feedback as you can. Going to the ground and interacting with consumers will allow you to see where your product lacks and where it shines. Use this feedback to make your product better. This cycle of getting feedback and using it to update and improve your products will blow your customers’ expectations.
Are you wasting time in excessive meetings? Although meetings and conference calls can be crucial, they can also eat into time that would be more valuable if spent elsewhere. According to Musk, things have generally gone awry when he spends too much time in a conference room. He calls excessive meetings the “blight of big companies,” adding that meetings should only include individuals who add value to the whole audience.
Are you leading the charge? Nothing motivates an army like seeing their general riding with them into battle. According to Musk, his employees are much more energized and productive when he’s working alongside them in the trenches. In 2018, he took to sleeping on the floor at Tesla’s factory to help fast track the production of Tesla Model 3. Engage with employees at all levels of the organization and listen to their ideas, says Musk, who also advises to “get out on the front line and show them that you care.”
Great advice straight from the horse’s own mouth. Ask yourself those questions regularly, and you will see your company soar, whether it is in the EV space or elsewhere.
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