May 18, 2022

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Elon Musk admitted he didn't think Tesla would succeed.  Here is what he said and was proven wrong

Elon Musk admitted he didn’t think Tesla would succeed. Here is what he said and was proven wrong

On Thursday, Elon Musk held a concert “Cyber ​​Rodeo” to celebrate the opening of the new Tesla factory in Austin, Texas. Giga Texas, as the plant is known, is where the company plans to make the Model Y crossover as part of its plan to deliver 1.5 million electric vehicles this year. It’s also where the company plans to build its next CyberTruck, although Musk indicated that production has been pushed into next year.

The plant itself is impressive. Musk says it’s the world’s largest factory by volume, and that if you stood it to the end, it would be taller than the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. I’ve been to the Burj Khalifa, but wasn’t invited to the Cyber ​​Rodeo, so I have to take his word for it.

The event was also a great show, with 15,000 people listening to live music and Musk appearing on stage to talk about Tesla’s future. It was something he said about the company’s past that I found very interesting.

“When we started working on Tesla, I thought we might have – optimistically – had a 10 percent chance of success,” Musk said as he began his remarks. This wasn’t the first time Musk had said something similar. As far as I can find, it appeared in a file 2019 podcast interview. “I never thought before it actually happened that it would be so successful,” he added at the time.

This is despite the fact that both Volkswagen and Toyota produce almost 10 times as many cars. On the other hand, when it comes to electric vehicles, Tesla accounts for about three-quarters of all electric vehicles registered in the United States, and it also made Musk the richest man on earth.

Having said that, I’m not sure that Musk was wrong for being pessimistic about Tesla’s prospects. It is very difficult to build a car company from the ground up. Cars are complex machines with thousands of moving parts. Most of Tesla’s competitors have been around for generations and have established factories and suppliers. At first, all Tesla had was an idea: that you could build an all-electric car, which people would actually want to buy.

You can prove that it is a noble idea. If you think electric cars are important to the future of the planet, the obvious hurdle is that you have to convince people to buy them. The idea behind Tesla was that electric cars didn’t have to compromise.

This might be a great idea, but having a great idea is not nearly enough. “Prototyping is easy,” Musk said on stage at the Cyber ​​Rodeo. “Production is difficult.”

This is correct. It was especially difficult for Tesla. 3 . model Almost famous for the company’s bankruptcyMusk said the company came within a month of that fate during what he described as “production and logistics hell.”

Even if Musk is the public face of Tesla, it’s certainly not something anyone can build on their own. you have the feeling, Watching Musk speakGiga Texas represents a sense of accomplishment and a sense of validation for the company already. More importantly, he seems to realize that it took a collective effort of thousands of people to get there.

This is an important lesson for every leader. Your great idea may optimistically give you a 10 percent chance of success. Maybe 10 percent of the company you’re building. The rest depends entirely on the team you are building.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.