Ping goes my email box…


It’s been a busy few months for me, so my blog like usual has suffered. I always hope that I can come up with daily topics to discuss but work and life in general take over.

I could spend many hours now explaining the benefits of different ski waxes or files, but I am sure to the reader out there it would be just boring!

An article that Mike Moritz wrote on Tesla caught my eye this morning in Linkedin news feed.

The auto industry – specifically the dealers are taking quite strong action against Tesla for selling direct. It is amazing – as most of the auto industry laughed at Elon Musk when he decided to start Tesla, but leaving the market cap to one side, they have become somewhat of a powerhouse in the auto industry.

I thought I would share some of my experience about buying cars (something that I hate to do) and compare this with the customer focused, direct and lovely experience I have had with Tesla.

Traditional industries like the automotive one (see recent HBR analysis) really like to create massive barriers to sale to protect their interest. I buy pretty much everything I can online – and although I would say I am an early adopter – I am not alone. In 1998 when I lived in Palo Alto I was a great believer in Webvan (cold Becks beer and Cadbury Dairy Milk delivered from a Fremont distribution centre might have been their downfall). If you ask me to buy in a traditional retail environment I will always think could this be done online.

A car to me isn’t an exciting purchase, lots of people I know spend month reading specifications, reviews and test driving. I would prefer click and collect – but the industry doesn’t want that, margins are wafer thin and it’s put a strain on their profits.

I can draw similar comparisons with the Diet industry. The incumbent players say that a meeting or telephone support is essential to the consumers success – but really it is central to that competitors business model. Going direct allows the consumer better choice, lower costs and a more convenient experience. This is exactly what I think about Tesla.

I am not just buying a Tesla because it’s electric, I love the convenience. I ordered it completely online, with no hard sell and could change the product right up until production had been confirmed. This is so convenient!

So if you sell anything, put the customer at the heart of the proposition and ask yourself – how would you like to buy this product. Disruption in channel choice is likely to happen and that creates immense opportunity for startups.

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