July 3, 2020

Taking off like a titanium plated Cybertruck

xkcd car
Some interesting news that you might have missed.
Tesla overtook Toyota as the most valuable car company in the world. This despite being outsold by the mighty Toyota at a rate of 25 to 1.
Toyota is a powerhouse of efficiency, productivity and diversity of product. Their vehicles are legion for their longevity and value, and if you put aside the mind numbing boredom of actually driving one, mostly Toyota is a car reviewer’s safe bet.
Tesla is not a production powerhouse on any level. A relative upstart in the industry, it’s a cult brand that pulls followers from across a wide spectrum. As the world’s best known electric car company, it’s gathered together the scattered green movement of early electric adopters, much to the chagrin of the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt. 
It’s also pulled in another more powerful group in terms of buying power and investment interest: computer nerds. Not your usual car enthusiasts, I will grant you that.
So you might be scratching your head about why a company that trails Toyota’s productivity by a country mile could push a 10% increase in their market share. Tesla sold 400,000 vehicles last year, pretty respectable for an electric car. Toyota sold 10.7 million.
I don’t blame you for the head scratching. It caught my attention as well.
It’s not just a sign of Tesla’s cult status, nor the appeal and simultaneous repellency of Elon Musk, company founder. It’s the sign that investors are no longer interested in the old way of building cars. 
Investors want shiny new toys, and today’s shiny news toy is computer technology. The out of this world tech in each Tesla is, for many investors, just the start of the potential for AI and machine learning to really move the needle on how we travel around our world.
These computer driven, highly efficient and continuously improving vehicles are smashing old car technology to bits. Even highly productive, well established, and value driven Toyota can’t compete with the allure of cars stuffed to the brim with self driving, self monitoring software, and incredibly powerful and efficient electric motors.
It’s the perfect storm, and investors can see that storm coming, ready to rain real money down on them. Despite Elon’s many social media missteps, the erstwhile CEO continues to haul along both his coterie of rabid followers, and grudging admirers who may not love the man or even the electric car concept, but can see the incredible power of the technology.
In the end, for investors, it’s an intoxicating combination: get in now and you might make boat tonnes of money, and you’ll get a little piece of AI and ML’s potential to rock the world.  As a side bonus, you might see that maniacal egomaniac launch a Tesla Cybertruck into space so that he can drive it around on Mars.
In any case, despite the rocky start and continuing headwinds, clearly investors think that Tesla is a safer bet than ever, and they are ready to bet against the old dogs in the industry.
Just in case you didn’t get what I’m driving at with this little blog, I’m going to hit you with it like a Cybertruck. Computer software is the present, not the future. If you aren’t jumping onboard, it’s going to start feeling like you’re paddling a canoe up the Otter Rapids. Sure it’s possible, but wouldn’t you rather power upstream with a self driving electric boat without getting soaked?
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