I did a quick Twitter poll asking which technology companies you think are the most innovative today. The options were:
(Note: Twitter polls only allow four options... yes, there’s also Apple, Microsoft, Uber, Samsung and SpaceX, to name a few others).
With over 1,000 responses, a clear overwhelming winner emerged: Tesla.
Here was the final tally:
- Amazon: 25 percent
- Google: 22 percent
- Facebook: 4 percent
- Tesla: 50 percent
Google and Amazon each spend over $50 billion per year on R&D (2016 figures). In other words, they each spend more R&D dollars in a year than Tesla’s current market cap of $49 billion.
So why is it that Tesla garnered more votes than Google and Amazon combined?
What can an entrepreneur or CEO learn from this?
Here are my top four reasons (if you have others, please tweet them at me @PeterDiamandis):
1. A “crystal clear” massively transformative purpose (MTP)
Tesla’s MTP is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. To this end, every product Tesla brings to market is focused on this vision and backed by a Master Plan Elon Musk wrote over 10 years ago. Google and Amazon, on the other hand, have scattered vision. Both are collectively working on dozens of innovations, from drone delivery to autonomous cars, that stray from their respective MTPs.
2. Founder personality is confident, focused, passionate and outspoken
Musk has an eccentric, celebrity-like persona as a founder and has rallied a diehard fan base around himself. He believes 500 percent in what he is doing. He is crystal clear and driven 100 hours per week to execute. While he divides his time between Tesla and SpaceX (and now Neuralink), he doesn’t do anything else or speak on any other subject. His companies reflect his clarity and confidence. To a large degree, like Steve Jobs and Apple, Tesla is a reflection of Musk himself.
3. Media news frenzy and social media influence
Musk has garnered a cult-like following on social media, with 8.3 million Twitter followers. On the other hand, Larry Page does not even have a Twitter account, and scarcely speaks publicly; Jeff Bezos has tweeted less than 10 times per year since 2009 and has only 208,000 followers. Musk often responds directly to questions his followers throw his way, and has become famous for leaking product updates and launches on Twitter. He certainly has the news media eating out of his hands and effectively controls the perception of the Tesla brand himself.
4. Real and tangible products
Building hardware is HARD. And taking on complex industries like automotive and energy (not to mention space) with new tangible products is perceived by all to have a high degree of difficulty. Hard = Innovative.
In summary, there is a takeaway for entrepreneurs who want to build powerful, innovative companies to change the world. There’s a strong force-multiplier for your company if you’re willing to be a powerful, outspoken CEO with a clear and dominant MTP/Moonshot, something you believe in with all your heart and soul.