Elon says Tesla does “zero market research whatsoever”

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Needsdecaf

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#1
https://www.wsj.com/articles/elon-musk-and-the-dying-art-of-the-big-bet-11575090005?emailToken=4f67fcda40dec80027ca367542906975GePmMD99W3UAp6D3JGC1Q2jFRBmSY8wVcF8affhELYiTmIM7HLS5Qm5khL1v2lSmUzSDLLNYwzSEVri5hT+z4bd6hQrW9OmW6+1lfi1eYr8=&reflink=article_email_share

On Nov. 5, two weeks before the Cybertruck’s debut, Mr. Musk discussed the project in a little-noticed interview at a U.S. Air Force tech event in San Francisco. He also described Tesla’s approach to market research.

“I do zero market research whatsoever,” he said.

Let that sink in for a moment. Before introducing a completely new product aimed at cracking the truck market, the most hotly competitive and historically profitable segment of the U.S. auto industry, Tesla’s CEO said he did not deem it necessary to consult potential customers.
 

jdcollins5

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#3
That is interesting. I would think those that work for Tesla, and Apple, would be a representative sampling for feedback.
 

Needsdecaf

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#5
Not unique everywhere.. famously Steve Jobs @Apple knew what customers wanted ™ without any research

:)
“Ignoring market research would be a tough strategy to defend in any industrial era, but it seems especially reckless in the age of Big Data. Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook, among others, have become behemoths by harvesting and analyzing mountains of customer data. They don’t make bets. Before making operational changes, they run experiments to determine the outcome.”
 

garsh

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#6
Before making operational changes, they run experiments to determine the outcome.”
Experimentation is not the same as market research. And it's very easy to experiment with software that can be changed in a couple weeks for the cost of a few engineer-week salaries. That doesn't work for automobile design with 2-5 year product development times and billion-dollar production lines.

Market research can help you tweak a design, or decide which of several features would be most important to buyers. But it is completely useless when it comes to disrupting a market. Henry Ford had said that had he asked customers what they wanted, they would have said “a faster horse.”
 

Needsdecaf

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Experimentation is not the same as market research. And it's very easy to experiment with software that can be changed in a couple weeks for the cost of a few engineer-week salaries. That doesn't work for automobile design with 2-5 year product development times and billion-dollar production lines.

Market research can help you tweak a design, or decide which of several features would be most important to buyers. But it is completely useless when it comes to disrupting a market. Henry Ford had said that had he asked customers what they wanted, they would have said “a faster horse.”
I didn’t write that. Was from the article.
 

NR4P

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#8
I have extensive research experience and my favorite lesson was "you can do all the market research on a candle, and you won't come up with the electric light bulb". Research on consumers will not come up with a new disruptive product, as the article states.
A new revolutionary product can sometimes do well. Consumers in general cannot see more than 6 mos forward.

But what is success in a product? Was the S and X successful? Depends who you ask. $100K vehicles and without mass market adoption. But Tesla learned from years of product sales and that IS market research. Hence the Model 3 super success.
 
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TrevP

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#9
I think everyone can agree that Tesla not doing market research but instead paying acute attention to detail, adhering to "first principles" engineering and making products THEY would want is paying off handsomely. Decisions by committee always end up with watered down overly complicated products and it shows when you look at other offerings.
 

JasonF

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#10
Market research can also be a prison, though, as well as focus groups. Market research and focus groups almost certainly reflect that when you ask, people prefer what they have already, and getting them interested in radically different designs is tough.

They are the primary reason why nothing really changes from decade to decade with traditional automobile manufacturing. They are also the primary reason why the auto industry keeps saying that cars are dead, and from now on it's all SUV's. It's as much a result of that's what people see every day as that's what they actually prefer.
 

TI3T

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#11
Market research and focus groups get you things like fancy tailgates and magic-cameras. The Big 3 are afraid to mess too much with their cash-cows so they play it safe in design and play endless commercials with 'regular folks' gasping over these gimmicks.

Not saying these little things aren't appreciated by some people, but if you want revolutionize it takes guts!
 
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DanSz

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#12
One can’t change the world with customer surveys and market research. A revolutionary product has never come from polling.

If it did, we wouldn’t have the keyboard less smart phones or tablets. At least, they wouldn’t have come so soon.

Keep innovating, Tesla. just be sure to become profitable along the way.