Publisher's Perspective: Wait...the Future is Not the Future?

Publisher’s Perspective: Wait…the Future is Not the Future?

Last month, there was article after article about Tesla’s falling stock price, and several issues were cited as the cause. Does that mean the future value of electric vehicle manufacturing may be in question? I don't think so.

About a year ago, I was in California and was provided the opportunity to drive what many people considered at the time to be the future. It was an almost brand-new Tesla Model S.

Many of you know that I am an absolute car guy. No blood in the veins, just pure 10W-40. There was no hesitation or thinking twice about this decision. I was direct and to the point. “Absolutely,” I responded, “let’s go!” I did not want them to change their mind.

Once in the vehicle, I was overwhelmed by the interior. I love analog everything (that’s because I’m old and a purist), but wait! There was nothing analog, just a big computer screen right at the center console and dashboard junction. The entire vehicle was commanded from this iPad-looking screen. My acceptance to change was really being tested here. Off we went on the exhilarating ride of a lifetime.

I’ve been fortunate in my career to drive some pretty cool vehicles from many eras. I can honestly say this one challenged my senses for the top spot. It was eerily quiet but had great road ability. Handling was agile but still had a presence of luxury. Acceleration? Well, it was just short of mind-bending. Frankly, I was taken by surprise. The power transfer and torque of the electric motors was astounding. I walked away thinking that my view of battery-powered electric vehicles had changed forever.

Fast forward to last month. There was article after article about Tesla’s falling stock price. Several issues were cited as the cause. First was a consumer report that said there may be things-gone-wrong issues with early owners. However, early owners reported a 97-percent ownership satisfaction rating, so that does not seem like a logical set of indicators to me. Secondly, there was a belief that due to falling gas prices, the future value of electric vehicle manufacturing may be in question.

So let’s get this straight: 97-percent owner satisfaction is bad, and fuel prices will be low forever. I don’t know about you, but I’m not buying either of those. I’m not saying Tesla is the answer or that electric vehicles are either, but I do believe change is inevitable. What we know today is not what the future will look like. In business, we need to accept and navigate change and not follow short-term setbacks or aberrations. Even if doing that makes us feel better for a time, reality will march right by us.

Keep your eyes on the future and plan for a successful business transition to it…whatever it is.

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