Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted his displeasure with one of his company’s drivers who noticed a major flaw in the company’s $199-a-month Full Self-Driving subscription after repeatedly calling for negative feedback from customers.
Why did this happen?
It was obvious that he was upset by the flaw because of his repeatedly calling for negative feedback on social media. These tactics are often used to solicit criticism from customers so the company can be responsive to their needs and avoid repetition of mistakes. It is possible that Elon Musk believes that pointing out a flaw will undermine the legitimacy of Tesla’s self-driving technology and take some time away from developing it, which could mean fewer profits or even losses. This would result in decreased revenue which would weaken Elon Musk’s bargaining power with investors and shareholders, thus weakening his job security as CEO. That being said, these fears may not be rooted in reality if there are sufficient safeguards to mitigate driver errors while using Autopilot or self-driving software within Tesla vehicles.
While there are some concerns about liability if an accident occurs, most people understand that we need to test out these new technologies as safely as possible. However, there is still a fear within Elon Musk that points out flaws might prevent him from achieving his goals. This may not be a concern if consumers of self-driving cars can be reassured by sufficient safeguards to mitigate driver errors while using Autopilot or self-driving software within Tesla vehicles. Perhaps Elon Musk feels that these safeguards will not exist because they have not been sufficiently tested. Alternatively, it could be just a matter of time before they’re established and well known which could explain why he hasn’t publicly condemned Thomas’ actions yet despite his reaction in private.
How angry was Elon Musk really?
While you can’t blame the driver for pointing out a flaw in the company’s plan, Elon got angry and proceeded to question the person’s intelligence. In response, Elon wanted to go even further with this idea and take away our smartphones as well. Let me tell you something: don’t fight with Elon Musk over your phone or car. You’ll never win that battle!
With that said, he is right about a couple of things. For one, it’s not safe to be on your phone while you’re driving, no matter how much Elon wants you to use his self-driving service. With that said, using Google Maps (or any mapping app) isn’t a bad thing, especially when you’re trying to get from point A to point B and don’t want to be responsible for crashing into anything or anyone. What I mean by that is: everyone needs their GPS sometimes and should have access to it as well. So long as your eyes are on the road instead of looking down at your phone constantly, then that’s what matters!
What should we learn from this?
The most important lesson from this is the importance of hearing feedback, even when it’s bad news. Feedback from your employees, partners, and customers can make a huge difference to the success of your product. Sometimes we don’t think negative feedback is worth addressing because it might seem like a no-win situation. In Elon’s case, he knows that someone was saying that there was an issue with the functionality of the feature he just introduced. When you are trying to bring a brand new product to market, you want to find any mistakes and correct them as quickly as possible so they don’t create further issues or worse – deter people from using the service/product in the future! If we ignore potential problems like this we run into bigger issues down the line.
It’s never easy to hear negative feedback about your product or service. If you are releasing a new feature and it isn’t perfect, then some people are bound to complain – there’s no way to avoid that. However, it’s important not to ignore feedback like Elon did. Not only is ignoring negative feedback frustrating, but it can also leave you blindsided if enough people have issues with your product or service. For example, let’s say that 100 customers contact customer support and 90 of them are complaining about an issue that affects their experience with your product or service negatively. If those 10 customers don’t get an answer from customer support because you’ve decided that negative feedback doesn’t warrant addressing then 90% of your customer base will now be unhappy with your product.