Tesla Motors electric carTesla announced Tuesday it would raise $178 million in an IPO. Skeptics have long asked why anyone would buy shares in a company with scant profits and a hefty loan from Uncle Sam, let alone a stiff $50,000 price tag on its first mass-market vehicle. Further, they intone, CEO Elon Musk has no experience running a car company.

With a final sniff, the critics say the electric-car market is a mirage, that battery prices remain too high and sticker shock will ensue as consumers realize they can't get much electric car for their money.

"It" Car for the IT Set

To the critics, I say, "Don't you want to go for a ride?" In a Tesla, that is. For the vast majority of Northern California residents, the answer is an emphatic yes. In a mere two years, the Tesla Roadster has supplanted stately brands with massive marketing budgets as the most sought-after vehicle in one of the most expensive places to live in the world. Plain and simple, the Roadster is the "it" car for the IT set.

I confess. I've driven one. And it's awesome. Whenever I tell other people, "Yes, I've driven one," their reaction is remarkable. "Really? What was it like? Would you buy one if you could?"

This is precisely the type of reaction that the major automakers currently pay billions of dollars per year in advertising to try getting. Yet they fall far, far short.

What Buyers Think

The excitement the Tesla generates is truly like money in the bank. In this country, at least, a car has become an extension of our pysche. Each brand has its own hard-to-define yet differentiated image.

Toyotas (TM) and Hondas (HMC) are safe, high quality and moderately sporty Japanese cars. Volvos are still boxy and safe. Mercedes (DDAIF) and BMW are both German luxury automobiles (even when they are manufactured in Alabama).

It took these brands years of both heavy marketing and delivery of products to match the hype to cement these images in car buyers' minds. No surprise, the images have stuck. Even though Consumer Reports has found in recent years that American cars actually surpass Japanese cars in key quality measures, the average U.S. car buyer still thinks the Japanese makes are the best (even after the Toyota recalls of the past year).

Firing Up People Who Have Everything

What's perhaps even more impressive has been the power of Tesla's brand to make inroads even among those who can buy anything. It's hard not to talk to a decent amount of really rich people when covering industries in Silicon Valley, and I crafted my exposure into a little test.

To some of these rich folks, I mentioned off-handedly that I had driven a Lamborghini last weekend. Few blinked. To others, I said I had driven a Tesla. "What was it like? How did it feel?" The eyes of people who have everything lit up as they asked me these questions. So in two years, Tesla has captured the imagination of even the hardest-to-please customers.

This all bodes quite well for the future of this little car company. Am I overstating things a bit? Certainly. If Tesla delivers crappy cars, then all the image burnishing will be moot. If it can't bring prices down into the $30,000 range, then the company will remain a niche operation.

Victim of the Tesla Effect

But what Tesla has done in such a short time is restore the sheer excitement that characterized the American car industry when it was young, and driving was still an amazing treat. When my Tesla ride came to an end, I reluctantly got out of the car and swore to myself that if I could figure out a way to buy a part-ownership in a Tesla (the only possibility for my financial situation), I would do it. And I'd most definitely consider the sedan for a family vehicle.

I was a victim of the Tesla Effect, and it felt pretty good.

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Michelle Rhee - The famous controvertial former Washington DC School District Chancellor


Michelle Rhee on OPRAH https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPsqO17f6Lw

Michelle Rhee on abc's ThisWeek https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nep1mcaFthU

Michelle Rhee on The DailyShow with Jon Stewart


pbs.org FRONTLINE: The Education of Michelle Rheehttp://video.pbs.org/video/2323979463/ http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/education-of-michelle-rhee/

Time Magazine: Rhee Tackles Classroom Challengehttp://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1862444-2,00.html

Michelle Rhee Discusses "Waiting for Superman," Charter Schools And Sch... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLih24QdwH8

Why Teach For America works - Michelle Rhee


A Two-Tier Proposal for Teacher Pay - Michelle Rhee


Stanford University: A Conversation on "Waiting for Superman" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xzrjo7Fvs1A

"Radical" Fighting to Put Students First should be a must read for all studentsfirst.org members! Michelle Rhee's new book, "RADICAL: Fighting to Put Students First," is now in stores! For more information about where you can find it, to read an excerpt from the book, and to share your story about education in America visit the official site at http://www.edradical.com/ or http://www.facebook.com/edradical.


Michelle Rhee at the ACE 2011 Spring Luncheon https://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=mO9F-amHDuw

Michelle Rhee and Kevin Johnson (4/20/11) https://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=OCcNzh7C_Tk&feature=endscreen

Michelle A. Rhee 03.17.11 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KD0g8Jb9l78

Cornell Alumni: Olin Lecture 2012: Michelle Rhee '92https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwFD-wkAEi8

Harvard Public Health: Michelle Rhee, Former Chancellor of Washington D.C. Public Schools https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jH0twXcxNUY


Geoffrey Canada - Conversations at KCTS 9https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxP6Ov5PSG8 Geoffrey Canada interviewed by Julian Bond: Explorations in Black Leadership ...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2f5MZKf6Uu4

"Waiting for Superman" the documentary and Bloomberg documentary "Risk Takers" Michelle Rhee should a required screening for all studentsfirst.org members. I saw them on Netflix and became an instant member of studentsfirst.org and Michelle Rhee follower.

"Won't Back down" the movie is another example to screen to all studentsfirst.org members.

March 22 2013 at 1:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Voting Rights Act (VRA) must be upheld by the supreme court:

The numerous despicable attempts to restrict voting made during the last election cycle are proof of that. Anyone who truly believes the VRA is obsolete needs to recognize, given last year's voter suppression efforts, the Jim Crowe era is biding its time.

Now even if you are dumb enough to believe that all is OK with the world and there are no reasons to have the voting rights act on the books. Then why are the the parties at opposite end's on this? Why are the Republicans in America trying to keep people from the poles ?

The argument is that VRA is discriminatory against Southern states to require them but not other states to seek pre-clearance for voting laws; I actually agree. The Voting Rights Act should require *ALL* states to seek pre-clearance. After what we've seen the GOP try to pass in states all across the nation prior to the last 2012 election, I see no reason this safeguard against voter suppression should be limited to just Southern states as suggested by VRA of 1965 but now should be expanded to apply to ALL 50 states.

Ajay Jain
Twitter @ajain31
Mobile: 214-207-9781

March 22 2013 at 1:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Elon Musk is a great legend ripe for the US Space Age of today but way ahead of his time. He has realized his dreams in exploiting the Internet through founding his Billion dollar company PayPal, in promoting sustainable energy production like through his company SOLAR CITY, his promotion of sustainable energy consumption like through his all electric car company TESLA and his vision to promote space travel through his company SPACEX and is making progress successfully by leaps and bounds.

SpaceX is our answer to Space Exploration and a visit to settle on MARS and an Asteroid. An offshoot to our MARS exploration should building an Asteroid avoidance system before 2039 which is of prime importance.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk at the House Appropriations Texas Published Mar 8 '13 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhVNOYz5ciw.

Space Exploration gets private with SpaceX Dragon Published Mar 5 '13 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCk8V3z8Cjo.

SpaceX Hatch Opening of CRS-2 Dragon on ISS Published Mar 4 '13 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlACnuHFPg0.

SpaceX Dragon carrying NASA Cargo arrives at International Space Station Published Mar 3 '13https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMGxUPshOco.

SpaceX Elon Musk's view from Mission Control Published Feb 28 '13 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53gkLHvljxg.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk - Europe's rocket has no chance Published Nov 20 '12 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=on6pzefo4t8.

SpaceX boldly looks to blast millions of people Mars Published May 3 '12 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svzXxuQIKlc.

SpaceX Next - Falcon Heavy Press Conference April 2011.


A Pioneer in Space and On Earth.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/10/opinion/mccray-elon-musk/index.html CNN, June 11, 2012.

SpaceX: Entrepreneur's race to space.

CBS 60 Minutes, June 3, 2012 http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57438584/spacex-entrepreneurs-race-to-space/.

Elon Musk on Sixty Minutes http://blog.ted.com/2013/02/27/transforming-transportation-elon-musk-at-ted2013/.

The Colbert Report: Elon Musk http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/341483/july-28-2010/elon-musk The Colbert Report, July 28, 2010.

Elon Musk Profiled: Bloomberg Risk Takers: Video - Bloomberg Uploaded Jan 2013 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTJt547--AM.

"Bloomberg Risk Takers" profiles Elon Musk, the entrepreneur who helped create PayPal, built America's first viable fully electric car company and started SpaceX...

National Geographic: Megafactories TESLA Model S (English) Uploaded Jan 2013 http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=VUgDcA1pZAM&feature=endscreen.

2013 TESLA Model S - The quickest Sedan Built in America http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOdsTuaJEfc&list=PL2CC76D636F09E03D.

Elon Musk - Presentations.

An Evening with Elon Musk and Alison van Diggelen Uploaded Feb 2013.


March 22 2013 at 1:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply