Oct 16, 2017

Elon Musk starts every Product Launch presentation this way

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, is a famous entrepreneur. His company Tesla is harnessing the power of the sun to run cars and homes. His company SpaceX plans to colonize Mars. He sold his previous company PayPal to eBay for $1.5 Billion. Every presentation he makes is watched closely by millions.

So how does this rock star entrepreneur start his product launch presentation? I have analyzed four of his major product launch presentations.
  1. Tesla Powerwall (solar battery)
  2. Tesla Model 3 car
  3. Tesla solar roof
  4. SpaceX mars mission

Elon Musk started each product launch presentation the same way.

He started with WHY, not with WHAT

Elon Musk said this when he launched Tesla Model 3.
"Welcome everyone to the Model 3 unveil. We have an amazing product to show you tonight. I think you gonna be blown away. And... I want to preface this with... Why are we doing this? Why does Tesla exist? Why are we making electric cars? Why does it matter?"

He answered it himself. He said, "It's very important to accelerate the transition to sustainable transport... This is really important for the future of the world. We have record high CO2 levels."

Elon Musk said this when he launched the solar roof:
"I will start off by just talking about the reason why we are doing this? Which is, as you may have read, we are reaching record CO2 levels. Global warming is a serious crisis and we need to do something about that.

Elon Musk said this when he talked about colonizing Mars:
"Welcome everyone. I am gonna talk more about what it takes to become a multi-planet species. Just a brief refresher on why this is important. I think fundamentally the future is vastly more exciting and interesting if we are a spacefaring civilization and a multi-planet species than if we are not. You want to be inspired by things. You want to wake up in the morning and think that the future is going to be great. And that's what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It's about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past. And I can't think of anything more exiting than going out there and being among the stars. That's why."

Elon Musk had started the launch of the Tesla Powerwall in a similar manner too. In this product launch presentation, he again talked about rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere. He talked about the need to do something about it.

Why does he start with WHY and should you do the same?

Elon Musk could have simply said WHAT he was launching and HOW does it work. Why did he then choose to start with WHY? Because the why matters. It makes people care about what you do and how you do it. Simon Sinek in his famous book (and a TED talk) explains in detail why it is important to start with WHY.

Let us take the Tesla solar roof as an example.

  • What: Tesla solar roof is a beautiful and affordable solar panel that captures solar power and gives you free energy. It looks better and lasts longer than a normal roof.
  • How: Tesla solar roof is made of glass. It is tougher and lasts longer. It costs less too. We do hydrographic printing so that each tile is unique. But no two roofs are the same.
  • Why: Our planet is facing global warming and rising CO2 levels. We need to do something about it. Our mission at Tesla is to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy.

If you too are launching an important product, pause for a moment and think. Instead of jumping into WHAT your product is and HOW does it work, can you start with WHY does it matter? Why does it matter to you and why does it matter to the audience?

Starting with WHY will arouse interest among your audience and it will make them care more about your product and your company.

Read more about starting with why: How do you start your Company Profile presentation?

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