As I noted a moment ago, I recently took a small risk, faced a short freakout, and then made it through my first Tesla software update. The reason I cut it close on the timing and installed the update was that it was a fun Christmas one that I knew my older daughter (3 years old) would love.
The update does the following:
- turns the car visualization behind the wheel into Santa in a sleigh
- turns the other cars into reindeer
- includes a bit of falling snow all the while
- turns the road icey if you turn on Autopilot with 2 pulls on the stalk
- plays Chuck Berry singing “Run Rudolph Run” if you turn on Autopilot with 4 pulls on the stalk
Some call this kind of thing a gimmick. Some claim it’s a waste of Tesla’s resources. Some think Tesla’s efforts should be straight-and-narrow engineering and production efforts — enough with the glitz, the glam, and the Easter eggs.
I think that totally misses the point.
Cars, like many things, are products for humans. They are supposed to make our lives better — more enjoyable, safer, more comfortable, etc. To stimulate a mass-market transition to electric cars, this new option has to be extra compelling. People aren’t inspired to change habits easily. Also, the cars should just be as much about pleasing the drivers and passengers as possible.
It seems shocking, but I’d say that passengers (and I’ve had a ton of them) get as much of a laugh and smile out of Tesla’s Easter eggs as they do out of the insane acceleration of our car. Seriously.
I’ll tell you a secret: Humans like fun. Actually, we love fun. The Easter eggs are pure fun, and are also a total surprise, which we humans also like when the surprise is positive. These are little things on Tesla’s end, but they transform the customer experience, open hearts, and help to close deals. They, combined with other things, result in purchases.
But it’s not just about the sales. Seeing my daughter’s face light up because of the fun animations was a precious gift. How many daughters, sons, and full-grown adults love these animations and get smile after smile about them. These little fun things can be called a gimmick, but I think they come back to Elon’s goal of doing work that serves humans, and having as much fun as possible along the way.
Thanks for all the
fish smiles, Elon.