Tesla is a fantastic car company which for years has been subjected to judgments from people that just don't understand it. The arguments are always the same: Tesla is not making enough profits, or isn't delivering on time, or needs more work on their supply chain, and so forth; which are all valid arguments, but they all have only one flaw. Tesla is not a car company, and you should not judge it as such.
To really understand Tesla, you have to look in the future. Not next year, but the distant future. Imagine the time when self-driving cars are everywhere, when the rules of the roads, as well as the roads themselves are created for the self-driving cars, and those driving on their own accord are borderline breaking the rules. Imagine that your car is a supercomputer on wheels, it can pick up your kids, deliver groceries, do your laundry, plan a trip. Your car is an integral part of your life, it lives with you.
In this future, the car itself will be obsolete. Any piece of frame on wheels will do, but what will become of utmost importance is this car's brain. The supercomputer that lives inside a car, that is responsible for its autonomous navigation and decision making, that is going to be the key to success.
Elon Musk knows that; he knows that we will soon face the "Terminator", but instead of a humanoid walking around with a shotgun, we will have computers, computers belonging to good and bad people, competing with each other to hack and to destroy in real time. That's why he's so heavily invested in Open AI. Even if the technology is open-source, as long as you're the first one to look at the latest release, you are ahead.
Now, bring yourself back to the present and ask yourself:
Would you like a car company to make your computer, or a computer company to make your car?
Whether or not Tesla has any issues with their cars today, they will overcome it. It's not rocket science. But can Ford, or Chrysler or any other outdated car manufacturer build a computer that will become an integral part of your life, given their lackluster performance in the car space? I wouldn't even doubt the answer, I'd just say flat out NO.
Some car companies are trying to retrofit themselves for the future, like GM with their purchase of Cruise, but to create a groundbreaking product that can survive the test of time, it's not enough to buy a department; they have to put that department at the very top and make it the brain for the company, and chances of that happening are very-very slim.
Tesla is a computer company that's building the next generation technology. It just happens to come with wheels today.
p.s. Liked what you read? Follow me and I will write some more. I have some thoughts on security issues that future supercomputers will face, as well as how to value Tesla based on the value of daily returning users. Onwards.
Also published on Medium.