4 ways Elon Musk and Steve Jobs are exactly the same
Elon Musk is credited with changing the face of automotive manufacturing, while Steve Jobs transformed the way we interact with technology in the 21st century, but there is more to the likeness between these two billionaire businessmen than a bit of tech savvy and corporate vision.
They didn’t reinvent the wheel
Until Tesla came along, electric cars were little more than glorified golf carts. Most were lacklustre conversions of gas-powered cars, with poor performance, wonky design and limited range. Tesla changed the game. It released its first car (the Lotus-based Roadster) in 2008. Four years later, Tesla produced the Model S, a stunning machine that went on to win multiple car of the year honours – an unheard-of feat for an upstart company competing against car industry giants.
Creating a world-beating car on your second try is like taking up a new sport and winning the Olympics the next week. And it demonstrates the underlying value of Tesla as a company. Like Jobs did at Apple, Musk and his company completely turned the automotive industry on its head using readily available parts. Apple didn’t invent the graphical user interface or the digital music player, but it combined them in a magical new way, and transformed Apple into the world’s most valuable brand.
Musk and Tesla have followed a similar path. The electric induction motor, the lithium-ion battery and digital automotive control systems already existed, but Tesla used them in a new and unexpected way – and created a car that left legacy auto makers in the dust.
They focused on design
Gone are the days of vertically integrated manufacturing. When Henry Ford set up his gigantic River Rouge factory near Detroit, trains and ships delivered raw materials like steel, wood, and rubber to the factory gates, and finished cars rolled out the other end. River Rouge was filled with forges, saws, welding machine and smelting pots – this was a place that built a car from start to finish.
Today’s manufacturers don’t build their own parts. Instead, thousands of components and sub-assemblies are flown in from suppliers around the globe, and are assembled into finished machines. The real value of a modern manufacturing operation is the engineering and design departments that underpin it, and the software that animates it. That’s what Apple is based on; so is Tesla. Today consumers are willing to pay for superior products and brilliant design.
They don’t underestimate the power of branding
Tesla has created a car with an EPA-rated range of more than 400 kilometres, and superlative ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Consumer Reports and countless other impartial players. It has also built a fast-growing network of high-speed charging stations that demonstrate a genuine alternative to fossil fuels. Above all else, Tesla has created a powerful brand – a 2014 nationwide survey showed that the Model S was the Most-Loved Vehicle in America, and Morgan Stanley has called Tesla “the world’s most important car company.”
Apple too is one of the world’s most recognised and loved brands. When you buy a Mac or an iPhone, you are not just buying a device but you are buying into a lifestyle, a way of life. Apple (and importantly Steve Jobs) was the first company to achieve this level of consumer loyalty.
They are not afraid to rock the boat
If there’s anything we should have learned over the past decade and a half, it’s the power of disruption. In 1998, the founders of Google were working out of a garage in Menlo Park, California, and Yellow Pages ruled the world of search. Today Google is one of the most influential companies in the world and Yellow Pages fight to be ranked highly by the young tech firm.
Tesla has used the Silicon Valley marketing model. Build a premium product and get it into the hands of wealthy and influential early adopters, who evangelize your product. Sales increase, and profits are used to develop products for a larger market. As volume rises, costs fall.
Apple has done very much the same thing. You only have to look at the hype around new products to see that. So Steve Jobs and Elon Musk are probably more alike than you think!
Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line
Fluent.ai has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines.
According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose Fluent.ai because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.
What Sets Fluent.ai Apart?
After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.
- Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions.
- Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately.
- Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations.
How Voice Automation Works
Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with Fluent.ai’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production.
‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’.
Future Global Adoption
In the coming years, BSH and Fluent.ai will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with Fluent.ai on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier.
Said Probal Lala, Fluent.ai’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’.