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Musk may surpass Steve Jobs: Tesla, SpaceX, Brain Computer Interface


In 2015, Steve Wozniak, a former close friend of Jobs, was asked this question in an interview with National Geographic: Who can fill the vacancy left by Jobs in today's world?

Steve replied: "I think there may be millions of people with the forward-looking ability of Jobs, but who can turn them into real products that can change our lives? I have observed Elon Ma in many ways. Sker, he’s going after areas where other people have said they can’t make it for one reason or another—solar energy, Space X, Tesla Motors, etc.”

On August 29, Musk achieved another epoch-making breakthrough in a "field where results cannot be achieved". In the presence of 150,000 live broadcast users, Musk's brain-computer interface company Neuranlink held a press conference, showing the open and practical Neuranlink device Link V0.9 and the automatic implant surgery robot V2.

Using the surgical robot V2, the coin-sized Link V0.9 can be implanted into the cerebral cortex of the top of the human skull to complete the implantation of the brain-computer interface. The machine will obtain the electrode signal inside the brain and transmit it to mobile phones, computers and other devices to complete the data transmission between the brain and the computer in real time.

At the scene, Musk demonstrated through three experimental pigs that had previously been implanted with Neuralink devices. The results showed that the brain activities of these pigs could be transmitted wirelessly to nearby computers. Brain neurons respond.

Musk live broadcasts a brain-computer interface coin-sized chip implanted in a pig brain

This means that brain-computer interconnection, the next major human-computer interaction method that is considered to completely subvert the keyboard and mouse, is one step closer to practical application.

This is another feat of Musk after Tesla and Space X.

This is the reason why people admire Musk. From Zip 2 to X.com, to Space X, to Tesla, every venture of Musk has aimed at areas that few people dare to touch. First, it is too difficult. High, and second, the risk is too high.

Especially Space X and Tesla, the former has always been controlled by the state and government. The latter faced the background that after Chrysler in 1925, there was no successful automobile company in the United States. After 2000, the American automobile industry was declining, and no one would want to start a business in the automobile industry.

Since the beginning of this year, Space X has become the first commercial airline to send humans out and return to Earth. Tesla’s share price has risen by more than 570% since 2019, becoming the world’s most valuable automaker, and even Honda, GM, Ford The combination of these three traditional car companies is not worth a Tesla.

In the past month, the quarrel with Pinduoduo did not delay Tesla's stock price from skyrocketing, with a monthly increase of 23%. On August 20, Tesla’s stock price broke through the $2,000 mark for the first time. As of press time, Tesla’s stock price has fallen slightly from the highest point of $430 billion, but it still remains above $400 billion.

Only half a year ago, Tesla’s share price was still hovering around 60 billion US dollars. The completion and production of the Shanghai Gigafactory solved Tesla’s historically criticized production capacity problems and ushered in an explosion in the Chinese market. In January this year, at the delivery ceremony of the domestic Tesla Model 3, Musk also danced on the spot.

According to the data from the China Passenger Association, sales of new energy vehicles in my country fell sharply by 44% in the first half of this year, and Tesla Model 3 bucked the trend, with sales in June almost reaching the sum of the second to sixth places. This has allowed Tesla to continue to improve in terms of profitability and cash flow. As of the second quarter of 2020, Tesla achieved a net profit of US$104 million, achieving profitability for four consecutive quarters.

Tesla is still showing more possibilities. A few days ago, Tesla’s official website launched an optional calculator for Model Y. According to its official website, the domestic Model Y will launch two models first, and it is expected to be delivered early next year. At the Artificial Intelligence Conference, Musk also said that Tesla is very confident that it will complete the basic framework and functions of L5 autonomous driving within a year.

An analyst at Essence Securities said that Tesla’s business model is on par with Apple’s. In the future, continuous charging for software services will become its most important business model. Tesla is not only a car manufacturer, but also not just a software manufacturer. Tesla will be an autonomous driving travel service platform in the future.

Musk’s harvest season has finally arrived, although it came a bit late: it took Space X 18 years to rewrite the history of commercial manned spaceflight from being underestimated; Tesla was never understood to surpass Toyota as the world’s most valuable car company. It took 16 years to pull.

Today, few people have questioned whether Musk can become the "next Jobs". Instead, two other voices have begun to appear: Can Musk surpass Jobs? Will Tesla become the next "Apple"?

01

George Blankenshi, who has worked alongside both Jobs and Musk, believes that Jobs and Musk are similar. "The two of them were like traveling from a different time and place to the present, trying to take us where they knew we could go."

The official account received a summary of Jobs and Musk: Jobs and Musk are representatives of reverse innovation. Their transformation and subversion of traditional industries is a non-linear innovation. Identifying an industry and re-establishing the rules of the game will change the nature of the industry. The direction of evolution is genetic mutation.

In 2007, when the iPhone was born, the top four in the global mobile phone market were still occupied by Nokia, Motorola, Samsung and LG. That year, Nokia sold a total of 437 million mobile phones. The best-selling mobile phone in the global market was the Sony Ericsson K800, a feature phone with a standard Jiugongge typing keyboard.

In fact, the original iPhone was not the first smartphone, but the so-called "smartphones" on the market before the iOS and Android systems were not really smart. At the demonstration site of the press conference, when Jobs swipe on the screen to scroll the list, and double-click the URL to open the web page, the smoothness of this operation makes people really start to believe in smartphones.

So fundamentally speaking, the first thing Jobs changed was the user experience, which opened the golden age of smartphones.

In the same year, Google launched the smart operating system Android, and in 2009, the first smartphone equipped with the Android system came out. It was also in the past two years that the upsurge of the iPhone spread back to China, and Meizu, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc. entered the market one after another, sounding the clarion call of the mobile Internet. At that time, Huang Zhang with a geek spirit was called "China Jobs", and Lei Jun, who was determined to make the best mobile phone, was also named "Rebs".

Like Apple, the birth of Tesla also led the development of an industry.

Shortly after the iPhone set off a storm in the smartphone market, in 2008, Tesla released its first car product, the Roadster 1. The most amazing thing is the cruising range. This model accelerates from 100 kilometers in 3.7 seconds, has a top speed of 200 kilometers per hour, and has a cruising range of 350 kilometers on a single charge.

Prior to this, the main obstacle limiting the development of electric vehicles was battery technology. Roadster 1 adopts the method of forming a battery pack composed of more than 7,000 lithium batteries, supplemented by a powerful battery management system, which solves the short board of electric vehicle battery life. s level.

If the Roadster 1 opened the door for new energy vehicles, then the release of the more mature Tesla Model S is more like a catalyst for the new energy vehicle industry, setting off an industrial transformation of new energy vehicles.

In 2014, Tesla completed the delivery of the first batch of Model 3 in China, which opened the valve for the entry of new domestic car manufacturers. This year, 40-year-old Li Bin set off again to establish Weilai; Jia Yueting, who was still regarded as an entrepreneurial star by the outside world at that time, handed over the car-making plan of LeTV SEE at the end of December; Hejia", and later, the company's name was changed to "ideal".

Today's Tesla is to the entire new energy vehicle market, just like the iPhone was to the smartphone market at that time, it is a changer and a leader. The core figures Musk and Jobs stood at the forefront of industrial transformation together and became the spiritual leaders who changed the times.

In another dimension, many similarities in the personalities of Musk and Jobs also subtly affect Tesla and Apple.

"Musk is an extremely demanding person, and many people can't adapt to this rhythm," said Richard Reyes, Tesla's former vice president of public relations. He left in 2012, but his successor chose to leave six months after taking over the job. In his impression, Musk once said that he only wanted a "special forces" to work for him, not normal people. When Tesla’s vice president of global supply chain management resigned, he commented on Musk: He was too harsh and didn’t want to work with him anymore.

In fact, Musk himself doesn't look like a "normal guy." His working time is often more than 100 hours a week, and even more than 120 hours a week in emergencies.

Jobs is also synonymous with harshness, tyrant, and model worker. In "Jobs Biography", Apple's senior vice president of design Jony Ive commented on his flaws: "The way he vented was to hurt others. I feel that he did it without scruples, and it seems to be taken for granted. He believes that social interaction The normal norms of the law did not apply to him. It was his own sensitivity that gave him a good understanding of how to hurt people quickly and effectively."

He has a bad temper and is very controlling. "Wired" magazine mentioned that according to employees who had a meeting with Jobs, no matter when, with whom, or how long the meeting was held, it was always Jobs who spoke, occupying at least three-quarters of the meeting time. During the meeting, Jobs occupied the entire whiteboard by himself, and he would draw prototypes on it, or give lessons to employees with his hands and mouth.

This is the other side of their genius, and it just forms their unique personality charm. Regardless of whether they are aloof or paranoid, they have become industry disruptors with their genius ideas and incredible execution power, and have become cultural symbols of their respective eras.

02

In February 2019, when Li Bin was interviewed by CBS "60 Minutes", the host asked: "I heard that you once described this car (Nio ES8) as a 'Tesla killer'?" At that time , Li Bin's answer was: "That's right, that's right."

In September, Tesla's Shanghai Gigafactory was completed and put into production, with an annual production capacity of 1 million vehicles. Since then, Li Bin has never said that he is a "Tesla killer".

The current battle of new energy vehicles is that from products to production capacity, to user minds, to brands, new energy vehicles seem to have been divided into two clear poles: Tesla and others.

On the new energy vehicle rankings in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen in June, Tesla ranked first, even 2-3 times higher than the second place. On this list, there are no new car manufacturers such as Xiaopeng, The shadows of Weilai and Ideal.

"Everyone watched Tesla crush everyone." Li Xiang even called it a "catastrophe."

You know, not long ago, Li Bin, He Xiaopeng and Li Xiang, the three leaders of the domestic new energy car manufacturing forces, also gathered together to "remember the bitterness and think about change", and made a gesture of "three heroes fighting Lu Bu" to the outside world. On July 30, Li Auto was officially listed on NASDAQ, becoming the second domestic new car manufacturer to be listed in the United States after Weilai Automobile. On August 27, Xiaopeng Motors also officially listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

At present, the market value of these three new car-making forces is maintained at around 15 billion US dollars, which is less than one-twentieth of Tesla.

Chasing but not being able to catch up, and being unable to fight and fight, is a true portrayal of the current domestic new car-making forces. They don't even know where they lost. In the face of dismal sales, Li Xiang once said helplessly, "Comparing battery life, intelligence, and cost performance, these three have already won without changing any results." In his eyes, almost all companies do not know where Tesla wins.

In fact, from the perspective of product parameters alone, there is not much difference between domestic new energy vehicles and Tesla. Taking the cruising range as an example, Tesla’s best-selling Model 3 has a comprehensive cruising range of 445Km. Compared with the same price as the Model 3, the Xiaopeng P7 has a battery life of up to 700Km under comprehensive conditions. Even at the same price, the battery life of Model 3 can only be regarded as "bottom".

The problem is that Tesla, which has been established for 11 years, has a deeper technological accumulation and brand influence, a more mature supply chain system, and an increasing voice in cost control. The same is true for the gap between Apple and other mobile phone brands.

Tesla has always been proud of its battery management technology. According to foreign media reports, the current Audi CEO Markus Duesmann said in an interview with the media that Tesla is two years ahead of Audi in electric technology.

The Automobile Business Review also previously reported that Tesla is cooperating with Ningde Times New Energy Vehicle Company (CATL) to develop lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, which do not use cobalt and have been pushed to less than $100 per kWh. (wholesale price), which is considered the threshold at which electric vehicles are cheaper than internal combustion vehicles.

On June 11, 2020, Tesla was officially approved by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China to produce Model 3 electric vehicles using lithium iron phosphate batteries. It is estimated that the use of LFP batteries can reduce manufacturing costs by 15%-20%.

The advantages at the underlying technology level constitute Tesla's core competitiveness. Based on this, Tesla has won the first-mover advantage in the new energy vehicle market, and in the case of continuous improvement in gross profit margins and continuous profitability, the advantages Still growing.

03

Pure hardware products are not enough to support Jobs to become a spiritual leader. The real greatness of Jobs lies in his advance layout and construction of the software and hardware ecology of the mobile phone industry, as well as the content ecology, which subverted the business model of previous mobile phone companies.

iOS has chosen to be closed from the very beginning. In Jobs' view, only closed can have a more matching experience with hardware. Only 4 months after the iPhone came out, Apple launched a software development kit for anyone who wants to develop software for the iPhone. The unique model of "iPhone + App Store" has initially taken shape.

One of the benefits of being closed is that Apple can strengthen its control over app developers, and while ensuring user experience, it has stronger commission bargaining power in the face of developers. The revenue model of "advertising + application developer management congestion + paid software" constitutes a core competitiveness of Apple's iOS ecosystem, compared with Android's model that mainly relies on advertising revenue.

In September 2014, Apple announced the launch of Apple Music, iTunes movies, and iBooks services for users in mainland China, which means that in the Chinese market, Apple’s hardware, systems, and content have formed a complete ecological closed loop.

And a complete ecological closed loop has supported Apple to become a two trillion dollar business empire.

When Musk takes over the mantle from Jobs and becomes a new cultural symbol, will Tesla become the next Apple? This possibility may be hidden in the ecology that Tesla is building.

In fact, Tesla has long been no longer a car manufacturer in the traditional sense, nor is it just a simple technology company. The current Tesla is following the track of Apple in the past, exploring the software ecology of new energy vehicles.

Vehicle OTA upgrades are the cornerstone of Tesla's software service charges. To put it simply, the vehicle OTA technology (over the air air upgrade) is to enable the car to realize the online upgrade of the system over the air like a mobile phone.

The value of vehicle OTA to automakers lies in two aspects, one is performance upgrades, and the other is cost savings.

According to the comments of Yuanchuan Technology, after realizing the OTA function of the whole vehicle, Tesla can continue to improve the vehicle function through system upgrades, replacing the traditional 4S store, and firmly grasping the operation and service of the vehicle after delivery. inside.

According to the forecast of IHS, in terms of cost savings only, OTA can save global automakers 35 billion US dollars in 2022.

As of June this year, Tesla has made 13 important version updates to OTA. It is worth noting that in September 2019, Tesla updated the V10 version of the car and system, and introduced online games, Tencent Streaming software such as video and iQiyi.

It seems that Tesla's vehicle OTA is like Apple's iOS system. At present, although it is not yet mature, it is full of imagination even from the perspective of cost control.

In addition, in January 2019, Tesla introduced a software application store for the first time, allowing car owners to purchase services through the App, much like Apple's App Store.

Tesla still has the final trump card: autonomous driving.

In 2019, Musk stated on Tesla Autopilot Day that Tesla will achieve fully autonomous driving in 2020 and launch a self-driving taxi service.

As an optional unmanned driving kit, Auto Pilot is currently priced at $7,000. After installing this equipment, Tesla will continue to perform OTA upgrades until it will eventually reach the level of fully unmanned driving. Some industry experts estimate that it can easily pull the gross profit margin of Model 3 to more than 30%.

This provides Tesla with considerable room for imagination. From car sales to software-centric Internet services to autonomous driving, Tesla seems to be replicating Apple's old road, but it is subverting the original car. business ecology.

In the face of this brand-new business model of the auto industry, Tesla, which has been riding the dust, has no rivals. This is its best opportunity. Perhaps, Tesla is short of autopilot before becoming the next Apple.

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