Friday, February 27, 2015

Top Five Lessons from my Visit to Tesla Motors

Tesla's Headquarters

I recently visited Tesla's headquarters in Palo Alto, California with my daughter and came away truly inspired.  Tesla’s headquarters is located adjacent to the Stanford University campus in rolling green hills just south of the linear accelerator and the venture capital lined Sand Hill Road.  I am lucky to know one of Tesla’s elite engineers who was very gracious and gave my daughter and me a superb insider tour.

Here are my top five lessons from the visit:

Dream Monumental Dreams

Hire Amazing Talent

Stick to your Vision

Innovate and Execute

Create stellar products and have fun

Tesla is America at its best.  It is a visionary company that is trying to change the world with its electric vehicles and products.  Their newest car, the Model S is not a leaf sized lawn mower.  It is a super charged sexy sports car that makes you fell like you are in the Jetsons’ world when you drive it.  (More about that later)

The Model S from Tesla
Tesla is a place of monumental dreams and superior talent that is sticking to its vision of producing electric cars that are better than their gasoline counterparts.  They have already achieved some of that dream by winning Motor Trend’s car of the year in 2013.  (Reference)  The company is also working on a battery that could serve as an axillary power supply for your home and perhaps even support the entire electrical grid.  (Reference)

The people I saw working there have an infectious sense of purpose that is missing in my world of biomedical research and medicine.  They work together without walls or even cubicles.  This promotes a sense of a united mission.  Those of us who work in research and healthcare are too often siloed in our specific specialities.  We almost never cross over and discuss our problems with colleagues outside of our world.  We need to emulate companies such as Tesla.  Their way of executing in the electric car business could lead to breakthroughs in medicine that could be transformative.  I also think Nicola Tesla would be very proud of how his name is being used.

And by the way, I had a chance to test drive a Model S Tesla at the end of my visit.  It was like a magnetic bullet train on wheels.  I punched the accelerator and it felt like we were taking off for Mars.    #Awesome

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