[This is an Editorial. The views, opinions, and positions expressed in this article are my own.]
In the past two years, Elon’s become the world’s richest man, sent people to space, demonstrated the Boring tunnel in action, announced a sentient Tesla Robot, given his son a name that’s more secure than my Gmail password, shifted Tesla’s headquarters to Texas, bought a dog to manipulate cryptocurrency values, and spent most of his time awake being a Twitter troll. He’s also sold Tesla-branded tequila, and more recently, a Cybertruck-shaped whistle that’s unsurprisingly called the “Cyberwhistle”. In short, he’s done everything except actually sell new cars.
In my article back in May this year, I mentioned how Tesla’s not released a single new car (although they’ve announced a bunch) in the past two years. Elon even stated in 2015 that there would be fully self-driving cars (with level 4 autonomy) on the road by 2018, so the Cyberwhistle at this point really feels like everything’s a big joke. There’s absolutely no doubt Elon’s a visionary. However, a visionary who keeps making promises and claims that may sometimes take decades to deliver (if at all) is nothing more than a bullshitter… or in this case, as Benedict Evans so eruditely puts it, “A bullshitter who delivers”. Dare I say that if Theranos had 10-20 years to deliver on a technology they prematurely promised, there wouldn’t be any difference between Elon and Elizabeth Holmes. Elon announcing a Tesla Robot arguably 20 years too soon borders on the same sort of charlatanism.
The reason why Elon’s announcement of the Cyberwhistle really grinds my gears (no pun intended) is that it portrays him as a disingenuous CEO who isn’t even remotely apologetic for the truck’s major delays. In fact, it’s as if Elon is taunting the people who pre-ordered the Cybertruck in 2019, expecting it in late 2020, only to find that it’s almost 2022 and the truck’s nowhere in sight. Designed and marketed as yet another one of Elon’s many trolls (this time poking fun at Apple’s $20 cloth), the whistle’s shaped like the truck, comes made from stainless steel, with the same brushed finish as seen on the original truck. Once Elon tweeted about it, the whistle was sold out in minutes, reinforcing Elon’s cult of personality and that his Twitter account should really be regulated before he crosses a line like the time he called a deep-sea rescue diver a ‘pedo’, but more importantly, proving that Elon’s an absolute pro at selling practically anything from whistles to dreams… anything except actual cars.