I attended the Silicon Valley Automotive Open Source meetup: Bringing New Technology to Market, Tesla Motors’ Sourcing Strategy hosted at Mentor Graphics in Fremont tonight.  The presentation was given by Milo Werner of Tesla.  She talked a lot about Tesla’s earlier years when the young company outsourced several aspects from body design to PEMs (power electronic modules).  Some of this I knew, but what surprised me the most was that Tesla outsourced their battery manufacturing to a BBQ manufacturer in Thailand (minute 15 in vid below).  Sounds pretty random until Milo started explaining the reasoning.  She said major battery manufacturers were hesitant to partner with Tesla for their own PR protection.  AKA, if Tesla built a car that blew up, no one wanted their name on the battery and the bad press that would likely follow such a disaster.

The presentation didn’t seem to contain any secret sauce-like content, but the meetup was worthwhile as I always meet interesting people through this group and hot dinner was served!

In case you’re interested: video of a similar presentation by Milo below:


Right on Jon Favreau!  Although, I do admit to taking second-half breaks during the commercials since the 49ers stepped it up – but luckily didn’t miss Samsung’s ad.

I must say this was my favorite ad this year.  But what else happened??

Superbowl ratings maintained strong viewership, however this isn’t the case for other major televised events such as the World Series.  According to TvByTheNumbers, SB47 drew a

46.3/69 (Fast National Household rating/share, 2nd highest-rated Super Bowl in 27 years  to SB20 in 1986 @48.3/70).

108.41 million viewers (3rd most-watched program in television history (SB46 – 111.3 million; SB45 – 111.0 million).

Social media is on the rise as well.  Although FB hasn’t reported definite figures, it seems Twitter has come out on top.  Sysomos (see cool infographic) reported the number of Tweets for previous Superbowls at 3.01 million 13.7 million in 2011 & 2012;  The SF Chronicle reported 24.1 million tweets were tweeted during SB47, though not all about football:

“… the peak came at the end of singer Beyoncé’s halftime performance, with 268,000 tweets per minute.”

Marketers also took advantage of Twitter on the fly:

[During the power outage], the Oreo team turned to Twitter to tweet, “Power outage. No problem,” with a link to a cookie photo that read, “You can still dunk in the dark.”

That message has been retweeted more than 15,000 times, and the total is closer to 26,000 counting the number of Twitter members who quoted the tweet and added their own comments, according to an analysis by San Francisco’s Salesforce.com.

Facebook only reported that the 2nd largest number of posts were generated the day of SB47, after New Years.

Lessons learned:

1.) For the price of a good social media team, publicity they can generate can go a long way (I bet Oreo got more attention than SodaStream).

2.)  Some reports estimate 50% of TV ads contained a social media-type call to action.  Extend the big TV investments w/ social media and open the doors for more engagement.

One of my favorites agencies of all time, albeit nether advertising nor marketing – Edelman.


Because its behind some outstanding private and pro bono work, and because they share.

Anyone can learn about Edelman and its best practices without being a client like How to Become a Social Business.  The information shared is timely, intriguing and forward thinking.  I like reading their posts here and slides here.

What I’ve learned:

+ History; no need to dwell, but it can explain a lot.

+ Openness; an open culture is core to innovation.  Unfortunately I think a lot of businesses miss the boat when it comes to having and maintaining an awesome culture.  It’s kind of like traveling: if you’ve never done it, you probably don’t miss it.  But, the second you start traveling, you realize that exploration is necessary for personal growth.  Companies missing a stimulating culture probably aren’t cognizant of forgone value  (happy employees are more creative, harder, smarter workers) and won’t realize what they’re missing without a new force to shine light on it and counteract the inertia of the present.

What’s Edelman doing today?

Preaching that

“Every Company is a Media Company in the digital world.  The shift in communications provides new opportunities and responsibilities for all organizations.  Being a modern, engaged, open “media company” means being a social, networked, nimble business, building community, putting audiences at the heart of your communications.  It means producing and distributing relevant content and using it to build relationships as an asset.  Done well, communications is no longer a cost, but generates revenue”

I’d agree with that a lot of companies should act like media companies and broadcasting content.  However, there are there are a handful of significant industries that are slower to embrace social business practices. According to MIT Sloan Management Review’s white paper; Social Business: What are companies really doing? – the majority of those surveyed from financial, manufacturing, energy and utility sectors didn’t report that a social tools are important today.  On the contrary, half of all respondents from each of these industries agreed that social tools will be relevant in the next three years.  What do these respondents expect to change in the next three years – perhaps increased adoption (but then will companies be adopting it for competitive reasons versus the right reasons)?  Maybe they think social tools will be refined into a usable form in three years?

I wonder about the healthcare industry – an industry undoubtedly under the spotlight at the moment.  This sector wasn’t listed as one of the top three least interested in social tools despite the myriad of laws governing privacy for patients and disclosure for drug companies.  Based on Healthcare Finance News article: Social Media Becomes a Business Intelligence Strategy, it appears that consumer demand required the industry’s adoption of open communication through social means:

“According to a recent report by the Health Research Institute (HRI) at PwC US regarding the use of social media in healthcare, one-third of consumers use sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and online forums to find health-related information, track symptoms, and broadcast how they feel about doctors, drugs, treatments, medical devices and health plans.”

What what forces will guide the adoption of social business practices among the financial, manufacturing, energy and utility industries?

My guess:

For the private financial, manufacturing and energy sectors I think globalization and the need for a competitive advantage will drive adoption.  For public (& semi-public) utilities, I expect adoption to be much slower as competition is regulated and demand relatively consistent.