Elon Musk is a master promoter. His ability to bring his many endeavors into the limelight is unmatched in the technology industry.
If you analyze his methods, you begin to notice a pattern. It goes as such;
This corporation isn’t like every other corporation that’s simply out to make a profit, no, this corporation is out to save humanity.
Find some existential threat, no matter how remote or how far-fetched, and use it as your company’s call to action.
With SpaceX; humanity is a sitting duck on this floating rock called planet Earth. If an asteroid were to make impact, it could decimate the planet and put us on the verge of extinction.
SpaceX is out to prevent this. By drastically reducing the cost of space flight whilst improving rocket technology we can become an interplanetary species. This will prevent an extinction event should Earth become uninhabitable.
With Tesla and SolarCity; rampant usage of fossil fuels is wrecking havoc on our environment. If humanity continues down this path, we will soon feel the adverse affects of climate change with no way of turning back the clock.
Reduce our dependency on fossil fuels by using electricity to power the car and by generating that electricity using solar cells. If we start now and achieve mass-adoption, we’ll be able to curb the worst effects of climate change and put humanity on a better path.
With Neuralink; AI technology is advancing at a breakneck pace. At this rate, it’s likely to surpass us in intellectual capabilities. If so, we won’t be able to control it and it will only be a matter of time before it begins to work against our self-interest. E.g. decides to kill us all.
By advancing BMI (brain-machine interface) technology, we can merge with computers and as a result, merge with AI. By merging with AI, humanity can tag along for the exponential growth in AI technology and have our intellectual abilities grow with it. This is how we prevent the AI takeover.
It doesn’t matter how far fetched these scenarios are, what matters is that there’s a small chance of them happening. This makes them an effective call to action.
The media loves a narrative and if done right, your company and that cause will become entertwained, in the minds of the public. The effect of this method is profound.
Investors want to improve their returns but they also want to feel like their investment is helping the world.
“This investment in SpaceX isn’t simply about increasing my ROI, it’s also my way of helping to save humanity from possible extinction.”
Consumers are going to consume but they also want to feel like their consumption is helping others.
“Purchasing this luxury sedan isn’t simply about impressing people, it’s also my way of reducing my carbon emission footprint and prevent global warming.”
Engineers want to make a lot of money but they also want to do work they feel is meaningful.
“By improving the state of BMI technology, we’ll be able to give sight to the blind and sound to the deaf. Those who have lost limbs may one day walk again. And if AI ever becomes a problem, our technology will be humanity’s first line of defense.”
Deferentiation is the name of the game and a compelling story does that for you. That customer had the option of buying other luxury sedans. That talented engineer could’ve worked at other high-paying firms. The investor could’ve invested in other startups within that industry.
Elon Musk tells a story, a compelling story with enough plausibility to frighten people. Then he presents his endeavors as the way forward, in doing so he gives them hope.
This hope becomes a mission and this mission attracts investors, employees, journalists, and customers.