Doing Things the #Tesla Way – #innovation #startups #nistartups @brewbot

2014 Tesla Motors Model S (front view) Netherlands.jpg
2014 Tesla Motors Model S (front view) Netherlands.jpg

No matter how you look at it the update to the Tesla Model S is a lesson in so many ways. It made me think of how some of our NI companies operate and what could be learned. You see, this is, as well a technical revelation, a blue print on how to delight customers.

A Self Driving Car Out In The Field.

While Google have been pomping about with all the headlines, videos and talks about self driving cars, deep learning and artificial intelligence they’ve yet to sell a car. My issue with the Google car as it stands is it’s ugly, though I’m fairly sure as time goes on they’ll actually style something eventually. You know what, it doesn’t really matter now.

As noted by Azeem Azhar in his Exponential View newsletter Tesla didn’t send a note out to all existing owners of the Model S to haul their cars to the garage for an upgrade to self drive. It was all done over the wire as a update.

Delight Customers

Imagine waking up in the morning and finding out that your car can now drive itself. That’s just got to be the coolest thing. Actually using it, well that’s going to take a little time to ponder and get used to…..

Delighting customers is the name of the game, can you imagine the dinner parties over the weekend, “How was your week?”, “MY CAR CAN NOW DRIVE ITSELF, DO YOU WANNA TRY IT!”.

Gathering User Feedback

Every mile driven by every autopilot enabled user is benefitting the other drivers of autopilot. Chances are Tesla’s have been sending back user data for a long time and the artificial intelligence side continually learns. With the exception of Google I’d say every car company now needs to up their game and quick.

At this point who actually gives a monkey’s about connected fridges?

Turning Our Attention To NI

So who’s doing something really great at the moment, there a few to choose from but in terms of what I’m trying to get across…. Brewbot.


“Brew Beer With Your iPhone” is the sexy strapline, but I don’t believe the actual update is the app on the phone. That happens day-in day-out with millions of apps. What could possibly be applied is how the hardware could be improved.

It All Starts With Measurement

If you strip away the Brewbot hardware down to it’s main elements there would be a central controller telling the pipes, heating and so on what to do and at what stage. Anything that produces an action can be measured, if it can be measured then it can be learned from.

As the Brewbot talks to the phone via Bluetooth then there’s nothing really to stop any form of data being sent back to Cargo HQ for analysis. If, as an organisation, that you’re not in a position to analyse anything then store it, all of it. Storage is cheap.

Learn From Every User

Every beer brewed, every sensor triggered. Learn from whatever you can, however you can. The product is data driven, beer recipes are essentially data, so there’s plenty of scope to tweak and learn. With the network effect those findings should be distributable back to the customer base.

Act Before The User Can Act

Hardware being hardware can, and is, going to fail. Now shipping these units all over the world is a challenge in itself but can you, with the data you’ve acquired, predict when a component is going to fail before the customer realises it? Can you fix a software fault on a component before the customer would even know something was adrift? Ultimately if you know the issue is going to cause some severe support headaches, can you update the entire network before the customer wakes up?


This feels like the start of a draft rambling session, my brain is still exploring. Whatever happens with whatever startup, I believe there is a lot to learn from what Tesla did past week. More to come I’m sure…..


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