Wick Communications

Musk raises stink at Times

In Online media on 28 Feb 2013 at 4:41 pm


Have you been following the dust-up between Elon Musk and the New York Times? I have, mostly because the city of Half Moon Bay is considering installing car charging stations in order to draw the well-heeled buyers of Musk’s Tesla automobiles, which are at the root of the argument.

It all started about a month ago when the Times’ John Broder wrote a review of Tesla’s Model S, which comes with a battery pack and a $52,000 price tag. Broder wrote that he was unable to get around the Northeast using a network of Tesla-sponsored charging stations. It appeared that cold weather and other factors meant that the car died between stations.

That was obviously not good publicity for a new car company trying to make its products seem functional to a somewhat skeptical public.

Anyway, Musk charged that Broder took the thing on a joy ride (offering data from the car’s computer to prove the point), Broder responded by saying the company provided crummy directions for use of the car and the newspaper’s ombudsman jumped into the mix. You can see all that here, along with some good points from Lauren Hockenson of 10,000 Words. …

I mostly wanted to highlight Hockenson’s three takeaways, in reverse order. First, the dispute shows that a tech-savvy guy like Musk carries a social media megaphone that may well dwarf your own. Get into a pissing match with a guy like that at your own peril. Secondly, your next story may well be read far beyond the borders of your distribution area. Of course you know that. This is just another example of how that plays out. Finally, your notes may not be any match for someone’s raw data, and that data is more accessible and easier to collate than ever before.

In other words, be careful out there.


  1. I bet Guy Fieri now wishes he had data logs on every dish his food critic ate.

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