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E.Musk as a Platform

par Gabriel Plassat

Now we know. We know why platform can beat pipeline business (source : Platform Revolution). Mainly because a platform integrating other stakeholders is more “creative” than a pipeline, eliminate gatekeepers and create community feedback loops. The successful platform value is partially created by its community of users, with a certain level of openness. Monetization is then about capturing a portion of excess value created without reducing value creation with the right governance. Platform allows engagement in positive behaviors, good interactions using a mixture of law, norm, architecture and markets. It creates networked markets that can be partially designed to create positive externality without reducing innovative capacities.


Elon Musk is already developping several technical platforms : for transportation, for energy, for space. Now we can assume that Elon Musk himself is becoming a platform. He has all the characteristics : a value unit exchanged by participants “on him”. Let’s look across Musk’s platforms !

Battery as a Platform

** Sun & wind, lithium, Gigafactory / Tesla / PowerWall / Solar City / Gigafactory **

Battery, as the value unit, is produced in the Gigafactory without fossil fuel (tweet before), bringing power to Tesla, then after 20% in reduction capacity at home through PowerWall and Solar City. Recycling in partially integrated today with 60% but progress can be done as quantity and cost of lithium will increase. Lithium exploitation ratio can be considered as the metric.

Best Mobility Experience as a Platform :

** Tesla Over The air / Autopilot for learning / Intelligent Fleets / Shared Mobility with best experience **

More than 200.000 Model 3 in few days with an average price around 40000$ (source), Tesla can be considered as an “interesting” vehicle, but it’s not a car manufacturer (source). The master plan is far bigger. “Tesla is shouldering the costs of an ever growing physical network of captive service and free charging. While these costs could be considered partially a marketing expense today, we believe the proprietary network is critical to delivering mobility service-based revenue in the future.” (Source). Using its Over the Air system, Musk brings knowledge in each Tesla coming from all vehicles in operations. The more everyone is driving in different conditions, the most intelligent is your Tesla (source). Owners feel a direct link to Musk himself. He is speaking directly to them (source). Using Experience of Mobility as the Unit of Value, Musk plans to address the market of mobility using a distributed and conscious networks of vehicles, stations (source). Of course, Tesla and Solar City are linked aiming to charge without GHG (source). The metrics of this platform are the number of life saved, of oil saved. Many stakeholders are concerned such as transport authorities, drivers, energy suppliers and infrastructures.

Space trip as a platform :

** Dragon / Satellite / Orbital Hotel / Moon – Mars / Space Exploration **

It’s just the beginning. SpaceX reusable launch system development program (source) but again the master plan is bigger : “Tickets to orbital hotels, the moon and Mars will be a lot less than people think.” (source). The Value Unit is Dragon and metrics can be the number of satellite or human in orbital hotel, in space.

E.Musk as a platform :

** Tesla / Solar City / Space X – Mobility / Energy / Space / Future of Humanity **

Based on theses “technical” platforms, E.Musk can be considered himself as a platform allowing capital, investments, intelligences and citizens to be connected in order to create innovations. He produces collective myths : neutral mobility, neutral energy, space exploration, space vacations. Musk can launch new platform with the minimum of participation like with Hyperloop (source). When Space X succeeded its landing, it’s a piece of dream people want to have with a Model 3. The metrics of E.Musk as a Platform are number of thank you on social networks for producing dreams, success of technical platforms and level of confidence on collective myths.

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