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the tesla roadster effect

 
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Before the tesla roadster, there were about a dozen companies trying to bring electric cars to market.  Most people didn't want them because:

   - it is not possible for an electric car to faster than 40 miles per hour
 
   - it is not possible for an electric car to travel more than 40 miles on a single charge

The reality was that no commercial vehicle, in the US, is allowed to go faster than 40mph unless it has enough vehicles that several can be subjected to crash tests.  Most of the companies trying to introduce electric cars were not big enough to sacrifice a bunch of cars for that.  

The range issue had a lot to do with lead acid batteries.  But it is possible to dramatically increase the range of an EV - provided that you build a massive frame to support it, which decreases the range a bit.   10x batteries means 3x range.  Debatable if it is worth it.

Another problem with tiny electric car company startups ...  they kept catching on fire ...  at night ...  for apparently no reason ...   and a few key people died ...  or suddenly, key people just had a powerful, compelling urge to drop their dream ...



So the mission is to convince the masses that electric cars can go very fast and very far on one charge.  To bring this vehicle to the greater market.  And stay alive without your factory mysteriously burning down in the middle of the night.  A very tall order.

And do it on a budget.  

I think what elon musk did is genius.   Start off with a $100,000 vehicle that will be the fastest car on the road with hundreds of miles of range.  Changing the hard wiring in people's heads almost overnight.  And doing it in such a public way that it makes it much harder for his factory to accidentally burn down or for him to die.  

 
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Hmmm.... And what is the Tesla Roadster of permaculture?
 
paul wheaton
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Dave de Basque wrote:Hmmm.... And what is the Tesla Roadster of permaculture?



What if the super rich only wanted permaculture food?
 
Dave de Basque
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paul wheaton wrote:

Dave de Basque wrote:Hmmm.... And what is the Tesla Roadster of permaculture?



What if the super rich only wanted permaculture food?



Yes. And I'm also thinking a highly visible "performance" comparison test as happened with the Tesla Roadster where all the car mags took it out for a spin, compared it with a Porsche, etc. And it did really well. So maybe something like Gabe Brown tries to emphasize in his talks to farmers: "signing checks on the back instead of the front". Speaking to farmers right where they know performance counts, in the wallet. This covers supply-side performance, producing the stuff.

On the demand side is this idea of the super-rich (or NBA players, or famous actors/musicians...) only wanting permaculture food. Tons of people could be influenced to demand permaculture standards, wouldn't that be nice?

Either one needs to come with a high-visibility marketing campaign like the Tesla Roadster did to actually create some waves.

Elon Musk was helped by having a few billion to throw at whatever he wanted... What's our way of creating waves really visibly, so people see the message? Pondering.

Also final thought. What is "permaculture food"? Yes, we here kinda "know" but two challenges

1) If you sat us in a room we wouldn't all agree, and bickering would be used for #2...`

2) As soon as permaculture food hits "big time" the usual suspects will be out degrading the standards so within a few years it just means GMO stuff raised in toxic sluge on a megafarm run by drones, like everything else. Back to system default.

So maybe it needs a few of those super-rich people to endow a foundation to set up and defend some standards. I've seen more than one good, potentially big project lose all its impact becase nothing was defined, trademarked, copyrighted, registered, and as soon as it started to make waves, the copycats came along and corrupted the whole idea, so it became only its Disneyland version instead of the real thing.

Feel free to delete if this is not welcome, hey it's your pseudoblog on your site, so... Just my two cents.
 
paul wheaton
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Did the tesla roadster have any marketing?

Rather than having a bunch of people bickering over what permaculture is, wouldn't the better approach be to kinda do what sepp does?  Just one guy doing his thing.  And he refuses to sell his food anymore.   So if you want it, you have to send somebody over to sepp's place, harvest a bit that can be fit into a single backpack and pack it out.  Suppose 50 pounds of food is packed out.  And that person had to pay 100 euros.  And that person had to be paid to go there and get it.  Suppose you are in europe - so maybe there was a thousand euros spent for the person to go get it?  $20 per pound.  

 
Dave de Basque
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paul wheaton wrote:Did the tesla roadster have any marketing?



Hmmm... that was an interesting rabbit hole. I spent a few minutes looking and the most serious account of Tesla's marketing strategy was behind a paywall after a teaser, and the rest were kind of breathless Tesla-prop, but a tolerable one was this one. All of them seem to indicate that Tesla specializes in being spectacular and sexy, and works all the ways in existence to appear in the media constantly for free. Free is a really nice price. Plus Elon Musk is a marketing machine 24/7. Color me cynical though, I think being a multi-billionaire helps *a lot* in getting starry-eyed followers that think you're sexy, and in getting media to cover you. But there are also lots of lessons for permies to learn in his strategy, and with some creative adaptation, no doubt...



paul wheaton wrote:Rather than having a bunch of people bickering over what permaculture is, wouldn't the better approach be to kinda do what sepp does?  Just one guy doing his thing.  And he refuses to sell his food anymore.   So if you want it, you have to send somebody over to sepp's place, harvest a bit that can be fit into a single backpack and pack it out.  Suppose 50 pounds of food is packed out.  And that person had to pay 100 euros.  And that person had to be paid to go there and get it.  Suppose you are in europe - so maybe there was a thousand euros spent for the person to go get it?  $20 per pound.  



Oh, yeah... 100% one person doing their thing a la Sepp. We have to listen to each other a lot, but design by committee makes things lose their punch usually. Just a person or a small, close group with a good feel for things defining something and setting something up. But I think you've gotta set up something big and or really notable and sexy that all these folks can latch onto to get the Tesla Roadster effect. Are we that sexy?
 
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There is another way of looking at it, sure it might have made an electric car desirable but it also makes them seem so expensive as to be 100% out of reach. Which makes those of us who drive 15 + year old cars instantly switch off. There's no way I can even think of buying an electric car for the next 20 years.

I cannot think of any "sexy" gardening or food production/marketing other than top end champagne.


Ways to get a similar effect;
To have a restaurant that used only permaculture products and won 3 stars. But it would have to be a ground up thing or it would just be the chefs name that got the recognition rather than the produce.

Produce some random super luxuary product and MARKET the hell out of it. Something like chocolate or coffee it would have to be something with mass market appeal but also something that does well at the top end. Air dried ham? Cheese?
 
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Skandi Rogers wrote:...(1) There's no way I can even think of buying an electric car for the next 20 years.   -and-

(2) I cannot think of any "sexy" gardening or food production/marketing other than top end champagne.



Just more $0.02 USD tossed into the salad.....

Regarding (1), I think I understand Paul's point here.....and perhaps Elon's.  It's not about whether you can afford that technology *physically* right now, it's about the need to infect your brain with a real-world example of "car + electric locomotion"  -can- be equivalent to the gas model.  It must become a reflex that your brain accepts that and does not automatically come up with reasons why it can't (which is probably what many brains do reflexively when "rocket mass heaters" are mentioned, so powerful are the anti-RMH messaging and memes in general media).  It's about both conscious and unconscious advertising, the former being driven by those who want no competition to fossil fuels and the latter driven by the culture that now fears anything different than what the culture memes have forged into the brain circuits.  Why else was I suddenly seeing pop-ups recently of the new Tesla......electric ATV for kids!???  What could Elon be thinking with this offering?  But along with 'Roadster' and  'ATV', I think Elon is targeting "Culturally-accepted notions of FUN!" while infecting young brains with the concept of electric vehicles for all.

Yet as Skandi noted (2), it's pretty hard to make Permaculture 'sexy' unless you get the stars of 'Outlander' up to their armpits in cob while wearing clothing that is one stitch away from falling to the floor.  ;-)  And herein lies a paradox:  Our cultural uber-obsession with sexual imagery is as unreal as it is unsustainable, yet conversely may provide the 'fast-track' to the deep brain areas---areas that most need infecting with the new ideas.  Hence, roadsters, ATVs, swank electric pick-ups (e.g. Rivien) populating the field.  I suspect those with strong advertising and marketing backrounds are rolling their eyes at the obviousness of that last statement, but it's a tricky tightrope to walk for a cultural shift like permaculture where you want the infection to take hold quickly, yet don't want to capitulate to the 'emptiness' of the approach that will get you there.  I suspect Elon Musk and others realize that kids (read "impressionable brains") having fun on electric ATVs ("Power!" "Uniqueness" "Rugged Individualist", etc) is at least one way for the meme to become second nature when those future adults are car shopping.
 
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Say a new grocery store opened up in 10 big cities.  It's called Truly Good Food.  Everything in it is permaculture food.  The price is the same as for organic food but they limit the number of people who can go in the store as follows:

10 people a day can pay $500 and get in to shop (no waiting)
60 people per hour can come in to shop (no entry fee but they might have to get in line)

So the Tesla or high class influencer type people drop the cash to get the good food.  Regular people line up to get in and get the good food.  It makes the news and gets people talking.

Once the demand for $500 entries exceeds the supply per day, add 10 spots at $1000 in addition to the 10 at $500.  Still let in the riff raff at 60/hr.
 
Dave de Basque
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Skandi Rogers wrote:I cannot think of any "sexy" gardening or food production/marketing other than top end champagne.



Oooh, there I think a good food photographer can do wonders... Food can be very sexy and appeals to several of our primal, animal instincts and senses!


Skandi Rogers wrote:Ways to get a similar effect;
To have a restaurant that used only permaculture products and won 3 stars. But it would have to be a ground up thing or it would just be the chefs name that got the recognition rather than the produce.



A great local chef here (food is the religion of the Basques and the chefs are their equivalent of a royal family) who can charge anything he wants opened his new flagship restaurant that happened to have a small dining room. People started reserving to try it out, and presto, they couldn't book a table for months. People started really talking it up -- "Have you been to ChefX's restaurant yet? I couldn't get a table for 6 months!" "No kidding! Wow, it must be fantastic!" Besides the great food, the added scarcity effect really worked. He is dripping in Michelin stars and lives very well. I would too if I could charge people $400/person for dinner. But he has the talent, the name, the local economy, and he worked it that way.

Skandi Rogers wrote:Produce some random super luxuary product and MARKET the hell out of it. Something like chocolate or coffee it would have to be something with mass market appeal but also something that does well at the top end. Air dried ham? Cheese?



For example.

Also a yes to John's ideas, and a question for Mike -- What is the super-attractive thing that makes Lady Gaga want to drop coin to enter, and everyone else to line up? It's gotta be another layer on top of just truly good food.

Anyway, I think one thing that people are gagging for these days that we've got, is something real, something honest, something with some integrity, in the sea of glitzy lies and smarminess that we all live in. Something that is good for you from the inside out. There's definitely something to tap into there. But realistically, you always need to work on the esthetics and hire a really good photographer to make anything look appealing.

And then there's that great challenge, that spectacular test drive of permaculture, that wows everyone and gives you the Tesla Roadster effect. Which is...
 
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Dave de Basque wrote:Also a yes to John's ideas, and a question for Mike -- What is the super-attractive thing that makes Lady Gaga want to drop coin to enter, and everyone else to line up? It's gotta be another layer on top of just truly good food.  


I think you answered it already - scarcity and intrigue.  
 
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Celebrities have come up in the past in conversations here. If only we could get the right celebrity, everyone would want to follow. I think this would be one of the simplest, quickest ways to get lots of people to join in with permaculture all at once. I also believe it would be one of the most likely ways to fail at the ultimate goal of making permaculture an everyday thing for a billion people.

Consider how nature works. Swift, sudden growth is definitely possible. That's the direction society went about a century ago with NPK fertilizers. Yields went through the roof, but the victory was a hollow one. Our food now, though unbelievably plentiful, is mostly empty calories and has no real substance. Our collective health is considered by some the worst it has been in all of recorded history.

Celebrity worship is nothing new. It goes back thousands of years. A Roman athlete made over a billion dollars worth of wealth racing chariots. Some unknown force seems to compel the masses to want to follow them and be like them. I suspect it is because of a combination of herd/pack instinct, and the belief that they have somehow "figured it all out." I think it is truly more like the blind leading the blind, only the masses don't realize that the celebrity is wandering around just as aimlessly as they are. While each celebrity may have his or her own quirks, I think they are generally the same, part of a culture of following. They follow someone/something, and others follow them, and others follow them... until they step outside the bounds--the ruts that have worn in the ground-- that have been set by all this following, then they become anathema. As quickly as a celebrity can build something up it can all come crashing down. It's all because there is no substance behind the following. There is no foundation to hold everything up. I've noticed many plants in nature have about half of the plant as roots. When we make huge, fast-growing plants with tiny roots, it creates the same situation, in my mind. There's no substance to those tiny roots, and they can convey no substance to the fruits they produce. Too much wind will topple it. Too little rain and it can't reach deep down to find water. It's the same as if we think we can just take a little bit of a drug to make us feel better to a certain threshold, and then we'll quit and do it naturally from then on. If only it were that easy most of the time.

People like Elon Musk are different. Any celebrity status he has comes not from being a part of follow culture, but rather from being a renegade. He questions the status quo, he says things mildly scandalous and shocking, but then backs it up with examples or logic. Most importantly, he produces results. He produces better results than "the experts" by doing things in new, paradigm-breaking ways. The automotive industry is notoriously difficult to break into, but he did it. Now he's into the space race and cell phones and worldwide internet. All are very important, major industries one can't simply get into overnight. He clearly knows what he's doing. I guess in a way, he's leaching some of the energy off of the follow culture without immersing himself in it. This gives himself a certain amount of safety, because he is using its power but not depending on it. His foundation on which he stands is elsewhere, outside of the fickle currents of energy that control and are generated by the masses.

The average person doesn't have the means to just go out on a whim and build a wofati to document and test how well it can work. Tesla Roadster. It is far more likely for the average person to be able to plant some food in their yard using permaculture methods. Toyota Prius Prime.

The idea of Paul running a restaurant is gold. That is one reality show I would watch! Imagine the Kickstarter for that! I'm not sure he would be so inclined, but that's not the only option. What about a collaboration with a restaurant? What if Wheaton Labs can get to the point that it could supply an existing restaurant with at least a large portion of it's food? It looks like there may be a rather large amount of growing going on in the next few years. What if a serious income could come from it? And then grow some more as a result. And some more...
 
This parrot is no more. It has ceased to be. Now it's a tiny ad:

Infect brains with permaculture! Give out gobs of the permaculture playing cards
richsoil.com/cards


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