Is Tesla CEO Elon Musk the new Steve Jobs?

Tesla Model S Launch - Elon Musk is new Steve Jobs
Expect the Tesla Model 3 to be slightly smaller (length and width) than the class-leading luxury Model S sedan (above). Also expect it to negatively impact sales of entry luxury cars, most notably the BMW 3-series and Mercedes C-class sedans.

That Tesla’s Model 3 will sell like hotcakes seems undeniably obvious.

Apple-like line-ups formed early this morning (and overnight), with thousands across the country (and the world) lining up to plunk down $1,000 (at least here in the U.S.) to “pre-order” a car they have yet to see. Early word from those who scooped a peek say the design — borrowing cues from the Model S and X — is a knockout. We will know shortly, when Tesla CEO Elon Musk takes the wraps off the car at what is sure to be a widely watched and reported event tonight in California.

Speaking of obvious, there’s also the increasingly obvious sub-plot:

Elon Musk is the new Steve Jobs.

Who else can stir up such a frenzy? Get people stoked about… a new car model? Ignite our starry eyed dreams of a more environmentally friendly future?

Elon dreams big — more importantly it seems also that, against what would seem like improbable odds, he executes big. Gigafactory. In process. Self-landing rockets. In process. Space travel. In process. Meantime: his EV cars are, no question, game-changers. His dreams aren’t just those of an individual mind, they are of a populist litmus test for the greater American dream — we may not be putting astronauts on the moon again anytime soon, but, this country can still innovate with the best. That is something we can all get behind.

Sure, Tim Cook has done an exemplary job as Apple CEO, following in the footsteps of a legend.

Apple is more profitable than ever, sitting on more cash than ever, and releasing more products (or permutations) than ever.

Yet, the sheen is just not there anymore. We still buy iPads and iPhones (in droves), but we sadly don’t witness that charming nostalgia: people jumping up and down, running in a zig-zag down Market Street waving Apple devices like hipster monkeys. So 2011. Instead we quietly upgrade — yeah, the screen’s a little better, the camera has a few more megapixels, and there’s a new fingerprint sensor, yeah okay… meh.

Meantime, Elon Musk seems hell-bent on re-engineering Planet Earth.

People believe in Elon’s dreams

Buying a Tesla is no longer the same as buying just any old car (BMW 3-series?): It’s the equivalent of buying an iPhone in 2007/2008… it ignites envy, lust, and ensures that everyone within your new-found magical bubble can’t help but feel the afterglow, for better or worse.

Further, you’re joining a fervent community. One that loves, even worships Tesla. So much so that it reminds me not only of Apple, but other companies that also spool up legions of fanboys and fangirls, like the RED digital camera company (Red Raven and Stark Insider: The Cult of RED), Nespresso, and Pebble. Anyone who owns a product from any number of these kinds of companies owns a magnificent sales tool. We all stand proudly on guard, ready to demo the thing, over and over, for anyone in earshot. This 21st century pride and bombast is inescapable, especially in public spaces here in Silicon Valley.

Sure enough, as I sit here typing this post in a subdued Starbucks somewhere in San Francisco’s SoMa, at least one side of a random cell phone conversation comes through loud and clear.

Hey. Yeah, I just spend two hours waiting in a Tesla line. My parents wanted to buy a Model 3, so I stood there for them. Boom. Tesla is a thing bro!

I could hear him, sitting a table half-away across the shop. Did I mention I had headphones on (streaming Honeymoon Suite of course)? Okay, bro! Cool beans.

So, it’s 2016:

— Elon Musk is the new Steve Jobs

— the Model 3 is the new BMW 3-series

— and Starbucks is… well, Starbucks

Hipsters unite!

As for me, I’ll await until the unveiling. Plus, ordering via a Web browser, while not wait-in-line-iPhone-cool, allows me to avoid the throws of middle-aged white guys sharing stories about standing in iPhone lines so many years ago.

I have my significant other’s Model 3 go-ahead secured… with one excruciatingly impossible caveat: the P-car must go. Car pool lane? Pffft.

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