I’ve been thinking about Apple versus Tesla, and in spite of Elon Musk’s comments regarding “If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I’m not kidding.” And the other comment, “But cars are very complex compared to phones or smart watches. You can’t just go to a supplier like Foxconn and say: ‘Build me a car.'”
Well, perhaps you can’t go to Foxconn and have them make a car. But, Apple knows what to outsource and what not to. Furthermore, they understand outsourcing. They understand when to outsource or when to acquire or when to do it in-house. They also understand how and when to do each.
I own stock in each, but not for the same reason. I believe that each are visionary companies, but for different reasons.
To me, Apple represents a company that has institutionalized their vision and leadership, while Tesla represents a company that is a one-man, da Vinci-esque fulfillment of vision. Without Elon Musk, I believe Tesla would flounder. Without Tim Cook, Apple may flounder, but the odds are much longer, and the company will likely self-correct. I can’t imagine Tesla self-correcting. Not today, anyway.
Frequently comparisons are made between Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Elon Musk. Make no mistake, Elon is the most forward-thinking of the three, but Bill Gates operates at a different level for different reasons – he sees things he can to in much shorter time frames that will benefit mankind, using a non-profit built upon the wealth of his Microsoft holdings. Elon Musk is betting the farm for a much longer time-frame that exists beyond his lifespan. Musk is using his relatively short lifespan to build self-sustaining profit-oriented companies to better mankind.
Apple’s timeframe is much shorter in a way. Apple may think long-term, but they are patient to only pull the trigger on new products if the timing and execution is right or close enough (Watch OS 1.0, anyone?). Their goal is to better individuals, and by extension (if you can afford it) mankind. For profit.
None are inherently morally better or worse in my humble opinion, just different.
From an investment and humanity standpoint, understanding these arguably subtle differences in philosopies is critical to understanding how to get the most bang for your buck.
I am not in anyway suggesting to readers to invest in Apple or Tesla, or donate to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation as you should seek your own path to happiness and fulfillment.
And that may be a simple as donating to Doctors Without Borders, or your favorite charity. Regardless, just make sure that your objectives match your investment.