Lux to Mass

Two interesting finds to juxtapose:

1. An NPR segment on the much-hyped, $100k+, all-electric, 0-to-60-in-3.9-seconds Tesla Roadster.  Specifically, an update on Tesla’s vision ‘secret master plan’ of making electric cars acceptable to the masses by starting with a super-sexy sports car for the rich minority and then democratizing from there to more affordable family vehicles.

2. A brief and eloquent rant from WorldChanging reminding us that walkable cities are not just a “lifestyle accessory for the well-heeled” but an “issue of basic social and economic justice.”  Mass and foot transit, combined with proximity to services and amenities, is indeed an issue of public and environmental health on several levels — exercise, safety, affordable access to healthy food, air quality, etc, etc.

Innovations almost always begin with a niche group of people (we often glorify them as ‘early adopters’) who are willing and able to sacrifice practicality and cash for a specific benefit offered by a disruptive technology.  As technologies improve, those niches grow.

When the specific benefit is luxury and prestige, however, the game is a little different.  The challenge for Tesla and urban planners alike is to balance the real need to ride out cost-cutting economies of scale and experience with the real danger of building brands on values that are fundamentally incompatible with a mass audience.  You can’t serve the majority if you alienate them first.

© Ryan Cunningham 2008

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thoughts at the collision of business, brand and creativity

I'm Ryan Cunningham. I help companies and culture play nice with each other. At CREATURE we call this Brand Strategy, a term that carries a nice halo of reliability and structure. Here, I'm just another guy who thinks about the world and writes it down from time to time.

The result is a pile of knowledge to be used in, and for, the future. Feel free to sift through the heap for useful connections.

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