a16z Podcast

Tesla and the Nature of Disruption

Episode Summary

“Disruption” is a word often used in the tech -- and yet, spotting and harnessing truly disruptive technology is much trickier than it looks. Benedict Evans and Steven Sinofsky use the example of Tesla and electric vehicles to dig into the nuances of what disruption looks like in practice, in the tech industry and beyond.

Episode Notes

In this re-run from September 2018, Benedict Evans and Steven Sinofsky talk all about Tesla — and more broadly, the nature of disruption overall. How disruptive is Tesla really, and what exactly are they disrupting — from the dashboard to car makers to vendors to energy source to autonomy overall?

The tech industry is littered with leading innovators... who nonetheless failed to be the dominant leader in the end. So the question should be, is this new thing fundamentally difficult for the incumbent to do, and how does it relate to market dominance? Which of these things are important in order for Tesla to be the new BMW or the new GM? Looking back at other examples historically (Microsoft, GM's Saturn Brand, and of course the iPhone), what kind of disruption matters most for market dominance? And what is the long view of how software is eating transportation?