Tesla Product Launch Presentation A Shattering Experience

By Andrew Ivey

Nov 27

Last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk showed us how he turns product launch presentations into dramatic, suspense-filled events where things may (will) go wrong. But, is all the high-drama risk-taking worth it?

Tesla product launch presentation

An Underwhelming Tesla Product Launch Presentation Is Less Than Shattering

You may argue yes, it is. Most of us have now seen this bizarre looking futuristic Cybertruck plastered across the news since last week; Elon Musk has, without a doubt, made headlines. Albeit, just for all the wrong reasons.

Cybertruck Product Launch Presentation

Last Thursday, 21 November, Elon Musk took to stage in Hawthorne, California, to reveal the new Tesla pickup truck, the Cybertruck—Tesla’s first all-electric pick-up truck that will go into production in 2021. Musk slowly built up the suspense in the crowd through a series of highly choreographed routines, where an assistant attempted to showcase the truck’s armoured, shatter resistant windows. The audience’s applause grew louder and louder as the assistant climbed higher and higher up a ladder, dropping metal balls against the truck’s windows.

However, the Tesla product launch presentation very quickly took a turn for the worse. Eight minutes into the presentation, the assistant hurled a larger metal ball at the truck’s side window—it shattered. Presuming that this was a fluke, he then chucked it against the rear window, which shattered into tiny pieces. Unfortunately we also picked up an expletive. Not good.

Oh my ******* god

Elon Musk then had to deliver the rest of his product launch presentation standing in front of the truck with its shattered windows on display. He probably didn't know at the time, but his company's stock value fell by 6% immediately. Still, things could be worse. After all, the stock value of Athenahealth Inc. fell by 7% after the hedge fund presentation by David Einhorn.

Controlled Risk To This Presentation

Unfortunately for Musk, the extraordinary fact that the pick-up was bulletproof to a 9mm handgun is something that won’t stick in his audience’s head. Because the undeniably brilliant technology has been completely overlooked by this failed demonstration. Should this deter you from taking extravagant risks in case they go wrong? Or is Musk’s showmanship something we should all aspire to as presenters?

Of course, that's your call. But if you already practise and rehearse your presentations, then you should also practise the full product launch demonstration. Every element of it. Even when you try to break the product!

However, beyond the failure of the bullet proof glass, this proved a diffident and subdued product launch presentation from Tesla's Elon Musk. It's certainly a far cry from the natural ease of a Steve Jobs presentation. Because despite the novelty and excitement of the cybertruck, his entire manner, movement and speech suggested a languid disinterest, punctuated by grunts every now and then.


Of course, when you are ready to shatter your own presentation horizons, we have plenty of effective presentation tips for every occasion. And, when you want to increase your own confidence and presentation skills, why not join us for a presentation skills coaching session? Please don't hesitate to get in touch when the time is right.


Phone Number

01344 859823

Email Address



About the Author

The Principal Trainer at training business Time to Market. Based in Oxford, I run presentation and public speaking training courses, coaching sessions and seminars throughout the UK.

  • […] Because without it he had no plan B. With hands clasped, then unclasped he gave the impression of just keeping it together. An appeal to an aide didn’t work, so he aimed a semi-joking accusation at a financial analyst from Wedbush. It was bizarre. You can compare this rather weak approach to that of Sarah Palin when she experienced a teleprompter freeze. Or, of course, the reaction of Elon Musk at the Tesla Cybertruck product launch presentation. […]

  • >