I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a bit conflicted here. Part of me is delighted to see people so excited about a particular car, and to see people using that excitement as a creative springboard. No matter what I think of a given car, I’m not going to shit on someone’s enjoyment of it. But then there’s a certain exploitative aspect going on here, a certain sort of creepy Tesla-fan willingness to Give Unto Elon that we’ve seen before, that just leaves me deeply unsettled. I’m curious to hear what you make of all this.
As you read this, just try and remember that this is a company that some fans were once seriously thinking about just handing over their money to for no apparent reason. Specifically, there was real debate about how, if Tesla actually had a ridesharing app, should drivers choose to give more of their fares they earn back to the company, just because.
What I’m referring to is a thread this week on the Cybertruck Owners’ Club forum. It’s a site for, I suppose, not quite Cybertruck owners. Those don’t exist yet. I suppose it’s for those 250,000 or so people who dropped real money for deposits.
The thread concerns Tesla’s Cybertruck web page, which the forum members seem to think isn’t interactive or engaging enough. As the site Admin puts it,
“The Cybertruck page on the Tesla website is informative but lacks some animation and flair.”
OK, fair enough. I’ll take their word for it. Here’s what you find at the official Tesla page:
Seems a little early to expect a configurator for a car that doesn’t really exist yet, but I understand that people are excited.
Anyway, what the crew over at Cybertruck Owners’ Club have been up to is re-designing the Cybertruck site for free, on spec, and the result is certainly impressive:
OK, they’re excited, and making the site they wish was there. OK. But it’s clear the members there think of this in terms of how it may serve Tesla:
It’d be one thing if this was just some kind of painful fanboy-ism. I mean, even then, it’s kind of cringey, as there’s something about fantasy-building a web page for a currently-operating for-profit company that feels like people are willingly offering themselves to be taken advantage of.
I mean, I’m excited for VW to introduce the new electric microbus, but those fuckers can make their own damn webpages for it with their billions of dollars and paid employees who earn a living doing exactly this sort of thing.
@elonmusk A lot of Tesla owners, including myself, would be DELIGHTED to volunteer, for free, to help with deliveries in times like this. We can't do their paperwork but we CAN do orientations. It's fun to educate new owners & see their joy & enthusiasm! https://t.co/weENatkrMa
— Ryan McCaffrey (@DMC_Ryan) September 21, 2018
It also doesn’t help that Tesla has a bit of a history with using people’s creative works without payment or permission and the company has a history of accepting private people’s unpaid labour.
Remember when Tesla stans were volunteering to deliver customer’s cars to them, for free, for the company? The company owned by a billionaire and recently was valued more than Ford or GM? That company? For free?
I mean, yes, they’re willingly volunteering to do the work, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t think of them as simps deluded into volunteering their own time and resources to a for-profit company and the billionaire that owns it.
Am I wrong for being creeped out by this? Again, I love people’s enthusiasm for the cars that make them happy, but when it starts to cross the line into free labour for a company, it all starts to feel different. Maybe a little culty.