Will Elon Musk Reward The Oatmeal’s Glowing Tesla Review With an $8M Donation?

Tesla Motors just got one hell of an unsolicited endorsement, in the form of a glowing review from Model S owner and massively popular cartoonist Matt "The Oatmeal" Inman.

In a lengthy two-part cartoon, Inman first gushes about his love for the electric car (which he calls his "Intergalactic SpaceBoat of Light and Wonder"), then follows up in Part 2 with a request that Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk help invest in preserving the lab equipment used by the company's namesake, Nikola Tesla.

Skeptics will, quite reasonably, note that the lavish praise of Inman's review could be seen as simply buttering up Musk for Part 2's considerable donation request, a whopping $8 million toward Inman's own goal of building a Tesla Museum. 

But clearly if Inman's only goal were coercing money from Musk, he could have done so without spending nearly so much time describing in detail his love for the Model S.

He dotes on the car's touchscreen controls, its safety features and its all-around stellar performance. He also spends considerable time, as many Tesla Motors fans do, assuaging fears from overhyped concerns about range (260 miles between charges for his 85 kwh battery) and potential for fire (very low, considering lack of gasoline and a software upgrade implemented after a few early, non-injury fires).

And then, of course, he asks Elon Musk for $8 million. 

Obviously, Inman is no journalist, so he's not bound by any sort of perceived conflict of interest. If anything, he deserves points for being rather candid with his two-part Tesla-themed opus. There's also the fact that Inman has been no slouch on the Tesla Museum fundraising front, having generated $1.37 million in donations from fans to save the inventor's lab from destruction.

In the end, Inman's positivity, proven passion and direct appeal have effectively put Musk in quite a bind.

The entrepreneur's beloved vehicle now has a sky-illuminating endorsement from one of the Internet's most popular creative talents, and it comes at a vital moment in Tesla's goal of becoming a mainstream national auto brand.

But will he feel indebted enough to Inman to cough up $8 million and co-found a museum to one of history's greatest inventors? Time will tell. Or as Tesla himself put it, "Let the future tell the truth, and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments."

Campbell Mithun to Wrangle 2014 Interns via Musk’s ‘Market the Hyperloop’ Challenge


Minneapolis agency Campbell Mithun has decided to find the 2014 version of its “Lucky Thirteen” summer interns by challenging prospective applicants to “Market the Hyperloop.”

The Hyperloop is “a futuristic transportation concept unveiled by Elon Musk in August 2013.” Elon Musk‘s idea is for a subsonic transportation system that operates at a lower cost than high speed rail. Applicants will market Musk’s proposal to an audience of their choice: such as investors, engineers, consumers, and the business sector. They will then submit their idea, plus a  “Why my ‘Market the Hyperloop’ idea will work” letter to pitch their concept.

“More and more, our agency teams tackle client business challenges with a mix of creativity and marketing science,” says Debbie Fischer, director of human resources at Campbell Mithun. “It’s no accident that this Hyperloop application process requires those skills.”

The latest in Campbell Mithun’s annual internship search, which now involves the PayPal inventor/head of Tesla Motors, is a really intriguing concept, stepping of the game a bit from last year’s Twinkie challenge. Applicants could do their part to ““help bring Hyperloop from an idea to a reality” while demonstrating skills that could land them a full-time agency position. The application process was strategically designed to launch today, Jan. 13, and will run until Feb. 13. Applicants, who “must be a college student with a graduation date between fall 2013 and summer 2015″ need to submit the following to be considered for the position:

  • URL address for the Market the Hyperloop recommendation (presented via blog, YouTube, SlideShare, Prezi, etc. – wherever it lives on the Internet)
  • A “Why my ‘Market the Hyperloop’ idea will work” short letter to pitch the idea
  • Resume

Finalists will be invited for an in-person or Skype interview, with the final selections announced in mid-March (we’re guessing around the 13th). If you’re interested in applying, you can learn more about the process here.


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SXSWi Keynote: Tina Roth Eisenberg on Side Projects, Eccentric Aunts

Perhaps best known by her nickname “Swiss Miss,” graphic designer and entrepreneur Tina Roth Eisenberg took the SXSW Interactive stage for the second featured keynote of the festival.

Aside from running the popular design blog and studio Swiss Miss, Roth Eisenberg is the driving force behind nationwide events series Creative Mornings, collaborative workspace Studiomates, to-do app TeuxDeux, and temporary tattoo company Tattly. In other words, side projects are pretty much her thing. While yesterday’s keynote featuring SpaceX/Tesla Motors CEO Elon Muskfocused predominantly on technology, Roth Eisenberg used her time to inspire creatives to use their enthusiasm to find success. Inspired by her Swiss aunt, a fashion designer and artist, she emphasized the importance of creatives surrounding themselves with other creative people saying, “Nothing more refreshing than being around people who are passionate about what they do.”

For creatives hoping to find the same type of success as herself, Roth Eisenberg listed these 11 steps:

  1. Invest your life in what you love
  2. Embrace enthusiasm
  3. Don’t complain, make things better
  4. Trust and empower
  5. Experiences > money
  6. Surround yourself with likeminded people
  7. Collaborate
  8. Ignore haters
  9. Make time to think and breathe
  10. If an opportunity scares you, take it
  11. Be someone’s eccentric aunt

“Real connections are not made through computer screens,” Roth Eisenberg says. The immense growth of Studiomates and Creative Mornings in a short amount of time is undoubtedly a testament to Roth Eisenberg’s own passion and emphasis on creative collaboration.

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