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Cybertruck Misses Core Truck Buyer, But Still An Incremental Positive

Cybertruck Misses Core Truck Buyer, But Still An Incremental Positive

Cybertruck is two years away but will eventually be additive to overall Tesla unit sales, given it appeals to two sub-segments of the pickup and SUV markets. That said, the product misses the core truck buyer. Our takeaways:

  • The Cybertruck’s broken glass demo will capture headlines, but it’s not the real story. The episode captures an important piece of Tesla’s culture: a willingness to take risks in order to change the status quo — and Musk’s spontaneous media approach (i.e. Twitter) backfiring.
  • Pricing is less than we anticipated, starting at $40k for the 2WD option. The 4WD with full self driving version is priced at $57k. We expect the average selling price with add-ons will be closer to $55k.
  • The product ships late in 2021, and production will ramp in 2022. By 2023, we believe Cybertruck could account for 5% of all Tesla units, or about 30k deliveries.
  • The product is a striking departure from the company’s design language and will likely appeal to a small segment of truck buyers along with a small segment of SUV buyers. Over the next few years, traditional pickup-buying contractors may resist Cybertruck’s design.
  • Cybertruck misses the sweet spot of the truck market, which accounts for 18% of cars sold in the US and 6% globally. There are about 90m vehicles (cars and light trucks) sold globally on an annual basis.
  • The $100 pre-order deposit is less than Model Y’s $2,500 deposit (initial deliveries in late summer of 2020), and a sign that the Cybertruck reveal was not intended to generate cash from reservations. This is a directionally positive read on the company’s cash position, which is about $5B.


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027 –  Marc Ferro

027 – Marc Ferro

Marc Ferro is a post-doctoral researcher at Stanford University. Marc holds a Ph.D. from École des Mines de Saint-Étienne and an undergraduate degree from École nationale supérieure des Mines de Saint-Étienne.

Top 3 Takeaways

  1. Small neural interfaces improve signal quality.
  2. Small neural interfaces avoid biological damage.
  3. Researchers and entrepreneurs have many commonalities.

Show Notes

  • [0:59] Marc’s background.
  • [2:22] Biggest materials science challenges in neural interfaces.
  • [4:30] Respecting brain tissue.
  • [5:30] Initial insult vs. chronic injury.
  • [7:30] Constraints on neural interfaces.
  • [9:30] NeuroRoots.
  • [11:00] Status of NeuroRoots.
  • [12:15] NeuroRoots vs. other cutting-edge interfaces.
  • [17:08] Researchers as entrepreneurs.
  • [19:48] What kind of skillsets do neural interfaces teams need to have?

Selected Links

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Neurotech, Neurotech Podcast
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Should Facebook Fact Check Ads from Political Campaigns?

Should Facebook Fact Check Ads from Political Campaigns?

That’s the latest in the debate on free speech and social media platforms. Facebook has said it will not censor ads from legitimate political candidates, meaning candidates are free to lie in their Facebook ads. Facebook’s decision has led to dissent from many followers of Facebook’s on-going discovery about how they want to handle free speech on their platform.

Facebook’s political candidate ad policy is in-line with FCC guidelines for local broadcasters (television and radio). Those FCC rules state:

“Stations are prohibited from censoring ads that are paid for or sponsored by legally qualified candidates and their authorized organizations. As a consequence, stations are protected from liability if these ads contain defamatory material.”

The Public Says Facebook Should Fact Check

While much has been said from pundits on both sides, the opinion of the public, as it so often happens, gets lost in the noise. So we asked 436 US Internet users about their opinions on Facebook’s position on political candidate advertising.

Our survey shows that a plurality of Americans believes that Facebook should fact check ads from political candidates (43%), while 26% of respondents said that Facebook shouldn’t run ads from political candidates at all. Only 17% of respondents said that Facebook should not be responsible for fact-checking ads. 14% claimed no opinion. Excluding those respondents with no opinion on the topic, 50% of respondents said Facebook should be responsible for fact-checking ads on their platform.

Within the data, men were more likely to say that Facebook should not be responsible for fact-checking compared to women (22% vs 14%), while women were slightly more likely to say Facebook should be responsible (45% vs 41%).

By party, respondents who identified as liberal or conservative were essentially equal in their desire for Facebook to fact check ads at 46% and 47% respectively. In somewhat of a surprise, moderates were more likely than the overall panel to believe that Facebook should not be responsible for fact-checking (25% vs 17%). 22% of conservatives believed that Facebook should not be responsible for fact-checking, while only 11% of liberals agreed. Liberals sided more with Facebook not running ads at all at 35% of the panel compared to 20% of moderates and 17% of conservatives.

Overall, regardless of political affiliation, the plurality stands with Facebook fact-checking.

What’s Next for Facebook?

In our view, the most tenable position for Facebook is to not allow ads from political campaigns. Absent removing political candidate ads from their platform, the only other viable option for Facebook is what they’ve chosen to do: not fact check ads. To legislate truth is an untenable position for Facebook, or any company, regardless of their resources. Truth is often fuzzy, not absolute, despite examples of false ads. We shouldn’t want any company to wield the power to determine truth.

Twitter has already eliminated all political ads on its platform, whether from campaigns or otherwise. Facebook has rightly said that disallowing ads from political candidates would have implications on access to voters by emerging candidates. It may also encourage more bombastic comments from candidates in an effort to earn shares/likes/attention through unpaid social channels. There is no free lunch regardless of the decision Facebook makes.


Facebook, Twitter
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