When we started Renoun, it was heralded as the "next big thing" in skiing. Our technology was second-to-none, and timing as a B2C couldn't have been better.
We were the first (and only) to incorporate a non-newtonian polymer inside skis, drastically increasing performance. We took this performance boost, built a sleek brand, and put it out for the world to see.
Tesla launched a car with a new Model S powertrain in a B2C market back in 2012 with incredible performance advancement — and their timing was perfect. Their technology was top-of-the-line and still is.
What could a ski company possibly learn from Tesla? More than we thought.
Yes, a car is far, far more complex than skis. We get that. But the principles behind the brands are strikingly similar. Here’s exactly what we learned from Elon Musk’s Tesla and what we did about it.
Lessons from Tesla's Success
Focus on the technology. Musk’s mission with Tesla is to accelerate the adoption of clean energy in transportation — not sell cars, which is how they do this. Similarly, we know that non-newtonian material makes a better ski and should be in any decent pair. Selling skis is just how we prove the concept.
Expand beyond your core. Tesla utilizes their technologies in a host of products, including the Powerwall battery system. At Renoun, we're taking our patented VibeStop™ technology to new horizons. First up: surfboards and flooring systems.
Avoid the sunk cost fallacy. This is the “well, we’ve gone this far, might as well finish it” mentality many companies have. Musk vehemently opposes this idea of continuing with a flawed design even if it’s been paid for. He’s famous for walking away and starting from scratch.
Likewise, we’re constantly upgrading and dropping mediocre ideas to make room for the best, even if it means throwing away something that cost a fortune. Even if it's painful at times, we’ve learned this ultimately pays off in spades.
(Don’t) Follow the leader. If you follow others in your industry, you’ll make the same mistakes they did. Look elsewhere for ideas and inspiration, and only lightly keep tabs on those who’ve done it before.
We constantly look at other ski companies and write down all the things they're doing, and then we stick the list on a “don’t do this” board. We watched as Musk applied the “don’t do this” technique time and time again and instead wrote his own playbook. He may not have arrived yet, but we can all agree — he’s much farther than anyone thought possible.
Ruffle some feathers. Sometimes it’s easy to argue that Musk takes this one too far, but the alternative is safe and boring. We’ve also done some rather edgy things (like a Trump vs. Clinton ski) and taken heat for it, but we’d rather answer a few tough questions than be labeled "another ski company." We’re here to do more than just build skis. We're here to shake things up.
We built these Tesla skis long ago, and it took us 2 years to find Elon. Eventually, someone who was friends with him (who’s casually friends with Elon Musk??) walked into our office and offered to make the connection.Now, Musk has the only pair of Tesla skis in the world.
Musk and Tesla stand among a few of the most inspiring businesses we look to emulate. We’ve been fans of Tesla since the beginning, and we’ve certainly taken a leaf or two out of their book since then. Building these skis for Elon was a nod to the man who helped set an example of what "upending the industry" looks like.
Thanks for all the tips and tricks Elon, these skis are for you.
Note: If you want a pair, ask Elon to borrow his. Not for sale.