Elon Musk Gives Commencement Speech – Video


Elon Musk Commencement Speech

Elon Musk Commencement Speech

“Elon Musk delivered the commencement address at the USC Marshall School of Business undergraduate ceremony on May 16, 2014. He was introduced by Dean James G. Ellis.”

Musk takes to the podium shortly after the 1-minute mark.

Of interest in regards to Tesla is Musk mentioning that Tesla Motors has never paid to advertise, which he says is directly related to advertising not being tied in any way to improving the product.  According to Musk, all efforts should be focused on improvement of the product, not on wasting money for something such as advertising which has no beneficial, tangible impact on the consumer who buys the product.

The USC Marshall School of Business is a private research and academic institution at the University of Southern California. It is the largest of USC’s 17 professional schools.

Category: Tesla, Videos


17 responses to "Elon Musk Gives Commencement Speech – Video"
  1. David Murray says:

    Aren’t the galleries basically just expensive advertisements?

    1. Jouni Valkonen says:


    2. EdoTesla says:

      Yes but print ads, TV ads, internet ads, billboards, etc. Check what GM’s advertising budget is.

      Also, 6 minutes?!?!

    3. James says:

      No, the galleries are there to showcase the vehicle, educate the public about EVs, test drives. You have to see the product to know it exist.

  2. pjwood says:

    Advertising can play an educational role, Elon.

    1. Brandon says:

      I never like seeing an advertisement. I have never once gone out and bought something because of seeing it on an ad. Elon is right.

      Build a compelling product and it sells itself.

  3. ffbj says:

    I wonder how the students that want to go into advertising feel about Musk’s approach?
    It’s true though that advertising adds no value to the product, though many products would not even be noticed without it.
    One thing I would have done as the college would have been to give Musk carte blanche. Talk as long as you want, say whatever you want. What is this 5-7 minutes constraint, is this a debate?

    1. TomArt says:

      Actually, advertising does add value in the marketplace – the repeat, repeat, repeat of a message makes you feel good about your purchase, makes others feel like they missed the boat by not buying that product, and builds the image and presence of the brand name. All of that, and more, sells the product.

      Does the advertising improve the product itself? No. That’s not the point. The point is to sell the product, lots of units, as quickly as the orders can be filled.

  4. Lad says:

    Think about how many professions fit the same mold of not adding value: Lawyers, Ad firms, Lobbyists, IRS agents, Stock Brokers, Real Estate Brokers and Politicians. There are a lot of freeloaders riding the coat tails of the few Creators. Maybe that’s where Capitalism is all wrong.

    1. TomArt says:

      Wow…I sincerely hope that this is a facetious post…

  5. Again? says:

    Oh no, another commencement speech? I’m not even going to bother watching the video.

    I was at the Caltech graduation where Elon was the speaker. It was the worst, most demoralizing, and non-motivational speech ever. He didn’t even have a speech prepared. He just “winged” it. All he did was brag about how much money he makes and then turned it into a recruiting session. All the graduates were pissed.

    Elon may be able to pass off his BS to the general public, but when the entire audience and faculty are smarter, it doesn’t go over well. One would think he would have been smart enough to realize he can’t fake being a genius in front of entire school of geniuses.

    1. CherylG says:


  6. Josephus says:

    I suspect that once supply outstrips demand, Tesla will sing a different tune about advertising.

    1. TomArt says:

      Well, duh…

  7. CherylG says:

    Why does Elon’s Solar City advertise? Hmm?

    1. TomArt says:

      Duh, because it’s a dense field. There is competition. And, it is working, since Solar City has the largest market share.

      Tesla Motors is still ramping up production to meet demand, after nearly two years of deliveries – why would you advertise? That’s a waste of limited cash in TMC’s situation.

    2. arne-nl says:

      SolarCity is not Elon’s. He’s only a member of the board of directors.