Don’t Whine, Fix the Problem

In a rare communication misstep, Tesla is on the wrong side of public opinion for once. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requested a recall of 158,000 cars because Tesla is using cheap memory chips that fail after a few years. That leaves one of the screens in the car blank, making the user unable to activate features like defrosting the windshield. Tesla has now grudgingly issued the recall, but whines that “It is economically … infeasible to expect that such components can or should be designed to last the vehicle’s entire useful life.”

If you have cut corners and delivered a defective product or service, and you are called out on it, the right way to communicate is not to whine that it’s too expensive to do it right. Steve Jobs was exceptionally charismatic and could get away with telling iPhone users “you’re holding it wrong.” Everybody else should just apologise and fix the problem.