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18Feb/130

Fighting back with data!

A highly publicized fight between  NY Times John Broder and Tesla motors CEO Elon Musk is destined to become a case study in how data became not only "corporate asset" but a weapon of choice in protecting firm.

After a test-driving Tesla S car, the NY Times journalist John Broder published a review 'Stalled Out on Tesla’s Electric Highway" claiming that the car's poor performance under cold weather condition lead to it being towed before it reached its destination. Instead of issuing usual "confidence in quality of our product" and promises to "thoroughly review the incident" the Tesla Motors CEO fought back with data, first calling the Broder's review a fake on Twitter, and then supporting his claim with extensive data in form of graphs and tables in the article "The most peculiar test drive" posted on the corporate blog on February 13, 2013

Turns out that Tesla Motors had established a comprehensive data collection and analysis program:  distance, time spent at charging stations, the speed and geographical location of every vehicle used by the media at any given moment - tons and tons of machine generated data - were recorded and stored in the Tesla's corporate database. The data clearly shows that the car never "run out of battery", and makes several other claims made by John Broder dubious at best.

P.S. Mr. Broder since posted a response but his "recollections", "memorized facts" and hand-written notes look terribly suspicious and woefully inadequate against cold hard numbers presented by Elon Musk

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