Why did people queue to reserve a Tesla Model 3 today?

Around the world, long queues formed outside Tesla Motors outlets today, queues of people waiting to place a non-refundable $1500 deposit on a car they know very little about, that they’ve never seen a TV commercial for, which has never overtaken them on the highway or been recommended by an automotive magazine or award.

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Why did they do that, when they could have paid the same deposit online in less time than it took to join the end of the queue at a dealership?

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People queue to order something they haven’t seen in order to feel like more than just a customer who’s paid an advance deposit.

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People do it to feel like they’re part of a movement, something bigger than themselves.

They do it because they trust the brand will meet or exceed their expectations of the product.

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They do it to relate to others who are also part of the movement.

They do it to show the brand that they (the customer) are with you (the brand) one hundred percent, and will remain loyal in the face of critics.

They do it when a brand’s competitors are all so spectacularly awful at building a brand experience; when only this brand will offer them a consistently high quality brand experience.

Tesla Motors reporting on advance deposits during today’s launch and I wouldn’t be surprised if they report $150 million in advance deposits collected by tomorrow.

On the one hand, in auto brand sales revenue, that’s a drop in the ocean.

On the other hand, it’s a vast amount of brand experience equity which should convert to a lazy billion in revenue in the next three years.

I’m Alan Jones, an EiR for startup accelerators, GP at M8 Ventures. Previously investor, founder, and early Yahoo PM. Opinions mine (but should also be yours).

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