As Tesla Mag is in its 10th year of existence, and continues to reach important milestones in its development, we felt that the time had come to talk to its founder, Armand Taïeb, and to go into detail. the construction of this content platform like no other, dedicated to the electric revolution and at the energetic transitionto better inform drivers of electric vehicles and all the others, all those who have not yet succumbed to the charms of the Electricity Fairy.
Here is a river interview of Armand the visionary, in several parts, that no other media could or would like to broadcast because it is much too long, without filter, both benevolent and offbeat. The difference is that we do what we want, when we want, how we want. And that you can share as much as you want, besides we are counting on you.
While waiting to meet you or see you again, I wish you a great summer!
Daniel Ortelli, aka Danny le Madgue or Dan de Cannes, editor-in-chief of Tesla Mag
(I ride in Zoé, my Twitter account is @OrtelliD)
The genesis of Tesla Mag, the cogs of creation (today)
DanielO: Armand, you will soon be celebrating, next year, the 10th anniversary of the creation of Tesla Mag. How did this crazy adventure start in 2013?
ArmandT: It started from an economic observation, because I followed the stock market news on BFM Business, and one morning I heard a journalist whom I respect a lot, Stéphane Soumier, talk about Tesla, the presentation of his vehicle electricity, and to say that considerable increases in the Tesla stock were expected on the stock market. Since 2002, I was already working on blogs and on the Xbox product, following the deployment of the Microsoft group, developing a universe dedicated to new players.
An example in the US, TMC
So I started to apply the same principle for Tesla by relying on a community, like Tesla Motors Community, an American forum on which a vision was missing. At the beginning, I just wanted to write and share, knowing that it was a very important social subject, like real estate, around products that at the time were expensive, the Model S and the Roadster, sold in small volumes .
I knew it was a niche, the idea was to structure something serious, and to prepare for when it would become more democratic, I’m talking about the electric vehicle in general. Tesla was both a new entrant and a disruptor, while the Nissan Leaf and Zoe weren’t making big volumes.
DanielO: What was the trigger?
ArmandT: In the triggers, there was the moment when I wanted to buy an Audi A1 and the salesman sold me a CD player, when I was already on iPod and had no more CDs… Tesla all shaken up, I understood that everyone was going to go through the world of software and technology, and that manufacturers were going to have to adapt to the Tesla model, starting in 2013.
2015, first meeting at the Peninsula
DanielO: What was the first important date, the first milestone, in Tesla Mag’s journey?
ArmandT: In 2015, when I organized the first Tesla Mag gathering at the Peninsula Hotel, in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. There were 60 owners from France, Switzerland, Belgium, with paid tickets, and that’s where I met my first advisers, who are still with me today. We shared our passion, and it still continues today.
I kept my main job until 2020, as an employee, and I kept Tesla Mag as a blog activity, evenings and weekends. There was no point in doing more because the number of electric car drivers in France was still very limited. But I studied and learned a lot thanks to a community at the forefront and which encouraged me, which saw me grow. At the very beginning, we were on 30 Unique Visitors (VU) per day, and I never did that for the audience. It was a bit like FM at the beginning of free radio, from 1981: lots of energy, few listeners.
2020, the year of no return
DanielO: How did you experience the lockdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and did they help boost traffic on Tesla Mag?
ArmandT: In 2020, the lockdown played out because I couldn’t see myself being a software salesperson from my bedroom, so I decided to quit my salaried job. For me, the commercial can only be done on the ground and my salary was at the maximum, at the ceiling of what I could hope for. I was in software, but I didn’t have a basic network, I hadn’t done HEC, and I created an extremely powerful one for myself with Tesla Mag, by leading a community of members. With a commercial interest from the start because my vision was very quickly the vision of a structured media like 01Net, Frandroid, MacGénération, Le journal du Geek, Presse Citron.
Next question, which intrigues some readers a lot: what are your relations with Tesla World and Tesla France?
ArmandT: At the very beginning, I wanted to get closer to Tesla World, just to get information, but I learned that they gave very little and I had the whole network of owners who gave me a lot more, in do. And since I was also an investor, I had information from shareholders and stock market sources. I got out of it in 2019 because I needed money, I got married, and I couldn’t afford to do otherwise. I had made a good capital gain but I had no choice. That’s life…
Talk to everyone else and gather.
DanielO: How come you don’t drive a Tesla?
ArmandT: I don’t drive a Tesla because I couldn’t afford one at the time, I had just started my career and I preferred to invest in Tesla shares. Today, it’s different, because I want to keep my independence of mind, compared to my credo which is the development of EVs.
What I understood is that the bulk of the audience is anti-VE. My vision is to welcome everyone, people who come to learn about the subject, without having a sectarian discourse on the EV. We have to gather and federate, by creating desire, by being fair on the aspects, and by doing it for the brands that speak to me. For example, Renault was the first manufacturer to entrust me with a Zoé for a press test.
The site had just launched and the first Superchargers were not yet in France. They entrusted us with another Zoé at the end of 2020, for a long-term test that you carried out yourself, for three months, and which was very visible on the networks.
DanielO: Exact, and a year later I took a second-hand Zoé on LOA, at an unbeatable price. I have just passed the milestone of 10,000 km covered, in a little over six months… It’s a joy every day.
Next question: You have always taken great care to manage your Tesla Mag community well, thanks to the forum and the newsletter. Here again, you made the choice of quality, rather than quantity…
A site that represents my nights and my weekends
ArmandT: On the newsletter, I shared my wedding and the birth of my two sons, which shows the degree of closeness I have with the founding members of the Tesla Mag community. In all 8,000 members, a hard core that I manage, eliminating every three months those who do not open emails and newsletters.
I even delete the addresses, and they can come and re-subscribe, which maintains a very high level of engagement on the newsletter and the forum.
DanielO: What forum stats can you share with us?
ArmandT: We have 20 new members each month, there are a lot of private exchanges, and 500 messages per month visible on the forum, and this while Facebook has largely taken over from the forums, but not for those who have the will to share privately. The Tesla Mag forum continues to operate, as many do not have FB. The quality of the members and their contributions is invaluable, coming from all French-speaking countries.
DanielO: What place do Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Elon Musk have in your personal imagination and your experience as an entrepreneur?
ArmandT: I was fascinated by Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Elon Musk who at the time was not at their level. They don’t really like each other but I love all three of them. On the other hand, I don’t like the image inspired by Jeff Bezos as much.
Elon Musk continues to inspire me today, with everything he does globally, but no more or no less than before. He is a man of action, I followed the deployment of his Masterplan and he executed it as he said. Tesla Mag proves it, by evoking step by step the implementation, the progress of the Masterplan.
There were times when it was more messed up than now, but he stayed true to his line of conduct, to his roadmap. He is much more human, over time. He didn’t share his vision of life as much, of his relationship with others, he needs to show that today.
He managed to convince a good part of his detractors, but mathematically there are more people who hate him, because he earns too much money, etc. Someone who is successful, necessarily, it divides. He tries to make the Gigafactory eco-friendly, but it doesn’t always work because we’re talking about industrial tools linked to the increase in demand.
Technical progress for technology and economy
DanielO: To finish this first part, are you an eco-entrepreneur?
ArmandT: I believe in electricity too much not to devote my life to it. But I didn’t do Tesla Mag for the ecological aspect of EVs, I was never interested in it. I prefer to follow technical and technological progress closely, and even if I consider it a more respectful transition than what happened before. I never get into this debate.
Our desire is to display the promotion of the EV. At the time of the Tesla fires, an owner had dealt with the subject, Teslaaddict. Controversial subjects had their place when people knew how to deal with them. I have set up a rule of ethics which provides not to criticize the manufacturers, whoever they are and whatever happens. It’s not compatible with the emergence of a new industry, and other media do that very well, they have editors, investigators, they don’t need me. In the end, we have in essence a revolutionary aim and constant promotion of 100% electric.
Soon on Tesla Mag:
Exclusive interview Armand Taïeb, Part II:
“The union of owners at the forefront of the current revolution”
Publication expected before the end of July.