It seems like in this day and age everyone is active on Twitter- and various Tesla entrepreneurs have been on the front lines of the site, ready and waiting for those with questions, or to offer helpful tips at a moments notice.
A while back, Elon Accessories was one of the first Tesla related accessory companies I interacted with on Twitter, only offering one product, the Tesla Model 3 screen protector.
Ram is the owner of Elon Accessories and has a reputation for going out of his way to provide excellent customer service. As with many of the Tesla accessory entrepreneurs, he’s always interacting on the site with potential new customers; those with questions, or gathering input from the collective Tesla Twitter fan base. He has since started offering a few more items on his website with plans to expand his product line.
Below is an interview with Ram of Elon Accessories
[TS] Do you remember when you first heard about Tesla?
[Ram] I clearly remember Elon talking about Tesla roadster in one of the interviews, I believe back in 2010.
[TS] Is there a particular moment or memory that stands out for you?
[Ram] What I remember the most was how enthusiastic he was and that he couldn’t control his smile when he described his experience driving his Roadster.
[TS] What were your thoughts then?
[Ram] I guess I am not alone in mistakenly thinking how ambitious and probably naive he was. When we talk about global challenges like Climate Change we look to organizations- like governments and United Nations- but here he was one man trying to tackle a global problem.
[TS] How long did you have to wait before you could get a Tesla?
[Ram] It is a long story but in short, I wanted LR RWD and Elon just then briefly took it off-menu but I could still call in to reserve one. My special order fell through the cracks and I had to order 4 times. At any given point I had two active reservations before I took delivery. This was during mad rush of 2018 Q4. It took almost 3 months from my first order to the delivery date.
[TS] What model of Tesla(s) do you have?
[Ram] LR RWD and I LOVE it.
[TS] How long did you have your car before you knew you wanted to create the screen protector?
[Ram] I actually created the screen protector before I had my Model 3 !!. Silicon Valley, where I live, is filled with Teslas. I randomly reached out to now one of my good friends Raj, aka TeslaRaj, and he was gracious enough to lend his car for measurements and testing the prototypes.
[TS] What was the biggest challenge you had going from concept to reality?
[Ram] Not having the car of my own to test the iterations was super difficult and added to the delay. At some points I would sit with the prototype at home for weeks before I could find a time with Raj or one of my other friends, Jared, to meet up to test it out. It was during winter months so we did not have much daylight time to work with even if they were available after their work. Which all meant we had to wait till one or two weekends before we could meet up.
[TS] How long have you been doing this?
[Ram] Since October 2018.
[TS] What kind of reaction have you had from the Tesla community?
[Ram] My initial assumptions that Tesla community deserves and values quality is proven to be true.
When I started Elon Accessories there were two US based companies and many Chinese sellers of Tesla accessories. However, on Amazon all of their screen protectors looked same. So I bought one from one of the US based companies and I was dismayed at the quality and overall experience. Living in SIlicon Valley and surrounded by stories about design thinking made me solve this problem for Tesla community. I am glad I started Elon Accessories. The reviews and stories of happy Elon Accessories customers are testament to that fact.
[TS] Any specific stories or experiences you would like to share about what you are doing or about any individual experiences since introducing the screen protector?
[Ram] There are too many memorable personal interactions and stories to talk about. But one story is worth talking about.
I was trying to follow Steve Blank’s advice to Brian Chesky at AirBnb- get out and talk to the customers and initially do things that do not scale. So, I vividly remember one customer ordering a screen protector on December 23rd night as a Christmas present for his nephew. But he missed the shipping cut-off time on the 23rd, leaving only one full day (24th) before Christmas.
I knew how important this would be for him. Thanks to heavy volume of holiday purchases and gifting, I I was sure even with priority 1-day shipping the customer would not get it in time for Christmas. The only way the customer would get it in time for Christmas was if someone drove down to Los Angeles from Bay Area. So I decided to surprise the customer with hand delivery. My cousin and I decided to drive down to customer’s home near SpaceX HQ in Los Angeles from Bay Area (almost 8 hours trip). We started late night on 23rd after putting my son to sleep. We took turns driving all the way down on I-5. It was first long trip in my new one month old Tesla so we were pretty attuned to what the navigation said- if it said go to Kettleman Supercharger and charge for 30 minutes then that’s what we did :).
The goal was to be at customer’s home by 7 AM on the 24th so as to not to miss him if he was going to work. We reached earlier than we thoght but we waited not to distueb their sleep. Around 7 AM on the 24th I mustered up some courage to knock on the door. After many doorbells and knocks, a person on the other end, barely clothed, opens the door and was suspicious of my presence especially with a while package in my hand.
After he has heard who I was and why I was there, he without much excitement just accepted the package. He probably was shocked and didn’t know how to respond but I was stunned to see minimal response from him. I should have known that he doesn’t know we travelled all night to get his package in time for Christmas.
I posted some pictures on Elon Accessories twitter page but the lesson I learned was that as an entrepreneur you have to do go great length to do many little things from which one of them ever makes a difference.
[TS] How has doing this changed you, either this product of just being a part of the Tesla community, how do you see this whole experience has changed you?
[Ram] I’ve always embedded myself in entrepreneurial conversations so I knew a good product is important but vocal ambassadors for your product is even more important. However, I did not realize the true value of community until I started Elon Accessories. I am constantly amazed at how Tesla owners talk about Elon Accessories’ products. We never pay influencers to talk about us; yet you’ll find many talking about their experience with Elon Accessories and how happy they are after the purchase. The takeaway is Community and Relationships are as much, if not more, important than a great Product.
[TS] If you could meet with Elon Musk for lunch, what would you want to talk about?
[Ram] I would have a long list. I think Elon’s entrepreneurial journey since PayPal time is well documented. So I would focus on his early childhood experiences- who and what experiences shaped him- both good and bad. And, how he structures his day to handle insane amount of work he currently has, and still finds time to tweet 🙂
[TS] What about you, what inspires you?
[Ram] I rely on many people for inspiration. My wife and kids are everyday motivation for me to do better and more so they can have a cleaner planet and better prospects.
I also take good interest in biographies, especially I am interested in early challenging experiences in every successful person and how they overcame those obstacles to beat the odds to realize their dreams.
[TS] Do you have any advice for any other budding entrepreneurs wanting to do their own thing?
[Ram] I am not big on giving others advice. But the advice I give to myself is probably what I would give to others. JUST START.
At any point and no matter how small or big your company is, you will have million reasons to delay or stop acting but the only way forward is to JUST START.
You will fail (guaranteed) but it is important and necessary so do not delay. Even if you had a bad start you are miles ahead of those who did not start so JUST START.
[TS] Is there anything else you would like to share so people know a bit about the human behind Elon Accessories?
[Ram] Ha ha.. I immigrated to the States in 2007. I am one of the three children to my parents who had just enough to provide for all of us. By any measure I am living a dream. But I also lived in the world where many of the things that I sometimes take for granted are just pipe dream for many people. So I am always trying to stay grounded and be there for others.
Personally I could be chatty and like to keep myself busy with many projects at any given time.
[TS] What is the best way for people to find you and about the Elon Accessories?
[Ram] If you are still reading this then thanks for sticking around.
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