The nation’s pursuit of Tesla’s bizarre move for a crazy governor to build a statue of Musk.

In March, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the location of the CyberTruck electric pickup truck plant. Several U.S. states have since courted Tesla and offered preferential terms. Among them, Tulsa, Oklahoma, was the “most tragic” initiative, and in order to attract Tesla’s attention, they even turned the city’s landmarks into “Musk statues.” As a result, Tesla announced last month that it would build the Cybertruck plant in Austin, Texas.

The nation's pursuit of Tesla's bizarre move for a crazy governor to build a statue of Musk.

Sina Science and Technology Youya.

There is a common saying that Tesla is simply using Tulsa as leverage, which is always in a “catch-up” state, so that It can extract as much value from Texas and local governments as it did with the site selection of the first Gigafactory plant six years ago.

Even so, Tulsa’s distinctive presentation was good enough to get Musk to watch in person and was invited to the Kennedy Space Center for SpaceX’s astronaut launch and dinner with Musk. Musk also said future projects would “strongly consider” the state.

Turn the “oil worker” statue into “Musk.”

In May, Kurt Stenstrom needed someone to ride a 70-foot-tall elevator to measure the face of the Golden Driller statue before dressing it up as Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

The Golden Driller statue, built in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1966, is a seven-story landmark. In the past few years, it has often been decorated to promote everything from New Park to rock radio. However, no one has decorated this face before, so someone needs to measure it first.

When the measurement was complete, Stanstrom turned on Photoshop on his Mac mini computer. He adjusted a composite image of Musk’s face, which he had taken overnight the night before. The photolithing company he works for has just over a day to dress up Golden Driller as Musk, and then Tulsa officials will announce a push for Tesla to build a new CyberTruck electric pickup truck plant in the city. As a result, Stanstrom is faster.

The effort to get Tesla to build a plant outside Austin, Texas, ultimately failed. Musk told the media that the decision was made because some of the company’s key employees wanted to move to Austin, not Tulsa. It’s hard to imagine Tulsa really having a chance.

But Tulsa officials, who have been courting Tesla for the past few months, say they want Tesla to think twice and make an offer in front of Musk that dwarfs the Texas proposal. In fact, they wouldn’t even be on Tesla’s radar if it wasn’t for a series of “viral” ideas, such as painting Musk’s face and Tesla logo on Golden Driller and promoting “Big Fucking Field” through a mysterious website.

The government embarrasses itself by winning big business, and that’s part of the price of doing business. Remember when big cities tried to convince Amazon that their city was the best choice for Amazon’s new headquarters?

Catering to Musk was almost successful.

But Musk likes memes, and Musk doesn’t search for them once or twice by playing meme. For the past few months, Tulsa has struggled to get the CyberTruck pickup truck factory to land. And it’s almost as successful.

The story of competing for Tesla’s new plant, like many other stories about Tesla, began with a tweet from Musk.

On March 10, Musk wrote on Twitter: “The location of the CyberTruck GigaFactory plant will be in the middle of the United States. Musk added that in addition to making CyberTruck pickup trucks, the plant will also produce Model Y SUV models.

In 2016, Tesla opened its first Gigafactory plant in Nevada. Tesla then called the Solar City plant it acquired in 2016 “GigaFactory 2.” In 2019, Tesla will build a third Gigafactory plant in China. Recently, a fourth Gigafactory plant on the outskirts of Berlin, Germany, broke ground.

But Tesla’s only U.S. auto manufacturing plant, fremont, California, faces a shortage of capacity in 2018. To address this problem, Tesla at one point set up a makeshift tent plant to produce the Model 3S. With the launch of Model Y earlier this year and the launch of new models such as cyberTruck, Tesla’s Semi and new sports cars, Tesla needs to build another plant in North America.

In early 2014, when Tesla announced that it was looking to build its first Gigafactory plant, it conducted some form of roadshow, bidding across the country for large-scale tax breaks. Tesla eventually received a $1.3 billion package from Nevada, the largest in the state’s history and one of the 15 largest packages in the United States at the time.

It worked, and in fact it caught the attention of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and became amazon’s way of finding a second headquarters (HQ2).

Mysterious websites appear.

For the Cyberruck pickup truck factory, Musk seems ready to use a similar strategy. Immediately after his March 10 tweet, it was reported that Tesla was considering Nashville, Tennessee. By that weekend, Colorado, Arkansas and other states had reached out to Tesla, while Joplin, Missouri, offered land and incentives. There is also a mysterious website that promises to develop “Big Fucking Field” in Tulsa, alongside a Twitter account of the same name.

“Hi Elon (Musk), we heard you needed a big venue,” the site wrote on March 17. We happen to have a place to put your CyberTruck GigaFactory factory, it’s in Tulsa. “But the website does not give an official contact name or phone number, nor does it have a government email address. Only some information is available about the 1,500 acres.

The website goes on to say: “Don’t trust us. Trust your friends. Tulsa’s good friends are gaining national recognition. “。 Below, there are four false statements by people with varying degrees of connection to Musk.

Joe Logan: “Elon, it’s good grass (land), I’m serious, man.” “

Steve Jobs: “I’ve tasted Oklahoma soil and it tastes good.” “

Peter Thiel: “The spirit of unity is deep in this land.” “

Edison: “To build Cybertrucks, you need good imagination and broad areas. “

The site is also full of Tesla jokes, such as a photo of Ludacris and a tweet referring to Musk’s “mega-rave cave.” The site even records the distance (1,053 miles) to Musk’s favorite regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The team behind the site is a marketing company called Gitwit Creative. Jacob Johnson, co-founder of Gitwit Creative, said in a telephone interview that his team wanted to create Musk’s tweet after seeing it. His team’s only guideline is to do whatever they want and do what the city is supposed to do. Johnson said his goal is “to try to get into Tesla’s radar, which is a challenge for a medium-sized city like Tulsa.” “

Government officials strongly support it.

Just as Big Fucking Field was planning to go online, Sean Kouplen, Oklahoma’s secretary of commerce and workforce development, said he was constantly being sent Musk’s initial tweets.

While Oklahoma hasn’t officially started anything yet, Kupplund thinks it’s worth a try. He greeted Musk on Twitter and urged people to do so on Facebook and LinkedIn. He even called Gov. Kevin Stitt and asked him to contact Musk on Twitter.

“I was like, ‘Hey, can you tweet Elon (Musk?'” said Mr. Kupplund. You know, maybe he’ll see. ‘”

Stitt later wrote on Twitter: “Oklahoma is very innovative. Oklahoma is the center of the United States. Oklahoma is home to trucks. Let’s talk, Elon Musk. “。 Mr. Kupplund said a Tesla employee eventually told him that Mr. Musk had received about 40,000 tweets from early promotions.

The outbreak is not overdue.

However, when all this happened in mid-March, the coronavirus was spreading rapidly in the United States, and the first signs of necessary closure began to appear. One of the first U.S. counties to impose the ban was in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Alameda, where Tesla’s Fremont plant is located. Tesla, along with other companies deemed unnecessary, had to suspend operations for several weeks.

Musk was furious. In his view, new confirmed cases in the United States will be “close to zero” by the end of April. He tried to keep the Fremont plant running while playing down the risks posed by the virus. Musk broke out as parts of the country began to consider easing restrictions in late April and early May. He wrote on Twitter on April 29th: “Now is a free America, forcing people to be imprisoned in their homes… This is contrary to all their constitutional rights. “

Musk threatened in April to move Tesla’s business out of California al completely and have Tesla sue Alameda County. He then reopened the Fremont plant on 11 May in violation of public health order. On May 15th it was reported that Tesla had chosen Austin, Texas, as the location of its CyberTruck plant. Whatever Musk’s plans may be, they seem to be over.

Tulsa is still holding on.

Is that really the case? Hours after the report was published, three other media outlets reported that Tulsa was still competing.

At the same time, Mr. Kupplund and others have been working hard throughout March and April to lure Tesla to Tulsa. This starts with supporting what Gitwit Creative is doing. “We really looked at Tesla’s culture… And it’s a fairly free company. They are very real. “

For the website created by Gitwit Creative, Kupplun describes it as “a bit like Hail Mary (there’s no way to be blind).” “At that time, our chances were very slim,” he said. So we hope it will get their attention, make us a little bit famous, and maybe make us a little bit more attractive. “

At the same time, Gitwit Creative is constantly adapting its website to the real world. In late May, they wrote, “Yes, I heard, this is between us and Austin.” The choice seems pretty clear. But if it’s not… Allow us to assist. “。 A link to a new site (austinsaysno.com) is also given below, with a hypothetic “Austin doesn’t want Tesla.”

This series of bets actually worked. Mr. Kupplund said Tesla and Oklahoma began discussing what the state’s factories would look like, and he began looking for appropriate addresses in the city. After a brief conference call, the state submitted a preliminary proposal to formally begin the race. (Tesla has yet to comment.) )

But by this time, Tesla had locked up a location in Texas and begun working on some of the boring things that come with such projects, such as hammering out details with local officials in closed-door meetings. Tulsa, it seems, needs more memes.

Johnson, co-founder of Gitwit Creative, says dressing up Golden Driller as Musk is a stunt we can do to support Tesla on Tulsa’s behalf.

Johnson’s team sent models to Stanstrom and his employer, Meeks Lithography. Andrew Aldridge, one of two “installers” who painted Musk’s face on the statue, said many people thought Musk’s face was painted on it, but in fact it was a vinyl material used to wrap the vehicle. Golden Driller looks ridiculous, but it’s perfect.

“All we know is that it’s going to get media attention,” Johnson said. That’s really our only goal: how can we stay in Tesla executives’ Twitter and inboxes all the time? “

In late May, on a sunny Wednesday morning, Danny O’Connor stood in front of a statue of Golden Driller “wearing Musk’s mask.” O’Connor, known as “Danny Boy,” is a rapper who, along with Everlast, formed the 1990s group House of Pain. O’Connor has been trying to make time until Mayor G. T. Bynum (G.T. Bynum).

In the late spring sun, O’Connor turned to the 70-foot-tall statue behind him. “Can you look at this big man?” I mean, come on! Elon (Musk), we’ve got a big piece of land for you. Trust me, my friend. A few beats passed, and he repeated them again. Isn’t this the biggest and coolest statue you’ve ever seen? “

Musk statue unveiled.

As the march neared its end, Bynum finally arrived at the event. He talks about Tulsa’s love of entrepreneurs and how the city first flourished because of the rise of the oil industry, known as the “oil capital” and the Golden Driller statue, which commemorates oil man-made people. He talked about how Tesla helped the city start the cycle again, but focused on clean energy.

“As a community, we are excited about the potential opportunities for collaboration ahead,” he said. So, as a community, we came up with something that I thought was pretty cool, as a way to show how we wanted to roll out the red carpet and work with this company. “

As people lifted the translucent mask on Golden Driller, he issued an order: “Let’s see the golden Elon (Musk). The huge golden Musk statue is also painted with the words Tesla Logo and “Tesla.”

After seeing “Golden Musk,” Mr. Kupplund thought, “Oh my God, we’re going to provoke every oil and gas producer in Oklahoma.” These companies are very strong and important and have contributed a lot to the city. “。 But Mr. Kupplund also said they didn’t mind when he called “a few oil and gas executives.” Ultimately, They realized that everyone was “trying to figure out the best way to keep us in the game” to lure Tesla to build a plant here, Mr. Kupplun said.

Johnson remembers looking at the statue and thinking, “Oh my God, what have we just done?” But he said the response was ultimately positive, and he was pleased with the results of the stunt, even though it came so quickly that it left Gitwit Creative with a bill of about $10,000.

“I still don’t know if anyone will repay us in the end, ” he said with a laugh. “

Soon, “Golden Musk” went viral online. Bynum posted a model of a Cyberruck truck that looked like a Tulsa police car on Twitter, and a weather forecaster in Tulsa posted a model of his own Cybertruck truck with the TV station Logo on Twitter. A local production company also made a prank on the Lincoln ad, in which Matthew McConaughey’s vehicle was changed to a Tesla Model 3.

“Everyone in the Tulsa community, both official and unofficial, has made an incredible concerted effort to prove that we can do something different and ultimately demonstrate the kind of innovation that really exists here,” Johnson said. “

Invited to SpaceX’s manned launch.

In late May, they made another breakthrough. At the invitation of NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, Mr. Kupplund and Mr. Stitt traveled to the Kennedy Space Center in late May for SpaceX’s astronaut launch. This includes dinner with alternate astronauts and, of course, Musk.

Mr. Kuppren said the discussions at the time focused on space, of course, informally. (They ate pizza, and Kupplund was sure that Musk ate Italian spicy sausages.) Mr. Kupplund also found an opportunity to tell Mr. Musk, “If Tesla doesn’t come to Oklahoma, he’s the one who’s fired.” “

At the end of the evening’s gathering, Musk asked Kuplan and Stitt about Oklahoma’s labor force. Musk gave Mr. Cuoco his e-mail address, and he asked about “Golden Musk.” Just over a month later, Musk flew to Tulsa to see “Big Fucking Field” for himself.

Tulsa used by Tesla?

There has been a common saying in the past two months that Tesla is just using Tulsa as leverage; it’s just “chasing” so that Tesla can extract as much value from Texas and local governments as it did at the site-selection event six years ago.

There is no denying that this has indeed accelerated some of the discussions in Texas. After weeks of closed-door discussions and marathon public comment sessions, officials in Travis County, Where Austin is located, finally debated whether to vote on the incentive package. One official wants another week to digest the deal. But others worry that any further delay will benefit Tulsa.

Officials turned to Rohan Patel, Tesla’s senior director of global public policy, who was attending the video conference and asked if Tesla could wait another week. Patel told Travis County officials that Tesla had just called the governor and mayor from another state and city the day before. Patel declined to give more information, but the innuendo was enough to scare Austin officials. They decided to vote and approve the deal.

Tesla, however, received only about $60 million in tax breaks from Travis County and the local Del Valle School District. The Texas governor’s office told the media that when Tesla chose Nevada six years ago, the state had zero incentives for Tesla.

At the same time, according to Mr. Kupplund, Oklahoma has drafted a proposal that is “equivalent” to Nevada’s incentive program. While Tesla has never tried to hammer out a deal with Oklahoma in a public meeting, as it did in Texas, Mr. Kupplund said the state and Tesla spent about two months discussing the details of the state’s proposal. He declined to discuss the details because of a nondisclosure agreement with Tesla.

“It’s a really great thing,” Kupplund said. We really threw everything on the table. State, municipal and local foundations are involved. We are also trying to come up with a package that is comparable to our competitors. We did it. “

Musk said back in March that incentives would play a role in Tesla’s decision on where to build the plant, but that local labor and quality of life would also play a role. In early August, after Tesla announced that it had chosen land outside Austin, he told the media that, frankly, the decision had been made because some of the company’s key employees wanted to move to Austin, not Tulsa.

Musk’s face was covered in a mask.

Tesla’s coming to Austin may have been a fait healing fact. After all, a month before Musk started the plant site with a tweet, he sent another tweet, simply saying, “Giga Texas?” “(The factory is located in California?) ), attached a poll. (The two options are Yes and No.) Of the 300,000 people, 80.2 per cent chose the former. )

But Tulsa’s meme promotion was good enough to get Musk to watch it in person.

Tesla may have abandoned Oklahoma, but Musk said future projects would “strongly consider” the state. After all, Mr. Kupplun points out, Oklahoma has a manufacturing base for automobiles and is already home to suppliers in the aerospace industry. It should be noted that Musk’s SpaceX also needs more space.

As for the Golden Driller statue, Musk’s face was eventually replaced by a surgical mask in an effort to inspire Tulsa people to fight off the new coronavirus. As for that site, it has been redesigned to resemble a Myspace-like page.