Tesla’s catfish effect
The author is the deputy editor of industry team of the JoongAng Ilbo.
There is something known as the “catfish effect.” In the old days in Norway, sardines were popular, and live ones sold at a higher price. But it was not easy to keep them alive as they would mostly end up dead while travelling back to a port.
A fisherman came up with the idea of keeping a catfish in the sardine tank. While you may think the sardines would be eaten, it actually increased the chances of them surviving to the port as they struggle to live. “Catfish effect” means demonstrating maximum potential at the moment of desperate danger.
Tesla sold more than 7,000 units in Korea, becoming the undisputable leader in Korea’s electric car market. The media, including network television, joined the criticism of Tesla. The cars are only sold online and 9 million won ($7,500) worth of options can be purchased after cars are released. So they argue that the method can allow purchasers to evade acquisition tax.
They also argue that Tesla lured customers by calling its driving assisting function as “autopilot.” While Tesla has described the function clearly, a German court ruled that the name should not to be used. These facts deserve criticism.
However, the report that the automatic emergency breaking (AEB) does not work when faced with a white Styrofoam object went too far. It is hard for the assisted driving function based on camera and radar to detect such obstacles. AEB is not even a function unique to Tesla. A source at a carmaker said that no car currently in the market can avoid collision in this kind of test.
There were many concerns when iPhone was first introduced in the Korean market and Ikea opened in Korea. In addition to valid criticisms, there were many reports favorable to domestic companies or containing distorted information. When first released, iPhones dominated the smartphone market in the early stages, but Apple now has a smaller market share than domestic models. Korean furniture market did not die away after Ikea landed in Korea.
It is okay to release catfish that makes other fish stronger. It is not too late to catch them when they turn out to be mudfish that make the water murky.