When Tesla CEO Elon Musk got on stage, he had everything ready. He had a cheering crowd, an eye-catching new vehicle to show off and a demo to give. Two and a half minutes later, his plans were shattered.
It all began with the with the Cybertruck. Unlike Musk's sedans, race cars and SUVs, the Cybertruck is aimed at -- well, you get it.
To appeal to the truck-buying people who see ads like "Built Ford Tough," Musk & Co. concocted a series of dramatic experiments to show how much tougher the Cybertruck is.
First, one of Musk's lieutenants swung a sledgehammer at a normal truck door, leaving a dent. Next, he slammed it into the Cybertruck's steel door, and the door was unblemished.
Then it was time to show off the "armor glass," which Musk claimed was a "transparent metal-glass." His team began by dropping a huge ball bearing on a normal pane of glass from several feet in the air. It immediately cracked. Next, the armor glass. The first few tries, it came away looking fine. The ball fell with a different-sounding thud, and as it was dropped several more times, anyone wincing and waiting for the glass to break had likely calmed down and was thinking "Musk planned this demo; it'll go how he wants it to."
That, dear reader, is where everyone was wrong.
After the stage-demo science experiments, a proud Musk asked his lieutenant to throw the ball bearing at the Cybertruck's driver side window. A moment later, a web of cracks appeared where the ball bearing hit the glass. Musk, seemingly horrified, let out an expletive. For some reason, the lieutenant repeated his assault on the back passenger's window, and broke it too.
Musk attempted to save face, saying, "it didn't go through."
For the rest of the presentation, the broken windows just sat there, behind Musk: the new symbol of the Cybertruck. And Tesla will go down in history for one of the biggest fails in stage demo history.