Unless you've been asleep for the past two months the chances are that you already know that Tesla Motors is about to launch it's IPO. You're probably also aware that predicted investment from the IPO is now at $178 million, up $78 million from original estimates.  But just how is Elon Musk, Tesla's larger-than-life CEO and reputed inspiration behind Tony Stark, the mutli-billionaire playboy in the Iron Man films, planning on getting folks to invest?

By comparing Tesla to two of Silicon Valley's biggest tech companies.

In a video filmed in preparation for Tesla's IPO, Musk takes great care to distance Tesla from traditional car companies, keen that it is not seen as just another car company with all of the inherent meandering, boardroom-driven ethos that accompanies a more traditional multi-national automaker.

"We're closer to an Apple or a Google than we are to a GM or a Ford..."There will not be anybody that will bring technology to market faster than Tesla"

Comparing an auto company to either Apple or Google certainly gets attention from the media, but what similarities and differences do they share?

Tesla certainly shares some similarities with how Apple and Google started off. Tesla's tenacity and determination to succeed in the face of much bigger competition does mirror some Google and Apple's past.

In some ways, Tesla's early days mimic the early days of Apple.  But unlike Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak's early days, Tesla isn't selling computer kits out of a garage. It's selling six figure sports cars out of lavish showrooms world-wide.

Perhaps speed of growth then? Apple's meteoric rise to success took a fairly short time, but Google took just two years to go from a research project to an IPO.  Tesla has taken seven. And google's IPO was measured in billions, not millions.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

Perhaps products? Tesla certainly know how to make a product desirable. Like Apple, Tesla's team of engineers and designers appreciate the need for aesthetic pleasure as well as engineering elegance.  Fanatical, highly skilled development teams with the same enthusiasm and drive as Google's employees, help complete the similarity between Tesla and Google's engineering departments.

But popularity and fast growth doesn't always end in rainbows and puppy dogs. Both Google and Apple have had dark days in the past and Tesla needs to prepare for them.

Between the late 1980s and mid 1990s Apple nearly ceased to exist. Years of poor sales, mediocre products and a loss of awareness of the consumer's needs brought the company to its knees. Luckily for Apple, salvation came in 1998 with the launch of the iMac.

In short, Tesla will have dark days.

The challenge for Tesla is to continue to produce great products, year after year, constantly evolving, improving and changing in order to keep the money flowing in and the balance sheets, which currently have yet to show a profit, staying in the black.

[Cnet.com]