Elon Musk has pledged to help–presumably in the form of a fat donation–to create a Nikola Tesla museum after Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman penned a love letter in the form of a comic for Musk’s Tesla Model S.
In his fawning review, Inman calls the electric car an “intergalactic space boat of light and wonder,” and riffs on the myriad ways in which it bests vehicles of the combustible engine variant. “It handles like a Ferrari that got porked by a lucky dragon,” he adds. Inman’s praise goes on for pages, ending with “I love my Model S”–as if you couldn’t already tell.
If the cartoon reads like it has an ulterior motive, that’s because it does. In Part 2, Inman reveals his reason for “reviewing” the Model S. He asks the car’s inventor a favor. Inman needs $8 million dollars to create a Nikola Tesla museum, a passion project of Inman’s. The cartoonist’s crowdfunding campaign raised enough to purchase the land on which the inventor’s original laboratory sits, but not enough to restore the lab and create the exhibits. Boldly, he requests that Musk pony up the full cost of the project.
Tesla the scientist and Tesla the car don’t have that much in common, besides the name, which Musk chose because the AC induction motor it uses in its cars was invented by Nikola Tesla more than a century ago. But, Musk is rich and has previously shown interest in the museum, tweeting a link out to Inman’s Indiegogo campaign and donating $2,500.
Stroking Musk’s ego with the cartoon worked, although he did not elaborate on exactly how much he was willing to pitch in.
And now we all know the way to Musk’s heart (and wallet): elaborate, viral, flattery.