Tesla lawyer tells Madison startups to expect ‘resistance’ from the status quo

By Alex Moe, WisBusiness

IMG_2142_webA UW-Madison alum who’s now a lawyer at Tesla Motors warned Madison startup leaders they’ll face a lot of resistance as they try to disrupt their more established competitors.

The status quo, said Tesla associate general counsel Keith Witek, will want to “preserve current profit models.” But startups, he said Monday at the Badger Startup Summit in Madison, must continue to fight against those entrenched industries.

“There’s going to be a battle that has to be fought by hard-headed and tenacious entrepreneurs like we have in this room,” Witek said. “You are going to have to hit your head against the wall 26 times before you eventually break through and have some success.”

Witek, a former Motorola lawyer, said he the “disruption” trend is both positive and inevitable. And its pace is rapidly picking up, he said, pointing to common tech automation buzzwords such as big data, the Internet of Things and machine learning.

IBM, for example, says human knowledge doubles every 13 months. But with those technologies, the company expects that it will double every 12 hours in the not-too-distant future. Read more …