Rockets-to-electric-cars entrepreneur Elon Musk may be a multi-billionaire but that does not mean that everything is going to plan. For while his SpaceX rocket firm is going from strength to strength, Musk’s Tesla electric car business has yet to make a profit, even after his Falcon Heavy launch publicity stunt carrying his own cherry-red Telsa sports car.
Although Tesla’s stock market valuation was, at one time, more than that of car industry giant Ford, there are fears that if the firm’s Tesla 3 family car production rate is not increased soon, it could ultimately fold.
To remedy the situation an email from Old Musky has been released, which could be entitled “the thoughts of Chairman Musk”. It runs like this (paraphrased by this writer in parts):
- There should be a crackdown on the performance of contractors who can be at times “worse than a drunken sloth”. (Ed: Your correspondent had no idea he was a contractor).
- Large meetings are the blight of big companies. It is not rude to leave, it is rude to make someone stay and waste their time. Cancel large meetings or if you have to have them keep them “very short”. Walk out of a meeting or end a phone call if it is failing to serve a useful purpose (Ed: Well, unless Elon is on the other end or at the meeting).
- Excessive automation is a mistake. Humans are underrated. (Ed: Hurrah for the humans!)
- Avoid acronyms or nonsense words. We don’t want people to have to memorise a glossary just to function. (Ed: No more BFR bunkum…it is a Big F***ing Rocket.)
- Sidestep the “chain of command” to get the job done (Ed: presumably unless Elon himself is involved). Managers insisting on hierarchies will soon find themselves working elsewhere. (Ed: I’ll just get my coat.)
- There should be a continuous crackdown on expenses with the finance team combing through every expense worldwide, no matter how small. (Ed: From now on all Tesla travellers will have to fly “cheapskate class” on a plane with outside toilets. Even billionaire Elon might have to “rough it” in just a four-star hotel. Then again, as a “careful with the cash” Cancerian, Elon probably already does this. Just as he probably tells his kids that an ice cream van rings out its chimes because it has run out of ice cream.)
- Ignore the rules if following them is obviously ridiculous. (Ed: Like some of those above!)
Wise words there mate! Well sort of.
But one rule that Elon really should add to his list (from this writer’s personal experience) is: Don’t make jokes at the wrong moment as they can backfire…because some idiots will always believe what they are told.
Musk joked in an April Fool’s Day Tweet that: “Despite intense efforts to raise money, including a last-ditch mass sale of Easter Eggs, we are sad to report that Tesla has gone completely and totally bankrupt. So bankrupt, you can’t believe it.”
And thus, it just might come to pass.
Update on 3 March 2018: Elon Musk may be a talented and often charming polymath but his Cancerian crabby nature came out during a financial analysts’ call after the Telsa firm posted first quarterly losses of circa US$710 million. According to the BBC, he gave up answering the Wall Street analysts’ and journalists’ questions in favour of answering more technical questions from a technology investment website after grumpily retorting: “Boring bonehead questions are not cool. Next.” The apparent result of Elon’s rude reticence was that immediately after the conference call the Telsa stock price fell by 7 per cent.
Comment by David Todd: While politeness and good manners are not always the best identifiers of underlying goodness – in this writer’s experience some very polite and charming types have later proven themselves to be absolute cads (or “cadettes”) – nevertheless Elon needs to treat analysts and journalists just a little bit better than this. Elon has to remember the maxim of this writer: while the customer (or analyst or journalist) is not always right, it pays to treat them well.
Likewise, when the news is bad at times of adversity, Elon need to learn the British trick of keeping a stiff upper lip (the only bit on us Brits that ever gets stiff), while having a traditional cup of tea on hand…and while making a few gallows-humour jokes at the same time! 🙂
Then again, if you can keep you head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, then the chances are you don’t understand the seriousness of the situation.
Apologies to Rudyard Kipling
Post Script on 25 May 2018: Elon Musk has just announced that he is to start a website to rank journalists in respect to their quality and trustworthiness. Given that Elon might well be the final adjudicator, as such, your correspondent would just like you to know that he has always regarded Elon Musk as a bloody good bloke! 🙂