Elon Musk’s tweets about the Thai Cave rescue, his comments during a Tesla earnings call, and sleeping at the Tesla factory have all raised questions from investors and the public. Amidst Tesla’s Model 3 production, Musk continues to be an unconventional CEO. Business Insider’s senior Correspondent, Matthew DeBord, breaks down what has been going on with Elon Musk. Following is a trascript of the video.
Elon Musk: These questions are so dry they’re killing me.
Matt DeBord: He’s gotten himself into all kinds of spats on Twitter. He threw a hissy fit on an earnings call. Elon, you know, got mad at some analysts who were asking questions, called them boring, bone-headed. He had the mini-sub where he accused one of the divers, I gather, of being a pedophile. He recanted that later and apologised on Twitter. People started asking serious questions about, you know, does Elon Musk actually know what he’s doing? Is he under a lot of pressure?
If you look around the landscape of CEOs, it’s actually hard to find somebody who’s this unpredictable, this volatile. He’s definitely feeling a lot of pressure. He started sleeping in the factory again, which he’d done before. He had slept in the actual factory before, but he started sleeping in the factory again. And so, you’re looking at this as, well, the guy’s probably not sleeping very much. He’s probably not eating very much. He seems to be, you know, addicted to Twitter. The pressure cooker was just getting amazingly intense there. What this has actually done on the investment side and as far as the people who are looking at Tesla as a business is concerned, is they’re saying “Why is he wasting all of his time on these fights, these side projects?”
I think some people are perhaps being exposed to Elon’s unusual personality for the first time. I’ve watched the Elon Musk show for years, and so when he starts doing these crazy things, I’m not necessarily as knocked back by it as some people are. But, having said that, there is a pileup of oddness. As far as his behaviour now versus his behaviour in the past, I actually think, when I first met him, he was a much geekier and much stranger person. I think, by his own accounts, not really that good at interacting with the media or interacting with the investment community or anything like that, and he’s gotten better at it. But he obviously sees Twitter as a way for him to communicate with his peeps and to be able to get his message across.
What we should credit him with, it’s not like Twitter is a universal problem for him. He often gets on Twitter and he’ll engage with people in meaningful ways. One of his drawbacks, I think, is that he really does like to have the sense that he’s, this is his vision. His vision is being executed the way he envisions his vision. So what Elon is really all about is finding solutions, you know. That’s why he wanted to get on the cave crisis with the mini-sub, because he thought “Oh, problem, solution.” Traffic in L.A., dig tunnels under L.A., Boring Company, solution to the problem. You know, he thinks of himself as an, not as a businessman, but as an engineer and a designer who’s out there looking for problems that he’s going to solve.
You kind of have to accept with Elon that all the stuff he says about wanting to save the planet is for real. If you don’t accept that basic premise, that what he wants to do with these companies is accelerate humanity’s exit from the fossil fuel era, then it’s going to be hard for you to understand some of the stuff that he does. He’s in it for Elon, but he’s also in it for the species, and maybe he’s way more in it for the species. And he’s a bigger celebrity now than he ever was in the past though so there’s a great deal more focus on how the company is being operated.
I don’t think Elon’s strange behaviour is going to wreck the company. If it were just really Enron-ing, you know, and like going, well, off a cliff, then we could look at this and go well, you know this is serious stuff and blame Elon. But their stock hasn’t gone off a cliff, and so far they’re doing just fine. He spends some bread on his threads to be sure, right, you know? It’s like Elon Musk jacket watch every time there’s a product launch.
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