Musk deftly plays the part of a new kind of CEO, who makes jokes on Twitter, engages with fans, and even tries to redefine the idea of ”fun” in the car. Then everything starts to change. Increasingly, the risk Musk is taking is not with his own money, or even his own life, but with the money, career, reputation, and lives of others. And the boundaries that once held him back under pressure.
Tesla and Musk promised great things the car company had never done before, and when critics doubted that promises could be fulfilled, the company surpassed them. Musk promises an SUV that can travel more than 300 miles at an additional cost and accelerates faster than a Porsche, which seems impossible, but before long, the customer drives it. Tesla cars can do things that seem miraculous. They can be updated through the air in real time, even getting reminders to recharge when their electricity supply is threatened by forest fires. Tesla’s market capitalization grew and grew in ways that looked just as magical.
Musk entertained the idea of flying to Mars, and at the same time denied that it was his home planet
. He behaves unlike the CEOs of other car companies before him, and many fans who admire the line, giving his Twitter account the level of attention to rival President Donald Trump. When Elon Musk tweets vague hints about reveal upcoming products
or report potential planetary damage, news outlets immediately pick it up. Even Indonesia (TWTR)
CEO Jack Dorsey has sought Musk’s advice on how to improve service.
The CEO, Jim Hackett, doesn’t have a Twitter account.
Everything looks great until it’s not.
In the summer of 2018, a boys soccer team in Thailand was trapped in a cave that was quickly filled with water. When 12 boys and their coaches were waiting desperately to be saved, Musk came in to offer his services. His team can use many of the same capsule technologies developed by Musk rocket company, SpaceX, to build submarine capsules to help rescue, he said at the time.
But after one of the rescuers involved in the soul-saving effort criticized the ship, Musk criticized, without basis call
savior is “pedo,” which is often an abbreviation for “pedophile,” but what Musk maintains simply means “creepy.”
This was Musk’s first clear belief that he could do anything, that he knew better than traditional experts, bringing broad public reaction to him.
Savior suing Musk for defamation
. Musk won, and a civilian victory seemed to only ventured and seemed to mitigate the impact of criticism on him. While Musk was once the rebel leader of a fighting novice, he is now a wealthy tycoon who has destroyed the only emergency respondent in court after openly calling him, at least, “creepy.”
Even before the victory of the lawsuit, Musk Twitter account veered in an expensive direction. On August 7, 2018, Musk tweeted that he was take Tesla personally
at a price of $ 420 per share, and that funds for the deal were “guaranteed.” Such an announcement will send shock waves through the business world but it is made. That it is tweeted with such a relative imbalance is a hallmark of an unconventional executive who completes a transaction – or, perhaps, something that gets out of line.
It quickly emerged that the agreement far from over
, and prospective funds from Saudi Arabia never materialized. The US Securities and Exchange Commission entered, saying that “in fact and in fact, Musk hasn’t even discussed, let alone confirmed, the terms of the main agreement, including prices, with any potential funding source.”
Surely this will be a straw that breaks the back of Musk’s Twitter feed. It is one thing to target cave divers without Musk’s extensive resources. Totally different to take regulators from the American federal government. The shareholder filed a lawsuit stating that he was deliberately manipulating Tesla’s share price.
The SEC wants to bar Musk from acting as an officer or director of a public company, effectively demanding that he be expelled from Tesla completely.
But it does not stick. Musk spent the next few weeks mocking the SEC
from, of course, his Twitter account. After months of negotiations, the SEC agreed to a weak settlement, the only significant outcome being that Tesla would appoint a new chairman, and Musk’s tweets on several topics – mostly limited to the financial well-being and amount of the company’s production – would now be reviewed. by “an experienced securities lawyer.”
It doesn’t seem to matter to investors. Tesla’s share price soared, soon total market capitalization was greater than Ford’s former “Big Three”, General machine (GM)
and Fiat Chrysler car (FCAU)
Then the coronavirus pandemic began.
In an area that is one of the most difficult to hit coronavirus in the area
, Tesla workers returned to the company’s factory in Fremont, California. Despite an order from the local health authority that forbade the making and assembling of non-essential items, the Tesla factory began to stir vehicles again over the weekend.
Musk, as usual, took to Twitter, saying that if someone was arrested for violating orders, it should be him.
The local health department surrendered, agreeing to Musk’s demands that the factory reopen next week, even though production had restarted.
This is a situation that has been in the making for months. Musk has long questioned the true risk of coronavirus. In early January he was tweeted
that coronavirus is no more dangerous than other common viruses despite experts’ opinion that it is, in fact, far more deadly.
In March, when there were more than 15,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 nationally he was tweeting
that the US will have “almost zero” new cases by the end of April.
“The coronavirus panic is stupid,” he said write
Also in March, when Alameda County, California, where Tesla’s headquarters and manufacturing facilities were located, placed orders at home, Tesla delayed its closure for a week.
But by the end of April, the country was rapidly approaching 1 million cases. By the time Musk forced his factory to reopen, more than 80,000 Americans had died.
In a recent conference call with investors, Musk took the time to oppose restrictions on staying at home which, he said, impeded his business, equating them with “forcibly imprisoning people in their homes.”
In reopening the factory, Musk and Tesla said that steps were being taken to ensure the safety of workers. District health officials said they would monitor efforts to ensure that workers, as much as possible, were protected from infection.
Musk and Tesla are not known for making mistakes on the caution side even when it comes to safety. After all, this is a company that provides Autopilot semi-autonomous driving software for its cars accompanied by a warning that it is still in “beta test” mode. Musk and Tesla insisted that the software was, on balance, safer than human drivers without assistance when used as intended. Other car makers offer such technology
However, it said that they would not ask drivers to “beta test” the software on public roads.
The Tesla method is not waiting. While other car manufacturers waited until lockdown orders had been raised to start reopening their factories, Tesla pushed forward. Good or bad, that’s what Tesla and Musk do. But now, with whatever seems to be absent in his government or company that holds Musk’s impulses, their workers’ welfare and lives depend on that decision.
And for better or worse, the barriers created by society depend on the institutions that defend them to ensure their strength. But the barriers were not designed to withstand attacks from aggressive CEOs backed by huge personal wealth, workers faced with soaring unemployment rates, and regulatory frameworks that collapsed when faced with truly dangerous tests. With a hole the size of Elon Musk being smashed into the barrier, it was not clear what was holding Musk.