Published on September 23rd, 2018 | by Zachary Shahan0
Yes, Tesla Competitors Want Elon Out
September 23rd, 2018 by Zachary Shahan
As many an astute reader of Pravduh has noticed, the explicit or implicit smear campaign against Tesla has shifted over the years. From the Model S to the Model 3’s arrival, much of the attack was focused on Tesla’s ability to produce cars and Tesla’s financing. While that fun nonsense hasn’t gone away, this year has seen a strong rise in attacks on Elon.
Even before all of the summer Twitter drama, there were repeated calls for Elon’s head — generally not from actual Tesla supporters and shareholders, mind you, but from Tesla critics, bears, and shorts. (That might be a good hint of what’s actually best for Tesla.) There were attacks on Elon’s ability to ramp up production, his communication style, his targets, his aggressive push for employees to deliver on “the impossible,” his love life, his diverse career focus, etc. In fact, some of his most infamous tweets were responses (not necessarily constructive ones) to unwarranted, nasty attacks on him.
As some critics of Tesla have discovered that you can really push Elon’s buttons with personal attacks, and can dramatically affect Tesla’s stock price “if lucky,” there have been all manner of nasty darts thrown at Mr. Elon.
But it’s not just about the attempted baiting on Twitter. The talking point that has come alongside all of that has been that Elon should step down or should have someone else do his job. Again, this claim generally comes not from actual Tesla supporters and shareholders, but from Tesla critics, bears, and shorts. Nonetheless, they seem to be convincing some supporters with their repeated repetitive repetition — drill it, drill it, drill it works. We’ve seen the narrative picked up by clueless New York Times reporters, Bloomberg smear artists, and Yahoos.
There are a few points I’d like to make for anyone who is perhaps on the line on this topic, anyone who is potentially about to be swayed to the critics’ talking points or was recently swayed.
First of all, note that Elon Musk has taken the company from zero mass produced cars to an annual production rate of 300,000–400,000 in 6 years. Yes, 6 freakin’ years!
Also note that, no, it’s not all about letting go and delegating. In fact, Elon has had trouble getting the desired results even from top-notch people who have taken over important tasks — pushing Elon to come back in, take over, and get the shit done.
Third, take recognition of what people who actually work with Elon have said. Many of them, brilliant and hard-working people themselves, have noted that they’ve never met someone else as good at jumping into a problem and finding an effective, efficient solution.
One of Elon’s supposed “weak” points is that he sometimes jumps to conclusions and goes out on a limb trying to do something others wouldn’t risk trying. This sometimes leads to failure and has caused problems with the Model X, the Model 3, and Gigafactory 1. However, it is that same tendency that has led to numerous disruptive breakthroughs and rapid growth & development at Tesla, SpaceX, and other Elon ventures. As he has noted himself, taking this approach is likely to lead to faster, better progress despite the higher frequency of problems — it is an obsessive process of trying, testing, trying, testing, and trying some more. Many people don’t have the risk appetite for that approach, and that is specifically why Elon is special.
This has been forgotten or under-appreciated recently, but something we covered a while back is that Elon integrates deep, extensive knowledge of various technical industries and business research when searching for solutions and innovations. The mixture of engineering and business knowledge Elon has and increases every day is particularly useful and unique. This is what enables much of the above.
Naturally, Musk also has a skill inspiring and entertaining people. His combination of candid, down-to-earth humanity with sincere, futuristic vision has been a large key in the Tesla, EV, and overall cleantech revolution we are in the midst of today. Chopping down the socio-cultural and rhetorical leader of a movement is a top way to slow or stop the movement. The cleantech revolution won’t be stopped, but diminishing Elon’s role in it would likely have a dampening effect.
In the end, make no mistake, people who don’t want to see Tesla succeed would like Elon Musk to step down, or at least do less. They’d like to see him go work on Mars expeditions or Boring projects full time. They feign concern for Tesla, but they are actually trolling the movement (the term for such people is actually “concern trolls”). Don’t buy into the argument that Elon needs to pass the most important Tesla tasks on to someone else. When Michael Jordan was a mature player, some critics liked to say he should be passing more responsibility and high-pressure shots onto others. It’s the same with critics of Messi who wouldn’t like to see Barcelona succeed, and I imagine critics of LeBron James who are opposed to his team succeeding. The last person to believe is often the “thoughtful critic” from the opposing team, and it is often not helpful to be a fear fan who has lost faith in your team’s best player just because he stumbled once or twice.