Elon Musk I slept in the office. He fired employees and executives at will. And he was sorry that his company was on the verge of bankruptcy. It’s it happened in 2018 and the company was Teslaa Musk-based electric car maker that was having trouble producing its mass-market vehicle, the Model 3.
“It was unbearable,” Musk told The New York Times at the time. “There were times when he didn’t leave the factory for three or four days.”
The billionaire’s experience with what he called Tesla’s “production hell” it has become a crisis action plan that Musk has created at Twitter, a company he bought for $44 billion last month. Over the years, Musk has developed a manual for running his companies — including Tesla and rocket maker SpaceX — over the years. periods of suffering, using shock therapy and alarmism, as well as pressuring himself and his workers to push their families and friends aside and dedicate all energy to his mission.
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At Twitter, Musk has used those same tactics to turn the social media company upside down in just a few weeks.
Since the end of last month, the 51-year-old fired 50 percent of Twitter’s 7,500 employees and has accepted the resignation of 1,200 or more. On Monday, another round of layoffs began, according to two people. Musk tweeted that he was sleeping at the Twitter offices, located in San Francisco. And he’s used his mission-focused language to tell workers at Twitter that the company could go bankrupt if he can’t turn it around. Those who want to work on “Twitter 2.0″ must commit to your “hardcore” vision in writing, stated.
Elon Musk’s pressure strategies
David Deak, who worked at Tesla from 2014 to 2016 as a senior engineering manager and oversaw a battery materials supply chain, commented that Musk “certainly thrives in existential circumstances,” adding that “He almost created them himself to put pressure on everyone.”
The similarities between Musk’s Twitter strategy and those of Tesla and SpaceX are clear, added Tammy Madsen, a professor of management at Santa Clara University. However, it is not clear if he will find the means to motivate employees in a social networking company as he did with workers whose missions were steer people away from gas-powered cars and send humans into space.
“At Tesla and SpaceX, the strategy has always been high risk, high rewardMadsen mentioned. “Twitter has been high risk, but the question would be: ‘What’s the reward?'”
Musk did not respond to a request for comment.
Dismissal about dismissal and bankruptcy in Elon Musk’s companies
On Sunday, Musk held a meeting with employees of Twitter’s sales department, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. Then, on Monday, he fired employees from that department, they said. These people added that, late last week, Musk fired Robin Wheeler, a senior executive in that department. Bloomberg had earlier reported that more layoffs could follow.
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Twitter is also contacting some of the engineers who resigned to ask them to come back, according to these same people. In a meeting with employees on Monday, Musk mentioned that the company was not planning to lay off anyone else, according to a person who attended.
In the companies Musk runs, it has been frequently presented the pattern of declaring that signatures are on the verge of potential bankruptcy. In December 2008, during the depths of the financial crisis, Musk closed in Tesla a $50 million investment round from Daimler “late on the last possible day or else payroll would have rebounded two days later,” he said.
Musk said the same about SpaceX, once noting that both SpaceX and Tesla had a more than 90 percent chance of “to have been worth zero dollars” in its early days.
By 2017, Musk stated that SpaceX it had to carry out rocket launches once every two weeks or face bankruptcy, recalled a former SpaceX executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. In a company that was driven by the goal of making life “multi-planetary,” the threat of bankruptcy was a motivating factoraccording to the former executive.
Since then, SpaceX has successfully sent many rockets into space and has returned them to Earth, where they landed safely. Musk reverted to his favorite tactic, however, when he tweeted last year that if a “severe global recession” depleted capital, bankruptcy was not “impossible” for the rocket maker.
“Only the paranoid survive,” he wrote, quoting Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel.
A “typical Elon” strategy
A atmosphere of crisis and self-imposed austerity gives Musk the pretext to make drastic changes and firing top management or cutting large fractions of staff, two former Tesla executives said. It also prepares those who stay behind to work under extreme conditions to fulfill Musk’s wishes, the former executives said.
The strategy at Twitter, where Musk has fired thousands of employees, “is typical of Elon,” Deak said.
Some of Musk’s former employees question whether his managerial tactics will work over time at Twitter. Tesla and SpaceX were in the early stages of growth when his boss unleashed that aggressive language and told everyone to step on the gas. Nevertheless, Twitter is a more mature company which has had inconsistent performance for years.
Musk’s management techniques are “good strategies for entrepreneurship and its subsequent growth, but not to build a stable companyDeak opined.
Musk’s total commitment to a company is often inspiring, but also it can become toxic and engender a culture of fear and blameaccording to three former Tesla and SpaceX managers.
Elon Musk, between the tweeters and the great developments
Furthermore, for Musk, rebuilding Twitter is just a part-time job. He remains the chief executive of Tesla, which he said in court he continues to run, and of SpaceX, where he focuses on designing rockets rather than running, he said.
Musk is also the leader of Boring Co., an excavation startup, and Neuralink, a brain-computer interface technology firm. Musk has mentioned that his long-term goal is to save humanity developing technology to travel into space or, in his words, “make life multiplanetary to ensure the long-term survival of consciousness.”
Multifunctionality has become the focus of a lawsuit filed by Tesla shareholders who opposed the pay package that made Musk the world’s richest person. Last week in Delaware, during questioning by a lawyer representing shareholders who accuse Musk of failing to do his job at Tesla, the billionaire responded that his intense intervention on Twitter was temporary.
“There was an initial burst of activity to reorganize the company,” he said Wednesday, adding: “I hope to reduce my time on Twitter.”