'I've Got to Launch the F***Ing Rocket': New Tesla Book Dishes Dirt on Elon Musk's 'Short Fuse'
© AP Photo / Hannibal HanschkeSpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk arrives on the red carpet for the Axel Springer media award, in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, 1 December 2020.
© AP Photo / Hannibal Hanschke
Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century is a new book by Wall Street Journal reporter Tim Higgins that promises a “behind-the-scenes” glimpse into the myth around the “relentlessly driven” man who sought to revolutionise the car industry.
Penned by The Wall Street Journal's Tim Higgins, "Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk, and the Bet of the Century" offers to shed light on how the “short-fused SpaceX and Tesla CEO was prepared to swipe at any threat to Tesla's growth. Anyone, whether hourly workers or top executives — could come into the direct firing range of his explosive temper meltdowns in the process".
Musk reportedly once curtly reprimanded staff, who complained of being overworked in 2016 on the factory floor at the Tesla factory in Fremont, California. They had “revolted” during the development of Tesla's Model X SUV over being required for months to work weekends at short notice.
© REUTERS / STEPHEN LAMMotorists drive past Tesla's primary vehicle factory after CEO Elon Musk announced he was defying local officials' restrictions against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) by reopening the plant in Fremont, California, U.S. May 12, 2020
Motorists drive past Tesla's primary vehicle factory after CEO Elon Musk announced he was defying local officials' restrictions against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) by reopening the plant in Fremont, California, U.S. May 12, 2020
© REUTERS / STEPHEN LAM
As the factory boss suggested the team needed to rest, Musk could not reign in his ire, exclaiming:
“I can be on my own private island with naked supermodels, drinking Mai Tai's - but I'm not… I'm in the factory working my a** off, so I don't want to hear about how hard everyone else in the factory works.”
During the production of the company's luxury Roadster car in 2007, Musk’s Detroit team got a taste of his temper. At the time he shouted to Tesla co-founder Martin Eberhard:
“Fire all of them. Every one of them.”
Not that Eberhard followed through with the hasty order, writes the author.
In another heated incident dating to Tesla's public offering around 2010, described in the tome, Elon Musk whose other projects include his SpaceX rocketship company stormed out of a meeting yelling, “I don't have time for this… I've got to launch the f------ rocket!"
Tim Higgins extols Elon Musk's “vision, enthusiasm, and determination” to ensure that Tesla reach a market valuation of $31 billion and revolutionise the car industry, yet adds in the book that his “ego, paranoia, and pettiness threaten to undo it all”.
According to the book, Elon Musk, was fuelled by a “relentless drive” in his quest to produce an “affordable and reliable electric car”.
He is described as often bunking down on the factory floor and appearing in front of executives and reporters wearing T-shirts he hadn't changed in days.
However, next to none of his staff were spared the occasional meltdowns. People could be fired at the drop of a hat – as was the case with Musk’s personal assistant of 12 years. While the CEO has denied this, the man had reportedly sought a raise for his efforts.
© REUTERS / ALY SONGTesla Inc CEO Elon Musk walks next to a screen showing an image of Tesla Model 3 car during an opening ceremony for Tesla China-made Model Y program in Shanghai, China January 7, 2020.
Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk walks next to a screen showing an image of Tesla Model 3 car during an opening ceremony for Tesla China-made Model Y program in Shanghai, China January 7, 2020.
© REUTERS / ALY SONG
The author of the book narrating the “rise” of Tesla claims Musk once emailed his staff, urging them to be “ultra hardcore”, underscoring that “revolutionising industries is not for the faint of heart.”
Elon Musk, who is claimed not to have contributed to the creation of the book, was “given numerous opportunities to comment on the stories, facts, and characterisations presented in these pages”, according to Higgins.
Higgins managed to make his book both false *and* boring 🤣🤣— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 30, 2021
In response, Musk, who enjoys interacting with fans on the social media site Twitter, using it to post comments on everything ranging from cryptocurrency to SpaceX, refuted many of the claims in the book. He tweeted that Higgins “managed to make his book both false *and* boring”.