Elon Musk has been making headlines lately, largely focused around his Twitter comments. Elon has always been somewhat controversial on Twitter for various reasons, partially because no one seems to know when to take him seriously. At one point, he posted that Tesla was going bankrupt. Turns out it was an April Fools joke, but many people thought it hit a little too close to home. He often has a dark sense of humor, and sometimes doesn't seem to know where the line is as one of the most famous and successful CEOs in the world.
Recently Elon tweeted about taking Tesla private -
It's an interesting idea, and I think actually a really good idea, but this raised a few issues. No one seems to know for sure what exactly is happening, but the SEC is rumored to be investigating the legality of him saying this in this way, and there are rumors that the board of directors was caught off guard by this comment. No one seems surprised that Elon would say something like this without consulting the board.
After tweeting this, Elon tried to combat some of the criticism of him doing this by talking about how busy he is currently, and how he's been putting in so many hours at the gigafactory that he's basically delirious right now. He's not backing down on what he said, but seems to be trying to justify it anyway.
Personally I think this is further illustration of why the company should be private. Elon does not behave like a normal CEO, and does not like being told what to say or what not to say. In many ways, this is immature, however in my opinion he has earned that right within his companies.
I want to take a second here to acknowledge that there are other stories out there about employee abuse, sexism, potential drug use in the workplace, and several other pretty serious allegations. I personally believe that these are either not true, or exagerated, but this is only my opinion and I acknowlege that part of why I believe what I believe is because I want them to be false. When I am talking about what Telsa should or shouldn't do, I am doing so under the assumption that these allegations are false or exagerated, though I certainly could be wrong.
There are a lot of Elon haters out there. He absolutely exagerates the truth, and does so fairly frequently. Often this is about the timeline on something they are working on (they are never on time) but sometimes it's even about features, which either never end up existing, or are much further off than he implies. I wish that he wouldn't do that kind of thing, and that when he says that the company is going to do something by a certain date, that's what happens, however I don't think this is as big of a deal as some people make it out to be. Every tech company does this, it's just a matter of degree.
Think about all of the accomplishments that his companies have had, and how world changing they really are. PayPal changed how we pay for things on the internet. SpaceX has already dramatically changed how the space industry works, and has even more ambitious plans for the future, and last but certainly not least, Tesla has the whole car industry scrambling to catch up. Any one of these companies in their current state would be a monumental lifetime achievement, and I don't think they are anywhere close to being done.
Elon is a genius engineer, and I truly believe that he wants to change the world for good. He is for sure quirky, and sometimes selfish, outlandish, and has many flaws, but I think people should cut him some slack, and acknowledge some of his accomplishments. Being part of a public company comes with a lot of baggage. Everything is based on quarterly earnings, rather than innovation or even doing the right thing.
Even though I'm a stock owner of Tesla, I think that it would be able to move forward more effectively as a private company. I think Elon is a great visionary and incredible engineer, but sometimes I wish he would lay off of his Twitter for a while.