Elon Musk’s explosive temper toward Tesla staff and chaotic meltdowns are revealed in a new book describing how he once told his overworked staff they have no right to complain because, ‘I can be on my own private island with naked supermodels, drinking Mai Tai’s – but I’m not.’
Musk even shouted at an executive who had the temerity to tell him that exhausted employees should be allowed some time off in 2016.
Musk said: ‘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.’
The incident happened during the development of Tesla’s Model X SUV but was one of many blow ups from Musk, whose temper was explosive as he pursued his dream of building a commercially viable electric car.
According to the book, Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century by Wall Street Journal reporter Tim Higgins, Musk went ballistic at a lobbyist for car dealerships in Texas who argued against Tesla selling direct to consumers, telling his staff: ‘Get that guy the f*** out of here’.
A new book reveals Elon Musk’s explosive temper during the development of Tesla’s Model X SUV in 2016
The Tesla plant in Fremont, California is seen above. Musk shouted at an executive who was bold enough to tell him that exhausted employees should be allowed some time off
Musk screamed at one group of engineers that their work was ‘complete s***’, adding that each person had to tell him ‘who the f*** you are and what the f*** you’re doing to fix my goddamn (production) line’.
To another unfortunate employee, Musk said: ‘I thought I fired you yesterday.’
Power Play by Wall Street Journal tech and auto reporter Higgins also sheds new light on how deeply Musk fell for Amber Heard.
The book says that during 2016 he was ‘trying to see her as much as possible,’ even if it meant leaving himself shattered by flying to Australia for a few hours in her company then returning to the US.
Reports of Musk’s temper have only added to the myth around a man whose stewardship Tesla has reached a market valuation of $31 billion and revolutionized the car industry.
Musk, whose other projects include his SpaceX rocketship company, was motivated by a ‘relentless drive’ to produce an affordable and reliable electric car, Higgins writes.
He would sleep on the factory floor and gave interviews in T-shirts he hadn’t changed in three days.
Higgins describes Musk’s way of operating as the ‘ultimate game of chicken’: sell investors and consumers on his vision just enough that he could stay ahead of creditors, competitors and regulators.
Higgins writes: ‘And while Musk’s vision, enthusiasm, and determination carry Tesla; his ego, paranoia, and pettiness threaten to undo it all’.
Few were spared from Musk’s meltdowns and he would fire people on a whim, including his personal assistant of 12 years who he reportedly sacked for asking for a raise. Musk has denied this.
Musk once emailed his staff that he expected them to be ‘ultra hardcore’ and said that ‘revolutionizing industries is not for the faint of heart.’
In 2007 Musk was so angry at his team in Detroit during the production of the company’s luxury Roadster car he told Tesla co-founder Martin Eberhard: ‘Fire all of them. Every one of them.’
The author writes that Musk would sleep on the factory floor and gave interviews in T-shirts he hadn’t changed in three days
Eberhard ignored Musk but soon the axe came for him too – in brutal fashion.
Musk offered Eberhard six months of salary worth $100,000 and an option to buy 250,000 shares if he accepted the deal that day.
If he didn’t then he would get nothing. Eberhard signed.
Another early victim of Musk’s temper was Jessica Switzer, who ran marketing for Tesla and made the mistake of hiring a PR firm to drum up publicity for the launch of the Roadster and was dismissed because Musk thought it was a waste of money.
When a New York Times story referred to Eberhard as chairman and not his new, diminished role of President – and didn’t mention Musk at all – Musk emailed the PR firm.
In 2007 Musk was so angry at his team in Detroit during the production of the company’s luxury Roadster car he told Tesla co-founder Martin Eberhard (pictured), ‘Fire all of them. Every one of them’. Eberhard ignored…