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Elon Risking Becoming Liability To Tesla

Skotty

2014 S P85 | 2020 3 P19"
Jun 27, 2013
2,438
1,751
Kansas City, MO
I've historically been a huge fan and occasional defender of Elon Musk, but I've been harsh on him lately because I believe his statements of late risk making him a liability to Tesla. Elon has done or said dumb things before that have gotten him into trouble -- his seemingly unfounded "pedo" comment, his tweets that got him into trouble with the SEC, etc. -- but his recent statements and associations regarding COVID-19 and seemingly cozing up to Trump risk lasting damage to the company. He needs to reassess and correct sooner rather than later.

His problems are two-fold, and I'll adress them separately. My hope in posting this is that it will make sense to Musk or some folks close to Musk who can help him revise his positioning on these matters.

1) Reckless tweets regarding COVID-19.

COVID-19 is a sensitive topic, and any discussion of treatments, economic impacts, control measures, and relief packages requires diligent review, deep context, and detailed discussion. This can't be done in a tweet. If Elon wants to make arguments for keeping his businesses open or how COVID-19 should be handled in America, Twitter is not the place to do it. The Hyperloop was kind of a wacky idea that he wasn't going to pursue himself, but Elon had an entire engineering team draft a huge technical paper on it. Any discussions on handling COVID-19 need similar expertise and backing, especially when your position runs against the direction of a large segment of society. I'm not saying Elon is wrong, I'm saying he is making himself look like an idiot by doing it via tweet.

He has also recently sided with not doing further COVID-19 relief. He is positioning himself to be another billionaire against helping regular Americans. Not a good look. I worked for a company that had to furlough employees, including myself. These are not just entry-level teenagers; they are middle class Americans in the heartland of America working professional jobs and they are still out of work. Arguably at least partially due to government mismanagement, COVID-19 hasn't been brought under control, and furlough is still in effect. I took a proactive approach and began looking for a new job immediately despite being a 10+ year professional at my company who liked his job, and I just barely got into a new job before the end of the initial CARESAct unemployment period. Many are not that lucky, and are still waiting to go back to work, or looking for work, and are out of a job through no fault of their own. What goes into any relief package is debatable; the CARESAct was arguably flawed and too simplistic. But again, being a billionaire bluntly being against further relief via tweet is a terrible idea.

2) Seemingly cozying up to Trump.

Whether Musk loves or hates Trump, as the head of an important business, it is a terrible idea to be associated with Trump in any way. With the aggravated divisions in this country, partially due to Trumps intent to divide, any association with Trump, for or against, unnecessarily politicizes the company and alienates half of the customer base. Even worse, Musk seems to be chumming up to Trump, likely due to their similar disdain for the mere existence of COVID-19. The problem with Trump isn't policy related. It's ethics related. Donald Trump routinely violates every business ethics rule in existence: conflicts of interest, harassment, retaliation, misuse of resources. As a business leader, chumming up to the poster child for business ethics violations damages your reputation and the reputation of the company.

These issues are more serious than past blunders and risk making Elon Musk a liability to the company. This needs to change.

Remediation:

Happily, the solution is decidedly simple. Don't tweet about this stuff on Twitter. Don't respond to Trump. Doesn't matter if Trump is saying great or terrible things about you or the company; simply do not respond. Do not politicize the company or make any association that could bring your business ethics into question. And if you want to make arguments about COVID-19 or other matters that are not mainstream, make it a lengthy paper, blog post, or some other medium that can include deep context and backing. Certainly don't do it on Twitter, unless it's just a link to where the real discussion is.

I hope Elon can take this to heart and edit his behavior a bit. Tesla is an important company with an important mission, and Tesla has done a phenomenal job not just succeeding in the mission, but doing it in a way that is exciting and inclusive. It has often represented the best of us and what we can achieve together. Elon has been a vital part of it all. COVID-19 has been an unusual challenge in unusual times. Stay strong, stay professional, and don't let any of it unravel due to frustrations with these challenges. Don't damage any reputations; there is nothing harder to fix. Keep us united and looking to the future with hope and excitement.
 

Dan Detweiler

Active Member
Apr 21, 2016
3,007
12,474
Canton, Georgia
I've historically been a huge fan and occasional defender of Elon Musk, but I've been harsh on him lately because I believe his statements of late risk making him a liability to Tesla. Elon has done or said dumb things before that have gotten him into trouble -- his seemingly unfounded "pedo" comment, his tweets that got him into trouble with the SEC, etc. -- but his recent statements and associations regarding COVID-19 and seemingly cozing up to Trump risk lasting damage to the company. He needs to reassess and correct sooner rather than later.

His problems are two-fold, and I'll adress them separately. My hope in posting this is that it will make sense to Musk or some folks close to Musk who can help him revise his positioning on these matters.

1) Reckless tweets regarding COVID-19.

COVID-19 is a sensitive topic, and any discussion of treatments, economic impacts, control measures, and relief packages requires diligent review, deep context, and detailed discussion. This can't be done in a tweet. If Elon wants to make arguments for keeping his businesses open or how COVID-19 should be handled in America, Twitter is not the place to do it. The Hyperloop was kind of a wacky idea that he wasn't going to pursue himself, but Elon had an entire engineering team draft a huge technical paper on it. Any discussions on handling COVID-19 need similar expertise and backing, especially when your position runs against the direction of a large segment of society. I'm not saying Elon is wrong, I'm saying he is making himself look like an idiot by doing it via tweet.

He has also recently sided with not doing further COVID-19 relief. He is positioning himself to be another billionaire against helping regular Americans. Not a good look. I worked for a company that had to furlough employees, including myself. These are not just entry-level teenagers; they are middle class Americans in the heartland of America working professional jobs and they are still out of work. Arguably at least partially due to government mismanagement, COVID-19 hasn't been brought under control, and furlough is still in effect. I took a proactive approach and began looking for a new job immediately despite being a 10+ year professional at my company who liked his job, and I just barely got into a new job before the end of the initial CARESAct unemployment period. Many are not that lucky, and are still waiting to go back to work, or looking for work, and are out of a job through no fault of their own. What goes into any relief package is debatable; the CARESAct was arguably flawed and too simplistic. But again, being a billionaire bluntly being against further relief via tweet is a terrible idea.

2) Seemingly cozying up to Trump.

Whether Musk loves or hates Trump, as the head of an important business, it is a terrible idea to be associated with Trump in any way. With the aggravated divisions in this country, partially due to Trumps intent to divide, any association with Trump, for or against, unnecessarily politicizes the company and alienates half of the customer base. Even worse, Musk seems to be chumming up to Trump, likely due to their similar disdain for the mere existence of COVID-19. The problem with Trump isn't policy related. It's ethics related. Donald Trump routinely violates every business ethics rule in existence: conflicts of interest, harassment, retaliation, misuse of resources. As a business leader, chumming up to the poster child for business ethics violations damages your reputation and the reputation of the company.

These issues are more serious than past blunders and risk making Elon Musk a liability to the company. This needs to change.

Remediation:

Happily, the solution is decidedly simple. Don't tweet about this stuff on Twitter. Don't respond to Trump. Doesn't matter if Trump is saying great or terrible things about you or the company; simply do not respond. Do not politicize the company or make any association that could bring your business ethics into question. And if you want to make arguments about COVID-19 or other matters that are not mainstream, make it a lengthy paper, blog post, or some other medium that can include deep context and backing. Certainly don't do it on Twitter, unless it's just a link to where the real discussion is.

I hope Elon can take this to heart and edit his behavior a bit. Tesla is an important company with an important mission, and Tesla has done a phenomenal job not just succeeding in the mission, but doing it in a way that is exciting and inclusive. It has often represented the best of us and what we can achieve together. Elon has been a vital part of it all. COVID-19 has been an unusual challenge in unusual times. Stay strong, stay professional, and don't let any of it unravel due to frustrations with these challenges. Don't damage any reputations; there is nothing harder to fix. Keep us united and looking to the future with hope and excitement.
Uhhh...no

He has a right to state his opinion the same as you or I. His Covid comments have been well thought out and reasonable, although you may not agree with them. As to cozying up to the right, don't confuse civility with support. He does business in the United States. It's good corporate practice to maintain a civil relationship with its President. Elon's political standing is his own business and he has been clear enough that it is more left of center. Just because neighbors say hi to each other doesn't make them bussom buddies.

Dan
 

fmm

Member
May 19, 2015
90
102
Philadelphia, PA
A liability? No. But, you take the bad with the good.

how bold would Tesla be without Musk? would anyone else have pushed to deliver what he has in the short amount of time its taken? would anyone else continue to push the company forward as fast as him? Where would the stock be trading without him?

so, no - he's nothing close to a liability. he's certainly not perfect. nor are you or anyone else.
 

VT_EE

Active Member
Apr 22, 2017
2,025
2,419
Maryland
Definitely not a liability, especially now that people are used to some of his quirks. There are way more positives than negatives to having him CEO.
 

AMPd

Active Member
Nov 27, 2012
4,340
3,475
Northern California
I was going to agree with you until I realized the only reason you now think he’s a liability is because he’s not 100% on your side politically.
Nothing to do with the actual company, basically you were cool with elon when he was making promises that Tesla couldn’t deliver on or outright false claims. That was ok in your opinion, it’s the cozying up to trump that makes him a liability... Pathetic
 

SilverString

Member
Mar 29, 2020
256
142
Bee Cave, Texas
Typical hive mind mentality here. Ignore the reality - the economic success, innovation and popularity, call for censorship and declare him a liability because you don't agree with his politics.

Elon is something of an enigma if you consider his views, and the recent fact that he's going to put the next Gigafactory in clear view of the Austin city skyline - the liberal left-wing crown jewel of Texas. It's going to be smack-dab right in the middle of a huge close-in urban recreational area and bring prosperity to a traditionally property tax poor school district. He is unique and immune to the cancel culture because they all want his stuff so badly.

Time will tell, but lets not wait for that to happen lets shut him up!
 

fmm

Member
May 19, 2015
90
102
Philadelphia, PA
Just like Steve Jobs. And look how Apple has crumbled into nothing since he died. /s

Really not comparable at all - Apple was a much more mature company when Jobs passed than Tesla is right now. Being a mature company with significant market share and an ecosystem that was difficult for competitors to crack provided Apple the ability to build onto what Jobs started by offering adjacent products and services that worked within that ecosystem. Tesla is in a far more vulnerable position. And further, Apple is arguably significantly less bold under Cook's stewardship than it had been under Jobs.
 
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N5329K

Active Member
Aug 12, 2009
1,863
3,598
California
Musk has done some really great things, and made some really bone-headed moves. This was true from the very beginning and it’s true now. So you can say he’s his own guy and has not really changed. Or matured. The same qualities- good and bad - that got him ousted from Pay Pal are all present and accounted for today.
His biggest error, I think, is his need not to just lead Tesla, but to become Tesla. And remain Tesla. Now, the share price is totally wrapped up in his remaining at the helm. If he announced tomorrow morning that he was setting up his own island kingdom or riding the first Starship to Mars (or even the second), the SP would respond pretty harshly, and immediately.
The most important thing a corporate visionary...and EM is one...can do is prepare his company for what happens when he’s no longer around. Musk- visionary that he is- seems constitutionally unable to imagine that. And that, to my way of thinking, is a liability.
Robin
 
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