I suppose there’s enough buzz about this story by now that it’s gaining a life of its own. The title question sets the stage. After a couple of social media posts and ensuing interviews, some people are beginning to wonder if Tesla, SpaceX and Boring Company chief Elon Musk may be losing his marbles. Most of the recent flap started when Musk took to his highly popular Twitter feed and mentioned that he was, “considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.”
That’s led to all manner of problems, including investigations into whether or not he had committed some sort of SEC violation. Jim Geraghty wrote about this question in today’s Morning Jolt and points us to a recent interview Musk gave where he declared that he was simply exhausted. He’s been working as much as 120 hours per week between his various innovative companies and rarely gets to see his children. The man barely sleeps.
In an interview with the Times, it’s clear that Musk is struggling under the pressure of running his several companies to the exacting, perfectionist, and secretive standards that he is accustomed to.
Mr. Musk alternated between laughter and tears.
He said he had been working up to 120 hours a week recently — echoing the reason he cited in a recent public apology to an analyst whom he had berated. In the interview, Mr. Musk said he had not taken time off of more than a week since 2001, when he was bedridden with malaria…
In the past, Tesla has periodically searched for a No. 2 executive that could take some of the load off Musk — Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s name has even been floated. Musk is one of the best and brightest in America — let’s hope he gets some help before his star flames out.
I’ve seen something of a dogpile taking place on social media as Musk’s frequent critics take this as yet another excuse to either mock or disparage him. I’m not quite sure when it happened, but at some point, it became popular for people to decide that they were “too cool” to be a fan of Elon Musk and his many technological achievements. One popular (though left-leaning) podcast I listen to has done a couple of episodes where they focus on Musk as “just another rich, capitalist white guy” who must be a Nazi sympathizer or up to some other, unspecified evil.
I suppose when you make it to a certain level of success that’s inevitable. Fortunately for Elon Musk (and for humanity, in my opinion), he can afford to ignore such static, both literally and figuratively. I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s under an incredible amount of stress and he may be in need of a well-deserved vacation to decompress. He’s trying to build a commercial space fleet, a hyperloop, underground transportation system and new versions of his electric cars. But that doesn’t mean that he still won’t succeed.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m an unabashed Elon Musk fanboy. He’s got a vision for getting people off of the Earth and out to the stars before the window of opportunity closes. That’s something I not only can believe in, but I feel like I have to believe in. And Musk is smart enough to solve these puzzles if anyone is. Haters gonna hate, as the kids like to say today. But the world needs people like Elon Musk if we’re going to survive in the long term. All of this reminds me of when he launched his Tesla Roadster into space and the same band of critics was carping about it, asking why he wasted so much money and energy on a dumb stunt. He answered them with one of the most elegant responses I could imagine and I’ll leave you with that quote here tonight.
“Life cannot just be about solving one sad problem after another. There need to be things that inspire you, that make you glad to wake up in the morning and be part of humanity. That is why we did it. We did it for you.”
– Elon Musk