Elon’s allegedly headstrong managerial style is making hay for journalists lately. The WSJ wrote a recent piece about hardheaded Elon, and now Fortune magazine has written a “me too” piece, using professors as experts about how to run a company the proper way, not Elon’s way. The gist of both articles: Elon is a childish, obsessive-compulsive pain in the ass.
Let’s back up the camera and look at the products of which he is the architect:
1. Rockets — And not just regular ones, but a totally new kind.
2. Cars — And not just regular ones, but a totally new kind.
Neither leaves room for error. Flawed cars will break very quickly and publicly. Flawed rockets will break more quickly and publicly than that. And people may die. By contrast, writers who make mistakes can continue writing as if nothing happened, because nobody is reading anyway. And professors can make all the mistakes they want because the entire class is asleep.
Elon Musk is an alpha engineer who builds groundbreaking products that literally crash and burn if imperfect. So if he’s an obsessive-compulsive nut who isn’t well-tolerated by the mellow, that’s exactly the kind of maniac that Tesla and SpaceX need at the helm. And if he’s childish, even better. Some children dream of rockets, cars, alien planets and transport pods — and don’t let growing up ruin the wonder.