When Working for Musk, Beware 'Elon's Rage Firings'

'Wired' recounts volatile outbursts of the Tesla boss
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2018 10:50 AM CST
Updated Dec 16, 2018 7:51 AM CST
What It's Like to Work for Elon Musk
Elon Musk speaks at a news conference in Chicago in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

Those fascinated or even mildly interested in the doings of Elon Musk will want to make time for a long and often unflattering profile in Wired by Charles Duhigg. The story paints a picture of a brilliant CEO for whom it can be absolute misery to work. One Tesla manager, for instance, ordered subordinates not to walk near Musk on the factory floor for fear they would become victims of what he called "Elon's rage firings." When those went down, an irate Musk would berate a bewildered employee in front of everyone and then fire the worker on the spot. In fact, the story begins with an anecdote of Musk calling over an engineer he'd never met, asking vague questions about the production line, and shouting, "'You're a f---ing idiot! Get the f--- out and don't come back!" The engineer was out.

Of course, with anecdotes like that come ones like this, from a former exec at SolarCity, one of Musk's many, many ventures: "I can't tell you how many times I prepared a report for him and he asked a question that made us realize we were looking at the problem completely wrong." The story draws a comparison between Musk and other, er, eccentric inventors, such as Howard Hughes and, yes, Nikola Tesla. "People lionize inventors who listen to their intuition and ignore naysayers, who hold themselves and everyone else to a standard of perfection, regardless of what it costs those around them," writes Duhigg. "Steve Jobs is gone; now we have Elon Musk." Click for the full profile. (Musk thinks there's a decent chance he won't die on planet Earth.)

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