How Elon Musk's leadership at Tesla has sparked massive growth
There are many unconventional elements of Elon Musk’s company management that have made him and Tesla what they are today. While he can sometimes be polarizing, it’s hard to deny the numbers Tesla has posted under his leadership, especially compared to the next several largest publicly-traded companies.
Above: Tesla's CEO Elon Musk (Flickr: Steve Jurvetson)
As the Twitter takeover looms, there have been questions about Musk's ability to successfully manage a difficult-to-manage business. Looking back, Musk's SpaceX entered the rocket industry an underdog and went on to dominate. And what about Elon's bet on electric cars, Tesla?
When compared with the next 10 largest publicly-traded companies, Tesla ranks first in growth over the past decade and over the past year, in addition to being number one in share performance over both five and 10 years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Tesla’s revenue has increased 260-fold in the past decade to $53.8 billion, with sales in the past year alone increasing 71 percent.
In both five and 10-year share performance, Tesla ranked first with the automaker’s stock appreciating 15- and 146-fold, respectively, to its recent stature floating around $1,000.
Additionally, Tesla ranks first of the largest publicly-traded companies in employment increases, with its staff increasing five-fold since 2016.
Other notable companies in the lineup include Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft and Apple — all of which have been dwarfed by Tesla, despite being old-guard tech companies that all helped usher in the digital age.
The impressive sales can be attributed to a handful of factors, including Musk’s engineering focus, his strict deadlines and sales targets, and an emphasis on controlling Tesla’s supply chain in its entirety.
But Ark Invest Founder and CEO Cathie Wood, notable for being right about Tesla’s stock as far back as 2014, predicted a $1 trillion valuation for the automaker before others even considered adding them to their portfolios. Now, Wood is sitting on a platform of success, largely based on Tesla, and she’s still bullish on the stock.
Wood points out how Musk has implemented Tesla’s system of vertical integration, and that the company’s constant research and development efforts have let the automaker tweak its technology on an ongoing basis through software — a brand new concept for the auto industry as a whole.
“Tesla's vertical integration strategy has been critical,” said Wood. “Tesla is in control of its cars [and] can tweak and change,” unlike most automakers, where “specs are put to bed, you know, three to four years or five years prior. And they're not going to change.”
Sure, Musk and Tesla’s incremental change model has proven itself, but it’s not the only thing they’ve earned bragging rights over either.
Wood also notes Tesla’s data-collecting practices through its vehicles, which she says gives the company a technological advantage compared to other automakers.
“More than a million and a half cars on the road are effectively data collectors for Elon Musk,” Wood said. “No other auto manufacturer has cars equipped to send back this real-world driving data. In order to compete with Tesla, at let's say a like-for-like price, they'll either have to skimp on range or performance and rely on their brand, otherwise they'll just lose money if they want to keep up with Tesla at the same price.”