Security Clearance: Here's what it's like working for Elon Musk

So what is it like to work for Tesla [NASDAQ: TSLA] CEO Elon Musk? Business Insider* reported: "According to Branden Spikes, who served as Musk’s right hand of technology for more than 15 years at Zip2, PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX, it was Musk’s determination and bravery that was the most inspiring part of his leadership." Spikes explained that Musk was "a great entrepreneur and leader. Because of that I kept repeatedly joining."


Above: Tesla CEO Elon Musk at his office (Image: Ergonomics Help)

Spikes first started working for Musk at Zip2 in 1997 where he led the IT operations teams. He explained, "Each time was a little more challenging than the last. The move to aerospace was quite a bit of a departure from online banking, and so was online banking from Internet web portal. These were big challenges, but I think that the SpaceX one was by far the most audacious, just unbelievably difficult, practically impossible, type of thing."


Above: Brandon Spikes has worked for Elon Musk for over 15 years at Zip2, PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX (Image: Business Insider*)

Spikes elaborates: "Even in the formational areas starting the company, and many people don’t realise that we were in business for over six years before even flying a rocket, you had people telling you what you were doing [what] could not be done, should not be done, and that we were fools to try. These were loud voices. What a brave man to just, in the face of all of that, steam right ahead forward and keep motivating everybody, and leading the charge to victory, and then managing somehow to achieve victory, proving all the naysayers wrong, and validating and vindicating."


Above: Just this past week Elon Musk achieved another milestone — a used SpaceX rocket launched a satellite and then landed in a historic first reflight (Youtube: VideoFromSpace)

Spikes explained that Musk really took the time to understand the pressure points of his businesses, one of which was IT and cybersecurity. Spikes said that, "Elon benefits from a lifetime of working in computer tech to get that, but not all business leaders do... I like that Elon gets cybersecurity and he gets IT." Furthermore, Spikes would benefit from Musk's interest in cybersecurity: "It wasn’t difficult for me to get, as they say in the industry, board-level interest in tech systems and in cybersecurity and the value of it. It wasn’t hard. He got it."


Above: Elon Musk inside a Tesla Model S (Image: PC Magazine)

Spikes explains, “I think he’s taken pride in not having been hacked at the companies he’s started and I take credit for that." Spikes relays a challenge Musk put forth: "on day one of creating the network at SpaceX, he’s like, ‘Don’t let them hack us.’ That’s really a powerful message, and just exemplifies the fact that we saw eye to eye on the value of a well-crafted network and on a secure system." 


*Source: Business Insider