Elon Musk's efforts to transform Tesla into a private company might take awhile to unfold. As the drama plays out, expect plenty of ups-and-downs on the Tesla [NASDAQ: TSLA] rollercoaster ride. Look for the ongoing smear campaign against the electric carmaker to ramp up. After all, short sellers (those who bet against Tesla) can be a malicious, cunning group of investors. Will these wolves of Wall Street gain the upper hand on Musk?
Above: Elon Musk on the latest cover of Wired UK (Image: Wired UK)
In a recent cover story in the UK edition of Wired, Amit Katwala describes, "Over two months of reporting [with Elon Musk's] friends, family members and former colleagues." Many of those closest to Musk describe a 'relentless' fighter — a formidable foe for those betting on Tesla to fail. A few of the more revealing quotes (via Wired) follow below...
Scott Haldeman, uncle: "He has this unbelievable drive to work 70, 80, 90 hours a week, non-stop. The first time I really noticed was when he and his brother visited us for Christmas while they were forming Zip2. Everybody was opening presents, and Elon worked from the minute he got up to the minute he went to sleep on Christmas Day, and every day he was there."
Jim Ambras, VP product development at Zip2: “Elon would sleep under his desk probably one in every three nights, sometimes one in two. It was industrial carpet on concrete. He had no pillow, he had no sleeping bag. I don’t know how he did it.”
Jeff Heilman, sales representative at Zip2, Musk’s first employee: “He would code and tell us to kick him in the morning to wake him up, because he’d be asleep on this bean-bag chair, but he didn’t want to be asleep. Sleep wasn’t his reward for hard work, sleep was the thing getting in the way.”
Rich Sorkin, founder and CEO of Jupiter Intelligence; former CEO of Zip2: “I think Elon is always thinking about everything – both immediate, short-term tactical things that need to get done in the next ten minutes as well as a decade out... Elon is the most relentless person I have ever met in my entire life. If you have the right people and you've built the culture right it’s extraordinarily compelling. It’s very similar to what I saw when I worked with Steve Jobs.”
Robert Zubrin, founder of the Mars Society: “When I met Elon it was apparent to me that although he had a scientific mind and he understood scientific principles, he did not know anything about rockets. Nothing. That was in 2001. By 2007 he knew everything about rockets - he really knew everything, in detail... [Elon] put in his heart, his soul and his mind. He put his talent into it – not just his technical talent, which while I would say is first class, there are other people that are comparable. What is incomparable is his business talent, in terms of recruiting the right people and creating the right company culture and defeating people out to destroy him."
Jim Cantrell, CEO of Vector Launch; SpaceX co-founder: “When he got mad, he got really mad. One of the first things he and I got into a conflict over was the Falcon 1 fuel tanks. When he read my email about how much these tanks would cost... He's famous for his ear-burning phone calls, and I got one of those. I was on my way somewhere - I was trying to find a parking space in the parking structure in Salt Lake City International Airport, and I was driving around and he's yelling at me. He was just yelling about how it was bullshit about the tanks costing so much. I remember him saying, ‘If these tanks cost a million dollars for a set, I’ll have you and I go out there and weld them our fucking selves.’”
Jim Cantrell, CEO of Vector Launch; SpaceX co-founder: "His inability to even imagine failure is incredible.... You've got to have faith and passion in what you're doing to make it work, and he did. Many of us, myself included, couldn't see how he could possibly succeed. He couldn't see how he could possibly fail.”
Dave Lyons, co-founder, Peloton Technology, former director of engineering at Tesla: “In December 2007, four of us flew across the country to Detroit to triage where we were on the transmission. This was a period of time when he was absolutely stretched to his limit, and he saw all of his stuff in massive jeopardy. I've got to paraphrase this, but he goes: ‘I've spent all my money and all of my friendships on this. It has to succeed. You need to do whatever is possible to make this happen – you need to use special forces methods to make this transmission happen.’ I watched in his eyes that night how incredibly invested this guy was. I have never seen anybody in my life who was willing to put everything on the table the way I saw him that night.”
Dave Lyons, co-founder, Peloton Technology, former director of engineering at Tesla: “He has a way of slashing through the red tape with a machete. He was continuously challenging the status quo, and he has no tolerance for anything that is perceived to be a runaround at all. He is absolutely burning the ships to shore. There is no way back. The only way to go is forward and through and he sends his teams to do whatever it takes to do that. I have been unbelievably impressed by Elon's ability to make his own luck... I will never bet against him.”
Source: Wired UK