What Happened To The Real Elon Musk?

Tesla CEO Elon Musk

AUG 27 2018 BY EVANNEX 22


After Tesla’s last earnings report, it really felt as if a corner had been turned. The company says (and Evercore ISI analyst George Galliers has corroborated) that it’s on track to sustain a production rate of 5,000 Model 3s per week, and to gradually increase that. Two independent teardowns have indicated that Tesla should have no problem earning a profit on each Model 3 sold, paving the way for profitability and dealing the short sellers and other naysayers a crippling blow.

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Charles Morris. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs.

Above: Elon Musk and the Tesla Model 3 (Image: Teslarati)

This welcome bundle of news should have put the company’s image, and stock price, firmly on a slow but steady upward trajectory toward, and beyond, its former high point. Unfortunately, the earnings news was quickly overshadowed by Elon Musk’s impulsive privatization plan, and recent emotional and immoderate public comments.

In retrospect, taking Tesla private wasn’t a bad idea per se. The company’s long-term vision has never been a good fit with the stock market’s three-month timelines, and its dependence on the stock market for funding has made it a target for enemies both financial and ideological (Henry Ford saw things in a similar light 100 years ago). However, Musk’s decision to drop this bombshell without going through the usual channels, and apparently without consulting key board members, was hard to defend. The hasty reversal of TSLA’s rocket-fueled rise following the announcement demonstrated how skeptical people were of Musk’s “funding secured” promise. Some also expressed reservations about handing over partial control of the company to such a controversial player as petro-state Saudi Arabia.

From left to right: A look at the Tesla Model 3, Semi, Model S and Model X (Image: Tesla)

After all the drama, Musk decided to reverse course, issuing an announcement that Tesla will, after all, remain a public company. Tesla’s board, of course, concurs. On the one hand, Musk wrote, “my belief that there is more than enough funding to take Tesla private was reinforced during this process.” On the other hand, “while several big carmakers approached Tesla about funding a deal, people familiar with the discussions said, there were issues… Mr. Musk, proud that Tesla’s cars are made in America, did not want to let foreign interests dictate his decisions about manufacturing,” reports the New York Times.

Here’s what’s puzzling to long-time followers of Musk’s career: His recent actions seem like those of someone who isn’t familiar with how financial markets work, and Elon is anything but that. This is the guy who created one of the first internet mapping applications and sold it to national newspapers; who built a company that revolutionized online payments and sold it for $1.5 billion; who convinced venture capitalists to finance not one but two Quixotic enterprises, and made them rich; who took Tesla public and oversaw its explosive growth, when a host of financial experts said it couldn’t be done. At every step of the way, Musk’s financial acumen has been one of the keys to his success. Who has kidnapped the real Elon Musk, and where in the Solar System have they hidden him?

Above: More on Musk’s decision to back away from his privatization plans for Tesla (Youtube: Wochit News)

Some investors believe answers lie in Musk’s recent emotional interview with the New York Times. However, there wasn’t really much new information revealed here. Musk-watchers already know he’s had a hellish year, and it doesn’t take a psychology whiz to guess that the pressure has affected his emotional well-being. We know very well that Musk is a passionate person, who cares deeply about his companies. This was not the first time he’s choked up in an interview, and hopefully it won’t be the last – his passion is an asset, not a liability, as long as he can keep channeling it in the service of his lofty goals.


Written by: Charles Morris; This article was originally published in Charged; Source: New York Times

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers, free of charge. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX. Check out the site here.

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22 Comments on "What Happened To The Real Elon Musk?"

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O good grief! This is the real Elon Musk.

Only if you say so,

and thanks again, for being a “real” A.M. Shape Shifter.

In which “Solar System” have you “hidden”?


I’m sorry, but I don’t speak geek or nerd. Can you please translate your comment into English that us normal people can understand.

On a side note, do you and your friends sometimes talk to eachother in Klingon?

“Good Grief” Charlie Brown!

Hopefully this, a Klingon can “translate”!


For an Evannex article, they came very close to saying something not entirely positive about Elon Musk. That’s incredible!

Seriously, though, if the twitter antics are getting people to pay attention to Tesla, that’s a win for the company. All they have to do is point out how many Model 3s they’re selling and most people interested in the company will care less about what the CEO says about the stock market.

Quote: “Written by: Charles Morris; This article was originally published in Charged; Source: New York Times”

It is tough to be an auto executive these days. Ford guys end up in sex scandals, Marchione is gone, nobody cares what Mary Barra says, and Musk is on the verge of insanity and looks like needs rehab.

Well I’m sure there are many factors at play here. One is simply the fact that he is trying to do too much. He is not superhuman. A lack of quantity and quality of sleep can ruin even the best of men. I can’t help but wonder what influence Grimes has had on him as well. The principal of bad associations spoils useful habits comes to mind. In this too he is not superhuman.

Difficult circumstances reveal and magnify a person’s nature. Musk seems obsessed with showing the world he can succeed playing by his own rules. In a Silicon Valley software company, that can work (and has many times). In a US car company seeking to be more than a niche player, it’s a highly risky approach. Musk needs more of the right kind of management support around him. He needs to trust them and delegate more. (All these reports of him sleeping in his office or at the factory and putting in 120-hour work weeks are not a good sign, they’re a flashing red light and siren telling us Tesla is being mismanaged.) How many CEOs of large corporations would have survived the “pedo guy” incident? Again, the fact that Musk did and is still tweeting his butt off is a warning sign. And before some trigger-happy person here downvotes this and accuses me of shorting Tesla or being a hater, let me say yet again: We desperately need Tesla to succeed wildly and push the entire car biz in the right direction. Personally, I don’t care what role Musk has in that future, even though I find him to be a… Read more »

Right. It gets down to modesty really. Knowing one’s limitations. I fully understand Elon here as I too have a hard time trusting others and delegating. It comes from being an obsessive perfectionist.

Maybe a personal coach is in order to talk him through the stress of the day and to urge him not to take things too personally and generally to keep him sane as a person who is greatly admired by some and deeply hated by others and the target of a relentless smear campaign.

You forgot the Solar City merger there. For Tesla, this has been nothing but a financial drain – and without the merger SolarCity would have been bankrupt. You also forgot to mention that he was fired as CEO of Paypal.

Of course, undoubtedly, he has achieved a lot. What I want to say with this however is … it isn’t like failure is unknown to him. He takes a lot of risks – usually smart ones. And sometimes they backfire.

Then on the other hand – his desire to move PayPal from a UNIX to a Windows based backend infrastructure doesn’t sound too great to a lot of people in the field. I wonder why he wanted to do that. This is also a big reason as to why he was ousted as CEO of PayPal despite being the largest shareholder.

AIUI SolarCity was never really in danger of going bankrupt: that was just Jim Chanos and his buddies spreading FUD, trying to bring down a perfectly viable company.

It is the very same real Elon Musk, who claimed several times, that sustainable profitability was only one or two quarters away, that it was in the best interest of the Tesla shareholders, to aquire Solar City for 2.6bn, who introduced a solar roof, that never came to existence, who took subsidies for a battery swapping option, that never existed, who said, that there is ZERO doubt about 10.000 / week M3 production rate in 2018, and that he would travel from LA to NY by autopilot in 2017, and who took money for a fsd capability which was only some software updates away.
So whats new here ?

And that the Tesla Model 3 was a $35k car.

Musk have been wanting to take Tesla private for years. This was just him exploring if it was possible in the last moments before it would be impossible due to an inevitable rise in the stock price. It isn’t anything out of caracter or ill conceived. I think it was worth it since it also ignited interest in Tesla fundamentals and the fact that Volkswagen AG intended to be one of the financiers is a huge vote of confidence.

Social media made a rough patch for a guy under incredible pressure look at lot worse than it would have in the past. Without Twitter Elon might have had a few minutes to think about what he was about to tweet and realize it wasn’t such a good idea. There’s a lesson here for all of us, especially people on a very big stage like Elon. Hopefully Elon learned something.

Two words: sleep deprivation. Elon Musk is basically walking around with the judgment capability of a drunk, because that’s what sleep deprivation does to the brain, it erodes your capacity for reasoning and reduces your ability to manage your emotions. Even geniuses need to sleep, and Elon is the first to admit that he doesn’t get enough of it.

The Arianna Huffington letter to Musk was on the money, he’s hitting a critical point where his exhaustion may be more damaging to the company than his contributions. Certainly the last thing the company wants to deal with is having the SEC investigating them when they want to focus on operational issues.

The growth aspirations of Musk for Tesla are beyond sustainable, for staff and for himself, and the company isn’t going to die if they slow the growth curve temporarily. Unfortunately, the impaired reasoning capability makes seeing that difficult.

“What Happened To The Real Elon Musk?” Ego.

To me, the reasoning as to why Elon wanted to go private is right here in the last paragraph. I believe he thought it would take some of the personal pressure off of him.

“and it doesn’t take a psychology whiz to guess that the pressure has affected his emotional well-being. We know very well that Musk is a passionate person, who cares deeply about his companies. This was not the first time he’s choked up in an interview, and hopefully it won’t be the last – his passion is an asset, not a liability, as long as he can keep channeling it in the service of his lofty goals.”

Elon Musk should let his ‘chief bean-counter’ (CFO) do the talking to financial analyst if he is too bored about financial figures.
And he should listen to his mass car production experts he had earlier on board – instead of firing them for being “too old fashioned and not enough software guy like”.
And CEO’s of multi-billion $ corporations are not micromanaging and standing at the assembly line doing the blue-collar work, good CEO’s concentrate on strategic decisions.

So it’s time for the TSLA board to take leadership and get the problems sorted out : e.g. use Elon Musk as strategists and visionary and get him out of the sleepless micromanaging mode for the sake of this great company !