Does Tesla Needs Its Own Tim Cook To Team With Musk?

Tesla CEO Elon Musk

DEC 31 2017 BY STEVEN LOVEDAY 33

Tesla

Perhaps Tesla CEO Elon Musk could use a sidekick like Apple CEO Tim Cook to handle operations …

What if Tesla’s Elon Musk could hand off the “making incredible visions into efficient, attainable realities” part to someone else?

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is often compared to the late Steve Jobs. They’re both visionaries known for high-level intelligence, unparalleled creativity, and a knack for forecasting the future. Both men set out with a goal of making the world a better place and creating a major disruption to huge industries.

Elon Musk

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on the cover of Rolling Stone

However, neither is known for his operational prowess. Not to mention the level of busy that comes with leading such an effort. Jobs had the vision, though Tim Cook made it happen. Motley Fool explained via Nasdaq:

“Jobs’ story has a lot of parallels with Elon Musk, who has made Tesla into the visionary company upending transportation and energy. He’s given electric vehicles a viability they’ve never had and is now spreading disruption into semi trucks , solar energy, and energy storage. What Musk lacks today is his own Tim Cook, someone to take that vision from Musk’s head to the production line. That could be a fatal flaw in disrupting the world.”

The iPhone is widely successful and has been for years. Apple is able to contract out the work, the parts, and even the continuously growing manufacturing capacity.

This means parts are often ordered years ahead of product releases, and companies like Foxconn assemble the products. If another factory becomes a necessity, it’s not Apple building it, stocking it with equipment and employees, and maintaining it … its suppliers are.

Unlike Tesla, Apple doesn’t build Gigafactories. Though the myriad suppliers vying for its attention are constantly expanding to keep up.

Who handles this complex global array of suppliers, parts, manufacturing facilities, and capacities, etc.?

The answer is Tim Cook. The publication continues:

“It’s hard to appreciate how important Cook’s role was in launching products like the iPhone and iPad, which ended up revolutionizing how we use technology. If quality control wasn’t right, the products could have gotten a bad reputation. If store shelves were understocked, customers could have gone elsewhere, and if they were overstocked, Apple could have been in a world of financial trouble. Inventory management is a knife’s edge, and Cook has been the one walking that edge at Apple for nearly two decades.”

Musk

Tesla CEO Elon Musk providing some entertainments and libations while camping atop the Tesla Gigafactory

Tesla is missing a key player at the operational and organizational level, and Musk is obviously overextended. Sure, JB Straubel has his hands in many aspects, and he does a stellar job, but he’s on the engineering and design side of the equation.

The same could be said about Chief designer, Franz von Holzhausen. Then there’s Jon McNeill, who’s also fantastic at what he does, and may most closely parallel Tim Cook. However, he’s wrapped up in customer communications and sales across the globe.

The Silicon Valley automaker has more than proven it can design and launch incredible products. Though mass production, realistic timelines, and consistent quality, have not been its strong suit.

Musk is the man when it comes to ideas, vision, and strategy. He’s also highly successful at drawing attention to the company and its products and reeling people in, mostly through the use of social media.

As the Motley Fool points out, he probably shouldn’t be the same guy sleeping on the factory floor overseeing assembly. Or, how about camping at the Gigafactory so as not to miss out on any critical operations.

Musk should really have a “go to” person for such exploits, so he can focus on doing what he does best.

In order to move forward toward a successful future, most people would agree that Tesla needs to get efficient, and by that, we don’t just mean its cars. There are obviously many bugs to work out, which is expected since starting a newly successful automaker is a near impossibility. That’s why it hasn’t happened in over 100 years.

If Tesla can truly get its ducks in a row, which may require an effective operational chief, its future could be truly special. If not, the automaker will be continually criticized and scrutinized, and a time may come that its continued existence is uncertain.

Source: Nasdaq

Categories: Tesla

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33 Comments on "Does Tesla Needs Its Own Tim Cook To Team With Musk?"

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This is 100% on target. I think Musk actually takes a lot of his cues from Steve Jobs, changing the world type stuff.

He has proven that he has great ideas, but can’t execute efficiently on them.

Frédérick St-Laurent

Steve Job a visionary, sure, but changing the world type stuff? Ok maybe changing it to a world where his products would be the only ones around and his company making a lot of money yes, but in no way changing it for the best.

During that time, Elon Musk is trying to help the world solving the biggest problem it currently has: sustainability. Not by having his company dominating the world. He wants to accelerate the change, by waking up the other companies, so that in total it happens as fast as possible because man kind cannot wait another ten years.

He will not start a patent war with his competitors, he encourages them to join him in this sustainable future. Tesla are installing free J1772 “chargers” with his destination chargers for free in North America (while Apple always had custom connectors, not working with anything else).

Exactly,well said.

Whereas I agree that Musk’s global intentions are more altruistic, I believe you are mistaken about the destination chargers. Tesla does have its own connector. And although all Teslas come with an adaptor to connect to chargers with the J1772 connector, the reverse is not true.

Perhaps I’m simply unaware. Is Musk providing non-Tesla destination chargers around the US?

There was an InsideEVs report of Clipper Creek L2 chargers co-located with Tesla Destination Chargers, but I don’t think it’s clear that Tesla installed any of the Clipper Creek chargers, despite what the article claims. It’s possible the property owner arranged for the Clipper Creek charger to be installed beside the Tesla Destination Charger.

But as I understand it, any PEV can charge at a Tesla Destination Charger by using a “JDapter stub” to plug in.

Both issues are detailed in the article linked below:

https://insideevs.com/ev-charging-adapter-wars-which-side-are-you-on/

Frédérick St-Laurent

As Pushmi-Pullyu said, they seem to provide the J1772 charger for free: https://electrek.co/2017/06/26/tesla-destination-charging-other-evs/

Per “Tesla are installing free J1772 “chargers” with his destination chargers” and your “Perhaps I’m simply unaware. Is Musk providing non-Tesla destination chargers around the US?” Exactly! Sure, Tesla Primarily is in the business of helping their own customers, yet they are also supplying AND covering the Install cost, not just for their own HPWC’s, but also doing the same for the J1772 Clipper Creek (or, in Canada, the ‘Sun Country Highway’ rebranded CC inventory) L2 Charging Stations. Using Plugshare, filter Tesla Plugs, and Public Chargers selected, you can do some empirical research, but recent articles discussing their Destination Chargers for Municipalities, also describes this in action. To be fair, I am not sure if the Destination Charging Program began, or always does, or did, this, but most assuredly, in the last couple years I have seen multiple stories about such Tesla HPWC’s + Clipper Creek Installations funded by Tesla. Definitely, no Other OEM is acquiring Tesla HPWC’s to add to the Installs they are doing, be it at CHAdeMO or CCS sites, or their L2 sites, if any! I also have not yet exactly heard of Tesla adding any CHAdeMO or CCS DC QC’s at Superchargers, but that may… Read more »

Why do sane people keep comparing Musk with Jobs?
Steve Jobs is a 1 trick pony, Must is involved in a lot of different technogy, which means he has to understand a lot of different things.He is able to jump from one complicated subject to a totally different one. Very hard to do.You have to be really smart, or a genius. Steve Jobs as not a genius in my opinion.

Alltesla said:

“Steve Jobs is a 1 trick pony…”

Which “1 trick” is that? The Apple II? The Macintosh? The iPod? The iPhone?

Looks like that “pony” has a lot more than one trick! And no offense to Elon Musk, but as far as what has been more transformative, the iPhone has transformed our culture far more than anything Elon Musk ever has.

In fact, I’d call the iPhone the one invention that has altered our culture more than anything else in my lifetime, even moreso than the desktop computer. Perhaps not a good change, with so many people obsessively interacting with their smartphone instead of interacting with their environment and with other real people around them; but nonetheless a real change.

Not to mention Pixar.

Steve Jobs isno rocket scientist, I drop my mic!

“The Apple II? The Macintosh? The iPod? The iPhone?” These are all the same device, just in different shapes. Apple is pretty much a software company. All the hardware is from third party. Tesla invents, designs and builds their products….batteries included.

Manufacturing a car is way way harder than the phone. If Tesla only made their center console I’m sure it would be made on time.

Musk has stated many times, he never wanted to run Tesla, but did it to prevent it from going out of business in the Roadster days.

I expect a COO type to take over as CEO after the Model 3 ramp and Musk will lower his involvement to only product design.

Jobs was a genius, a selfish jackass too, but no doubt a genius.

YES! And said slightly differently, Tim Cook needs his own Elon Musk.

Good observation. Very true. I was thinking the same thing, however, didn’t think it had a place in the story.

I see 2 different company’s structure Apple leasing out most of its production and services to subcontractors and Tesla that likes to have as much as possible of the production in house.
Tim Cook is good with numbers and managing, Elon Musk is an other ballgame.
The only thing I can see Tesla that can use is Apples money!
So please don’t speculate on this any more it it getting boring!

No and Apple too would have done without him if Steve Jobs had not died.

There is some truth to this yet the problem is Musk doesn’t want give up control…He slept on the Model X assembly line during the beginning of the production…What could Musk do that the top Operations person couldn’t? Musk did this again with the cells at the gigafactory…

No, Musk did it again with the battery pack assembly at Gigafactory One. Despite some speculation and some rumors promoted by Tesla haters, there’s absolutely no evidence that Panasonic is having problems producing the cells.

Where do people work? I’d much prefer to work in a company where the CEO is a real person who takes the business personally very seriously, than one where the CEO is anonymous and appears to couldn’t care less. I’ve worked under both type CEO in the same company, one inspired people to do their best and the other ultimately destroyed everything they touched.
Watching Musk dance around the fire I’m thinking that’s the sort of boss who gets you inspired.

Well, that’s a no-brainer. Of course Elon needs a practical partner, a down-to-earth anchor to balance his brilliant, visionary innovations which sometimes drift into impractical flights of fancy. Just look at the history of Tesla Motors: Elon thrice delayed the debut of the Roadster by demanding changes to designs long since supposedly “locked in”, and drove up the manufacturing cost so much that Tesla made no overall profit on the model. More recently, Elon himself admitted he had gone too far with loading the Model X up with gee-whiz gadgetry, some of which many or most think are overly complex, Rube Goldberg widgets. And of course the latest and most highly publicized stumble by Tesla is the approx. three month delay in ramping up Model 3 production. I personally wouldn’t call that Tesla’s biggest stumble, because despite much whining by Tesla haters, the delay does not put Tesla dangerously near financial collapse, as happened not long before Tesla started selling the Model S. Sadly, it seems Elon has not learned from his mistakes, and so yes, he very definitely needs a practical down-to-earth partner to keep Tesla sailing on an even keel. (Do I win the prize for most metaphors… Read more »

Tim Cook has yet to come out of Steve Jobs’ shade. The article is based on wrong premise.

Elon certainly doesn’t need lessons on how to execute.

“Elon certainly doesn’t need lessons on how to execute.”

Really?

Also, I don’t think you’re aware of the vital role Cook played prior to becoming CEO. Certainly his knowledge and manipulation of supply chains would be useful to any company with physical goods.

“Elon certainly doesn’t need lessons on how to execute.”

Elon certainly does need lessons on the importance of execution following vision, and he also needs to learn how to delegate authority so that he doesn’t have to try to oversee all execution himself.

The history of Tesla Motors/Tesla Inc. is repeatedly marred by the failure of Elon Musk to learn those lessons, over and over again.

Now that Steve Jobs is not with us, of course we can focus on how vital Tim Cooks role was in whatsoever.

However please consider the fact that had Tim Cook believed supply chain was Tesla’s weak point Apple car project would have been in a much more advanced phase.

Tim Cook has been considering entering car business. And maybe he is still considering it, but clearly not the way Tesla has entered it.

Because he either came to realization supply chain of an automaker is very different indeed and better supply chain is not truly where Apple can have edge over Tesla, or because he thinks it doesn’t matter that much for cars.

Honestly I don’t think this whole topic is worth anybody’s time.

Elon Musk has created and GREW more than one business above one billion dollar. Questioning his ability to execute is kind of ridiculous.

Tim Cook did inherit the biggest business. His role might have been much bigger in achieving that goal, than outsiders know, but oh well.

No thanks, Tim Cook is really only famous for one thing period–outsourcing.

He is strictly a numbers guy with no inherent creativity much less genius beyond working the numbers and outsourcing.

+1

Outsourcing in this country is bad enough. We don’t need to be adding to the problem!

With all due respect to Cook, he was a very late comer to Apple. He had nothing to do with the original Apple I / ][, the original Mac, the Laserwriter (without which neither the Mac nor Apple would have survived), or the acquisition of NeXT (which ditto saved Apple).
Apple loyal fanbase predated him by decades.
The source of Apple’s very conservative financial management (probably the most conservative of any F500 company), meaning never, ever carrying debt, is actually Jobs, starting when he returned to Apple. That’s at least as significant to their current successs as anything else.
As for vision, Jobs was always a big-vision person, but was not a technical genius (although was capable of understanding software). The tech that made Apple possible in the first place was all due to Steve Wozniak.

Speaking as a member of that “loyal fanbase,” I’m not very happy with the direction Cook has taken Apple. Someone does need to help Musk with operations, but not someone like Cook. Cook is the reason why Apple no longer makes their own stuff and outsources everything now. It is more efficient, leads to more profit, but also leads to fewer domestic production and manufacturing. A lead that the majority of the tech sector has happily followed and has contributed in no small port to the outsourcing of jobs in the US. Also, Cook himself has no real vision and is focused more on increased profit. This is why he continues to focus primarily on mobile devices (which are still fairly good, not great, but good) while letting their other products decline (laptops and Macs with their increasingly long upgrade cycles…seriously four years between Mac Pro’s and then charging a fortune for a trash bin?!), pretending a technology won’t work (touch screens on Mac) and then pretending it was their idea all along (wait for it…they did the same thing with iPad Pro after MS Surface Tablet, I expect the same after MS Surface Desktop) and completely abandoning other products… Read more »

Why would Tesla need Tim Cook?
Would you allow Tesla to decrease S3X type speed by some software update so the current owner had to buy type Y?

Elon Musk seems to know what he’s doing, after all he’s the Billionaire, not us. I’m not sure what InsideEV’s agenda is, they seem to run this story frequently. Motley Fool sounds like all the reported shorters and Tesla haters. I’m sure all the Tesla owners are plenty happy with their Tesla, as evidenced by Consumer Reports, and I await the day I can test drive the Model 3 (and hopefully purchase one). Tesla has certainly made big Auto sit up and take notice and it has surely been a difficult task that Elon Musk and his team has worked through successfully. About the only think I’m disappointed in is that Tesla hasn’t released an adaptor to allow CHAdeMO required cars to charge on their Super Charger network. They have the opposite ability so it stands to reason it is doable, and would really give more credit to them wanting to enable this change in the auto industry. And to all the nay sayers, it would be a paid service. Alternatively they could have a blue Super Charger that would be for CHAdeMO/CCS that they either install and charge for, or resell to charging companies. They already have a division… Read more »