Will Elon Musk's Latest Controversy Be a Tipping Point, or Are We In For More Crazy From Tesla's CEO?
Tesla's Model 3 deliveries dropped last month. Despite frequent communications from Tesla that it had hit milestones and become a "real car company" in June, it put less Model 3 cars in the driveways of customers than it did in May. Desperate for a win, the company's CEO, Elon Musk has been engaging in a variety of distractions, all of which can be cast as good intentions. All of which also mean Elon Musk has something on his mind besides Tesla and the huge losses at his company. Bloomberg recently published a story that has a counter showing how many thousands Tesla is spending as you read along. The financial publication predicted in May that the company could be out of cash to burn by the end of this year. That's just six months away.
Yet, rather than focus on building cars and then delivering them to satisfied consumers, Musk became involved in the rescue of a group of boys trapped in a cave. You might ask what special skills Musk has that would help with this that go beyond rescuers from the global caving and rescue community, all of whom were on hand helping. One person did dare to ask. An expert on the exact cave system the boys were trapped in. The end result of him questioning Musk's involvement was Musk tweeted (twice) that the man is a likely "pedo" short for pedophile. Can you imagine Bill Gates being in this position? How about Steve Jobs? Do you even know the name of any other CEOs of small automotive companies? You don't because those people are busy building and delivering cars to consumers and building shareholder value all the time. So they don't have time to meddle in the rescue of children on a different continent. This work helps to keep them focused and to not possibly become embroiled in a defamation lawsuit.
If the only thing that had distracted Musk was this cave fiasco we might assume that Musk could not resist sharing some special knowledge of cave rescue that would help. That would be understandable. But now it's Flint Michigan's municipal water customers that Elon Musk is going to save. Did you know that Elon Musk was also an expert in municipal water treatment?
Musk started by pledging to fund getting water to homes in Flint that don't meet FDA standards. That is a heartwarming offer. Except that the FDA doesn't regulate drinking water. And that the City of Flint will provide any resident that needs one with a water filter. Another reason that Musk's offer is not really that impressive is that Flint's water has met (EPA) drinking water standards now for a long time. The emergency has been over since before the Model 3 went on sale. Mr. Musk can be forgiven for having missed that while he "slept on the Gigafactory floor."
Prior to the last investors' meeting, there were already those who wanted Musk replaced. All this crazy nonsense only gives those investors and others more ammunition to say, "the guy is not getting it done and our company needs a leader with focus."
Everyone understands that Elon Musk is an altruist and also that he is a genius. The only questions that remain are can he save Tesla and can he help guide the company through the Model 3 launch disaster. Engaging in juvenile name calling with other altruists and bringing coal to Newcastle doesn't get Tesla any closer to success.