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Following the Successful Starship Flight 4, Elon Musk Reveals How Starship Inspired Him to Build the Tesla Cybertruck

Elon Musk is involved in running five other companies besides Tesla. Some Tesla investors see this as an issue; however, Elon Musk has recently revealed how his work in other industries inspired some of his pivotal & successful decisions at Tesla.

Lately, there has been a lot of discussion surrounding Elon Musk, his role at Tesla, and the various companies he is involved in. This discussion has been further amplified as Tesla’s shareholders’ meeting scheduled for June 13 fast approaches.

Up until the day of the shareholders’ meeting, among other initiatives, Tesla investors will vote on two important ballot measures: one to reinstate Elon Musk’s $56 billion pay package and two to reincorporate Tesla in Texas instead of Delaware.

Short recap: In 2018, Tesla awarded Elon Musk a compensation package that will net the Tesla CEO $52 billion. Although this was the largest CEO compensation package in history, Musk’s reward was completely tied to Tesla’s performance.

If Tesla manages to achieve 12 ambitious financial and operational targets set by Tesla’s board of directors over the next decade, Musk will be entitled to the total amount. However, if he falls short, Musk will not be compensated for his efforts over those years.

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When first crafted, Elon Musk’s compensation package was deemed impossible; however, due to the exemplary performance of the Tesla team and Elon Musk, Musk achieved all the targets four years ahead of schedule.

However, before Musk was able to collect the reward, which allowed him to purchase over 304 million Tesla shares at $23 a piece, a court in Delaware threw out the entire compensation package, stating that the Tesla board of directors, which negotiated the compensation package with Elon Musk was not adequately independent.

Now, Tesla is calling on its investors to re-ratify the 2018 CEO compensation package and move its state of incorporation from Delaware to Texas.

This brings us back to the discussion surrounding Elon Musk. As Tesla investors deliberate whether to reinstate Elon Musk’s compensation package, there have been heated discussions regarding Musk’s role at Tesla and whether the CEO is too distracted and not doing his best to protect the interest of Tesla shareholders.

Since 2018, Elon Musk has bought Twitter and renamed it to X and is actively involved in running the company. Musk has also founded a brand-new AI startup, xAI, which aims to develop a large language model to rival OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

In the six years since the CEO compensation package was passed, Elon Musk has also emerged as a divisive political figure disliked by half of the country while loved by the other half.

Tesla investors in the camp who do not want to reinstate Elon Musk’s compensation package state that he is preoccupied with work at his other companies and, therefore, should not be awarded the 304 million Tesla shares.

Taken at face value, this argument makes perfect sense. Not only is Musk directly involved in five other companies besides Tesla, but the serial entrepreneur has also diverted Tesla engineers and resources to support his other ventures.

Based on this information, one would assume it would be in Tesla’s best interest if Musk solely focused on the EV maker and running the day-to-day activities of Tesla.

However, Musk appears to disagree with this train of thought and highlights a direct advantage Tesla gained from his involvement in other companies.

Yesterday, Musk’s space venture, SpaceX, had the first successful launch and soft splashdown of its Starship rocket. SpaceX has designed the Starship rocket to be fully and rapidly reusable, able to be launched and returned to Earth as many as 1000 times.

This is in contrast to current state-of-the-art rockets, which are disposed of after every launch, and SpaceX’s revolutionary Falcon 9 rocket, which is partially reusable and can be reflown more than 20 times with minimal refurbishment.

I don’t think I need to tell you the importance of a rocket that can be reflown a thousand times in an age when other rockets, except ones flown by SpaceX, are bespoke builds that will be thrown away after every mission.

The first successful flight of SpaceX’s starship rocket was a truly incredible sight to behold. During that mission, one aspect of the Starship rocket stood above the others for the mission's success.

Unlike all other rockets in operation, which are either made of high-strength aluminum or advanced carbon fiber, SpaceX’s starship is made of a proprietary stainless steel alloy developed by the rocket company.

During the recent Starship flight, some of the vehicle’s heatshield, which was meant to protect the rocket during reentry, was lost, leaving the bare stainless steel to withstand temperatures above 2000 degrees.

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The stainless steel did not come out the other side unscathed; however, the superior thermal properties of the Starship’s stainless steel allowed the vehicle to stay in one piece long enough for the rocket to make a controlled splashdown in the Indian Ocean.

This was a moment of vindication for Elon Musk, who single-handedly instructed the SpaceX team to move to stainless steel for the Starship body in opposition to the decades-long conventional wisdom that preferred the use of aluminum to construct rockets.

So, what does this have to do with Tesla, Elon Musk, and the Cybertruck? I’m glad you asked. Tesla constructs the Cybertruck exoskeleton using the same stainless steel alloy used on the Starship rocket.

The Cybertruck has become an unqualified success for Tesla, amassing over a million reservations before the truck even started its first deliveries. The Cybertruck’s stainless steel bulletproof exterior, performance, and unique styling have squarely put the vehicle in the cultural zeitgeist.

The popularity of Cybertruck has helped elevate Tesla’s brand and has generated millions of dollars in free advertisements due to influential people and celebrities choosing Cybertruck as their daily driver.

Musk now says that his work on the Starship rocket directly influenced his move to stainless steel and the resulting unique design of the Cybertruck.

Following the successful launch of the Starship rocket, Musk writes, “It is worth mentioning that switching to ultra-hard, cold-rolled stainless steel for Starship is what led me to make Cybertruck out of it, too.”

If it weren’t for his work at SpaceX, the Cybertruck would likely have ended up being a conventional truck in a sea of similar trucks, garnering much less success for Tesla.

Going back to our original point, people who argue that Musk is too distracted to run Tesla certainly have a point; however, they should also remember that a lot of the X factors that make Tesla unique in the automotive world are also directly influenced by Musk’s involvement in other industries.

Setting aside the obvious limitations in time, I would advise Tesla investors to see Musk’s involvement in other companies as an advantage and award Musk his contracted 2018 compensation package.

Overall, Musk’s continued involvement at Tesla has never been questioned more since the company's IPO and we will be sure to keep you posted as more information surfaces about the matter at hand.

Until then, visit our site,, regularly for the latest updates.

So, what do you think? Are you surprised that the Cybertruck’s design was directly influenced by the best rocket the aerospace industry has to offer? Also, do you think Musk’s involvement in other ventures besides Tesla is an asset for Tesla? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below by clicking the red “Add new comment” button.

Image: Courtesy of Tesla and SpaceX

For more information, check out: Tesla Found Out I Sold My Cybertruck and Blacklisted Me From Buying Any Other Tesla Products – Tesla is Enforcing the Cybertruck Purchase Agreement

Tinsae Aregay has been following Tesla and the evolution of the EV space daily for several years. He covers everything about Tesla, from the cars to Elon Musk, the energy business, and autonomy. Follow Tinsae on Twitter at @TinsaeAregay for daily Tesla news.