Elon Musk is “boss Shiva”. At the same time dreamy, provocative, adventurous, brutal and vulgar. The incendiary boss is always on the verge of breaking down, pushing the limits set to impose his own. Hardly a week goes by without the leader of Space X (rockets), The Boring Company (tunnels), Tesla (electric cars), or even Neuralink (brain implants) making headlines. First, the economics column, with its devastating and sometimes cryptic tweets that serve as press releases for each of its columns. So the political chronicle, as his spades against Biden and the Democrats become more and more frequent, is a thousand miles away from the caution, even the cautious support, that the titans of Silicon Valley show. Finally, the tabloids, who admire his romantic adventures and his numerous offspring – he now has ten children.
In a person’s life, some years are considered doubly. Elon Musk has landed on Olympus in 2022. Chosen by the prestigious Time magazine as Person of the Year last December, he thus joined a very exclusive club of six business leaders crowned since 1927, Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos preceded him. He notably won the World’s Richest Man Cup with a mid-summer fortune estimated by Forbes magazine at nearly $220 billion. To the average person, his empire seems patchy. In fact, he responds to a very “Maskian” logic that supports his messianic nonsense: to offer humanity a multi-planetary and, in particular, a Martian future. Every brick contributes to this: rockets for transport, tunnels for life under the planet, robots to prepare for the arrival of people, batteries for energy, autonomous electric vehicles for movement …
Some of these crazy projects are annoying, but they turned Elon Musk into a guru for millions of people around the world. No other industrialist has such an aura. But from the Capitol not far from the Tarpeian rock.
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2023 is a year of high risk
In 2023, the billionaire is playing for high stakes. First at the human and managerial level. His repeated excesses begin to annoy even within his team. First, in mid-June, an open and anonymous letter was released, signed by Space X executives, denouncing the attitude and formulaic words of the short-tempered boss: “It is imperative to make it clear to our teams and our talent potential that his message does not reflect our work, our mission, or our values.” The first cracks between the guru and his apostles? At this, some dignitaries in the box slammed the door. However, Musk’s ability to “deliver” and keep his crazy promises also depends on his ability to attract the best in his field.
The two are connected, and financially he’s also playing for high stakes. But the Twitter thing is perhaps too much. His lightning raid last spring and his intention to buy the social network for nothing for $44 billion before retreating early in the summer on a contract signed a few weeks earlier could cost him dearly. More than a billion in fines included in the deal if he fails to raise the funds. The judges can force the sale just as Tesla, its galaxy’s true ATM, starts to run out of steam.
The shortage of semiconductors overtook the manufacturer and disrupted its production chain. Tesla’s global sales fell 18% between the first and second quarters of 2022. More worryingly, Musk continues to lament that his new assembly plants in Austin, Texas and Berlin, Germany are “losing billions of dollars.” One way to justify the weight loss treatment he wants to impose on the group is an immediate hiring freeze and layoff of 10% of its workforce worldwide.
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Space X will also be decisive for the first orbital flight of its Starship mega-rocket, which should take place in the next few weeks. Resolutely accelerate the deployment of its constellation of more than 30,000 Starlink telecommunications satellites. The failure and the ease with which he raises crazy amounts of money from private investors for his startup company can be tarnished. With a cascading effect on his other businesses. In April, Boring raised nearly $675 million to develop its future tunneling machine, dubbed the Profrock3. A revolutionary machine that has already rocked established industry giants like Bouygues Construction. And he will need even more money, always more money for Neuralink, and to start manufacturing his humanoid robots that he promises by 2023… Robots that no one has ever seen! So many challenges Musk will have to face. Do not know the sunset of idols.
Chronicle of Pierre Assoulin
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