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A Letter To Elon Musk

Dear Elon,

In the long run, those of us who are not dead are investing in earnings, not ego. Don’t be cute -- be profitable. After all, a profit is not without honour, except in the wrong hands

“Looking ahead at our mission of accelerating the advent of sustainable transport and energy, which is important for all life on Earth, we face an extremely difficult challenge: making our cars, batteries and solar products cost-competitive with fossil fuels.”

Mission accomplished. You, more than anyone, will be long remembered for ‘accelerating the advent’ of electric transport. Drop the ‘sustainable’ talk as it alienates about half of your ultimate potential market. You need to make a profit, not be a prophet.

And now you need a new mission statement, like it or not. Think Intel inside your camp. “We intend to become the world’s most profitable, and scalable transport company.” (Or words to that effect.)

The rules of the game haven’t changed; cost effective, scalable and bankable win prizes. Good feelings don’t, except in Alice in Wonderland, where everyone has won and all deserve prizes.

If your product isn’t cost effective, then it will remain bankable only as long as your admiring shareholders adhere to your vision and enthusiasm. But the dawn, even when rosy-fingered, doesn’t last all day.

Related: A Logical Move From An Inconsistent Tesla

“Ever read Homer, Elon? We read it in Greek, at the Point. Now here’s what you’re gonna do. You’re gonna go up that hill, and make some frickin’ money.”

This isn’t Pickett’s Charge, either. The only one shooting at you is you. Don’t be your own worst enemy; there are so many others better qualified to do that, and they are on the wrong side of history and economics.

Remind your market that 3 cents per mile and 20 moving parts is bound to win vs. 15 cents, and rising, per mile with 1,000 moving parts. Why it’s almost not fair. Almost, though I won’t shed a tear. (Oh, and being well supplied with multiple domestic sources of power is not bad either.) Gravity always wins.

Let the dead bury the dead. As Winston says – Victory is not final; failure is not fatal. The courage to continue is what counts. Good luck, Lad. Those of us who have not traded our souls for a few dollars more are rooting for you.

By Henry Hewitt for Oilprice.com

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  • Terry Murray on January 24 2019 said:
    “We intend to become the world’s most profitable, and scalable transport company.”

    You could benefit from reading 'Start With Why' by Simon Sinek. Elon is inspiring not just his employees, but much of the world on account of adhering to the advice in this book (intentionally or otherwise). Your sample mission statement isn't a good one. At a minimum it goes against the ideas in that book. As the last poster said, you don't get Elon at all, or why he's successful.
  • Antoine D on January 23 2019 said:
    I enjoyed this letter thoroughly as a huge Tesla fan, although there are some things you just don't understand... one word - "Nontraditional CEO"

    Like it or not, things will never go your way sir. The man is a revolutionary taking on a moon mission with multiple companies at that.

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