Two years ago, Elon Musk revealed his Master Plan, Part Deux for Tesla. Sounded great. Unfortunately, and I have no idea how this could have happened, that plan appears to have been a fake. This, I believe, was Musk’s real plan:
Paint a bullseye on the company by taking nearly half a million fully-refundable orders for the Model 3 years in advance of production. Broadcast to every carmaker in the world that there’s enormous demand for an affordable electric car, demand that will come out of their market share if they don’t come up with competitors pronto.
Acquire my cousin’s failing company, SolarCity, claiming it will help transform Tesla into a trillion-dollar green energy monolith. Start two more companies because, well, you can never have enough companies to run. Assure shareholders that none of it will be a distraction. Stack the board of directors with more relatives and fan boys.
Whine about being in “production hell” to meet my own outrageous price and production targets. Construct a giant tent over an ad-hoc production line made of spare parts to meet those same grandiose goals. Assure investors that Tesla will turn a profit while tweeting that making a $35,000 Model 3 (the base price I set) would cause the company to “lose money and die.”
Come unglued during a quarterly earnings call, ranting about how the Wall Street analysts are asking “boring, bonehead questions’ that “are not cool” and cutting them off to spend the rest of the call playing around with a YouTube fanboy.
Send a midnight email to “Everybody” claiming that an employee sabotaged and extensively damaged Tesla’s operations. Make paranoid claims that countless organizations, including short-sellers, oil and gas companies and big car companies, could be behind that and other sabotage because they all “want Tesla to die.”
Insert myself into the Thailand soccer team drama, tweeting to my millions of followers about an unsolicited and useless mini-sub scheme to save the boys. Throw a temper tantrum at anyone who insinuates that I did it just for attention. Call an expert whose knowledge of the caves actually helped save the boys a pedophile and child rapist, adding, “I fucking hope he sues me.”
While driving to the airport, come up with a way to show the shorts what’s what by tweeting that I’ve secured funding to take Tesla private at $420 a share. Ironically make the shorts and cost long investors billions when the stock tanks because there never was any funding. Give the SEC something fun to do with their time.
Preside over one of the most impressive leadership exoduses in history, turning over virtually every senior executive position at least once. Prove to the world that I can do this thing – turn a boutique company that makes six-figure electric cars for rich people in Silicon Valley into a real mainstream car company — all by myself. Or not.
Have a nervous breakdown during a NY Times interview, literally crying about what an excruciatingly painful year it’s been and prompting columnist Jim Stewart to ponder my mental state. Make Tesla’s board of directors look like a bunch of feckless fools with no power over my increasingly narcissistic, delusional, lunatic behavior.
Drink whisky and smoke pot on a live podcast to reassure everyone that everything at Tesla is all unicorns and rainbows.
So, in short, Master Plan, Part Deux is: Indulge my controlling, narcissistic tendencies, set ludicrously unrealistic goals, juggle way too many balls, and become completely stressed out, sleep deprived and paranoid, costing investors more than $20 billion in 30 days and wiping out two years of gains. Make the company, the board and most of all myself Silicon Valley’s biggest laughing stocks since Yahoo, HP and Theranos.
Note: I hope I don’t need to say that the Master Plan is satire but, well, you never know, do you?