Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, has admitted 2018 has been one of the hardest and most painful years of his career. Tesla has gone through a series of challenges over the last few months and everything has been placed on his shoulders. Musk’s announcement on Twitter last week, saying he was hoping to convert Tesla, a publicly traded company, into a private one, has only made things worse.
Speaking with the New York Times in an hour-long interview, Musk said it’s been excruciating to manage Tesla so far. Everything has been hectic and, in fact, Musk acknowledged he almost missed his brother’s wedding as a result. He also recalled an incident during his birthday, when he spent the entire day in Tesla’s office in a race against time to meet the ambitious production targets set by Musk himself.
The tweet appears to have triggered a chain of events that may have pushed the outspoken business magnate over the brink. Musk told the New York Times the exhaustion that comes with managing Tesla has been taking its toll on his physical health. “Everything hasn’t been good”, he admitted to some friends that visited him to show concern regarding the current state of affairs.
Last weeks’ tweet also angered a number of Tesla board members, and a federal investigation has also been opened to look into the circumstances that led to Musk’s declaration. The New York Times also reported Tesla is looking for a second in command to help unload some of the pressure that Musk is facing at the moment.
Over the last two decades, Elon Musk has been one of the most ambitious entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley - he has launched a series of successful tech companies. When he took it upon himself to lead Tesla into the electric car market, people were confidence he would be the one to get the company where it wants to be. Musk often carries himself with bravado. He has, time and time again, brushed off his critics, while loving the spotlight that comes with the kind of business success he has achieved. However, the latest interview appeared to reveal a different person. It was a moment of self-reflection and vulnerability that we have never seen from Musk before. It seemed he was becoming increasingly aware of the toll his duties at Tesla were taking on his personal life.
During the interview, Musk explained that the tweet about the plans to turn Tesla into a private company didn’t come out of nowhere. According to him, there’s a plan in place to buy off publicly held shares at $420 a share. The deal would cost around $10 billion and Musk has secured the funding. But once the tweet went out, the markets didn’t respond well. Investors who have a stake in Tesla appeared to be caught by surprise and board members didn’t have any idea of what was happening. It’s not clear yet why Musk thinks that taking Tesla private is in the company’s best interest, but it looks like Tesla is already becoming a big burden on his shoulders.