What working for Elon Musk was like: 'He's actually a really good guy'

By Lennon Cihak
Medlock, a former employee gives us a behind the scenes look at Elon Musk
Medlock, a former employee gives us a behind the scenes look at Elon Musk
The Iced Coffee Hour/YouTube

Elon Musk is a diligent leader who is dedicated to achieving a more sustainable future for mankind. In Tesla’s early days, Musk had a “very disciplined” approach to managing the automotive company.

Carl Medlock, a former territory manager at Tesla, discussed what it was like working for Musk on an episode of “The Iced Coffee Hour” podcast, which is hosted by real estate investor Graham Stephan and Jack Selby.

Medlock joined Tesla in 2009 during the recession. He was offered a healthy six-figure salary and 40,000 stock options that he reluctantly had to sell due to divorce proceedings, according to the New York Post.

“You don’t argue with him,” Medlock said. “When Elon stands up at the end of a meeting and says, ‘This is the direction we’re going to go,’ you stand up from your chair and you better head that direction. Because he’s not one for people back-talking - he’ll just let you go.”

When Tesla was going through “production hell” for the Model 3, Musk was consistently working upwards of 120 hours per week and sleeping on the Tesla factory floor.

“I actually saw him sleep on a desk once,” Medlock said. He even took a photo of the unusual situation, but then deleted it almost immediately.

“I deleted the photo. I should have kept the photo, but I deleted the photo out of respect. I took the picture and thought, ‘Oh my God, you’re going to get fired for this.”

The stress and difficulty of running one of the world’s most valuable automakers - and one of the only automotive companies in the United States to never go bankrupt - added to the hefty burden of saving humankind.

When Medlock was interviewing at Tesla, one of his final interviews was with Musk in which they discussed his customer service and real-world experiences.

“We just had a conversation and I got the job,” Medlock said.

But despite Musk’s unprecedented work ethic and rigid management style, Medlock said he was a good person. Musk wasn’t very social in the workplace, but he said Musk is very intelligent and easy to talk to.

“He’s actually a really good guy,” Medlock said. “He’s incredibly smart, so he’s intimidating in that regard, but if you look at it based on his kids. The guy loves his kids, he loves his family, he’s a good dad and he’s just easy to talk to.”

Interview

You can watch the entire interview below.

Elon to Switch to the Cybertruck; Volume Production in 2024

By Kevin Armstrong
Cybertruck mass production to start in 2024
Cybertruck mass production to start in 2024
Kim Java

Tesla's fourth quarter and 2022 earnings call with investors was mostly good news unless you were planning to drive a Cybertruck soon. While company executives eagerly jumped on every question asked by investors, there was a noticeable pause when a point-blank question was asked about Cybertruck's mid-year production date.

Elon Musk responded "um, we do expect production to start, I don't know, maybe sometime this summer. But I always like to try to downplay the start of production because the start of production is always very slow. It increases exponentially, but it's always very slow at first. So I wouldn't put too much thought in start of production."

Volume Production Next Year

If the millions of people with Cybertruck reservations were in attendance, you might have felt the air leave the room. The previous belief was mass production would start by the end of 2023. There may be some stainless-steel beauties on the road by then, but only a few. "It's kind of when does volume production actually happen, and that's next year," said Musk.

Perhaps sensing some disappointed buyers, Lars Moravy, Tesla's Vice President of Vehicle Engineering added, "(I'd) like just to emphasize on that, we've started installation of all the production equipment here in Giga Texas, castings, general assembly, body shops. We built all our beta vehicles, some more coming still in the next month, but as you said, the ramp will really come 2024."

The Cybertruck Will be Elon's Next Car

Cybertruck was originally announced in 2019 at the memorable event that included the unbreakable armor glass smashing. Musk was wearing the smashed glass Cybertruck t-shirt while taking questions from investors. While the wait continues, he is adamant that it will be worth it, "So it's an incredible product. I can't wait to drive it personally. It will be the car that I drive every day… it's just one of those products that only comes along once in a while, and it's really special."

The original release deadline was set for 2021. However, the production date has been delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, like a global pandemic. Nevertheless, it is a positive sign that beta vehicles have been produced. Images of what appears to be a Cybertruck were leaked a few months ago.

Recently, chief designer Franz von Holzhausen did confirm that the Cybertruck was ready for production, but it's a work in progress. Every Tesla beta product gets thoroughly examined and meticulously reviewed before the next step. But at least it's a step in the right direction.

A Look at Tesla's 2022 Numbers and Record Quarter

By Gabe Rodriguez Morrison
Tesla set new records in production and deliveries while beating analyst expectations.
Tesla set new records in production and deliveries while beating analyst expectations.
Statista

Tesla published their Q4 2022 and full-year financial results, setting new records in production and deliveries while beating analyst expectations. Tesla’s annual profit rose to $12.6 billion in 2022, from $5.5 billion in 2021. Annual revenue rose to $81.5 billion, from $53.8 billion the year prior. Tesla reported fourth-quarter revenue of $24.32 billion beating analysts' $24.07 billion estimate. The automaker also reported earnings per share of $1.19 beating analysts' $1.12 estimate.

Tesla’s stock rose more than 5% in after-hours trading following the earnings release and surged more than 10% the next day.

Tesla's Q4 2022 revenue set a new record for the company, up 59% from a year earlier. In addition to automotive revenue of $21.3 billion, Tesla recognized $324 million of deferred revenue from the company’s driver assistance systems.

FSD Beta Numbers

Tesla reported that 90 million miles have now been driven with FSD Beta, up from 58 million miles in the previous quarter. The company also confirmed that they have about 400,000 FSD Beta users in North America, a sizeable increase since the last report. With such a steep increase in miles driven and FSD Beta becoming widely available in North America, Tesla is making significant progress with its autonomous driving software.

In late 2022 and into this year, Tesla began cutting prices on its cars globally. Elon spoke about how recent price cuts have fueled a surge in demand for Tesla: “Thus far in January we’ve seen the strongest orders year-to-date than ever in our history. We’re currently seeing orders of almost twice the rate of production.” He added: “These price changes really make a difference for the average consumer.” Tesla acknowledges that average sales prices have to decrease over time because affordability is part of Tesla's mission to grow into a company that sells multiple millions of cars annually.

Price cuts will impact profitability, but margins should remain healthy, Tesla CFO Zach Kirkhorn affirmed. Tesla has wider operating margins than the industry average, which allows them to make such price cuts.

Elon issued an uncertain forecast for 2023, saying Tesla planned on 1.8 million vehicles for the year without specifying whether that was a target for production or deliveries. If the company were to deliver 1.8 million vehicles in 2023, that would result in 37% annual growth.

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Tesla News

Upcoming Release

View the release notes for the upcoming version 2023.2.10.

Confirmed by Elon

Take a look at features that Elon Musk has said will be coming soon.

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