In an email, the space freak told Tesla executives he has a “super bad feeling” about the economy.
On Thursday Elon Musk said in an email that he plans to lay off about 10,000 people based largely on vibes, according to a report from Reuters. The email, sent to Tesla executives, informed them that the company will be cutting 10% of its workforce of 100,000 people, as well as pausing new hiring worldwide. The reason: Musk has a "super bad feeling" about the economy.
If a person pays close enough attention — which is to say, any attention at all — it’s not hard to find Musk’s tells. For a guy who is supposedly playing 4D chess at all times, he telegraphs his next move without the slightest bit of cover. Earlier this week, Musk told the company’s remote workers that they would have to return to the office or resign from the company. Less than 48 hours later, he’s talking about widespread layoffs, providing new context for the remote work ban: was he just trying to bait folks into voluntarily leaving?
Recall a few weeks ago when Musk started publicly aligning himself with Republicans and claimed that politically motivated attacks against him would follow. The next day, a story from Business Insider alleged that Musk sexually harassed a SpaceX employee and paid $250,000 to silence her. Musk knew the story was coming, so it’s hard not to imagine his announcement a day earlier wasn’t just meant to preemptively paint it as a political hit piece.
Musk has reason to feel less than stellar about Tesla’s prospects right now, but it may have more to do with his own actions than the overall economy. Tesla’s stock has dropped 30% since Musk announced that he would buy Twitter, and keeps taking hits with each passing day as the company’s CEO appears anywhere from distracted to unhinged.
Meanwhile, scrutiny of Tesla’s actual product is increasing, too. High profile incidents of Teslas catching on fire and endangering drivers have grabbed headlines, and data published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that at least 750 people have complained of their Tesla vehicle braking for no reason while on the road.
Musk may consider that he is less the vibe senser and more the vibe setter. Anyway, if the 10,000 people who get cut from their career solely because of the whims of their CEO are looking for work, Ford is hiring to ramp up its electric vehicle production, and it’s a union shop. The vibes there seem much better.