While Musk is deconstructing Twitter, SpaceX is living its best life

When the cat is away, the mice dance, as they say; This seems to be the case for aerospace titanium as well.

The takeover of Twitter by Elon Musk caused a real earthquake in the digital world. After this purchase, the billionaire started a huge project to deeply change the network and is leading the front (see our article). Meanwhile, other enterprises managed by him operate in relative autonomy. That’s unheard of under this caring and omnipresent leader… and on the SpaceX side, some employees want more.

Recall that Musk occupies a very unusual position at this level of the industry. In addition to the social network, he is also the CEO of two industry titans that dominate their niches: Tesla for electric vehicles and SpaceX for aerospace.

Inevitably, it’s a particularly heavy triple hat to wear, even for a lunatic of this category. Running such a business is a full-time job that requires a huge investment. However, the bluebird occupies most of his time for several months.

All in all, this is not a very reassuring situation for a company of this size, where the slightest lack of leadership – even temporary – can have significant consequences. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson also expressed his concern. he asked Gwyneth Shotwell, the president and number two of the firm, unless this change in priorities interferes with the two entities’ joint plans (see this Insider article). He was confident; and in retrospect he was probably right. Because on the SpaceX side, the opposite is happening. If Bloomberg is to be believed, this is no accident.

Sometimes difficult management techniques

Indeed, many employees of Musk’s companies have already spoken about his rather unusual methods. He is the boss ultra investing for better and worse. SpaceX owes a significant part of its success to its penchant for all-out innovation, that’s indisputable; but this constant pressure on all fronts has also had its negative effects.

He is known to set extremely ambitious, if not completely unreasonable, goals, direction changes, and deadlines for his teams. Moreover, he approaches everything with his own opinion and intervenes in the work of his teams arbitrarily, not at all in a very relevant way.

Example: On Joe Rogan’s podcast, he confirmed that he asked the engineers to make the Starship sharper. An objectively less effective form… chosen in reference to a famous scene The Dictator, Sacha Baron Cohen’s irreverent comedy!

Bloomberg cites another particularly telling case, provided by an employee on condition of anonymity. On Thursday, Musk reportedly called the entire team working on Crew Dragon (a capsule designed to carry astronauts into orbit) to an emergency meeting on Saturday morning.

But when he got there, there was no sign of the CEO. When he finally arrived after a considerable delay, he told the team that the delay in the next launch of the car would be intolerable and that everyone would have to work twice as hard… before leaving as quickly as he had arrived. . According to Bloomberg, this short interview will be too bad for some employees who want to focus on the security aspect.

Gwyneth Shotwell, the rock of SpaceX

However, with Musk’s new digital crusade, it is Shotwell who is running the day-to-day life of the company. And since then, this sometimes nauseating dynamic seems to have evolved. He is widely regarded as a reliable and pragmatic leader. And above all, it works in more traditional ways than the big boss of the firm. It has nothing to do with Musk, who sometimes has trouble delegating. There is no way for a CEO to overstep his authority by inviting himself onto the production line to demand arbitrary changes at the last minute, as he often does.

Moreover, he does not share the desire to avoid the media; he exhibits an impeccable service record and has never found himself at the center of the slightest controversy. Professionalism is appreciated by employees, who are not always comfortable with the image conveyed by the chief villain.

SpaceX: employees condemn Elon Musk’s “shameful” behavior

According to Bloomberg, this is a real breath of fresh air. Obviously, these are mostly isolated statements does not necessarily represent the views of the entire company. But based on this opinion and previous confessions of some employees, this is what the work environment looks like. much healthier now with the world leader in aerospace.

New year, new Elon Musk?

But knowing Musk, this bracket may be short-lived. The billionaire is currently looking for someone “crazy enough” to take over as CEO of Twitter. He announced this after a poll on the platform (see our article). Once he finds someone to take up the mantle, he’s sure to turn his attention back to SpaceX.

SpaceX’s Starship here during a static fire test. © SpaceX

As it is in 2023, the firm has a very tight schedule that includes some deadlines that Musk himself is most looking forward to. An example is the launch into orbit of a Starship, a revolutionary vehicle that aims to profoundly change an entire industry. In addition, SpaceX will further increase the speed of its operations. Musk hopes to surpass 100 Falcon 9 launches in 2023, breaking a four-decade-old Soviet record in the process. The firm must also move forward with the development of the HLS, the vehicle that will allow Artemis III astronauts to land on the moon in a few years. And this is only the tip of the iceberg.

With such important deadlines, it would be surprising if the sultry leader wasn’t everywhere. This is not necessarily bad news; his mistakes may be, Musk remains a key driver of SpaceX’s tremendous success. And although they sometimes suffer from this extreme pressure, it seems that they do the vast majority of employees do not want to see him go.

Let’s hope he can water down his wine. Perhaps this episode will encourage her to rely more on the very capable people she knows how to surround herself with. Shotwell, in particular, proved himself fully capable of assuming the operational leadership of the firm. Hopefully, Musk will learn lessons that will benefit employee well-being without jeopardizing SpaceX’s success.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *