Does Elon Musk need an intervention, or just a break?
I didn’t want to write another big piece about Elon Musk, but it is worth reflecting on his behaviour yesterday. As you may have seen, Musk made a baseless allegation
against a member of the team of divers that saved those Thai boys and their football coach.
It looked like the kind of crass, throwaway joke someone might make in person to a friend. The sort of thing they know is wrong but say for effect. Saying it online is, of course, an entirely different thing, and the storm of criticism (eventually) led to Musk deleting his tweets.
It has gone beyond saying Musk is reckless and unprofessional; now it’s like the man needs an intervention to stop him tweeting. His fans will say I’m being unkind, that he just cares so much about changing the world that he’ll destroy anyone who gets in his way. His fans will ask why that is a bad thing. After all, the rest of us aren’t changing the world like Musk is, right?
But being a genius doesn’t give you a pass when you act like an idiot. Is Musk really going to help the people of Flint, Michigan,
or was that tweet last week another random outburst? He seems to be taking steps to fulfil his promise, but you can see why it’s worth asking.
By recklessly throwing baseless accusations around, Musk establishing a pattern of outbursts that may worry investors in Tesla and SpaceX about his judgment.
Given these regrettable Twitter outbursts
and other episodes
are a relatively new phenomenon, maybe they’re a sign that the stress of simultaneously running a bunch of big-vision, high-stakes companies, with lots of expectations to live up to, is getting to Musk.
Maybe he needs to get some support from the people close to him. Maybe he needs to bring in a communications chief who he’ll listen to before making public statements. Maybe we can help by not paying so much attention to him.
One thing’s for sure; he should take a break from Twitter.