Elon Musk was confirmed as the richest man on Earth in January, with a net worth of $190 billion.
How would you respond if someone tweeted that you now had £136 billion in the bank? You might not have replied at all, being too busy shopping or lounging on huge yacht.
But the workaholic inventor, 49, simply replied, “How strange” before presumably getting back to work on commercialising inter-galactic travel with SpaceX, creating new electric Tesla supercars, or looking for new tunnelling tenders to pitch for with The Boring Company.
The eccentric South African has definitely done things his own way to amass such unfathomable wealth, and while what usually goes on in his network of laboratories is usually kept under wraps, a leaked email he sent to his staff at Tesla in April 2018 revealed him to be just as maverick in his management style, too.
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He puts a lot of emphasis on efficiency, clarity and avoiding the use of acronyms or ‘nonsense’ words.
Two years after this email was written, his partner, Canadian singer Grimes, would give birth to his seventh child, a baby they named the absolutely indecipherable X Æ A-XII.
Another shocking piece of advice shared by Musk to his army of super-boffins is not being afraid to walk out of a meeting that bores you.
This is probably not advice the average Brit should follow, no matter how tempting it is.
Here’s Elon Musk’s top six tips for employees, which he described as “productivity recommendations”.
1. Don’t have long many meetings
“Excessive meetings are the blight of big companies and almost always get worse over time. Please get rid of all large meetings, unless you’re certain they are providing value to the whole audience, in which case keep them very short.”
2. Don’t have too many meetings
“Also get rid of frequent meetings, unless you are dealing with an extremely urgent matter. Meeting frequency should drop rapidly once the urgent matter is resolved.”
3. It’s not rude to walk out on time-wasters
“Walk out of a meeting or drop off a call as soon as it is obvious you aren’t adding value. It is not rude to leave, it is rude to make someone stay and waste their time.”
4. Use plain language
“Don’t use acronyms or nonsense words for objects, software or processes at Tesla. In general, anything that requires an explanation inhibits communication. We don’t want people to have to memorize a glossary just to function at Tesla.”
5. Don’t be a jobsworth, just get the job done… and smash the hierarchy
“Communication should travel via the shortest path necessary to get the job done, not through the ‘chain of command’. Any manager who attempts to enforce chain of command communication will soon find themselves working elsewhere.
“A major source of issues is poor communication between depts. The way to solve this is allow free flow of information between all levels. If, in order to get something done between depts, an individual contributor has to talk to their manager, who talks to a director, who talks to a VP, who talks to another VP, who talks to a director, who talks to a manager, who talks to someone doing the actual work, then super dumb things will happen. It must be ok for people to talk directly and just make the right thing happen.”
6 If it don’t work, fix it
“In general, always pick common sense as your guide. If following a ‘company rule’ is obviously ridiculous in a particular situation, such that it would make for a great Dilbert cartoon, then the rule should change.”