Former SpaceX Employee Explains What It's Like To Work For Elon

October 24, 2016 – 01:52 am

Elon MuskElon Musk is the CEO of two of the world's most innovative companies, electric-car company Tesla Motors and rocket company SpaceX.

He's able to do this through an incredible drive and tremendous self confidence. He's said to work 100-hour weeks and never be satisfied.

So what's it like to work for Musk?

"Diamonds are created under pressure, and Elon Musk is a master diamond maker, " Dolly Singh, former head of talent acquisition for SpaceX, tells Business Insider.

Singh worked for Musk for more than five years and is now the head of talent for Oculus VR.

Last November, she posted a response to the Quora thread, "What is it like to work with Elon Musk?" in which she explains what it was like to be at SpaceX on Aug. 2, 2008, when the flight of the Falcon 1 rocket failed as it propelled into space. She writes:

When Elon came out he walked past the press and first addressed the company. Although his exact words escape me in how he started off, the essence of his comments were that:

  • We knew this was going to be hard, it is after all rocket science; then listed the half dozen or so countries who had failed to even successfully execute a first stage flight and get to outer space, a feat we had accomplished successfully that day.
  • Elon has (in his infinite wisdom) prepared for the possibility of an issue with the flight by taking on a significant investment (from Draper Fisher Jurvetson if I recall correctly) providing SpaceX with ample financial resources to attempt 2 more launches; giving us security until at least flight 5 if needed.
  • And that we need to pick ourselves up, and dust ourselves off, because we have a lot of work to do. Then he said, with as much fortitude and ferocity as he could muster after having been awake for like 20+ hours by this point that, "For my part, I will never give up and I mean never, " and that if we stick with him, we will win.

I think most of us would have followed him into the gates of hell carrying suntan oil after that. It was the most impressive display of leadership that I have ever witnessed. Within moments the energy of the building went from despair and defeat to a massive buzz of determination as people began to focus on moving forward instead of looking back. This shift happened collectively, across all 300+ people in a matter of not more than 5 seconds. I wish I had video footage as I would love to analyze the shifts in body language that occurred over those 5 seconds. It was an unbelievably powerful experience.


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