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How Elon Musk took over Tesla utilizing cash, strong-arm ways, and his personal reputation

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The story of Tesla and Elon Musk may be traced again to the early 2000s, when Musk was ousted as CEO of his first firm, PayPal. That incident taught Musk an important lesson concerning the significance of being in management, even when it wasn’t your personal firm.

In episode two of Land of the Giants: The Tesla Shock Wave, we discuss to Tesla’s unique co-founders, Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, in addition to a number of of the corporate’s earliest workers, to inform what is actually an origin of the electrical automaker — but in addition of Musk himself. We learn the way Musk was introduced on as an important early investor however quickly used his clout, cash, and even a couple of strong-arm ways to oust Eberhard and Tarpenning and finally set up himself as CEO of Tesla.

An origin of the electrical automaker — but in addition of Musk himself

“My preliminary impression of him was he was fairly good,” Eberhard remembers, “and fairly enthusiastic.”

However these feels quickly soured after Musk started to exert his authority as board chairman, pressuring Eberhard to fireplace individuals, make wildly tough design fixes to the corporate’s early lineup of EVs, after which step apart as Musk positioned himself on the forefront of Tesla’s public introduction to the world.

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Quickly sufficient, Eberhard was out, and Musk was in. “It felt like a brick on the aspect of my head,” Eberhard mentioned. “It’s completely surprising.”

Eberhard sued Musk for libel, defamation, breach of contract, infliction of emotional misery, and failure to pay his wages, amongst different issues. And whereas the 2 finally settled, Eberhard accuses Musk of violating their non-disparagement clause — a truth he claims he’s powerless to stop. (Musk nonetheless occasionally tweets about Eberhard to at the present time.)

“Though he’s been flagrantly violating that settlement over and time and again, he’s additionally the richest man on the earth,” he mentioned. “And if he decides to crush me with lawsuits, I can’t survive it.”

The episode additionally dives into Musk’s discovery of Twitter and the way he used the social media platform to create a brand new type of fanbase that has endured till at this time. And whereas we all know how this story ends — with Musk in possession of Twitter, now X, for higher or worse — the early days of his Twitter use are the origins of a brand new type of company administration and a brand new period of danger for Tesla.

“What was problematic for me is that he began to grow to be type of excessive on his personal provide,” veteran tech journalist Kara Swisher says within the episode. “The wealthy liberals are like, ‘What the fuck am I giving this man cash for?’ Dozens of my pals are like, ‘I need to eliminate my Tesla.’”

Take heed to the most recent episode of Land of the Giants: The Tesla Shock Wave, a co-production between The Verge and the Vox Media Podcast Community. You may catch new episodes on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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