We don’t get enough good questions from the readers, and it’s a damn shame. Reader Steve Hofer sent us a great one via email; what if Elon Musk was running General Motors?
I was thinking about how Steve Jobs came from what was essentially a failed company with NeXT, to raise Apple from the dead. I imagined the possibility that GM would take over Tesla. Thinking of the Apple precedent, I imagined what if Elon Musk pulled a Steve Jobs and leveraged a board seat into effective control of the company. Assuming Elon became GM’s CEO, does he have what it takes to do a good job? Perhaps he does. I have some reasons.
(1) Elon is smarter than anyone at GM.
(2) He understands how to put together a critical path to implement very complex tasks, whether building an electric car or a private space program.
(3) He is not risk adverse.
(4) He is not tied to 19th or 20th century ideas.
(5) More traditional choices failed and will likely fail again.
Personally, I am not willing to take the Thomas Friedman-esque leap of logic that posits that a successful tech entrpeneur should be put in charge of America’s auto industry. Tesla and GM are as different as two car companies could possibly be, and who is to say that there isn’t somebody at GM that has an equally formidable intellect as Musk does. We don’t know for sure one way or another. In any case, there are plenty of commenters who have actually spent time working with (or for) GM who have a much better insight than I do. Have at it.