Skip to main content

Elon Musk: Marvel at my genius?

Iron Man

A world famous entrepreneur is facing a group of hostile investors. They want to know when the next product is coming out and ultimately when they can expect a return on their investment. How long can they continue to burn money?

The entrepreneur laughs in their face as they dare to question him on such trivialities. He is a genius and a visionary - he should not have to engage with this mundane questioning.

But who are we describing? Tony Stark aka Iron Man or Elon Musk as he acted yesterday?

One of these characters goes on to save the world...

Visionary or liability?

It is well known that Musk was used as role model for the fictional superhero, and also gets a ‘blink and you miss it’ cameo in Iron Man 2. It is a lovely example of art imitating life and now life imitating art right back again. His advice to his employees (leaked in April) to walk out of bad meetings, cut short phone calls and ignore company rules certainly has a compelling anarchic counter-culture feel.

“We should not dismiss Elon Musk - he clearly has something, and contrary to expectations his space rockets actually work and are reusable. But when does a visionary become a liability?”

Tesla investors need to think hard about the outcome for the company and expectations fell rapidly yesterday following his chaotic meeting. He does not have an accountant’s brain so can he be sure that he will make the necessary breakthroughs on his production line and in battery capacity to make his predictions reality regarding electric cars and trucks? Just for the record, these cars and now his promised pickup truck are all really cool.

Reflecting on the title of the most recent Marvel film featuring Iron Man (Avengers: Infinity War), Musk needs to understand that money (and his investors’ patience) is not infinite. Traditional carmakers know how to make cars efficiently, Musk does not - he has shown them the future is electric and they have all now bought this idea - it could be he is left in the past.

Published 8 May 2018
Topics:
Research news

You might also like

Dr Irina Heim presents new research on policy in oil and gas regions at conference

1 July 2022
Dr Irina Heim, a member of the Centre for Euro-Asian Studies (CEAS), has published an article titled 'Environmental and Socio-Economic Policies in Oil and Gas Regions: Triple Bottom Line Approach'.
Research news Department news

Middle Eastern coaching research project

20 March 2019
This research was undertaken by Jonathan Passmore, Director of the Henley Centre for Coaching, in partnership with the International Coach Federation (ICF) and Middle Eastern ICF chapters, after a tour of the region in February 2019 encompassing Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
Research news Article

The Quiet Leader

30 April 2019
Do you have to be outgoing and extroverted to be an inspirational and effective leadership? Dr Claire Collins joins Mark Swain to discuss how her research argues (without shouting) against this misbelief.
Research news