In the corona crisis, the politician and the entrepreneur are also united by an endless parade of failures and failures, how dangerous the pandemic actually is and how one has to deal with it – each presented with impetuous conviction and never corrected. At the beginning of March, Musk called the “coronavirus panic” “stupid”. Since then, more than 80,000 people have died of it in the United States alone.
In mid-March Musk claimed that, according to current trends, the number of new infections would be zero at the end of April – as is well known, this did not even work with the far-reaching, global contact bans, which the Tesla boss then again called fascist during an analyst call.
You have to keep that in mind when the entrepreneur breaks the rules of the county in which his Fremont plant is located. If he orders his workers back on the tapes under threat of wage cuts, a week before he is likely to be allowed to do so again quite lawfully.
Musk is a highly intelligent man with an unimaginable drive, perhaps the greatest entrepreneur of his generation. He’s digitized money with Paypal in the past two decades, as Tesla’s boss he has given a complacent car industry a shocking electric shock and commercialized space travel with Space X.
None of these breakthroughs were as obvious as they appear today. Musk is one of the “contrarians”, the lateral thinkers who have declared contradiction to the mainstream a principle. His ex-rival and Paypal colleague Peter Thiel put the creed of the lateral thinkers into an interview question that the investor supposedly asks every applicant: “What important truth do only a few people agree with?”
Elon Musk criticizes corona measures as “fascist”
Lateral thinkers are just as important in the economy as in democracy. It is not only legitimate but necessary to question the most radical restrictions on civil liberties in western democracies every day since the Second World War. Where contradiction is aimed at discussion and knowledge, it makes everyone involved smarter.
What we will learn from this pandemic for the next is a question that the world community will hopefully be able to discuss one day without knowing about it and “would have, chain of infection” arrogance.
The entrepreneur is the lateral thinker par excellence, because the question: “Why do we do it this way and not otherwise?” After all, the “so” is the status quo, which he could also manage in a permanent position.
But the difference is: informed contradiction is a service to the general public, unsuspecting contradiction is an inexpensive and in the midst of a deadly virus pandemic, a dangerous pose. Musk’s laziness to grapple seriously with the disease and its spread, even after months, speaks from each of his tweets and public statements.
He stands in stark contrast to almost all other professional lateral thinkers in Silicon Valley, who have been remarkably responsible as managers of large companies and as public role models for months. Northern California was among the first regions to impose strict curfews. While the area was initially a corona hotspot within the United States, it has so far been spared the fate of New York with tens of thousands of deaths.
Twitter boss Jack Dorsey sent his employees to the home office earlier than many others and now allows them to never return to open-plan offices. Airbnb boss Brian Chesky, whose travel platform is hit harder by the crisis than Tesla, still pays generous severance payments to laid-off employees. Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates invest in the search for vaccines and refrain from cocky statements.
A pattern is emerging: someone like Bill Gates‧, who has been dealing with public health for decades, is not at the forefront of the movement to “reopen the economy” but is cautioning. Certainly not because the Microsoft founder understands nothing about business or the challenge of running a company.
On the contrary: Zuckerberg, Dorsey, Gates and Chesky have each founded at least one billion companies, everyone has prevailed against resistance and thought outside the box to change our world – that connects them with Musk.
What differentiates them is the seriousness with which these lateral thinkers deal with the corona crisis and its consequences. Seriousness, which Musk seems to be completely missing.
More: Tesla boss Musk wants to relocate the company headquarters and production.