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“20 cent ideas matter.” Elon Musk Sends Email to All Tesla Employees

2 minutes, 11 seconds read

Without using financial terms like “P/E ratio” Musk makes clear in a beautifully simple sentence exactly what could happen to the company’s stock. “Like a soufflé under a sledgehammer” is a phrase that’s sure to get employees’ attention. Tesla provides stock options to all its employees. Thus, a drop in its share price is a direct threat to everyone who works there. 

Musk doesn’t say or imply that Tesla employees are being wasteful in their spending. His message doesn’t criticize anyone, but simply warns of something that could happen unless they remain vigilant.

He looks to inspire by focusing on how important everyone is to making Tesla successful. Tesla needs “thousands” of good ideas — implying that all Tesla employees can and should share their thoughts. He reinforces this by adding that even an idea to save 20 cents would be valuable. In other words, no employee is too low-level to share an idea, and no idea is too small.

He ends by reminding employees of the company’s mission. Then he thanks and acknowledges them. By the time they get done reading, most employees will start looking for ways to help cut costs, even though they’re being asked to do so by the second-richest man in the world.

Here is the full email.

At a time like this, when our stock is reaching new highs, it may seem as though spending carefully is not as important. This is definitely not true.

When looking at our actual profitability, it is very low at around 1% for the past year. Investors are giving us a lot of credit for future profits, but if, at any point, they conclude that’s not going to happen, our stock will immediately get crushed like a soufflé under a sledgehammer!

Much more important, in order to make our cars affordable, we have to get smarter about how we spend money. This a tough Game of Pennies – requiring thousands of good ideas to improve part cost, a factory process or simply the design, while increasing quality and capabilities. A great idea would be one that saves $5, but the vast majority are 50 cents here or 20 cents there.

In order to make the electric revolution happen we must make electric cars, stationary batteries and solar affordable to all.

Thanks and great working with you as always,

Elon

 

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