Elon Musk Has Been Running On 'Elon Time' Since He Was A Kid — 'I Think I Do Have An Issue With Time' – But It's Not Good For Tesla

Elon Musk, known for his ambitious timelines, has established a reputation for setting aggressive targets that his companies often fail to meet. As the CEO of Tesla Inc. and SpaceX, Musk has frequently encountered delays in delivering vehicles and launching rockets, with projects falling behind schedule by months or even years.

As a child, he relied on a clever trick devised by his younger brother to ensure he didn’t miss the school bus. Kimbal Musk, a member of Tesla's board, would lie to his older brother by telling him that the bus would arrive a few minutes ahead of schedule. This small manipulation ensured Elon Musk wouldn't be left behind.

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Decades later, the business world continues to grapple with the phenomenon known as "Elon Time." One shareholder has labeled it as confident pronouncements about delivery timelines, rollouts and milestones that often prove overly optimistic or, at worst, empty spin. Musk acknowledged his issue with time during Tesla's 2018 annual shareholders meeting, immediately after securing his position as chairman.

"I'm a naturally optimistic person. I wouldn't have done cars or rockets if I wasn't. I'm trying to recalibrate as much as possible," Musk said.

Most recently, the highly anticipated Cybertruck has faced a delay. Initially slated for production toward the end of 2023, Musk has confirmed that manufacturing will now commence "sometime this summer." However, mass production will not begin until the following year, extending the timeline beyond previous expectations.

With manufacturing figures significantly behind schedule and the company grappling with financial challenges, critics warn that "Elon time" jeopardizes Tesla's relationship with Wall Street, thereby putting the company's future at risk.

While the term "Elon time" evoked laughter during a Q&A session at the meeting, many analysts view the CEO's inclination for making unfulfilled promises as a serious matter. Steve Blank, a retired businessman teaching entrepreneurship at Stanford University, explained the dilemma facing visionary entrepreneurs. Once initial skepticism is overcome and their vision is proven, there is a tendency to believe that every pronouncement they make is infallible.

"It's not that he's been wrong," Blank said. "He's been dead right about building an industry. However, substantial amounts of money have been spent, and now the focus must be on better execution."

Despite the delays, Musk emphasized that strives to deliver on his promises, albeit not always within the originally projected timeframe. 

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