Last week we saw Amazon boss Jeff Bezos standing jubilantly atop one of his massive wind turbines in the middle of Texas. And now we have another billionaire entrepreneur, this time Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Instagramming from the top of his Gigafactory. What next, Richard Branson clinging to the top of a speeding Hyperloop prototype?
While Bezos was celebrating the launch of Amazon’s latest wind farm, Musk appeared to be winding down around a campfire with a drink and a sing-song after presumably spending the day on the factory floor, or somewhere close by.
For those not in the know, the Gigafactory is Tesla’s gigantic production plant near Reno, Nevada, that makes batteries for its range of electric cars.
The first we knew of Musk’s rooftop party was an Instagram shot showing about 10 folks huddled around a campfire, with the clear-cut caption: “Campfire on the Gigafactory roof.”
Next came a short video, albeit a rather fuzzy one that was perhaps reflective of the amount of booze they were getting through. In it we see Musk with a toasted marshmallow in one hand and a glass of whiskey in the other as he sings along to Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire tune.
A little while later, the CEO tweeted, “Btw, just want to express a word of appreciation for the hard work of the Tesla Gigafactory team. Reason I camped on the roof was because it was less time than driving to a hotel room in Reno. Production hell, ~8th circle.”
Production hell? Ah, that must be the same as the “manufacturing hell” that he spoke of in July this year when describing how Tesla planned to dramatically ramp up production of the Model S from 30 units in that month to 100 in August, then up to 1,500 in September, and 20,000 by December, 2017. Tesla is holding more than 500,000 reservations with refundable $1,000 deposits, Musk said.
“We’re going to go through at least a month of manufacturing hell,” Musk told reporters in the summer.
Musk’s rooftop soirée comes in the same month that the company let go of several hundred workers, among them managers, factory workers, and engineers. The action was the result of a company-wide review, with a Tesla spokesperson saying, “As with any company, especially one of over 33,000 employees, performance reviews also occasionally result in employee departures,” adding that Tesla is “continuing to grow and hire new employees around the world.”
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