Sacrificing Sleep For Productivity Gave ‘Brain Pain,’ Says Elon Musk

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who last year described himself as “fairly nocturnal,” is known for his history of working through the night and even sleeping beneath his desk to meet deadlines. Recently, however, he revealed that he is endeavoring to secure at least six hours of sleep every night.

In an interview with CNBC on Tuesday, Musk said, “I’ve tried to sleep less, but even though I’m awake more hours, I get less done. And the brain pain level is bad if I get less than six hours of sleep per night.”

Musk said he often works seven days per week and only takes “two or three” truly workless vacation days yearly. However, he said he doesn’t expect his employees to model that behavior.

“I’m also not saying [people] shouldn’t take vacations,” Musk added. “I work seven days a week, but I’m not expecting others to do that.”

Sacrificing Sleep For Productivity Gave ‘Brain Pain,’ Says Elon Musk

When Tesla was still a struggling company in 2017, Elon Musk admitted he fired employees who had the weakest performance reviews. And he made no apologies for it. If you have two boxers of equal ability and one’s much smaller, the big guy’s going to crush the little guy–obviously.

So, the little guy better have a heck of a lot more skill … or he is going to get clobbered. So that is why our standards are high. They’re not high because we believe in being mean to people. They’re high because if they’re not high, we will die.

He believes it’s critical to separate the good from the great. His decision to slash half of Twitter’s staff of 7,500 his first week at the helm was more controversial. Did he fire the least effective employees? Did he even have enough time to figure out who they were? The purge continued two weeks later

In a late-night company-wide email titled, “A fork in the road,” Musk reiterated the kind of person he wants working for him. They’re the ones who “Work extremely hardcore.” “This will mean working long hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.”

Anyone who didn’t commit by clicking the enclosed link was forced to leave the company. Hundreds are believed to have headed out the door, flooding Twitter with salute emojis. But Musk assured that “The best people are staying, so I’m not super worried.”

These are some of the “best people,” according to the boss. So, what kind of a person makes the cut under Elon Musk? Probably not the ones wearing these shirts found at Twitter headquarters. Clip There’s an entire, entire closet full of hashtag-woke t-shirts.

In all seriousness, apparently, they have to be a bit like him. He’s the most driven person I think I’ve ever met Former NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman now works as a consultant for SpaceX. Musk has famously slept at Tesla’s factories during the most challenging times, like in 2018 when Tesla struggled with the production of the Model 3.

He said he was working 120 hours a week. Although he said the expectations of his staff are “much less than I demand of myself,” his team suffered along with him. They were expected to put in long hours, too. Musk says there was no other way to turn Tesla around as he told journalist Kara Swisher.

It is absurd that Tesla is alive. Absurd. Absurd. So what do you accredit that to? Excruciating effort. By you? 100-hour weeks. By everyone. By everyone here at Tesla. Yes. There wasn’t some other way to do this. It was through the sheer force of their blood and sweat and perhaps some tears that Tesla saw the light at the end of a long, dark tunnel and survived 2018.

He’s now bringing that same work mentality to Twitter in 2022. He claims the app is losing $4 million a day and that he has no other choice but to cut costs and whip Twitter into shape through extreme effort. Musk told Twitter staff they are expected in the office at least 40 hours a week, and reportedly warned them to brace for 80-hour work weeks, which would be quite the change from what many are used to.

Senior Twitter engineer Siru Murugesan was secretly recorded by the conservative group Project Veritas admitting he only worked four hours a week. Musk believes working extraordinarily long hours gives an extraordinary advantage. Here’s what he said in 2010.

Work like hell. I mean, you just have to put in 80 to 100-hour weeks every week. All those things improve the odds of success. If other people are putting in 40-hour workweeks and you’re putting in 100-hour workweeks, then even if you’re doing the same thing, you know that you will achieve in four months what it takes them a year to achieve.

He’s also banned working from home for ALL his companies except in exceptional circumstances as he believes people slack off when they aren’t in the office. Audio leaked to ABC News reveals that a Twitter employee challenged him on his mandatory return to office policy.

Even if people return to the office, the offices are separate offices — we won’t be in person anyways. Yes, but you can still maximize the amount of in-person activity. Tesla is not one place either…basically if you can show up at an office and you do not show up at the office, resignation is accepted — end of the story.

Returning to the office will no longer include the luxury of free lunches, a common perk at big tech companies. Musk has cut this from Twitter’s budget. But it’s not enough to simply work hard without free food at Elon Musk’s companies.

He’s demanding that his employees be extremely talented. Musk confirmed, “Those writing great code will constitute the majority of our team.” Twitter is a software company at its heart where engineers must be on the alert when someone hacks the system, or when a major bug crashes the system.

And if he wants to turn Twitter into the “everything app” like what WeChat has become in China, engineers will be the ones tasked with adding new features. He believes a small group of highly talented engineers can be more effective than a large group of engineers who are just pretty good.

He explained during a Q&A with Twitter employees: “If you look at, say, the Tesla Autopilot AI team, it’s about 150 engineers, and they’re outperforming teams that they’re competing against that are 3,000 engineers.” So Twitter 2.0 is relying on a much smaller workforce to get more done.

They also have to deal with setbacks after Musk’s overhaul. There’s been a mass drop in revenue as advertisers have pulled out, unsure of the new direction under the new boss. Musk tried implementing an $8-a-month subscription plan for people to be verified but had to put it on hold after some users started impersonating brands.

And now, the company must brace for what’s to come after Musk allowed Donald Trump back on Twitter in his promise to save free speech. He reversed the ban on Trump after his Twitter poll showed people narrowly wanted the former president back.

Other tech companies are watching Musk closely. They’ve suffered in the post-pandemic world. Meta recently laid off 11,000 workers. Amazon plans to cut thousands of people, continuing layoffs in 2023. If Musk can run a lean ship, and be profitable, this will signal to other tech firms that it’s possible to be lean and green.

But it will not be easy getting there. It’s hard-working for Elon Musk. Take it from Dolly Singh, the former head of talent acquisition at SpaceX, who witnessed the failure of the third launch of the Falcon 1, the predecessor to today’s Falcon 9.

By that point, Musk had burned through the $100 million he put into his private rocket company. Dolly Singh admitted on the question-and-answer site Quora, “Working with him isn’t a comfortable experience, he is never satisfied with himself so he is never really satisfied with anyone around him.

He pushes himself harder and harder and he pushes others around him the exact same way. The challenge is that he is a machine and the rest of us aren’t. So if you work for Elon you have to accept the discomfort. But in that discomfort is the kind of growth you can’t get anywhere else, and worth every ounce of blood and sweat.”

In the case of SpaceX, persistence paid off. An investment from a venture capital firm made it possible for SpaceX to attempt a fourth flight, which was ultimately successful. Stage separation is confirmed! SpaceX’s achievements are still being written. But the road to get to today has not been easy for employees. And neither will the road be easy for employees at his latest company.

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Information Source: benzinga, Newsthink

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