There aren’t many CEOs who can blame company layoffs on interplanetary space crafts and Space-based Internet. But then, there aren’t many CEOs like Elon Musk. During an investor call for Tesla on Wednesday, Musk argued that the SpaceX layoffs were completely different and due to his company’s ‘absolutely insane’ projects.
Insane or intrepid, no one likes losing their job. Come to think of it, no one likes hearing that to keep their job, they must work relentlessly and say goodbye to their work-life balance either.
Musk may be getting responsible about cost-savings. But he seems to be a touch careless when it comes to employee morale. And it may end up leading him down a bumpy road. One that the SpaceX and Tesla CEO already described as full of “extraordinarily difficult challenges.”
The SpaceX layoffs last month trimmed the company workforce by around 10 percent, with 600 employees handed their marching orders.
The company chalked up the layoffs at the time to the need to “become leaner” (read cut costs). But SpaceX employees can now take heart that their dismissal had nothing to do with the Tesla crew members who lost their 9-to-5.
In fact, the reason they got the chop was much sexier. It was due to “absolutely insane” projects that would “bankrupt the company” if Musk didn’t take action.
It turns out that colonizing Mars and providing high-speed internet from Space is rather expensive. Who knew?
Still, despite the leaner workforce, Elon Musk’s ambitious plans continue. SpaceX will keep working on finalizing Starlink (global high-speed internet from Space) and Starship (the gigantic rocket for transporting humans to Mars) with the 6,400 employees who remain.
Although, Musk admitted that SpaceX would have to be “incredibly spartan with expenditures” if they wanted their projects to come to fruition.
Yet, you can’t keep the controversial South African billionaire entrepreneur and dreamer down for long.
The day after the layoffs comment, he tweeted that the company was preparing to fire the Starship Raptor engine at SpaceX Texas.
It seems that insane projects call for insane measures. And SpaceX is still on track to deliver more surprises as 2019 unfolds.
These include the Crew Dragon capsule’s maiden launch, which is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew program. If the launch goes according to plan, it will be the first time NASA astronauts takeoff from U.S. soil since the Space Shuttle program in 2011.
Elon Musk image from DAVID MCNEW/AFP.