CEO Ousters: Is Elon Musk Next? | Tech Buzz

For just about my whole profession, CEOs have been virtually invulnerable. Even when Steve Jobs, Apple’s founder and lead spokesperson, tried to get then-CEO John Scully fired from Apple, he lost and
received fired himself.

I’ve watched CEOs at corporations with zero-tolerance worker relationship insurance policies have affairs with subordinates and get a go. (At Intel this was so unhealthy it appeared like an unofficial CEO perk.) Even although Jobs went behind his board’s again
to situation himself stock choices, he survived that in his time period as CEO.

Holy crap — have issues modified. Almost each week, one other CEO bites the mud for misbehavior. Last week it was model new Texas Instruments CEO Brian Crutcher. The week earlier than it was Papa John’s CEO John Shnatter (which I believe was an apparent coup).

Other than the U.S.
president, the CEO who is appearing out essentially the most proper now and nonetheless has his job is Elon Musk. (Without any proof, he
accused one of many heroic divers who carried out the Thai cave rescue of being a pedophile.) That leads me to wonder if Musk is subsequent.

I am going to share some ideas on that chance and shut with my product of the week: the Fitbit Versa, which seems to be the most effective health smartwatch in market. It’s nearer to Steve Jobs’ Apple supreme than the Apple Watch is.

The CEO Termination Feeding Frenzy

I’ve lengthy anticipated the market to activate CEOs and put them on the endangered checklist for workers, largely as a result of their compensation has change into unreasonably giant. It actually seems irresponsible, if not negligent, for boards to pay a few of these of us — significantly these operating corporations that can not seem to spell revenue — huge quantities of cash.

Instead of being humble about it, many of those of us appear to need to rub their staff’ noses on this reality. I used to be significantly shocked by Brian Krzanich, Intel’s now ex-CEO. While saying a layoff, he argued that he wanted to be paid hundreds of thousands extra as a result of he was underpaid. It was the trendy equal of the Marie Antoinette “let them eat cake” event. Given that she was beheaded, I anticipated his time period to finish badly — and it did.

Lately CEOs have been dropping like flies regardless that it is usually not identified why the fellows — and sure, they’re principally males — have been fired. The implication is that almost all of them have been behaving badly in reference to some feminine worker. However, as with all feeding frenzy, you’re prone to see some CEOs who probably should not have been fired get caught within the melee.

John Schnatter could have been somebody who simply received picked up in passing
and he is pissed. Yes, he used the “n-word,” however in context it wasn’t a racist assertion. It was only one he ought to have averted.

Yes, he should not have mentioned it, however on condition that he was on report as having averted utilizing a celeb as a result of that movie star used the phrase, Schnatter should not have lost his job. This one seems like his board simply needed him out. They could discover that messing with wealthy individuals who personal an enormous chunk of the company whose board they serve on may finish badly.

Musk Behaving Badly

I am a fan of Elon Musk as a result of he does some extremely cool issues. However, half the time I believe he simply likes to run with scissors as a result of his life should not be fascinating sufficient. The writer of Brotopia recognized him as having gone to one of many now notorious Silicon Valley intercourse events — in costume, no much less — and his excuse was that he did not see the blatant intercourse on the intercourse social gathering.

Then there was the flame thrower factor. His company (Tesla) is in essentially the most flammable state within the union however he apparently determined it might be a enjoyable concept to promote flame throwers.

Then there was the Tesla
autopilot fiasco. Even Consumer Reports
argued that when folks that see the time period “autopilot,” they suppose they’ll flip the function on after which do no matter they need, with out having to drive the automobile.

There is an previous story a couple of man who rented a motorhome and requested about cruise management, and the rental rep informed him it was like autopilot. He later drove off, set cruise management, and went to the again of the motorhome to make espresso. It did not finish nicely for him or the motorhome. That incident alone means that the one factor you by no means ought to name even superior cruise management (which is what the Tesla presently has) is “autopilot.” In my opinion, Musk needs to be held accountable for each loss of life and damage to of us who handled Tesla Autopilot prefer it was autopilot.

Then there was Musk’s now well-known dialog with monetary analysts on a conference name. They requested reliable questions, and he went off the rails on them, inflicting a pointy drop in Tesla valuation. That’s simply silly.

Most lately, he flew a small submersible to the situation the place 12 Thai soccer gamers have been trapped in a cave. It did appear like a poorly-thought-through PR stunt, and the lead diver, who clearly was centered on getting the children out, did not need to mess with an untested piece of tech. Not that it was a nasty concept, however you’d think about the system a proof of idea — not one thing you’d threat a toddler’s life on until you had no different selection. That
wasn’t the case.

Apparently, Musk did not like being informed no. When he pushed, the diver apparently informed Musk he may put the sub in an uncomfortable place in Musk’s physique. Musk’s response was to go on social media and accuse the diver of being a pedophile. That is just not a time period that’s interchangeable with “jerk.” It has penalties, and social media is a global platform. Were I Unsworth, the diver Musk attacked, I might sue Musk in France, the place they’re actually aggressive on the subject of penalizing false claims like this.

Musk manages on the ragged edge, which implies that from a monetary standpoint, his corporations are principally one mistake away from going below. Tesla, particularly, would not appear like it’ll survive the last decade. That means that somewhat than creating all of this drama, perhaps specializing in the fundamentals of operating the companies can be in Musk’s and his corporations’ finest pursuits.

Wrapping Up: We Have a Board Problem

When Brian Krzanich received fired, I identified that the probably purpose he had been put into the position — one which he clearly wouldn’t reach — was that
Intel’s board was badly fashioned. I clearly was
not the primary to come to that comparatively simple conclusion.

The latest checklist of CEO firings signifies that boards have not been husbanding their corporations nicely. They have been choosing CEOs who should not have the job, or they have been scapegoating CEOs for issues that embody all the board.

One of the issues with a scorching market is that the individuals operating the companies appear to get the impression they’ll do no incorrect, and the rise in private wealth causes them to take their eyes off the ball.

In addition, many begin to suppose they’re above the regulation, and so they drift to unhealthy administration practices and horrid governance. If this does not get fastened, I count on not solely that the following market correction may be unusually painful, but additionally scary variety of industries successfully will transfer out of the U.S.

So, whereas I more and more count on that Elon Musk will lose his CEO jobs — very like Uber’s CEO and founder lost his management position at Uber — I additionally suppose the center of the issue could also be with Musk’s boards — and simply getting Musk to maneuver on will not save his companies. Given how large a footprint Musk has on the way forward for the U.S., you would possibly argue he’s too large to fail. Yet if one thing is not finished to refocus him on his companies, his failure is unavoidable.

I used to be one of many first customers of the previous Fitbit, and a yr or so in the past I swapped my Fitbit for a Huawei smartwatch that form of sucked because it aged. It was a superb watch, however its connectivity left lots to be desired.

I lately switched again to Fitbit with its newest
Versa product, which my spouse gave me for an anniversary current. In my opinion, it’s nearer to the previous iPod customary that Steve Jobs set than the Apple watch — one thing I believe even Apple has forgotten.

Fitbit Versa

Fitbit Versa

What made the iPod so profitable wasn’t how a lot it did, however how nicely it did the few issues it did. The Apple Watch has a ton of performance, and it has matured nicely, however it’s a complicated little beast.

The Fitbit, in distinction, could be very centered on train, has some of the correct step counters in market, and would not require a PhD in Apple merchandise to make use of. It additionally works with each iOS and Android telephones, very like the iPod finally labored with each Apple and Windows PCs.

Unlike most smartwatches, which battle to have sufficient battery for a full day, the Versa can final the higher a part of per week and might recharge totally in a comparatively brief time frame (like when you are preparing within the morning).

It is comparatively small and light-weight, in comparison with different merchandise, and it seems a bit just like the Apple Watch (I might truly want it regarded extra like a watch than an iPod mini in your wrist, however Apple was clearly the design goal for this factor). At round US$200, that is additionally one of many extra fairly priced full-featured merchandise, and on condition that it received me again on the Fitbit platform, it’s my product of the week.

The opinions expressed on this article are these of the writer and don’t essentially mirror the views of ECT News Network.

Rob Enderle has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2003. His areas of curiosity embrace AI, autonomous driving, drones, private know-how, rising know-how, regulation, litigation, M&E, and know-how in politics. He has an MBA in human sources, advertising and pc science. He can be an authorized administration accountant. Enderle presently is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group, a consultancy that serves the know-how business. He previously served as a senior analysis fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester.
Email Rob.


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