SpaceX's Success: A Startup Mentality, Split Personalities, and Skeletons in the Closet

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has revolutionized the space industry and shaken up the status quo of Boeing and NASA. While their success cannot be ignored, recent comments from former employees suggest that not all is well within the company. One former SpaceX employee shared their experience of working with middle management hires from SpaceX and other Musk companies during a hyper-growth phase, with most being abusive managers or simply ineffective. The situation was similar for ex-employees of Musk companies, who were described as being office politics machines, optimized to promote themselves at the expense of others. However, just because some individuals may have been problematic does not mean that SpaceX’s success is purely circumstantial.


It is worth considering that the space industry may require a startup mentality, which differs significantly from that of Boeing or NASA. This difference in culture may have been a factor in SpaceX’s success. Furthermore, the potential for a whole new industry and with the amount of liquidity in the market at the time, it is not surprising that investors were willing to provide funding for moonshots.

The article also delves into the split personality of Elon Musk’s companies. While on one hand, there exist nightmare managers and mediocre build quality, on the other hand, there are talented employees and top-tier engineering execution and innovation. This disconnect makes it challenging to understand how such organizations can survive and thrive for so long.

In conclusion, the article highlights that not all companies are perfect and that it is essential to take anecdotes with a grain of salt. While there may be some truth to experiences shared by former employees, it does not take away from the fact that SpaceX has disrupted the space industry and forced others to step up their game. The space industry and the culture within it are continually evolving, and only time will tell how it will affect the future of space exploration.

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