Tesla and Elon Musk are in the news again. What Musk has done with Tesla (and his previous companies) is impressive and inspiring for any entrepreneur. However, he’s also continually tussled with investors and made headlines for the wrong reasons. Tesla’s exciting vehicles are Musk’s primary cash cow, but he’s also trying to build companies up to the sky with SpaceX and underground with The Boring Company. Recently published training material reveals some interesting things about the leash that The Boring Company keeps on its employees.
Musk’s history of reinventing the subway
This isn’t the first controversy Musk has seen as the leader of a company. Since the inception of The Boring Company in 2016, he has struggled to justify the expensive tunnels (TechCrunch reports that the relatively few tunnels dug beneath the Las Vegas Convention Center cost over $50 million). Additionally, it’s still unclear how this would be better than simply installing a subway, which America has successfully done for over a century.
In 2015, Musk was happy to take credit for the proposed Hyperloop. However, the project has decreased in scope in the six years since, and now the project amounts to digging a few single-lane car tunnels beneath LVCC (at the cost of $53 million). Amidst all these controversies, it seems that Musk is very concerned about what people might think of his companies, his products, and, most importantly, himself.
Boring Company drivers are forced to follow a script
Part of the training documentation reveals that Musk avoids any conversation about his negative or strange traits. If a passenger in one of the tunnel cars asks, “Is it true what I’ve read about him in the papers that he’s a mean boss?”, “Is it true that he smokes pot?” or “Is it true that he doesn’t let employees take vacations?” the driver is supposed to only reply, “I haven’t seen that article, but that hasn’t been my experience.”
Another bizarre talk track is the required response if a rider asks how long the driver has been at the job. Gizmodo shared that the employee shouldn’t give honest answers, just “Long enough to know these tunnels pretty well!” The fear is apparently that passengers might worry that the driver is too inexperienced. Finally, perhaps the most bizarre line of dialogue is that every driver is supposed to have the same opinion of Musk when asked if they like working for him. Workers are told to respond, “Yup, he’s a great leader! He motivates us to do great work!”
The future of Las Vegas tunnels and the Boring Company
Surely the company that’s gone to such great lengths to keep their employees in line is right at the precipice of greatness, right? Unfortunately for Musk, very little of this has done anything to impact the perception of Tesla or The Boring Company positively. The tunnels have very little space, making it difficult (or even impossible in some cases) to turn around or exit in the case of an emergency. If there’s a collapse or a fire, Musk could be answering for not only destruction but death too. This hasn’t stopped him from signing up to provide tunnels to other cities, though!
Millions and millions of dollars haven’t changed the fact that subways already exist, they work fine, and there’s no reason to replace them with dangerous low-occupancy vehicles. Necessity is the mother of invention, as the saying goes. It’s unclear what need Boring tunnels (or the Cybertruck) could solve, but once there’s an answer to that question, you can rest assured every Las Vegas Loop driver will be parroting it.