I don’t believe that Musk’s insane-seeming ambitions are just about motivating his employees and suppliers. They’re also about motivating Musk.
Musk is the kind of person who runs on adrenaline, works best—or perhaps only—under insane pressure, and is gripped by existential dread the moment he finds himself working on a problem that feels the slightest bit quotidian or mundane. And he expects the same of the people who work for him.
Sending a rocket to Mars is a problem that gets Musk’s blood flowing. So is building an electric supercar, building the greatest sedan ever made, and building the biggest battery factory the world has ever seen. For that matter, so is running both Tesla and SpaceX at the same time, while also helping to lead SolarCity.
But mass production? Logistics, supply chains, assembly lines? Taking orders, fulfilling orders, setting and meeting reasonable timetables? Those aren’t Muskian problems. They’re normal human problems. And that petrifies him.