SHere's the narrative you're going to hear about Tesla Motors, the Silicon Valley electric-car company which is prepping layoffs and replacing its CEO: The company's founding investor sweeps in to save the day. It is true that Elon Musk, the company's main financial backer, is stepping in to replace CEO Ze'ev Drori, who's staying with the company as vice chairman and a member of the board. But anyone with a sense of history should be very worried at the prospect of Musk taking the wheel.Musk lucked out twice, with the $300 million of a long-forgotten Internet portal, and the survival, despite his best efforts, of PayPal, the payments site now controlled by eBay. According to Elon Musk, Elon Musk was the driving force behind PayPal during his brief, tumultuous reign as CEO of the payments company. Musk's version of events is a fiction believed by no one else. I know this because I spoke to PayPal insiders regularly while he was CEO, and they told me of chaotic management, boneheaded marketing and technology decisions, and serious turnover under Musk's reign. That is what Tesla has to look forward to. In some sense, it's already been enduring it since Musk ousted founder Martin Eberhard and replaced him with Drori last year. Musk has been working at the company for several days a week, Darryl Siry, Tesla's VP of marketing, tells me, in an effort to portray Drori's beheading as some kind of smooth transition. With a parlous economy, Tesla was already in for a bumpy ride. Musk is keeping his second job as CEO of SpaceX, a private rocket company which has seen several botched launches. Add to that the infamous tale of his PayPal-era car crash, and you've got an entrepreneur who's better known for destroying vehicles than building them.
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