My remark was relative to reading the article on how he fired a man with a provocative knee jerk reaction,
I completely see your point from the engineer’s perspective. It was his first job, he’d been working 13 hour days, a very powerful man was yelling at him and when the engineer asked an innocent question, Musk fires him.
I do have a different perspective. I wouldn’t work for Musk, but I do know from working for bosses who reported directly to C-suite executives what their expectations often are. You have to be insanely prepared for any meeting with them, regardless of whether it’s a planned meeting or impromptu on an elevator ride. Don’t waste their time and get to the point with answers.
Back in the day when I was traveling, I worked on a project that two other project managers failed to complete and I was basically called in to try to fix the problems, build up a demoralized onsite team, and complete it in the next two weeks. Every night, I would get back to the hotel and leave a voice mail update for my boss on the day’s progress. But I wrote it out first word for word and hit delete and re-recorded it until it was concise and perfect because I knew my boss would forward it to his boss and I didn’t want to waste either of their time.
“Are you responsible for this equipment?” was Musk’s question. Obviously the engineer had some responsibility for it, otherwise a simple no would’ve been his response, so he should’ve come back with “I upgraded the software but the robotics department did the hardware upgrade.” Musk gave him a second opportunity to answer the question and he still screwed it up.