James Duncan Davidson/Victor Tangermann
Insider Perspectives

The Engineering Subreddit Is Tearing Elon Musk Apart

byDan Robitzski
Apr 26
James Duncan Davidson/Victor Tangermann

"He's great at marketing, but says a lot of stupid shit and can't take constructive criticism."


If you check the r/engineering subreddit right now, you’ll find a growing thread in which experienced engineers are dogpiling on SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

The thread began when a poster identified as a mechanical engineering student shared that they were first inspired to become an engineer by Musk but have since developed more complicated feelings on the polarizing tech mogul. So they asked their peers with more experience in the field to weigh in — and the results aren’t exactly rosy.

Marketing Master

Elon Musk has a well-earned reputation for being involved in the actual engineering of his company’s challenges, at least more than the typical tech CEO might be. But even though he is sometimes hands-on, the Redditors really criticized Musk for the way he crafts narratives that vastly oversell what his tech can actually do.

“He’s great at marketing, but says a lot of stupid shit and can’t take constructive criticism,” said one Redditor. “His companies do some cool stuff, but I’d never want to work at one.”


Burnout Brigade

Another common criticism was that Musk’s employees generally have to work long hours under not-great conditions. That makes his companies a great place to work for those who are believers in the promises and benefits of electric cars and reusable rockets, but also makes it hard to stay put for long without burning out, the engineers said.

“I’ve worked with NASA/Contractor launch engineers at [the Kennedy Space Center] who moved to SpaceX,” another Redditor replied. “They seem to regret the move due to toxic work culture, little training and team integration, insane hours, and low pay. You earn more per month because you work 80 hours a week but the hourly rate is low. I think SpaceX tends to attract young engineers fresh out of college who don’t have a comparison of what is a good work environment.”

READ MORE: Experienced Engineers: What’s your opinion of Elon Musk? [r/engineering]

More on Elon Musk: Elon Musk Says SpaceX Can Still Land Astronauts on Moon by 2024


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