How Can A Genius Be So Dumb? Does the Disruptor Need Disruption?

(Sidebar: Turns out pictures of Trump also show up when you search Google images for dumb.)

But I’m not talking about him. I’m talking about the guy who famously said that changing the world requires 80-hour weeks.  I wonder what the author of the 4-Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss, would say about that. I’d have to imagine he has a portfolio full of case studies of people who are changing the world and working FEWER hours.

So Elon Musk, in case you didn’t realize who I quoted, is CEO of four different companies concurrently, all of which he has charged with disrupting industry. He’s one of the most innovative minds of our times, able to leverage the best in technology and science to do things most would have thought impossible. BUT, he seems completely ignorant of what science has proven about human performance optimization.

According to a Wired article, though Elon was able to finally achieve producing 5000 Model 3s in a week, his factory machinery and car features had been riddled with errors. His workers are avoiding any potential contact that could spark a firing tantrum. According to Tesla’s Glassdoor reviews, people are being micromanaged and turnover is high.  Do we even need science to know that these conditions do not lead to sustained success or growth?

It’s no wonder why he’d love nothing more than for someone to come along and take his open source designs and start a company to compete with him. Actually, I’d really love that, too. I’d love someone to come along and leverage his science and technology as well as neuroscience and human performance optimization techniques to surpass him and prove to him that not only can you can change the world in a reasonable work week, but you can do it faster and better, more collaboratively, and solve even more problems when your workforce is rested, inspired and encouraged to have enriching experiences outside of work, as science proves.

I wonder what would happen if workers were encouraged and supported in stretching every 25 minutes, exercising every morning, taking half-hour breaks 3 times per workday, and working a 35 hour work week.

I wonder what would happen if instead of being berated when something doesn’t work, workers were told to meditate or engage in a cathartic activity. I wonder how they might perform better if they were trusted to fix their own mistakes.

I wonder how much faster solutions would occur.

I wonder what would happen if he turned around his employment brand and was able to attract twice the genius to cover the same amount of hours, but put twice the brain power on issues and plans.

I wonder how many fewer mistakes would be made and how much faster production would be.

I wonder how much more profitable Tesla could be. I wonder if he would actually then acquire the GM plant and re-employ its workers but under favorable conditions. I wonder if he could do that with many other abandoned plants. I wonder if Detroit could have a second hay day as the Motor City.

I challenge any who have the experience, resources, and funding to disrupt the disruptor. Anyone up for it?


Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (, is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business, will be an Associate Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department in 2019,  and is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.

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