Start-Up CEO Denies He Chastised Employee For Missing Work To Be At The Birth Of His Child

Photo: Matt Baron/BEImages.
Silicon Valley is not a place where work-life balance is celebrated. Why else would Google offer free meals and haircuts to its employees? And, while more and more tech companies are offering better maternity and paternity benefits, there are still rumors that taking such leave is not encouraged. The latest story involves Tesla founder Elon Musk. According to Ashlee Vance's new biography, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, Musk sent a very angry email to an employee after he missed a company meeting to be at the birth of his child. According to the Washington Post, the email read: “That is no excuse. I am extremely disappointed. You need to figure out where your priorities are. We’re changing the world and changing history, and you either commit or you don’t.” After Vox shared a story about that quote on Twitter, Musk responded with a series of tweets denying that claim and one other from the list of 20 quotes the Washington Post shared on Tuesday.
It's interesting to see Musk only denies those two among the long list of crazy stories (a roller coaster in the office, 23-hour work days, devoting just 10 hours a week to his personal relationships). His singular focus and egomania are legendary in an industry filled with workaholics. Last month, the Internet was abuzz after his ex-wife Justine Musk answered a question on Quora about how to be as great as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Elon Musk:  "Be obsessed. Be obsessed. Be obsessed," she wrote. And, while she told the New York Times she wasn't writing specifically about her ex, she does have firsthand knowledge of his habits. We reached out to Tesla for comment on its maternity and paternity policies, but no one had responded by press time. We'll update this story as more information becomes available. 

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