Tesla is leading a revolution in one of the largest and most competitive industries in the world: automotive. They're doing it on not one but three innovation fronts: electric, self-driving, and design.
Finding and retaining the best people has to be job one, and the Tesla board just made another bold move to do just that. Elon Musk's new compensation plan, which has to be approved by shareholders, commits Musk to ten more years of annual market growth and revenue growth. For each year of success, Musk would receive shares of the company equal to 1 percent of the shares outstanding now.
Planning for 10x Tesla growth.
For Musk to execute this audacious growth plan, Tesla would need to reach $650 billion in market cap in 10 years. Today, it's around $60 billion. Tesla's investor relations team made the plan public last night. The release highlights the success of the last plan while tying everything back to team:
"The award is modeled after Elon's 2012 performance award, which helped bring about a more than 17-fold increase in Tesla's market cap in the five years after it was put in place. Elon will receive no guaranteed compensation of any kind -- no salary, no cash bonuses, and no equity that vests simply by the passage of time. Instead, Elon's only compensation will be a 100 percent at-risk performance award, which ensures that he will be compensated only if Tesla and all of its shareholders do extraordinarily well. Because all Tesla employees are provided equity, this also means that Elon's compensation is tied to the success of everyone at Tesla."
Musk is already on the record that he's with Tesla for life--it's not about keeping him.
Some analysts suggest this aggressive compensation plan is about motivating Musk to stay. Rather, I see it as clarifying for the world the goals, vision, and commitment of Musk and the company to take Tesla to the stars. By putting such a public and aggressive plan out there, Tesla courts investors who are interested in backing a company aggressive enough to take on the world--literally.
Just as critical for growth, Tesla also courts technical talent that may feel like Tesla "has arrived," and thus stock options and other benefits may be less meteoric than at other startups. With this sort of plan in place for 10x growth, top potential employees and executives can see a clear upside in the company's quest. Those who prefer calmer jobs can look elsewhere. It's pitch-perfect planning.
The plan rewards Musk for growing as a leader, planner, and executor to scale Tesla.
As this plan succeeds, Tesla would become far more than "an automotive company"--it would become the largest automotive company in the world. Today, that company is Toyota, at around $175 billion market cap. If on track, this plan has Tesla soaring past Toyota in the next five years.
Where is it going from there? As you might expect, Tesla is clear on that. They plan to be "the world's first vertically-integrated sustainable energy company, from generation to storage to consumption." Rolling out solar roofs, trucking, battery technology, and of course, incredibly sleek and fun cars, are all part of the plan. The $650 billion in market cap target would put Tesla in the rarefied air of the very few companies--all in tech--that have made that mark. We're talking about global giants like Alphabet, Apple, and Microsoft. As the markets opened this morning, Tesla stock is ticking up, and people are signing up with Elon Musk for the ride ahead.