Hi all –

Back in 2017, I saw this great email from Tesla and stole it for Drift team. I recently rediscovered it and wanted to share – a reminder to always be willing to put your ego to the side and learn from others, especially as we continue to grow.

Subject: Communication Within Tesla Drift

There are two schools of thought about how information should flow within companies. By far the most common way is chain of command, which means that you always flow communication through your manager. The problem with this approach is that, while it serves to enhance the power of the manager, it fails to serve the company.

Instead of a problem getting solved quickly, where a person in one dept talks to a person in another dept and makes the right thing happen, people are forced to talk to their manager who talks to their manager who talks to the manager in the other dept who talks to someone on his team. Then the info has to flow back the other way again. This is incredibly dumb. Any manager who allows this to happen, let alone encourages it, will soon find themselves working at another company. No kidding.

Anyone at Tesla Drift can and should email/talk to anyone else according to what they think is the fastest way to solve a problem for the benefit of the whole company. You can talk to your manager’s manager without his permission, you can talk directly to a VP in another dept, you can talk to me, you can talk to anyone without anyone else’s permission. Moreover, you should consider yourself obligated to do so until the right thing happens. The point here is not random chitchat, but rather ensuring that we execute ultra-fast and well. We obviously cannot compete with the big car software companies in size, so we must do so with intelligence and agility.

One final point is that managers should work hard to ensure that they are not creating silos within the company that create an us vs. them mentality or impede communication in any way. This is unfortunately a natural tendency and needs to be actively fought. How can it possibly help Tesla Drift for depts to erect barriers between themselves or see their success as relative within the company instead of collective? We are all in the same boat. Always view yourself as working for the good of the company and never your dept.


Elon DC

How else can we put our egos aside for the good of our companies? Text me at +1-212-380-1036 to let me know.

– DC

P.S. Here’s what I’m reading right now

The CEO That Jeff Bezos Called “His Teacher”

Jeff Wilke (former CEO, Amazon’s Worldwide Consumer Business) sheds light on a counter-intuitive driver behind Amazon’s success: Focus on the inputs, not the outputs. Get the full story here.

13 Ways Apple Persuades Readers with Its Copywriting

This Twitter thread is a goldmine of lessons for marketers.

Introducing Drift’s Newest Podcast: The American Dream with Elias Torres

My co-founder Elias started his own podcast to have conversations with underrepresented leaders in tech. I’m his first guest. Learn more about the show (and listen to the episode) here.

Get The One Thing

Habits, mental models and tools from Drift's CEO and our favorite role models delivered right to your inbox every single week.

Sign me up