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和伊隆·马斯克一起工作是什么样的感觉?

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译者:starshack 原文作者:Dolly Singh
发布:2017-05-14 00:02:24 挑错

After working for Elon for over 5 years at SpaceX as the Head of Talent Acquisition, there are many potential answers to this question.  Any answer I might give will be completely colored by my own experiences, so full disclaimer this is not an unbiased piece free of personal narrative.  

It is said that you cannot dream yourself a character; you must hammer and forge one yourself. If any leader and any company has done that, and continues to do that it is SpaceX.  To try and capture in words what  working with Elon is like, I’d like to share some specific memories, particularly of one really rough day and its epic aftermath.    

我在SpaceX作为人事部招聘主人为伊隆工作了5年,对这个问题有太多可以谈的了。不过事先申明,这里写的完全是我个人的看法,不是不带个人观点的客观报道。

人们说,个性不是想象出来的,是通过磨练形成的。如果说有任何公司成功的塑造出了企业的个性,而且坚持不懈,那SpaceX得算个中翘楚。让我来分享一些特殊的记忆,看能不能用文字形容和伊隆·马斯克工作的体验。那是特别艰难的一天,以及其后的可以记入史诗的余波。

On Aug 2 2008, 8 months after I joined the company, SpaceX launched its third flight of the Falcon 1 launch vehicle.  Falcon 1 was the predecessor to the Falcon 9 launch vehicles that the company flies today.  

It was a defining moment for the company. Elon had a couple years prior stated in the press that his $100M personal investment in the company would get us up to 3 tries and if we couldn’t be successful by the third flight we may have to admit defeat.  In addition to the pressure created by this narrative in the press, the lobbyist armies of our competitors  (largest, most powerful defense contractors in the world) had been in overdrive in DC trying to undermine SpaceX and damage our credibility by painting us as too risky and inexperienced in order to protect their multi-billion dollar interests in the space launch business.  

2008年8月2日,那是我加入公司8个月后,SpaceX第三次试射猎鹰1号运载火箭。猎鹰1号是现在的猎鹰9号的前身。

对于公司这是个决定性的时刻。伊隆几年前就对媒体说过,他个人的1亿美元投资可以支付三次试射,如果第三次还不成功,就只能认输了。压力不仅仅来自这样的背景,我们的竞争者(最大、最有势力的国防供应商)也派出大量说客,试图影响华盛顿,阻挠我们的进程,破坏SpaceX的声誉,以保全他们在火箭发射这个产业里数十亿的生意。他们说我们所做的事情风险太高,我们太缺乏经验。

SpaceX executed a picture perfect flight of the first stage (portion of the flight that gets the vehicle away from Earth’s gravity and where the vehicle experiences max Q/maximum dynamic pressure, or basically where the conditions on the vehicle are physically the harshest) clearing some of the highest risk points of mission.  

However, shortly after the first stage flight, immediately following stage separation (when the first stage of the vehicle detaches and falls away from the 2nd stage of the vehicle which continues its journey to space) we lost the vehicle and mission.  

第一节发射(第一节推进让火箭脱离地球引力,火箭在这一节推进中要承受最大的动态压力,所以是对火箭结构和材料上最有挑战的一节)堪称完美,很多最大的风险点都在这一节。

但是在紧接着的分离环节(火箭第一节和第二节分离,第一节坠落,第二节继续向太空航行),我们失去了火箭,发射失败了。

SpaceX, VP of Propulsion Tom Mueller, the modern day godfather of rocket science and one of the most brilliant scientific minds on the planet, and his team had done such a great job redesigning the vehicles engines systems that they were even more efficient and powerful than in some ways projected. 

We turned off the first stage engine, and then proceeded to separate the vehicle stages; however when the stages uncoupled there was still a little leftover ‘kick’ or thrust in the first stage engine- so our first stage literally rear ended our second stage immediately after we had tried to separate the two sections of the vehicle. It was a devastating emotional experience.

SpaceX负责推进动力部的副总裁汤姆·穆勒,当代火箭科学之父、地球上最聪明的科学家之一,带领他的团队重新设计了火箭发动机,使它比当初预计的有更大推力,也更有效率。

我们关掉第一节的发动机,然后开始分离。但是分离后第一节还有一些残余推动力,导致它在分离后“追尾”了第二节。这是令人承受难受的灾难性时刻。

I stood around with the then 350 or so employees, and we cheered the vehicle on as it took off, and as we were watching the mission clock and knew that the stages were about to separate - the video feed was cut.  The company is on a 20 second viewing delay from the mission control team as we are being projected the external press feed which is delayed in case of major mission anomalies.  So when we lost video, we knew something had gone  wrong in a big way.  

我和350多个员工站在一起,我们在起飞时欢呼,我们盯着时钟知道第一节分离的时间要到了,这时候视频断了。我们看的是和提供给外界媒体一样的视频,这个视频比控制小组看到的延时20秒,好让控制小组有时间对重大变故做出反应。所以视频中断的时候,我们就知道大事不妙了。

Elon and about 7-8 of the most senior technical people at SpaceX were commanding the mission from a trailer in the back of the Hawthorne factory; and we all waited anxiously for the trailer door to open and for someone to tell us something.  The mood in the building hung thick with despair; you have to keep in mind that by this point SpaceX was 6 years old, and many people have been working 70-80+ hours a week, swimming against extremely powerful currents, like difficult  barriers in technology, institution, politics, and finance- by sheer force of their blood and sweat.

They had all given so much, were mentally and physically exhausted, and really needed a win in order to replenish their spiritual wells and give them the faith to keep following this man up a treacherous mountain that had depleted the hopes and resources of the many others who had come to conquer it.  

This night would forever impact the future of the company, it had the potential to send the company into a downward spiral, from which we may not have ever recovered. A failure in leadership would have destroyed us not only from the eyes of the press or potential consumers but it would have destroyed us internally.  

伊隆和七八个SpaceX的顶尖技术人员在停在霍桑市厂房后面的拖车里指挥这次发射。我们都焦急的等待着拖车门打开,有人出来告诉我们究竟发生了什么事。空气里都是凝重而绝望的气息。要知道这时候SpaceX六岁了,很多员工一直以来一周工作70到80多个小时,挥洒血汗克服技术、机构、政治、财务等等邻域的各种困难,在极端艰难的情况下逆流而上。

他们都付出了那么多,身心俱疲。这座高峰消曾磨尽了很多人的希望与资源, 他们非常须要一次成功来坚定他们跟着这个人继续攀登险峰的信念。

这个夜晚将会影响公司的未来,我们有可能从此走下坡路,再也无法翻身。如果这时候领导不当,我们不仅在媒体和潜在顾客眼中毁了,内部也会土崩瓦解。

When Elon came out he walked past the press and first addressed the company. Although his exact words escape me in how he started off, the essence of his comments were that:

伊隆出来之后,他走过了媒体,先对公司员工发表了讲话。我都不记得他怎么开的头,但是他的讲话大意如此:

We knew this was going to be hard, it is after all rocket science;  then listed the half dozen or so countries who had failed to even successfully execute a first stage flight and get to outer space, a feat we had accomplished successfully that day. 

Elon has (in his infinite wisdom) prepared for the possibility of an issue with the flight by taking on a significant investment (from Draper Fisher Jurvetson if I recall correctly)  providing SpaceX with ample financial resources to attempt 2 more launches; giving us security until at least flight 5 if needed.  

And that we need to pick ourselves up, and dust ourselves off, because we have a lot of work to do.  Then he said, with as much fortitude and ferocity as he could muster after having been awake for like 20+ hours by this point that, “"For my part, I will never give up and I mean never,” and that if we stick with him, we will win.  

我们知道这会很艰难,不然这也不叫火箭科学了(注:英文火箭科学也用来通指艰深复杂的东西)。然后他列举了六七个第一节试射都没能成功的国家,而我们那天已经做到了。

伊隆(以他无尚的智慧)已经对可能出现的试射失败做了准备,(从DFJ创投公司)取得了一笔可观的投资,足以支持SpaceX再做两轮试射,这样如果需要的话我们一共有五次机会。

我们得振作起来,拍拍身上的尘土往前走,前面还有好多事要做。他这时候已经20多个小时没睡了,但他带着坚韧和激情的语气说,“从我个人来说,我绝不会放弃,永远不会。”他说如果我们和他一起,会取得最终的胜利。

I think most of us would have followed him into the gates of hell carrying suntan oil after that.  It was the most impressive display of leadership that I have ever witnessed.  Within moments the energy of the building went from despair and defeat to a massive buzz of determination as people began to focus on moving forward instead of looking back. This shift happened collectively, across all 300+ people in a matter of not more than 5 seconds. I wish I had video footage as I would love to analyze the shifts in body language that occurred over those 5 seconds. It was an unbelievably powerful experience. 

我觉得这之后,大多数人即使是走向地狱之门也会拿上防晒霜跟随他。这是让我最印象深刻的领导力的展现。大楼内的情绪一下子从绝望变成了众志成城的决心,人们不再困于过去,开始向前看。三百多人的情绪在不到5秒的时间里变化了。真希望能有当时的录像,我就可以好好研究一下人们在这5秒钟里的肢体语言。那是一个强大得叫人难以置信的体验。

What happened in the days and weeks following that night is nothing short of a series of miracles:

Within a matter of hours the SpaceX team identified the likely cause of the launch failure. Typically turnaround time from others in the launch business can range from weeks to months for failure investigations. Our team combed through every ounce of data to make sure we understood exactly what went wrong as quickly as possible.

By Aug 6th we announced the results of our investigation and came 100% clean with our supporters and customer community in order to make sure we could retain their trust in this difficult time. 

In 7 weeks, we had another rocket fully manufactured, integrated and on location ready to fly again. No one else could have done this in less than 6 months with unlimited human and financial resources; SpaceX did it in 6 weeks, with less than 400 people and on a restricted financial diet.  

On Sept 28 2008, SpaceX flew its Falcon 1 launch vehicle from Kwajalein Atoll in the south pacific and executed its first 100% successful launch becoming the world’s first privately built rocket to achieve earth orbit.  An accomplishment of truly epic portions and a task previously completed by only 6 mightiest nations in the history of the world.  A much needed and much deserved victory for the entire SpaceX team and as it hopefully will turn out the future of humanity overall. 

之后几周的事情简直是一系列的奇迹。

SpaceX的团队事发几小时内就发现了造成发射失败的潜在原因。在火箭发射这个行业里,这种调查一般要花几周至几个月。我们的团队研究了所有相关数据以确保我们尽快而且准确的知道出错的地方。

我们在8月6日公布了调差结果,对我们的支持者和客户毫无隐瞒,这让我们不会在这样艰难的时刻失去他们的信任。

我们在7周之内建造并组装好了另一只火箭,并准备好再次试射。即使不受资金和人力所限,也没有其他人能在6个月之内做到的事情,SpaceX的400名员工用了6周并且是在资金有限的情况下做到了。

2008年9月28日,SpaceX在南太平洋马绍尔群岛瓜加林环礁成功发射了猎鹰1号。这是SpaceX第一次100%成功的发射,并且是第一次有私营企业制造的火箭在地球轨道运行。这是一次划时代的成功,在此之前这是只有世界上最强大的六个国家能做到。这是所有SpaceX团队期盼已久的成功,这是推动整个人类未来的成功。

So for those who ask the question, this is in my opinion the true character of Elon Musk. Undeterred in the face of all odds, undaunted by the fear of failure, and forged in the battlefields of some of the most terrifyingly technical, and capital intensive challenges that any human being could choose to take on.  Somehow he comes out alive, every time - with the other guy's head on a platter. 

Working with him isn’t a comfortable experience, he is never satisfied with himself so he is never really satisfied with anyone around him. He pushes himself harder and harder and he pushes others around him the exact same way. The challenge is that he is a machine and the rest of us aren’t. So if you work for Elon you have to accept the discomfort. But in that discomfort is the kind of growth you can’t get anywhere else, and worth every ounce of blood and sweat.

所以你问和伊隆工作是什么样的,我觉得这些代表了他的真实品质。他的不畏艰难,无惧失败,是在人类所能面对的在资金和技术上最有挑战性的战场上磨练出来的品质。而且他每次都能击败所有的对手。

和伊隆工作并不让人舒服,他对自己从不满足,对身边的人也是如此。他总是不断挑战自己的极限,也要求他周围的人也这样做。他工作起来像个机器,而我们只是凡人。所以如果你准备为他工作就要做好心理准备。但是在他的严苛之下,你会得到在别处无法达到的成长,这让每一滴血汗都有价值。


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