Today, Tesla announced it had had its "most productive quarter" in company history, exceeding its goal to produce 5,000 Model 3 cars in a week.
This latest victory follows countless all-nighters at the Tesla factory for CEO Elon Musk, as the company hustled to meet delayed production targets. When Musk shared that he'd been sleeping in a Tesla factory conference room earlier this year, YouTube vlogger and Tesla fan Ben Sullins started a tongue-in-cheek fundraising campaign to get the billionaire a comfy new couch.
"The idea was that he should have a decent place to sleep when he's pulling all-nighters," Sullins tells CNBC Make It. Fans raised over $9,000 in less than a week, and twice that amount ended up going to a good cause — Musk matched the funds from his foundation, bringing the total donation to charity to more than $18,000.
After Sullins personally delivered a brand new couch to Tesla's Fremont factory, Musk tweeted his gratitude – though it appears he still isn't making much use of the gift.
The billionaire now sleeps on the floor under his desk, the Wall Street Journal reports. Writers Tim Higgins and Susan Pulliam note Musk keeps a pillow on a nearby chair so that he can stay close, around the clock, to the two general assembly lines building the Model 3 sedan.
Sullins, a full-time YouTube content producer and data scientist, says that he started the campaign on April 16 as a joke: "I thought zero people would donate."
Between $7,609 in donations from 591 people on the GoFundMe site and an additional $1,500 donation collected by the Tesla Club Sweden (neither group is affiliated with Tesla), Sullins collected a total of $9,109 in less than a week. After furniture company Wayfair offered to donate the new couch, donors voted to give the money to U.K.-based renewable energy organization Renewable World.
Once Tesla confirmed that it would accept the gift, Sullins traveled from San Diego to the Fremont factory where Musk has been pulling his all-nighters to help orchestrate delivery.
Sullins didn't get to meet Musk, but he was still surprised and pleased to get a shout-out from him over Twitter. "I consider him to live on a different planet so the fact that he responded was pretty special."
Ultimately, the vlogger says he's glad his joke turned into a more meaningful project.
As for Musk, he tells the Wall Street Journal that he recognizes he has been spread thin lately, but his focus remains on continuing to hit Tesla's production goal.
"I’m feeling good about things,” Musk says. “I think there’s a good vibe — I think the energy is good."
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