I discuss the following highlights from Elon Musk’s interview with Financial Times (https://www.ft.com/content/a7f75d25-d710-4aaa-9f57-49e24d67744d) for their Person of the Year award.
1. “For a long time, the rest of the auto industry was basically calling Tesla and me fools and frauds. They were saying electric cars wouldn’t work, you can’t achieve the range and performance. And even if you did that, nobody would buy them.”
2. “I felt they [National Transportation Safety Board] pursued press headlines over real safety. That’s obviously [something] I do not respect, nor should be respected. It’s certainly possible for some assh*** to compile the handful of times that I’ve disagreed with regulations, write a story and make it sound as though I’m some, like, madman shooting from the hip. At no point am I suggesting that any regulatory agency be disbanded, or anything like that. I’m not some sort of mad-cap libertarian.”
3. Is Musk’s bad-boy Twitter persona part of some elaborate marketing plan… He laughs at the question. “I mean, are you not entertained? I’m not saying I don’t make foolish tweets, of course I do. There are times when I shoot myself in the foot. But you know, on balance, it’s entertaining and interesting, informative, whatever.”
4. “The thing that people who don’t work with me don’t understand is that I’m first and foremost an engineer. How have Tesla and SpaceX succeeded when other companies have far more resources and money than I do? The problem is they can’t hire me.” He also says a dedication to engineering excellence and a focus on important challenges has been critical to attracting top engineering talent.
5. Musk says he spends seven days and 80-90 hours a week bouncing between the most critical projects at Tesla and SpaceX. “It’s not like I arbitrarily try to micromanage. I am actually involved in triage: What is the most useful thing that I can do? And I am very good at technology and engineering. Everyone’s got their talents, that’s one of mine. I can’t sing or dance, but I can do that.”
6. He says Bezos has “reasonably good engineering aptitude but he does not seem to be willing to spend mental energy getting into the details of engineering. The devil’s in the details. In some ways, I’m trying to goad him into spending more time at Blue Origin so they make more progress. As a friend of mine says, he should spend more time at Blue Origin and less time in the hot tub.”
7. “I am confident we don’t need new physics [for Starship]. But it is just a staggeringly difficult technical problem. I sometimes wonder, is it actually within the ability of humans to do this? I know that it can be done, but it remains to be done.”
8. “I didn’t think we would have to solve a significant part of artificial intelligence to make FSD work”. But he adds that he is now “99.9 per cent — round it up to 100 per cent — confident full self driving will work, it’s just a question of when.
Apple Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/dave-lee-on-investing/id1493031991
Dave Lee on Parenting, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWD9b1BZqi2G2u30sGYIFrA
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