On Monday, Sept. 27, Elon Musk nosed out Jeffrey B. to become the world’s richest man, at over $200 billion, but he’s not living nearly as rich and famous as one would expect.
- No super yacht.
- No private Caribbean island.
- No professional sports team.
- He doesn’t even take vacations.
He probably got used to going to the candy store and buying 10 of everything a long time ago.
Having sold off all of his real estate assets in California, Musk now lives in a tiny US$50,000 375 sq. ft. rental box house in Boca Chica, located at the southernmost tip of Texas, where SpaceX produces its Starships.
He’s the Silicon Valley Übermensch, the maverick boss of Tesla and SpaceX who wants us to ditch fossil fuels and to colonize Mars and who can create or wipe out billions of dollars with a single tweet.
He founded X.com in 1999, which later became PayPal.
He sold PayPal for $1.5 billion in 2002 to start up SpaceX later in 2002 and Tesla in 2003.
His Starlink is a satellite internet constellation launching satellites (over 1,800 satellites so far, eventual target 30,000) into orbit to deliver high-speed broadband internet to as many people as possible.
He founded Neuralink, a neurotechnology company developing implantable brain–machine interfaces (BMIs), that aims to connect your neocortex to the Cloud, raising your IQ by many, many orders of magnitude.
He always reinvests in his own ideas and his ideas are not just good, but transformative.
So what’s not to love?
It’s interesting whenever Elon Musk’s name comes up and people begin discussing his accomplishments, such as the reinvention of money (PayPal), automobiles (Tesla), space travel (SpaceX), internet delivery (Starlink), and human intelligence (Neuralink), there’s always someone who says:
“Yeah, but I hear he can be a real ….”
Take that, Elon!!!!
So then, let’s be totally honest here, because in your heart, you know, and I know, that you can be a real dick, too.
So can I, and, if we’re being truly honest, so can, say, the Pope.
Francis probably has to be a dick 10 times a week.
I mean, Good Grief, c’mon, Francis, just apologise for those darn residential schools/concentration camps!!
And please shut down the world’s largest Pedophile Protection Program!!
So since when does being a …. somehow invalidate you as a person?
We all hate a goody two-shoes, so come on, what kind of perfect behaviour is it you expect from a person, any person, let alone Elon Musk?
As Boris so eloquently puts it, “Donnez-moi un break!!!”
“But he seems like he’s only out for publicity”
Elon Musk is actually terrible at publicity.
He has Asperger’s.
When being interviewed he’s stiff and opaque, overly techy and nerdy and difficult to connect with – Richard Branson is a million times better with publicity, but there’s something about Musk that makes Branson seem a thousand years old.
“But he seems like he’s trying to manipulate the media”
He’s terrible at that, too.
After the deplatforming of Donald Trump, Musk is undebateably the planet’s alpha tweeter.
One of those Kardashians can make a line of armpit hair remover go viral, but Musk can generate or destroy billions of dollars of wealth in three or four words.
Why on earth would he bother wasting three brain cells trying to manipulate the media?
He isn’t someone who needs to kiss ass for press because what he does is already fantastically interesting.
“But he’s just out to make money”
a) So what if he is???
But, b) He isn’t.
He’s just doing what he does.
“Going from PayPal, I thought, ‘Well, what are some of the other problems that are likely to most affect the future of humanity?’” he told graduates during his 2012 commencement speech at the California Institute of Technology.
“It really wasn’t from the perspective of what’s….. the best way to make money.”
It was during that time that he was inspired to found SpaceX and Tesla, Tesla in 2003 because it would help solve the problem of sustainable energy and SpaceX in 2002 because it would help “make life multi-planetary,” he told the Caltech graduates.
“I gave both SpaceX and Tesla a probability of less than 10% to succeed,” he said.
Now, however, SpaceX is valued at more than $74 billion and Tesla makes $26 billion in sales annually.
At the time of writing, he’s the richest person on Earth, nosing ahead of Jeffrey B.
He probably got used to going to the candy store and buying 10 of everything a long time ago.
He lives modestly in a humble home worth USD$50,000 that he rents from SpaceX on its launch site in Boca Chica, Texas.
The tiny house, which was produced by Boxable and assembled from a box in just one day, measures a tiny 375 square feet and includes the bare essentials such as a living area, bathroom, bed and kitchen.
The Las Vegas-based company’s houses are designed for affordability and ease of construction and look like a studio apartment, although they are also customisable.
“But self-driving cars will kill people!”
Musk didn’t just generate a few fundamental patents and move to Santa Barbara to golf for the rest of his life.
Every day he tries to reinvent the wheel and it’s working.
He always reinvests in his own ideas and his ideas are good.
Not just good. but often transformative.
Shopped online lately with PayPal?
Ever wanted to visit the International Space Station?
Want a new electric car?
Want internet at your cottage in the boondocks?
Ever wish for a better brain?
With cars alone, Musk pretty much single-handedly shamed and forced the global auto industry to accelerate the electric car rollout by at least 10 years.
“But I hear he treats his employees badly”
First, we already discussed this: he can be a …., so don’t be surprised when he is.
Second, people know they’re going to be working with Elon Musk, so they can’t play Woe is Me if he goes Elon on them.
And third, he’s incredibly smart and is used to working with the world’s smartest and most accomplished people, so if you don’t cut the mustard then you didn’t cut the mustard.
And here’s something funny he actually said to someone who was pissing him off in the Tesla factory:
“You know, I could be drinking mai tais with naked supermodels, but instead I’m here with you.”
He has a point.
“But I don’t get his jokes.”
Elon Musk and his most recent crush, singer Grimes (Canadian Claire Elise Boucher) have something in common: they blend art history with artificial intelligence to make the nerdiest, most niche jokes.
The new couple arrived at the Met Gala together in 2018, Musk in a white priest-looking tux and Grimes dressed as a goth robot.
Musk wanted to tweet a joke about AI, but Grimes had already made it.
Roko’s Basilisk is a thought experiment that questions the risks of AI, hypothesizing a reality where potential robot overlords take over and enslave humans.
Rococo is a style from the end of the French baroque period, characterized by ornate decorations, dense ornaments, and theatrical asymmetry.
Musk wanted to combine the two into “Rococo Basilisk,” which is a play on how ridiculous and complex both concepts are.
It’s a joke that only about two people in the entire world would probably get.
Those two people just happened to be Musk and Grimes.
Grimes made the pun three years ago, creating a character called Rococo Basilisk for her song “Flesh Without Blood.”
She said that the character “is doomed to be eternally tortured by an artificial intelligence, but she’s also kind of like Marie Antoinette.”
While Musk was researching the concept, he saw that Grimes had already made the pun and reached out to her.
The anonymous source said it was the “first time in three years that anyone understood the joke.”
After they both cracked up laughing, they began flirting on Twitter in the least subtle way, being super nerdy together.
Here are a few readily available facts about Musk:
…Musk has Canadian roots. His mother, Maye Musk, is a Canadian model born in Regina, the oldest woman to star in a Covergirl campaign (an American cosmetics brand), and has been featured on the cover of Time magazine and the front of Kellogg’s Special K box.
…As a child, Musk was so lost in his daydreams about inventions that his parents and doctors ordered a test to check his hearing.
…At about the time of his parents’ divorce, when he was 10, Musk developed an interest in computers, taught himself how to program, and when he was 12, sold his first software: a game he created called Blastar.
…Musk arrived in Canada from South Africa in 1988, and lived with a cousin in Saskatchewan for a year, working odd jobs at a farm and lumber-mill.
…“It was a close call for me between the University of Waterloo and Queen’s.”
“I was going to do physics and engineering at Waterloo, but then I visited the campus … and, you may not want to print this,” he says with a laugh, “but there didn’t seem to be any girls there! So, I visited Queen’s, and there were girls there. I didn’t want to spend my undergraduate time with a bunch of dudes.”
…At age 17, in 1989, Musk enrolled at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, studying Physics and Economics for 2 years before he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania.
…He’s a good father with six sons: triplets, twins and one solo. A first son died of SIDS at the age of 10 weeks.
…He has been married to two women (his second wife twice).
…He is famous for his need to be in love and for being unable to sleep alone.
…He spent his 47th birthday in his factory fixing robots for 24 hours.
…He loves his mother, who is a top global fashion model at 73.
…He sees no future in fossil fuels.
…He hates visible seams on his products.
…He swears a lot.
…In 2018 his tunnel-drilling company, the Boring Company, sold 20,000 novelty flamethrowers as a publicity stunt. They now sell on eBay at an average of $3,000.
“But he’s not political!”
No, he’s not.
The left doesn’t like him because he doesn’t fund them or show interest in their causes.
And the right doesn’t like him because he messes around with the stock market and doesn’t take classical capitalism seriously.
For example, he thinks short selling the stock market should be banned.
Musk donates to Democrats and Republicans only because it’s the cost of having skin in the game.
He seems to see left versus right as an obsolete binary and instead focuses his altruistic energies on ecology and invention.
“But he’s trying to save the world, and trying to save the world is kind of corny”
“Saving the world” – could anything be more Megan-and-Harry?
But Musk isn’t trying to save the world, only to make it better.
Musk has created three multibillion-dollar companies in four profoundly difficult fields in which to create anything.
And these companies are successful without help from the people we once considered gatekeepers.
Like other people who do lots of things, he’s too busy for elaborate introspection.
“But what’s the deal with him wanting people to go to Mars?”
He loves discussing the creation of new platforms for humans elsewhere in the cosmos.
He wants humans to be multiplanetary, telling Rolling Stone:
“There have been five mass-extinction events in the fossil record. People have no comprehension of these things. Unless you’re a cockroach or a mushroom – or a sponge – you’re ……”
So, I guess he’s expecting a future climate apocalypse and mass extinction event, but really though, aren’t we all?
Well, maybe not.
But his Martian plans will probably happen soon enough, and if nothing else, will have spurred great general discussion on just what sort of person it takes to go to Mars on what is most likely a one-way trip.
Musk sees himself as a prime candidate.
Maybe he simply thinks it’s a cool idea.
Sometimes it’s just that simple.
“But he gave his kid a weird name”
This is true.
But Zowie Bowie turned out just fine, so why shouldn’t X AE A-XII Musk? (pronunciation – X Ash A-12)
“But what’s with him saying AI is going to take over humanity and destroy everything?”
OK, but what if he’s right?
The radio gave us Hitler.
The TV gave us Fox News.
The Internet gave us Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, ISIS, Russian ransomware hackers, antivaxxers and conspiracy theories and 4 years of Trump.
Maybe AI will happily surprise us, but Musk foresees only a 5% chance of humans being able to contain AI and make it safe.
We will possibly do this using the systems devised by his non-profit company, Neuralink, which aims to create mind/computer interfaces.
So… combatting potential AI enslavement down the road may seem quixotic, but frankly, why not give it a shot?
“But it’s like he’s giving up on Earth and is hence not being any help down here”
He’s done more than his share down here, if nothing else, making great leaps at reducing fossil fuel consumption, but I have no idea if he recycles rubbish at his house wherever he lives.
What if he didn’t?
That’s right: that would make him a terrible human being.
We could all go jump on him and beat him with sticks.
“But everything he does is all a big scam for him to get rich on cryptocurrency!”
If you search for Musk online comment threads on, say, Reddit, you’ll quickly sense the presence of teenage male body sprays and stained gym socks.
It’s “Incel” heaven.
Adult voices discussing Musk are rare, and it seems the vast bulk of Musk commentary centres on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies and yes, I can hear you stifling a yawn, but we’re stuck with these things, so we’d better cobble together some sort of peace deal with them.
Cryptocurrency does seem to be the one topic where Musk genuinely enjoys messing with people’s minds – as well as with stock market regulators.
I suspect that he doesn’t have a stand on crypto at all – my guess is that he sees cryptocurrencies as being interesting simply because they exist at all, like Klein bottles or those Japanese Kit-Kats in flavours such as pumpkin or green tea.
Regardless, Musk’s public seem to adore his ongoing dance of taunts and teases and hints and they’d have it no other way, especially with a crypto called Dogecoin, which is like Daffy Duck to Bitcoin’s Bugs Bunny, and the two are locked in an eternal battle for relevance, and even onlooking Belarusian troll farmers must be thinking: “Wow. We were going to fabricate a pseudo-conflict between these two things, but it looks like Elon is already doing it for us.”
“But at least it must be fun for Musk to have a worthy nemesis in Jeff Bezos”
Hearing this makes it feel like it’s the 1920s and we’re comparing Vanderbilts with Rockefellers.
But, having said this, I will admit that there is a deeply concealed dark part of my soul that aches for Bezos and Musk to even somewhat resemble that blank-eyed, walrus-mustached plutocrat who haunts the Monopoly game board, but alas, that is not going to happen.
I don’t think the Bezos/Musk rivalry actually exists, both just amusing themselves on social media.
It technically seems like it could be a good rivalry, but they both made their money in such different ways (and remember, money is a primary lens through which we view them) that it feels wrong to lump them together.
Bezos is like your mum’s leathery third boyfriend after her divorce, while Musk is your math tutor who won the Powerball lottery.
On Monday, Sept. 27, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO became the richest person in the world, worth over $200 billion, according to Forbes.
In response, Musk said he is sending Bezos a reminder of where they stand on Forbes’ billionaires list.
“I’m sending a giant statue of the digit ‘2’ to Jeffrey B., along with a silver medal,” Musk told Forbes in an email.
Earlier this year, Bezos’ rocket company, Blue Origin, protested NASA’s decision to award a $2.9 billion contract to SpaceX to land humans on the moon.
On Twitter, Musk retorted, “Can’t get it up (to orbit) lol.”
Last month, Amazon subsidiary Kuiper filed a protest letter with the FCC over SpaceX’s plans to expand its Starlink satellite network.
In response, Musk tweeted that Bezos had “retired to pursue a full-time job filing lawsuits against SpaceX.”
“But for real, didn’t he just win some sort of genetic lottery, instead?”
Here’s the thing:
Musk has a huge IQ.
He is measurably, scientifically, clinically and demonstrably the smartest person in any room anywhere.
He can tell you the square root of your Visa card number at a glance.
He can tell you, I don’t know…. Pi to a hundred decimal places.
He has mild Asperger’s, which prevents him from snagging on details and talking himself out of trying new things.
He’s the Perfect Storm who comes from about as middle class a family as was possible in the late 20th century, so you can’t beat him with sticks.
His family was like scores of millions – and then he became one of the smartest and richest people on Earth.
But when is this going to end?
Why can’t he just move to Santa Barbara and play golf for the rest of his life?
On 28 June, Musk turned 50.
He has at least three more high-functioning decades to go.
More likely four or five, so we’re not even halfway through this movie.
Right now, the good ol’ USA needs a real genius in charge and not just any ordinary run-of-the-mill genius.
America needs Elon Musk.
He knows we are all so screwed.
That’s why he’s bailing to escape to Mars.
Don’t let him.
Elon Musk is super-intelligent, hard-working and dynamic enough to save America and the planet.
And he won’t do that if you let him bugger off to Muskville, Mars.
This is the guy who sold his first startup for $307 million at age 27.
This is the guy who let you Pay your Pal and sold that business for $1.5 billion.
This is the guy who put a big battery in a car and now has a business worth USD$772 billion.
This is the guy who tweeted he’d got a dog, called it Floki and sent crypto maniacs into a buying spree for a little known cryptocurrency called Shiba Floki, a cryptocurrency that had been languishing in the doldrums.
It shot up 1000%.
Can you believe it?
This guy brings a dog into his house and the value of some unrelated crypto goes from $18k to $18m.
Someone is a genius — and it ain’t the guy who bought in a day late.
Smarter by multiple orders of magnitude than the Donald (Good Grief!!), Sleepy Joe, Justin (Good Grief again!), Boris, Vlad and even Merkel and Xi.
The problem might be electability.
No one will be able to “dumb down” Elon to appeal to the lowest common denominator..
Just ain’t gonna happen at all.
He will need a new joke writer, though.
America, this is the reason you need to legislate.
Constitutions are for amendment.
Amend that silly part about being born in America in order to be president.
New laws are enacted as often as re-runs of Friends.
Hands up everyone who wants Elon Musk as president for life?
Okay, that’s nearly everyone — make it law, and bring Elon in.
Send the Secret Service to Tesla headquarters and bring his ass to the White House.
It’s a no brainer.
There is a town in the wee county of Clackmannanshire, Scotland called Dollar.
Let Elon tweet he is going there for his holidays and BANG!!!, up goes the value of the $ against every other currency.
Nutters everywhere will cash in their Bitcoin for the greenback —
America Will Be Great Again!!!!
Do you think Elon will let all those lobbyists bribe him on behalf of the gas and oil industries?
No way, Hose.
In one fell swoop, he will cut those pipelines off.
Don’t worry, he has a plan:
In 24 hours the country will put up solar panels everywhere.
Electric charging stations will pop up on roads everywhere, like toadstools on a wet lawn.
Don’t forget his Boring Company.
Elon Musk’s presidency will spawn the greatest infrastructure endeavour the world has ever seen.
The Egyptians had their pyramids, the Chinese had their Great Wall — America will have the Hyperloop.
(A Hyperloop, as you may have heard, is a super speed ground-level transportation system in which people could travel in a hovering pod inside a vacuum tube at speeds as high as 760 mph (1220 km/h), just shy of the speed of sound).
Only Elon Musk can oversee the changes America needs.
He’s not a politician, an empty facade of image and PR.
He’s not a sociopathic narcissist nor a doddering, geriatric 78 yr old relic.
He’s not a vacuous pretty boy with a famous name and great hair.
He doesn’t steal or cheat – he’s the richest man in the world, remember?
He doesn’t lie – what he says is stiff and geeky but exactly what he thinks.
Some of his ideas may seem strange but often his ideas aren’t just good, they’re transformative.
He’s not an ideologue.
Right wing or left wing?
For Elon they’re both parts of the same bird –
A bird on the Endangered Species List.
Only he has identified the six productivity hacks that will stop governments dragging their heels on things like Climate Change.
No talk, action only. (He has mild Asperger’s)
Elon Musk doesn’t mess around.
Elon cuts through all the B.S.
Elon gets …. done.
We have one last chance to save the world.
If we don’t save it now, we won’t have a world to save.
Elon musk can be America’s saviour — the world’s saviour.
Once America has legislated and made him their president, don’t allow him to exit stage left to Mars.
If he has to stay here, he’s going to do everything he can to save the planet.
Once other countries see Elon in action, they will all clamour to make him our world leader.
It’s just common sense:
Elon Musk — President of the World!!!