Elon Musk

where do I start?

11 Nov 2022

👷🏼‍♂️ WORK IN PROGRESS 👷🏼‍♂️

The character Elon Musk and the developments in his companies have fascinated me for over a decade now.

This includes:

  1. Zip2/x.com/Paypal (past)
  2. Tesla
  3. SpaceX
  4. The Boring Company
  5. Neuralink
  6. OpenAI (past)
  7. Twitter

This is just on the professional side.

On the personal side, Elon Musk, depending on the sources:
- is involved in between 3 and 6 companies
- has between 2 and 3 ex-wives
- and between 4 and 10 children

Clearly some misinformation at play 😁

To be specific, I have followed Elon Musk closely (sounds creepy, I know! 😂) since Steve Jobs' death in 2011.

it all started with Steve Jobs

I was similarly fascinated by Steve Jobs, starting in 2007.

My fascination with Jobs was triggered by a personal experience.

competing against the iPhone.. before it came out!

At the time, I was working at a French manufacturer of telecommunications equipment for consumers, or CPE in the jargon.

"In telecommunications, a customer-premises equipment or customer-provided equipment (CPE) is any terminal and associated equipment located at a subscriber's premises and connected with a carrier's telecommunication circuit".

The products we sold ranged from fax machines to residential & mobile phones. The company was obviously trying to be ahead with technology, and pioneer new CPEs.
I was an Account Manager, in charge of the largest telcos in Europe.

In 2006 I sold the concept of a "home tablet" with touch screen to the largest European telco. Well.. WE sold, as it was with a team of course - but in that particular case, one of my proudest achievement, I'm venturing in the frowned upon use of "I sold".
What I mean here by "selling the concept" is that the product did not exist. It was only slides and a non-working mockup.
And we got a multi million purchase order to trigger its development.

After selling it to one telco, my CEO pushed me to sell the same concept to a 2nd telco - to validate the interest, and mitigate development risks.

After gaining buy-in from most within that 2nd telco, I landed in a meeting with a high-ranking exec at that company, and my own CEO.

The main challenge we had at the time with the mockup we brought with us was the touch screen. More precisely the user experience with it wasn't good - lagging and not smooth.

Seeing this, the exec stopped and told us something along the lines of "guys, hold on... this will not work.. let me show you the future.".

And he proceeded to take out from his vest pocket a slick black slate. And he demonstrated to us this new phone, not out yet (we were under NDA), with its silky smooth touch screen scrolling.

My heart skipped a beat, and I was in awe.

This was the iPhone.

We managed to close the deal on the promise that we'd improve our touch screen to this new phone's level.

And I started to look into Apple with more curiosity, as they would be a competitor now, rather than just a computer company.

My obession with Steve Jobs had started.

the next Steve Jobs

When Steve Jobs died, I wondered who "the next Steve Jobs" would be - it was so sad to me that the world had lost a visionary that was making the world more exciting to live in.

Almost immediately, in Dec 2011, I came across Elon Musk for the first time.

what "following" means

I have spent more time than I would care to admit over the last 15 years to study them both.

The scope of this "following" includes:

  • specialist websites (dedicated to Apple, Tesla, SpaceX, etc..)
  • following specific Twitter users
  • newsletters
  • their respective companies' presentations (eg. keynotes & product launches, quarterly earnings, etc..)
  • YouTube channels (last 5 years only.. but a lot of videos!)
  • long-form video interviews (all I could find)
  • books (eg Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs or Ashley Vance's biography of Elon Musk)

To be clear: while I can relate and "connect" with their way of thinking and seeing the world, I would not want to be them.
It is not out of a bizarre frustration of not being them.
The life sacrifices required to build businesses (and personas) of that scale are outside of my life priorities and what I see as sucess - primarly family.

It remains fascinating to me though to observe and analyse these 2 characters.

Jobs vs Musk

They are both bending reality to their will following their singular & exciting visions.

There are lots of similarities between both - yet at the same time they are so different.

Jobs combined a hippie culture with technological vision, fuelled by a LSD trip(s) and focusing on how humans & computers can "connect".
His genius was in creating great products with insane attention to details, and state-of-the art marketing behind.
His keynotes (ie product launches) were famous - slick & exciting. Books have been written about them and I've studied the method behind this extraordinary level of professionalism.

Elon has "out of this world" visions, is fearless, and operating from first principles to rethink what people think is "impossible".
He is not neurotypical (ie autistic - Asperger's syndrome) which explains why he comes across as weird to most.
The first time I saw Elon presenting I was shocked. Especially after years of studying the polishness (?) of Apple's presentations, rehearsed to death.
Elon stutters, digresses, looks unprepared - like he's winging it live.
But listening to him, my mind was blown by the grandeur of his vision - eg "making the human species interplanetary" (aka "going to Mars") is like a dream for any science-fiction fan like me - and his (technical) knowledge (uncommon for typical CEOs).

I'm happy they both exist(ed).

it's all about great products

And I LOVE their products.

I'm lucky to be able to afford most of their companies' portfolio products.

I live in an Apple & Tesla/Starlink ecosystem, with a deep experience of their products.

Both can be accused of putting form over function at times.

But the feeling you get when using their products is vastly superior (to me) compared with other similar products.

And a great product sells itself.

Elon Musk




The Boring Company

OpenAI (past)



01 Jul 2022

60mns interview - Australia

23 Sep 2022


YouTube channels

Disinformation & rebuttals

message to detractors

Is Elon Musk perfect?

Yes, of course,

You are right!

He isn't.

Nobody is 🤷🏻‍♂️

But he's trying, harder than most, to improve the world we live in, and beyond.

His track record so far is net positive so.. perhaps we can give him some slack?

If everyone had experience building a business - especially one considered "impossible" - and the pains & hard decisions that come with it, there would be less negativity and more understanding/support.

The issues mainly are with his communication:

1) he is not neurotypical (Asperger's syndrome, aka "autistic"), so communicates differently than most (less filter).
2) his public comms = his bullish internal goal-setting. Very atypical in the business world (more common in early stage startups).
3) he works on things that have never been done before. Considering building a house (done millions of time) comes usually over time and over budget, of course delivering on the "impossible" will not happen on the day - who cares in the long run?
4) his work bandwidth & cross-functional knowledge are phenomenal - I think "Elon time" is basically thinking "how long would it take for a team of people like me to deliver on that" + he doesn't know everything +

Is he making mistakes along the way?

Sure he is.

Who wouldn't?

But it's about focusing on intent.

Social media answers

19 Nov 2022

I for one, if I'd be in that position, would welcome going "extremely hardcore".

I think working with Elon in the early days of a venture (eg x.com 2.0 here) OR saving a venture from near bankruptcy (also the case here) is like joining the NAVY Seals. Not for the faint of heart.

Plenty of room in the regular army (ie other Tech companies) for great people not aligned with this though.

That's basically his message.

Elon's MO is to have a small team of dedicated people: I read that Tesla's AI team is only 150 (and arguably dominates the market) vs 1000s at other companies.

Let's see if this bet here will work as well as it has with others 🤷🏻‍♂️

Also: plenty of similar comments about Steve Jobs' leadership style at the time - yet 20 years later Apple dominates and Jobs is hailed as a visionary genius.

13 Apr 2023 The infamous BBC interview.

BBC was arguing with Elon about the Twitter label they were assigned (from "government funded" to "publicly funded".

Elon offered to speak to them, and a BBC journalist showed up at Twitter's door.

Last minute Twitter Spaces was created, and the interview was broadcasted live - 2M tuned in.

It's fascinating - Elon seems to have a lot of fun, and it becomes really painful for the reporter, who got KO in the early rounds.

Here it is in full:

A few thoughts:

Twitter acquisition


While it was understood as such by many who have followed closedly, it is the first time Elon clearly said that he was forced to buy Twitter.

"soap opera"
he made an offer to buy Twitter
initial response: "we'll die before we get bought by you"
they reluctanctly accepted the offer
he wanted out because he was missold (less real users, more bots)
they proceeded to force him to buy (ie the courts would have forced him to buy it 14:03)

As a transition to the next point, let me also highlight that Elon, during the back and forth mid last year, said he would have to let go a lot of people.
1) this is usually a reason for the seller side to not go ahead, if they care about their people. Why is the previous management never under fire for their action to force-sell to someone they did not want to sell to initially?
2) how did this backlash to layoffs "without notice"

close to death

4 months runway at the time of the acquisition.

Journalist engages on layoffs.

"you have 4 months to live, what do you do?"

Letting go of a lot of people was the only way for Twitter to survive.

Journalist frames it as "you're a rich man, you could pay for it".
As it is known, Elon has sold a lot of Tesla shares to make this happen, and he did not want to sell any (they will be much more valuable in the future).
Seemed journalist again did not do his research.

Elon: free speech is only possible if people of different opinions can be represented in equal measure.

hate speech

"do you prioritse free speech over misinformation & hate speech?"

questions back:
"who is the arbitror?"
"someone's misinformation is someone else's information"
"BBC itself has at times published false information", confirmed by journalist.

Hate speech will only be measured by the rule of the law.

Elon: less bots now - previous management was not doing much about it because it was inflating their user numbers.
"Community Notes: a good tool to correct misinformation"


Journalist: "I see more hateful content in my My For You feed, personally"
Elon: "Describe hateful"
Journalist: "what I see is slightly sexist, slightly racist"
Elon: "So you think something slightyly sexist or racist is hateful?"

ensues a painful & funny exchange where Elon insists to get one single example of what the journalist considers "hateful" - and the journalist can't provide a single one.

"Sir, you don't know what you're talking about!" 😂

KO moment.

letting people go



BBC Journalist: "You changed the COVID misinformation policy at Twitter"
Elon: "Has BBC changed their COVID misinformation policy?"
BBC Journalist: "This is not the BBC's interview. Let's move on."

NYT & misinformation

BBC Journalist (paraphrased): "The New-York Times will not pay $8/month to get verified, so your platform will support misinformation by prioritising in the feed anyone who will pay."

Sorry.. what? The New-York Times is a $1.8 billion organisation.
Why is the platform responsible if an $1.8 billion organisation does not want to spend $96 to communicate in a safer environment (with less bots)?

As Elon alluded to with his question about the BBC itself providing false information sometimes, all media misinform in some ways, consciously or not, influenced or not. And it has gotten worse in recent years.

The new goal for the Twitter platform is to be the most likely source for truth. Empowering citizen journalists, who just report "their" truth - which in the case of participants in the situation they are reporting their truth about, in their own words, means better information than the selected/filtered/edited pieces you get from traditional media.


Most advertisers that left are back.
Journalist trying to figure out which ones will not get back.
Elon (34:50): "If Disney & Apple feel comfortable advertise on Twitter, it should be clear to everyone that Twitter is a safe platform for advertisers".

35:33: "I was wrong."

dick joke

54:50: only Elon can do dick jokes while on an interview with the BBC and laugh about it like a child 😂

emerald mine

59:22 Community Notes & the "emerald mine"

Original tweet the journalist is talking about:


A reply on his mother's tongue-in-cheek tweet ("I didnt' know about the emerald mine and wealthy parents until I read it on Twitter")!

Links from the Community Note point to:

interview from Jim Clash (https://twitter.com/jamesmclash) at Askmen, date unclear.


interview from Phillip de Wet (https://twitter.com/phillipdewet) at News24, 2018.

Draft tweet:

I'm curious, so I checked.. 😁
This is the Community Note on @elonmusk's tweet referred to by the BBC journalist about the emerald mine story.
Links in the note point to old articles written by @jamesmclash and @phillipdewet
Perhaps they can weigh in? 🤷🏻‍♂️

.. though not sure I want to attract the kind of attention this tweet could get 😅


Journalist brings this up as overuse of his power.
Elonjet was tweeting the position of Elon's private jet - to do that, it used data in a confidential database (not the public one) and disclosed publicly


Update 13 Apr 2023 "Elon Musk is offering 1 million Dogecoin to anyone who can find proof of his family's nonexistent emerald mine".

end of interview

Journalist: "I'm done, I'm happy to leave. It will be the first time an interviewer will walk out on an interview!" (ackward laugh)

It is also beyond me that when the BBC luckily gets hold of the media's primary target of the past 6 months in a 1:1 interview, the reporter only asks a few questions, most basic (and painfully unfounded!) and LEAVES! Leaving Elon alone to continue the interview by taking questions from Twitter!
Though I get that it was painful for him.
Interviewee was cheerful and laughing - with better and more questions back. It was over shortly after it started in hindsight.

additional thoughts

Considering what was said about the reporter on Twitter during the interview, and for good reason, it was a gentleman move of Elon to not mention them Live!

With the insane pace of development of the last few months in AI, we are about to face a tidal wave of bots on all fronts - a lot for good, but also a lot for bad.
For platforms like Twitter, this means a whole other level of effort to combat the bad bots.

Think bots were bad before Elon's takeover? Imagine order(s) of magnitude more bots with the same lack of protection


Emerald mine

"I Talked to Elon Musk about Journalism and the Blood Emeralds Story" - The Save Journalism Committee


Afaik Elonjet used triangulated crowdsourced ADS-B data to get Elon's jet position in real-time.
Not "publicly available" information as such.
Making it a constant public stream feels like doxxing to me.
Doxxing is disclosing someone's address.
@elonmusk is always on the move.

Dick jokes

Elon Musk is the most talked about CEO.
Yet he likes to do (bad) jokes & troll. Sometimes (often) even duck jokes.
You can be offended - he is a "CEO" (though he does not want to carry the title).

But for me, they work at liking him more as a CEO because of it, rather than the opposite.

Let's be clear: they work because he is wildly successful as an entrepeneur AND make jokes.

  • it's such a gap: from one instant thinking about expansion of humanity in space, to the next thinking down to a low level (pun not intended?), here on Earth. Tickles your brain, then below 😂
  • it's intellectual gymnastic of a high order
  • it's the sign of someone who doesn't take himself too seriously.
  • he comes across like a teenager, which to me has more appeal versus the typical cold & suited executive
  • they are "encrypted" in memes and pop references. Not a hard encryption, but still not plain text.
  • this "encryption" sometimes adds a component of gamification as I need to check what the (latest) pop reference he is referring to.

And for the duck jokes... I know it's a sign of a man who "doesn't get enough of it", so it has to "come out" 😁
Yes, he is the world's richest man, but he's also the world's busiest man. If you follow him - not just the constant hit pieces from the traditional media he is trying to disrupt - his level of productivity will

If you are in the camp of "I don't like his jokes & trolling" a quick thought: if all the other CEOs would crack their jokes openly too, how many companies would be left if you boycott their companies too?

Traditional media

A guy, with a few others, disrupts the financial industry - lays one of the foundations of "digital money".

Raising the stakes, same guy then disrupts the industry that was the epitome of complexity - "rocket science".

But why focus only on the apex of complexity in popular culture?

In parallel, he disrupts another one - "electifying the auto industry", better than the legacy manufacturers.

While those things, and a few others, are on the professional side, let's just mention quickly that he has ex-wives and a certain number of children (between 4 and 10 depending on the sources!).

But following a deal gone wrong, he added another venture to "creating a platform where everyone can express their opinions, as long as it's legal" - putting everyone on the same footing no matter where on the political spectrum you

Now, you are working in traditional media.

14 Apr 2023

Traditional media rides high on the white horse of being the protectors against misinformation.

But the latest BBC interview confirmed that traditional media can also be a source of misinformation.

They are being disrupted, and they are fighting back with a stream of hits.

Lobbying, short-selling and misinformation have been the tools of the auto industry to fight back when they started seeing the disruptor's progress.

Don't post that. Rabbit's hole too deep....

28 Apr 2023

Interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News:

  • If I would be American, I would consider myself to be a democrat. Though I have stopped following traditional/legacy/mainstream media for over a year now, in Europe, I kept the BBC in mind as the most reliable source of information.
    So I am dumbfounded after having watched Elon Musk's interviews with both the BBC and Tucker Carlson on Fox News.
    I have never watched Fox News before in my life.
    But I have to say Tucker's interview of Elon is one of the best I have seen.
    Interesting note: Youtube's search engine made it a bit challenging to find the video.

  • the world is divided because the media has been extremised, more biased, sensationalist & negligent in its reporting, and that across both sides of the political spectrum, in order to stand out & create engagement by appealing to more extreme emotions. The challenge is that both sides also fluctuate on the scale of being right & and wrong or biased at times.

I do not like Tucker's style, morale compass (that I perceive at lest) or political position. But I have to admit his interview was good.

The only way to avoid living in a bubble, or being controlled/influenced, is to get inputs from media across the political & economic spectrum, and apply critical thinking to make an informed opinion.

29 Apr 2023

Interview with Bill Maher on HBO:

13 Aug 2023

There is so much negative bias about Elon Musk in the media, that I want to create a page to list
1) what I think is his positive impact
2) the positive articles about him
3) why he attracts high performers
4) the reasons behind this mass negativity

Once written, promote the note with:

"Is Elon Musk perfect?

Of course he is.

Is what my wife would say I would answer to that question.

The reality is obviously no.

No one is perfect.

But in my my view of the world, he is as close to it as it gets, from a technical & business perspective.