19 Times Elon Musk Had the Best Response
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Being a Silicon Valley billionaire comes with its pitfalls, one being that everything you say will be scrutinized by the public.
Elon Musk doesn’t seem to mind though. Despite his position as the CEO of Tesla and chairman of SolarCity, Musk has noted his lack of filter and marketing skills, and the results are sometimes, well, perfect.
Musk often takes to Twitter, most recently representing his Gigafactory in “units of hamster.” He also outwitted analysts this week after they asked him if the SolarCity merger was due to a conflict of interest. Fine Musk, you win.
To celebrate him and his lack of filter, here are 18 times Musk made us laugh:
Additional reporting by Nina Zipkin
1. He trolled the trolls.
While companies such as Google and Facebook grapple with how to weed out false news stories, Musk took to Twitter to weigh in on the work of a mysterious person named "Shepard Stewart," who has been publishing fake pieces about him and his companies. He included a South Park reference, naturally.
Can anyone uncover who is really writing these fake pieces? Can't be skankhunt42. His work is better than this. https://t.co/Qs69AFMGE5— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 22, 2016
2. Musk personally canceled a blogger's Tesla pre-order after receiving a "rude" letter.
Stewart Alsop, a California venture capitalist, learned that an open letter to Musk was a quick way to get his Tesla Model X order canceled.
The letter claimed that the reveal of the Tesla Motors Model X started late, was too crowded and focused too much on safety.
Musk personally responded to the blogger and canceled his order. He then went a step further to address the media.
Must be a slow news day if denying service to a super rude customer gets this much attention— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 3, 2016
3. He denied his cousin a family discount at Tesla, or rather, offered a family discount to everyone.
Lyndon Rive, SolarCity CEO and Musk’s cousin, made the mistake of asking for a family discount on the new Tesla.
Musk’s response? “Yeah absolutely. Go to TeslaMotor.com, buy the car online, and the price you see there is the family discount,'” Rive told Tech Insider. “Everyone gets a family discount.”
Rive wasn’t too offended. He has the Model S and his wife has the Model X. He also told Tech Insider that the response was “totally fair.”
Related: 4 Pop Culture Fixations of Elon Musk
4. He brought backseat reading lights back to the Model S because his son called it “the stupidest car in the world.”
One of Musk’s most important critics, his son, complained that he couldn’t read in the back of his dad’s car.
The Model S originally had reading lights in the back, but Tesla took them out to increase headroom in the back seat. One of Musk’s five sons thought that idea was stupid.
Musk brought the backseat reading light back to the Model S, even offering to put the lights into cars that had already been delivered -- for free.
5. When Musk was asked about his personal life, his reaction was hilarious.
Musk has joked in the past about how marriage hasn’t worked out for him, with his first marriage ending in divorce, and his second marriage also recently ending in divorce.
But when asked about his personal life, the billionaire definitely seems to know what he’s doing.
"I think the time allocated to the businesses and the kids is going fine," Musk told Bloomberg BusinessWeek. "I would like to allocate more time to dating, though. I need to find a girlfriend. How much time does a woman want a week? Maybe 10 hours?"
6. Apparently for Iron Man, getting wasted is in the job description.
Musk told Bloomberg that Robert Downey Jr., who plays Marvel's Iron Man, once showed up at the SpaceX office playing on the notion that Musk has been called the real Iron Man. Bloomberg's reporter noted that Musk didn’t seem to have the bad-boy personality Tony Stark has.
Musk replied, “Hey, I went to Haiti last Christmas and visited some pretty dangerous parts. I got wasted, too, on some drink they call the Zombie.”
7. Musk got a little off track when introducing the bioweapon defense mode on the new Tesla Model X.
As you may have heard, the Tesla Model X comes with a bioweapon defense mode.
Originally designed to protect against pollution, Musk jokes that it could also protect against other hazards.
“If there’s ever sort of an apocalyptic scenario, of some kind, hypothetically, you just press the bioweapon defense mode button,” Musk said, laughing. “This is a real button.”
8. Musk made a sexual joke on The Late Show and then laughed at it while everyone else was still processing it.
While on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Musk made a joke that even Colbert had to take a moment to think about.
After showing a video of a “snake charger” that automatically plugs into your car, Musk joked, “For the prototype at least, I would recommend not dropping anything when you’re near it.”
9. And Musk’s response to warming up the planet sounds incredibly nonchalant, but warning, it’s not.
Musk frequently talks about Mars, which he refers to as a “fixer upper” planet. He has frequently been asked about the possibility of inhabiting the planet.
The answer on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert? Maybe we can just drop nuclear bombs on the north and south poles, he says casually.
10. Musk doesn’t recommended using the Model S as a boat, or does he?
Sure, the Model S can float, but it’s not recommended by Tesla or Musk.
After a man in Almaty, Kazakhstan, posted a video driving his Tesla through a flooded tunnel, Musk tweeted:
We *def* don't recommended this, but Model S floats well enough to turn it into a boat for short periods of time. Thrust via wheel rotation.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 19, 2016
Sounds a bit like a recommendation.
11. He most certainly doesn’t lie about what it takes to run a business.
In an interview with Limitless Stars, Musk doesn’t exactly suggest starting a business. “Starting a company is like eating glass staring into the abyss of death. Um, if that sounds appealing, go ahead.”
He sure makes it look easy though, simultaneously running two incredibly successful companies while taking care of five children.
12. He defined his Gigafactory in “units of hamster.”
Elon Musk has been hard at work with his Gigafactory, dedicating more than $5 billion into the facility that will apparently be one of the largest buildings in the world. Musk made headlines in 2015 when he ramped up the construction schedule.
Despite the serious nature of the factory for Tesla’s future, Musk posted on Twitter the “units of hamster” that the Gigafactory would take up. Yes, units of hamster. Some were unsatisfied with the animal chosen, requesting it be in units of puppies.
Gigafactory in units of hamster pic.twitter.com/9BAchcBX73— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 30, 2016
13. He shut down analysts on Tesla's acquisition of SolarCity.
After Tesla and SolarCity made the announcement that the two would be merging, analysts started to question Musk, mostly because he owns around 20 percent of both companies. Isn’t that a conflict of interest?
“The conflicts of interest,” Musk said to an analyst on Monday, “are if we don’t merge.”
Well, when you put it like that.
14. He was painfully honest about his struggles.
When a Twitter user asked whether the ups and downs Musk has had make for a more enjoyable life, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX responded in a painfully honest way.
The reality is great highs, terrible lows and unrelenting stress. Don't think people want to hear about the last two.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 30, 2017
I'm sure there are better answers than what I do, which is just take the pain and make sure you really care about what you're doing— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 30, 2017
Yeah— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 30, 2017
Maybe not medically tho. Dunno. Bad feelings correlate to bad events, so maybe real problem is getting carried away in what I sign up for.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 30, 2017
If you buy a ticket to hell, it isn't fair to blame hell ...— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 30, 2017
15. He corrected the record after a news story about the world's "first crewless ship" published.
When The Verge tweeted a story explaining that the "world’s first crewless ship will launch next year," Musk had a one-word response.
Umm ... pic.twitter.com/bjJ0lNYK35— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 31, 2017
Musk was referring to SpaceX's three existing autonomous ships that support sea landings of its Falcon 9 reusable rocket.
16. Even with a busy schedule, he provides customer service.
Even while running Tesla, SpaceX and his side companies, Musk makes time for customers. After a Tesla customer tweeted about a poor experience he had in one of the Tesla stores, Musk responded directly to the person letting him know he was taking care of the issue.
Def not ok. Just sent a reminder to Tesla stores that we just want people to look forward to their next visit. That's what really matters.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 16, 2017
17. He trolls his competition.
In response to a USA Today story about Daimler’s announcement that it would be investing $1 billion in electric vehicles, Musk tweeted that $1 billion wasn’t enough to compete with Tesla. Daimler responded to Musk in agreement, saying that the figure was missing a zero and the company was actually spending $10 billion.
Good— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 25, 2017
People began speculating whether Musk’s tweet motivated Daimler to increase its investment, which turned out to be untrue, but Musk took the credit anyways.
Yes, I did :)— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 26, 2017
18. He “groans” at his competition.
After The Verge reported on Delphi Automotive’s $450 million acquisition of autonomous vehicle startup nuTonomy, Musk responded to the tweet with a groan … literally.
Groan— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 24, 2017
19. He rips rival projects sarcastically.
When asked about Uber’s flying car initiative as compared to the Boring Company’s more underground pursuits, Musk made it clear, dripping in sarcasm, that he isn’t the biggest fan of the idea.
If you love drones above your house, you’ll really love vast numbers of “cars” flying over your head that are 1000 times bigger and noisier and blow away anything that isn’t nailed down when they land— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 22, 2018
But it turns out that his criticism wasn’t lost on Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who had this to say about a potential way forward for the project.