11 Random Things We Learned About Elon Musk in 'Rolling Stone'
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Rolling Stone recently published a feature on Elon Musk, arguably the most exciting entrepreneur in the world today. Few people get the sort of access to the genius billionaire that Rolling Stone writer Neil Strauss had reporting his piece, and we at Entrepreneur have made it no secret that we’re fascinated by the PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity founder.
Here are 11 of our favorite takeaways that we learned about the real-life Iron Man -- in addition to the fact that he doesn’t want to be called “the real-life Iron Man.”
He hasn’t accomplished any of his goals yet.
They always say you should shoot for the stars, and if you fail, at least you’ll land on the moon. That’s certainly true of Musk. He hasn’t saved mankind from artificial intelligence (more on that later) or fossil fuels. He hasn’t created a mind-computer interface or a city-to-city transport system.
But, he has created several billion-dollar companies that have changed the way we look at the world while trying to achieve those goals.
He gets “happy fuzzy” when he’s drunk.
Musk admits his alcohol tolerance is not very high but that he is a happy drunk. Or, as he calls himself during the Strauss interview, he turns into a “fuzzy bear.”
He’s not a robot from the future.
I know, we were shocked too. But, according to Rolling Stone, Musk isn’t a time traveler from the future who’s here to save us from ourselves.
He doesn’t want to talk about how artificial intelligence could cause World War III.
Elon Musk recently made headlines with this tweet:
China, Russia, soon all countries w strong computer science. Competition for AI superiority at national level most likely cause of WW3 imo.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 4, 2017
However, during the Rolling Stone interview, a question about the tweet made Musk irritable. He responded, “Don't tweet on Ambien. That's on the record: Tweeting on Ambien is unwise. You may regret it.”
He thinks great truths are found in The Onion and, occasionally, on Reddit.
It shouldn’t be a total surprise that the guy who named his first three cars the S, 3 and X has an appreciation for low-brow humor, which he demonstrates throughout the interview. Musk also recommends cartoons like “Rick and Morty,” “South Park” and “The Simpsons.”
And speaking of comedy . . .
He has a humorous poster of a meteor apocalypse on his desk.
Here’s the poster according to Strauss:
"There's a framed poster of a shooting star with a caption underneath it that reads, 'When you wish upon a falling star, your dreams can come true. Unless it's really a meteor hurtling to the Earth which will destroy all life. Then you're pretty much hosed, no matter what you wish for. Unless it's death by meteorite.'"
Because of course he would find that funny.
His first rule with his children’s experiments is, “Don’t panic.” The third is “Be safe.”
There isn’t even a second rule. Musk says that putting safety second seemed too high, and he’d rather have nothing as a second rule.
His father didn’t help him get started.
While Musk attributes much of his scientific ability to the DNA of his father, Elon claims his father did not help him with a loan to start Zip2, Musk’s first company, which was eventually acquired by Compaq. This refutes Errol’s own claims and common reporting on the subject.
He believes a person is around 80 percent nature and 20 percent nurture.
Musk says he was raised by books before he was raised by his parents. However, his father’s natural brilliance with engineering helped him understand things like wiring, circuit breakers and other advanced technology easily.
He does NOT want to wear turtlenecks.
In fact, Musk tells Strauss that, “If I was dying and I had a turtleneck on, with my last dying breath, I would take the turtleneck off and try to throw it as far away from my body as possible."
He doesn’t want to be compared to Steve Jobs or Tony Stark.
We now know that Musk doesn’t want to wear turtlenecks, but the reasoning behind that choice is even more interesting.
Musk doesn’t seem to have anything against turtlenecks as a clothing option. It’s just that he doesn’t want to look like Steve Jobs, who famously rocked the black turtleneck. He doesn’t want to be compared to former entrepreneurs or even to fictional ones like Tony Stark (Iron Man).
Instead, Musk tells Strauss, “I try to do useful things. That's a nice aspiration.”