Elon Musk

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"Everything works in PowerPoint; but if you have the physical item or some demonstration software, that's much more convincing to people than a PowerPoint presentation or a business plan."

Elon Reeve Musk (born 28 June 1971) is an entrepreneur and business magnate. He is the founder, CEO, and Chief Engineer at SpaceX; early-stage investor, CEO, and Product Architect of Tesla, Inc.; founder of The Boring Company; co-founder of Neuralink and OpenAI; president of the Musk Foundation; and owner and CEO of Twitter, Inc.. With an estimated net worth of around US$195 billion as of November 2022, Musk is the wealthiest person in the world according to the Bloomberg billionaires index and the Forbes real-time billionaires list.




Conversation: Elon Musk on Wired Science (2007)[edit]

From: Interview(s) by Wired Science, pbs.org. Partly republished Interview With Elon Musk Tesla Motors on youtube.com, 2007.
  • I didn’t really expect to make any money. If I could make enough to cover the rent and buy some food that would be fine. As it turns out, it turned out to be quite valuable in the end.
  • I don’t have an issue with serving in the military per se, but serving in the South African army suppressing black people just didn’t seem like a really good way to spend time.
  • I think South Africa is a great country.
  • If you wanted to be close to the cutting edge, particularly in technology, you came to North America.
  • Tuition costs are outrageous. Fortunately, they gave me a scholarship…so I only had to cover living expenses, books, etc., by working.
  • One was the Internet, one was clean energy and one was space.
  • I could either watch it happen, or be part of it.
  • We could figure out ways with small aerospace companies to do a low-cost spacecraft and lander. But we could not find a way to do a low-cost launcher, unless we went to the Russians.
  • The answer was we thought it could be done.
  • There is nothing inherently expensive about rockets. It's just that those who have built and operated them in the past have done so with horrendously poor efficiency.
  • Falcon One is going to be the lowest cost per flight to orbit of any production rocket.
  • Which means we’re cheaper than the Chinese, cheaper than [the] Russians or anywhere else – and we’re doing it in the United States with American labour costs.
  • I think the reason it’s cheaper is, first of all, we are a private entity and we have a very lean system in here. What we have been able to do here at SpaceX is to cherry-pick, you know, the top one or two percent and give them, you know, capital to execute well and a clear mission, which is low cost, reliable access to space, and no other constraints.
  • Well, I have tried to learn as much as possible from prior attempts.
  • If nothing else, we are committed to failing in a new way.
  • There’s a graveyard of prior attempts, a big graveyard. There’s probably some freshly dug graves just waiting to be filled. Our aspiration is to avoid that destination.
  • I think we’ve got the risks pretty well characterized. I think we are at least avoiding the mistakes that have been made in the past.
  • I think the rocket business is quite cyclic. There are a great many peaks and troughs.
  • Imagine creating a huge software program that can only be tested in little pieces on a computer that is slightly different from what it is supposed to run on. However, when you do run it as a whole on the actual computer for the first time, it must run almost flawlessly without a single significant bug. When is the last time you saw a software program do that?
  • When thinking about starting a business, I think it’s actually better to start in a trough and come to market in a peak, than the other way around. Frankly, if anything does, and it’s almost cliché, space has a long-term future.
  • I want to be able to make sure that we have enough capital to survive at least three consecutive failures. If you want to make a small fortune in the launch vehicle business, start with a large one.
  • The long term ultimate objective – the holy grail – is we would like to help make life multi-planetary.
  • We got to the moon, but have never done anything better since. I'm disappointed that we have not made more progress since Apollo. I don't even see a plan that says we're going to do better than Apollo to exceed that goal.
  • I like to be involved in things that change the world. The Internet did, and space will probably be more responsible for changing the world than anything else. If humanity can expand beyond the Earth, obviously that's where the future is.
  • If we can be one of the companies that makes it possible for humans to become a multi-planetary species, that would be the Holy Grail. It sounds a bit crazy but it's going to happen, and only if people build the means to do so. We're making progress toward a greater philosophical goal while building a sound business.
  • When Henry Ford made cheap, reliable cars people said, 'Nah, what's wrong with a horse?' That was a huge bet he made, and it worked.
  • It doesn’t do a great deal to advance the goal of humanity. I would pay $20 million not to spend six months in Russia. And besides this, my interest is how do we enable many other people to go to space, not necessarily me, personally.
  • If we can build something that is capable of taking people and equipment to Mars, such that it can service a transportation infrastructure for humanity becoming a multi- planet species - which I think is a very, very important objective - then I would consider the mission of SpaceX successful, at that point.
  • We are used to things improving every year; we are used to having a better cell phone next year than this year; a better lap top. We are even used to some basic things, like we expect more from your car in next year’s model than last year’s model. But this is not the case in space; reliability and cost - those are the fundamental parameters of transportation - have not improved.
  • Starting and growing a business is as much about the innovation, drive and determination of the people who do it as it is about the product they sell.
  • So even if a fire develops, it can't really attack the particularly vulnerable locations like the pneumatic system or the avionics or the engine bay. We want to be in the situation that even if a fire develops, the rocket just keeps going.
  • A great deal of bargaining power with suppliers. We are never locked in to anyone.
  • I think it is a mistake to hire huge numbers of people to get a complicated job done. Numbers will never compensate for talent in getting the right answer (two people who don't know something are no better than one), will tend to slow down progress, and will make the task incredibly expensive.
  • My approach is simply to seek out very talented people, ensure that the environment at SpaceX is as motivating & enjoyable as possible and establish clear & measurable objectives.
  • Rocket engineering is not like ditch digging. With ditch digging you can get 100 people and dig a ditch, and you will dig it a hundred times as faster if you get 100 people versus one. With rockets, you have to solve the problem of a particular level of difficulty; one person who can solve the problem is worth an infinite number of people who can’t.
  • I think that is a mistake and results in cloudy judgment on important technical issues. They can't tell if something is really good or not, so they just do what everyone else does, assuming it to be the safe bet.
  • We're adding a triple sign-off for all work done on the launch pad, on flight components, and flight critical GSE. You have a technician, a responsible engineer, and then quality assurance will sign the final, record all information, and take photographs of all the work that was done, and then make sure that all information is put into our quality assurance database, which is reviewed prior to launch.
  • Although I am new in the business, my team is not. I would say that, person for person, there has never been a better rocket company in existence, in history. I don’t think there has ever been a group this talented in one place, in one company, developing a rocket – ever.
    If you have millions of dollars it changes your lifestyle, and anyone who says differently is talking ########. I don’t need to work, from a standard of living point of view, but I do, you know. I work every day and on weekends and I haven’t taken a vacation for years.
  • This is the chance to fulfill a dream.
  • I’m nauseatingly pro-American. It is where great things are possible.
  • As life’s agents, it’s on our shoulders.


  • Sooner or later, we must expand life beyond our little blue mud ball--or go extinct.



  • When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.
    • 18 March 2012 60 Minutes, season 44, episode 26
  • We need to figure out how to have the things we love, and not destroy the world.
  • In terms of the Internet, it's like humanity acquiring a collective nervous system. Whereas previously we were more like a... collection of cells that communicated by diffusion. With the advent of the Internet, it was suddenly like we got a nervous system. It's a hugely impactful thing.
  • So, I think the best analogy for rocket engineers, if you want to create complicated software, you can't run as an integrated whole, or run on the computer it's intended to run on, but, first time you run it, it has to run with no bugs. That's the essence of it. So ... we missed the mark there.
  • One thing that is important is that, if you have a choice between a lower valuation with someone you really like, or higher valuation with someone you have a question mark about, take the lower valuation.
    • 17 July 2012 during interview with PandoDaily - Fireside Chat With Elon Musk



Foreword to Marc Kaufman's Mars Up Close[edit]

2014 source Mars Up Close: Inside the Curiosity Mission. National Geographic. ISBN 978-1-4262-1278-9.
  • I plan to travel to Mars and make it my home.
    People should be traveling to Mars and doing it in our lifetime.
    • Page 9
  • Only by breaking through to new paradigms of space travel will more than a handful of us ever get to Mars and make it a potentially livable place.
    Getting to Mars is too big an accomplishment for us to feel proud by just by swinging by. We are a nation of enterprise as well as exploration, and we're not about to go there without making something of it.
    • Page 10
  • Sending large numbers of people to explore and settle Mars in the decades ahead isn't inevitable, but it is entirely possible. The biggest challenge isn't the engineering and spacecraft, however difficult they may be. Instead, it's making sure that a sustained Mars campaign proceeds as a national priority, and that will happen only if the American people are behind it. We have the opportunity now to make this happen. We might not be so fortunate in the future.
    • Page 13


  • They [Apple] have hired people we've fired. We always jokingly call Apple the "Tesla Graveyard." If you don't make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I'm not kidding. ... cars are very complex compared to phones or smartwatches. You can't just go to a supplier like Foxconn and say: Build me a car. But for Apple, the car is the next logical thing to finally offer a significant innovation. A new pencil or a bigger iPad alone were not relevant enough.


  • SpaceX's got 5,000 people. I get a lot of attention, but they are really doing the work.
  • I think we have a duty to maintain the light of consciousness to make sure it continues into the future.
  • It would be an incredible adventure. And life needs to be more than just solving every day problems. You need to wake up and be excited about the future
    • On "eyeing" for Mars, IAC 2016 meeting, presentation on sustainable Mars colonization.


  • People are mistaken when they think that technology just automatically improves. It does not automatically improve. It only improves if a lot of people work very hard to make it better, and actually it will, I think, by itself degrade, actually. You look at great civilizations like Ancient Egypt, and they were able to make the pyramids, and they forgot how to do that. And then the Romans, they built these incredible aqueducts. They forgot how to do it.
  • I think there is a strong humanitarian argument for making life multi-planetary in order to safeguard the existence of humanity in the event that something catastrophic were to happen.
    • 3 October 2017 in DK Smithsonian, Journey: An Illustrated History of Travel, ISBN 978-1-4654-6414-9 (Page 343).
  • Rocket tech applied to a car opens up revolutionary possibilities.


  • Holy flying fuck, that thing took off!
  • I don’t get the little ship thing. You can’t show up at Mars in something the size of a rowboat. What if there are Martians? It would be so embarrassing.
  • Never saw this British expat guy who lives in Thailand (sus) at any point when we were in the caves. Only people in sight were the Thai navy/army guys, who were great. Thai navy seals escorted us in — total opposite of wanting us to leave. Water level was actually very low & still (not flowing) — you could literally have swum to Cave 5 with no gear, which is obv how the kids got in. If not true, then I challenge this dude to show final rescue video. You know what, don’t bother showing the video. We will make one of the mini-sub/pod going all the way to Cave 5 no problemo. Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it.
  • People tend to think like, 'Why should electric vehicles have a subsidy,' but they're not taking into account that all fossil fuel-burning vehicles fundamentally are subsidized by the cost—the environmental cost—to Earth, but nobody's paying for it... We are going to pay for it, obviously—in the future we'll pay for it. It's just not paid for now.
  • if you assume any rate of improvement at all, then games will be indistinguishable from reality
    we could be in base reality
    this is just about probability
    there are many, many simulations
    you might as well call them reality, or multiverse
    they're running on the substrate ... that substrate is probably boring
  • Guardian is the most insufferable newspaper on planet Earth.
  • I don't think most people, even in the aerospace industry, like, know what question to ask. Like it took us a long time to even frame the question correctly. But once we could frame the question correctly, the answer was, I wouldn't say easy, but, the answer flowed once the question could be framed with precision. Framing that question with precision was very difficult.
    • 17 September 2018 regarding the BFR, during announcement of first private passenger on lunar mission
  • im actually cat girl here’s selfie rn
  • [Artificial intelligence] is just digital intelligence. And as the algorithms and the hardware improve, that digital intelligence will exceed biological intelligence by a substantial margin. It's obvious. Ensuring that the advent of AI is good, or at least we try to make it good, seems like a smart move. We're not paying attention. We worry more about what name somebody called someone else, than whether AI will destroy humanity. That's insane. We're like children in a playground. ... The way in which a regulation is put in place is slow and linear. If you have a linear response to an exponential threat, it's quite likely the exponential threat will win. That, in a nutshell, is the issue.
    Your probability of dying on Mars is much higher than earth. Really, the ad for going to Mars would be like Shackleton’s ad for going to the Antarctic: "It’s gonna be hard. There’s a good chance of death, going in a little can through deep space. You might land successfully. Once you land successfully, you’ll be working nonstop to build the base. So, you know, not much time for leisure. And even after doing all this, it’s a very harsh environment, so there’s a good chance you die there. We think you can come back, but we’re not sure." Now, does that sound like an escape hatch for rich people?
    No one should put this many hours into work. This is not good. People should not work this hard. They should not do this. This is very painful. ...it hurts my brain and my heart. ... This is not recommended for anyone. ... I just did it because if I didn't do it, then there was a good chance Tesla would die.
    I believe there’s some explanation for this universe, which you might call God.
    • 25 November 2018 Axios, season 1, episode 4


  • The fundamental message that consumers should be taking today is that it's financially insane to buy anything other than a Tesla. It would be like owning a horse in three years. I mean, fine if you want to own a horse. But you should go into it with that expectation. If you buy a car that does not have the hardware for full self-driving, it is like buying a horse. And the only car that has the hardware for full self-driving is a Tesla.
    • 22 April 2019 during the Tesla Autonomy Investor Day, at Tesla Headquarters in Palo Alto, CA
  • It’s so insane the way rockets work today. It would be like if you got a plane and the way you get to your destination is you bail out with a parachute over the city in question and your plane crash lands somewhere. That’s how rockets work today—with the exception of Falcon 9. This is completely bonkers.
    ..If it were to take longer to convince NASA and the authorities that we can do it versus just doing it, then [SpaceX] might just do it [ourselves]. It may literally be easier to just land Starship on the moon than try to convince NASA that we can.

"Starship Update" talk at the SpaceX facility in Boca Chica, Texas on September 28, 2019[edit]

  • According to the geological records, earth has been around for around 4.5 billion years, although it was mostly molten magma for about half a billion years... The sun is gradually getting hotter and bigger, and over time, even in the absence of global warming — the man-made stuff — the sun will expand and it will overheat the earth. My guess is probably... there is only several hundred million years left.... Basically, if it took an extra 10% longer for conscious life to evolve on earth, it wouldn't evolve at all, because it would have been incinerated by the sun. ... It appears that consciousness is a very rare and precious thing, and we should take whatever steps we can to preserve the light of consciousness, and the window has been open; only now after four and a half billion years is that window open, that's a long time to wait ... I'm pretty optimistic by nature, but there's some chance that window will not be open for long, I think we should become a multi-planet civilization while that window is open, and if we do the I think probable outcome for Earth is even better, because then you know Mars could help Earth one day. And so I think we should really do our very best to become a multi-planet species and to extend consciousness beyond Earth, and we should do it now. Thank you.
  • I have this mantra. It's called, "If a schedule is long, it's wrong. If it's tight, it's right." And I've just, basically just go recursive improvement on schedule, with feedback loop. "Did this make it go faster? OK. If it didn't, we're going to need to fix it." If the design takes a long time to build, it's the wrong design. This is the fundamental thing. Over and over, the tendency is to complicate things. And I have another thing which is, the best part is no part. The best process is no process. It weighs nothing, costs nothing, can't go wrong. So, as obvious as that sounds, the best part is no part. The thing I'm most impressed with, when I have the design meetings at SpaceX, is "What did you undesign?" Undesigning is the best thing. Just delete it. That's the best thing.


  • If somebody wants to stay in their house, that’s great. They should be allowed to stay in their house, and they should not be compelled to leave. But to say that they cannot leave their house, and they will be arrested if they do, this is fascist. This is not democratic. This is not freedom.
    • 30 April 2020 quote by Susan Walsh, “Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg Aren’t on the Same Page,” New York Times
  • This notion though, that you can just sort of send checks out to everybody and things will be fine is not true, obviously. Some have this absurd view that the economy is like some magic horn of plenty… that just makes stuff. There’s a magic horn of plenty, and the goods and services, they just come from this magic horn of plenty. And then if somebody has more stuff than somebody else, it’s because they took more from this magic horn of plenty. Now let me just break it to the fools out there: If you don’t make stuff, there’s no stuff. If you don’t make the food, if you don’t process the food, if you don’t transport the food, medical treatment, getting your teeth fixed, there’s no stuff. We’ve become detached from reality. You can’t just legislate money and solve these things. If you don’t make stuff, there is no stuff.
    • 7 May 2020 on podcast with Joe Rogan
  • We [the United States] will coup whoever we want! Deal with it.
  • History is written by the victors … except on Wikipedia haha.
  • The extreme difficulty of scaling production of new technology is not well understood. It’s 1000% to 10,000% harder than making a few prototypes. The machine that makes the machine is vastly harder than the machine itself.



  • This is not a way to make money.... I don't care about the economics at all.
This is just my strong, intuitive sense ... that having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization
  • Do you still have a half billion dollar short position against Tesla?
    Sorry, but I cannot take your philanthropy on climate change seriously when you have a massive short position against Tesla, the company doing the most to solve climate change.
  • NBC basically saying Republicans are Nazis … Same org that covered up Hunter Biden laptop story, had Harvey Weinstein story early & killed it & built Matt Lauer his rape office. Lovely people.
  • True experts even read wiki citations
    • 12 June 2022 tweet, accompanied by a picture of 5 people on a subway thinking in unison "Look at these normies. I'm so schizo and esoteric, these people have no idea of the deep forbidden knowledge I acquired from google and wikipedia."
  • Let’s try this then: the will of the people who live in the Donbas & Crimea should decide whether they’re part of Russia or Ukraine
  • You are assuming that I wish to be popular. I don’t care. I do care that millions of people may die needlessly for an essentially identical outcome.
    Russia is doing partial mobilization. They go to full war mobilization if Crimea is at risk. Death on both sides will be devastating.
    Russia has >3 times population of Ukraine, so victory for Ukraine is unlikely in total war. If you care about the people of Ukraine, seek peace.
  • I still very much support Ukraine, but am convinced that massive escalation of the war will cause great harm to Ukraine and possibly the world.
    • 3 October 2022 (7:47pm) tweet
  • The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence. There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into far right-wing and far left wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society... That is why I bought Twitter. I didn’t do it because it would be easy. I didn’t do it to make more money. I did it to try to help humanity, whom I love... That said, Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape where anything can be said with no consequences!"
  • We do
    • 7 November 2022 tweet in response to Tom Fitton saying "I wonder if @ElonMusk's @Twitter has tortious interference claims against the Left activist groups which are causing damaging advertiser boycotts of the platform?"
  • To independent-minded voters: Shared power curbs the worst excesses of both parties, therefore I recommend voting for a Republican Congress, given that the Presidency is Democratic.
  • And lead us not into temptation …
    • 20 November 2022 tweet accompanying an image of a praying man captioned Donald Trump ignoring a woman censored by a Twitter logo
  • I wonder what Earth will be like 88 million years from now
  • Forcing your pronouns upon others when they didn’t ask, and implicitly ostracizing those who don’t, is neither good nor kind to anyone.
    As for Fauci, he lied to Congress and funded gain-of-function research that killed millions of people. Not awesome imo.
  • Is there a conspiracy theory about Twitter that didn’t turn out to be true? So far they’ve all turned out to be true — if not more true than people thought.
    • “All-In” podcast, theme of show, “all things” with Chamath Palihapitiva, co-host (December 27, 2022)

Quotes about Musk[edit]

  • In October, David Beasley, head of the U.N. food agency, tweeted a cheeky congratulations to Musk for reportedly earning $36 billion in a single day. "1/6 of your one-day increase would save 42 million lives that are knocking on famine's door," he wrote... Musk tweeted: "If WFP can describe on this Twitter thread exactly how $6B will solve world hunger, I will sell Tesla stock right now and do it." ...Beasley quickly clarified that his earlier tweet referred to feeding "people on the brink of starvation" and not solving world hunger, he invited Musk to meet "anywhere—Earth or space" to discuss the potential donation. So far, Musk has made no commitments to the agency. Still... How much of a dent would $6 billion make when it comes to feeding millions? ...WFP raised $8.4 billion last year, yet the global food crisis has only worsened. In fact, since Musk and Beasley first started their Twitter conversation, the total number of people at risk of famine has risen to 45 million... In response to Musk's request for details, Beasley tweeted him the math: "$.43 x 42,000,000 x 365 days = $6.6 billion." That's how much it would cost to provide one meal a day for one year to this population in need...The food aid, says WFP, consists of commodities such as rice, maize and high-energy biscuits. Elon Musk asked Twitter followers if he should sell Tesla shares. They said yes.
  • Wealthy elites tend to think it’s a question of management strategies and transparent accounting – that surely the administrators of charities must be wasting money instead of running a lean and brutally efficient private sector industry. So, yes, the global aid sector is broken... because it has to pander to billionaire donors like Musk, while boardrooms of mostly Western white men make decisions based solely on the preferences of their billionaire donors....
    If Musk truly wants to help, he should stop centering himself in conversations about hunger for clickbait. It’s not about him. World hunger and other humanitarian crises need a different generation of funders: funders who create spaces to have honest conversations about the real needs, while also understanding financial involvement doesn’t magically equate to expertise; funders who see it as their role to facilitate change rather than enforcing prescriptive “solutions”; and funders who are deeply committed to equity and recognise it as the baseline of a sustainable world.
  • Beasley pointed toward Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, the two richest people in the world, who could each individually help those in these situations with a small chunk of their overall change. Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has a net worth of $151 billion, according to Forbes, with his wealth increasing by more than 500% from January 2020 to March this year. Meanwhile, Amazon CEO Bezos has a net worth of $177 billion. And their net worth is still growing. The week of October 11, Musk's net wealth increased by $12.7 billion due to Tesla stock gains, according to Forbes, and in just one day, on October 15, Bezos' generated $5.6 billion from Amazon stock. When news broke that Musk may have beat Bezos for the richest person title, he tweeted at Bezos a silver second place medal emoji. Meanwhile, Beasley told CNN that millions of others are in a "heartbreaking" situation as they're "knocking on famine's door."
  • The governments are tapped out. This is why and this is when ... the billionaires need to step up now on a one-time basis, $6 billion to help 42 million people that are literally going to die if we don't reach them. It's not complicated... I'm not asking them to do this every day, every week, every year... We have a one-time crisis: a perfect storm of conflict, climate change and COVID. ...Just help me with them one time... The world's in trouble and you're telling me you can't give me .36% of your net worth increase to help the world in trouble, in times like this?... What if it was your daughter starving to death? What if it was your family starving to death? Wake up, smell the coffee, and help... My god, people are dying out there... We have a vaccine for this. It's called money, food.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Encyclopedic article on Elon Musk on Wikipedia