Elon Musk just turned 50 years old. At the half century mark, he has solidified his legacy as a once-in-a-generation, larger-than-life thinker and doer. Musk moves markets with a single tweet. He moves governments to hand him money. He moves consumers to buy whatever he's selling. He has devout disciples — I call them Muskovites — and rabid haters.
He’s kinda like Jesus, without the divinity (though some would disagree!).
Jesus fought Rome. Musk could buy Rome.
Will people still be talking about Elon Musk 2,000 years after he's gone, like Jesus? Perhaps, from a poolside bar on Mars.
I am a great admirer of Musk, though I take everything he says with a grain of salt the size of Uranus. He’s the love child of Thomas Edison and P.T. Barnum, both a genius engineer and a masterful showman. Truth seems flexible to Elon, at least when it comes to deadlines, and he would not have become successful without a lot of early handouts — like NASA’s $1.6 billion contract for SpaceX way back in 2008.
Yet Musk achieves great things. Miracles, you might call them.
All of this makes Elon Musk so much fun to watch, as long as you’re not shorting Tesla shares.
This column will regularly round up Everything Elon, from his élan to his elon-gated timelines. I will occasionally include interviews with his most passionate followers and snarkiest short-sellers.
Twitter/Square CEO Jack Dorsey wants to raise awareness about Bitcoin with an event called "The B Word." Last Thursday, Musk joked about what the "B" stands for. "Bicurious?" (Jane: "Beard?")
Dorsey replied, "Bizarre!," failing to match Musk's rapier wit, though staying with the "B" theme. Jack then seized the opportunity to get a lot of people to actually attend The B Word by inviting the biggest star in crypto to join him.
However, Elon shut him down like a popular girl asked to the prom by a geek. "Lmfao. omg." Jack was rejected on his own social media platform.
Jack persisted, though, like a young Nicolas Cage in "Valley Girl," and Elon eventually relented. "Very well then, let's do it," Musk tweeted with a winking emoji. At 1:59AM Friday.
Two hours later, at 4:03AM, Musk sent the crypto world into another tizzy when he tweeted that he'd name his Shiba Inu "Floki." Shiba Inu as in an actual dog, not the digital currency.
That sent Shiba Inu the cryptocoin up 16% to the whopping value of $0.00000790, which is what happens in the world of trading memes of memes (am I the only one having acid flashbacks to the mortgage collapse when people traded derivatives of derivatives, all backed by bilge?).
Just one more thing...
Exactly 23 minutes after the Floki tweet, at 4:26AM, a clearly bored Elon Musk decided to troll another CEO, Microsoft's Satya Nadella. "Bring back the Zune!! It's time."
I live for this.
Must has been tweaking famous people even more than usual lately, because he's ELON F'ING MUSK. My personal fave is the tweet about his new BFF Miley Cyrus, revealing she's Hannah Montana, the biggest Disney scandal since Harry Potter called bullsh*t on The Wizards of Waverly Place. Miley replied with her trademark subtlety. "What the f--- @elonmusk?!?!"
Wait, I was wrong. One more thing...
Musk’s favorite digital currency, Dogecoin, jumped almost 5% to $.26 after Elon expressed support for a proposal to significantly reduce the transaction cost of using the crypto-which-started-as-a-joke. “Important to support,” he tweeted. Enjoy, kids! Little Miss Afraid-of-Volatility will observe from my perch over here at the intersection of Wells St. & Crazy Ave.
Continuing our crypto theme, Elon got blowback back in his native South Africa earlier this month from Magda Wierzycka, one of the richest women south of Botswana and CEO of Sygnia, a financial services company. Wierzycka jokes she's lost so much money in Bitcoin that her husband hasn't forgiven her.
She also spoke with Bruce Whitfield on a program appropriately called "The Money Show" and claimed that Musk may have intentionally run up the price of Bitcoin by 1) announcing Tesla bought $1.5 billion of the digital currency, only to 2) cash out at the top, then 3) tweeting that Tesla would stop accepting the crypto for payment until Bitcoin mining got "greener." Bitcoin prices then crashed faster than a springbok (a South African rugby pun).
"The volatility we have seen is an unexpected function of what I would call market manipulation by Elon Musk," Wierzycka told Whitfield. "If that happens to a listed company, he would be investigated and severely sanctioned by (the) SEC." (Go to the 12:35 mark.)
Elon tweeted that her claim was “not accurate,” and that Tesla merely sold about 10% of Bitcoin "to confirm BTC could be liquidated easily without moving market." Well, he did move the market, whether through the Bitcoin sale or the tweets.
Musk also tweeted that when half of Bitcoin mining is from green energy sources, Tesla will start accepting it as payment again.
…and then Bitcoin prices soared. So…
It begs the question: if you are telling your true opinion about something you own, and people know you own it, and you know that expressing your opinion is going to move its price, is that manipulation? Hmmmm.
The Chinese admire Elon Musk, but not so much they gloss over issues with Tesla brakes or the cruise control system suddenly acting like it has a mind of its own.
Tesla is "recalling" almost 250,000 Model Y and S vehicles, nearly all of them made locally, after a government investigation found the cruise control “could be accidentally activated and potentially result in an unexpected speed increase.” It’s the latest problem for Tesla in the world’s biggest market.
SPEAKING OF SPEED…
AS FOR SPEEDY DELIVERIES...
One Tesla customer claims his delivery is being pushed back and his car given to someone else, and some wonder if it's because he lives in Florida, which is far away from California, and the second quarter is ending, and Tesla wants to improve delivery numbers, and... etc.
SOMEONE AT A GM PLANT THINKS TESLA IS A FOREIGN COMPANY
A security guard at a GM plant outside St. Louis cited a Tesla parked in a lot reserved for domestic cars, even though the Model 3 was just declared the most American made car in 'merica.
According to The Drive, GM acknowledged the mistake. "Plant security inadvertently thought the Tesla was a foreign car and wrote a ticket accordingly."
He really did it! Elon Musk has put his last remaining home up for sale, a 47-acre estate in the Bay Area which Business Insider says went on the market for $37.5 million. Check it out on Zillow.
The 16,000 square foot house was built in 1916 in posh Hillsborough, and Musk bought it four years ago for $23 million. That's 63% ROI. Not bad, except when compared to the more than 800% increase in Tesla shares over the same period.
Musk decided last year to downsize, as in down to zero (which, strangely, is what ProPublica claims he paid in federal income taxes in 2018). He says he is currently renting a house worth about $50,000 near the SpaceX facility in Boca Chica, Texas. Musk also says he will continue to pay California taxes for the time he spends in the Golden State, which is, coincidentally, the law.
I decided to mosey on over to Realtor.com to see what you could buy in Boca Chica for $50k. This gives you some idea.
(Realtor.com for $49,900!)
The fans over at Teslarati snooped around and believe they've found the place where Elon's actually living. It's not the house pictured here. The allegedly real Elon house is described as "a foldable, prefabricated home" which measures 20x20. No wonder he's up at 2AM.
Also, his new neighbors are mad at him, according to a story by NPR, proving that when you move to the middle of nowhere, hire 1,700 people and pay them $80 million, you can't please everybody. In this case, environmentalists are upset because building and launching and occasionally crashing rockets isn't good for birds.
— The Boring Company pitches wider tunnels to transport cargo. Boring has big plans for bigger vehicles.
— We can send a man to the Moon but we can't get decent Wifi on our G650! Elon tweeted that his Starlink lower-orbit satellite system for internet could end up on airplanes, with the 737, A320 and Gulfstream being the primary targets.
— A McDonald's in the middle of nowhere is catering to Tesla owners.
Firebaugh, CA, doesn't have a lot going on, but it does have one McDonald's and one Tesla recharging station. The two happen to be right next to each other on a lonely stretch of I-5 in California's Central Valley. Now Mickey D's is offering to bring you a Big Mac while you charge your Tesla. That McDonald's franchisee management training program is paying dividends!
By the way, in case you missed it, Tesla has applied to extend its trademark to cover restaurants, as Musk has mused for years he'd like to combine charging stations and a diner. This way he can make even more money off people who love only one thing more than Tesla, and that's being around other people who love Tesla. They get it! The hope is that someday these folks can come together in a safe space over a burger and fries.
— The first orbital launch of SpaceX's Mars rocket could happen soon.
This launch would coincide with the first trip to the edge of the atmosphere by fellow billionaire, Jeff Bezos (the only American richer than Elon). Bezos plans to be on the first crewed flight of his Blue Origin's New Shepard vehicle July 20, the anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.
A change.org petition to keep Bezos in space after the launch is currently one of the most popular petitions on the site. The campaign was started by "Ric G," who writes:
"Billionaires and corporations should pay their fair share. Until then, Jeff Bezos can stay in space until he finds which intergalactic asteroid core contains his compassion and humanity."
I'm curious how much stuff Ric bought from Amazon during the pandemic.
Up next, in Chapter 2: Meet the infamous Omar Qazi.
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments.