It seems like everyone is talking about Elon Musk’s new interview with the New York Times. In an hour-long discussion, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX showed a rarely-seen emotional side in which he struggled “to maintain his composure,” “choked up multiple times” and “alternated between laughter and tears.” So what are the biggest takeaways?
Work is Affecting his Health
The Times notes Musk has seen his health take a downturn due to exhaustion. “It’s not been great, actually,” he said during the interview. I’ve had friends come by who are really concerned.”
Musk is Impulsive
Tesla got a stock boost and scrutiny from federal regulators after Musk posted on Twitter about his intention to take Tesla private with “funding secured” from a likely Saudi investment. Musk admits he posted the message while in his car on the way to the airport and no one else had seen or reviewed it beforehand. He claims it was an attempt to be transparent and has agreed to not tweet about the possible privatization deal again unless he discussed it with the board first. However, Must says he has no regrets about the Twitter post — “Why would I?”
Musk Says he is not a Stoner
“Weed is not helpful for productivity,” Musk said. “There’s a reason for the word ‘stoned.’ You just sit there like a stone on weed.” The Times later added, “Some board members are also aware that Mr. Musk has on occasion used recreational drugs, according to people familiar with the matter.”
Musk is a Workaholic.
Musk admits he sometimes works as much as 120 hours a week and hasn’t taken more than a week off since he was stricken with malaria back in 2001. On June 28, he spent all 24 hours of his birthday at work.
Short Sellers are Painful
Musk blames much of his stress on short sellers who hope to make money off Tesla stock losing value. Musk says he is bracing for “at least a few months of extreme torture from the short-sellers, who are desperately pushing a narrative that will possibly result in Tesla’s destruction.”
Musk takes Ambien
“It is often a choice of no sleep or Ambien,” Musk says. The Times reports board members are concerned the use of Ambien has led to questionable late-night Twitter posts by Musk. Recently, a tweet referred to a diver involved in the rescue of children from a Thailand cave as a “pedo guy,” drawing criticism and well as raised eyebrows.
A “Number Two” is Being Sought… Maybe
For years, Tesla executives have been seeking to recruit a second-in-command to take some of the burden, stress and responsibility off Musk’s shoulders. Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg was in the running but appeared to turn down the job. Musk says there is “no active search right now.”