You’ve probably heard Elon Musk was named Person of the Year by Time, not the distinction it used to be when the publication was more relevant, and by Financial Times (FT).
Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, is a fitting choice. He is defiantly who he is, not what people want him to be. If he’s not refined enough for some people’s taste, or tweets too much, Musk doesn’t care.
The richest man in the world is a brilliant and complex product of our times.
Here are Musk’s 15 best quotes from the interviews he did with Time and FT.
1. “How have Tesla and SpaceX succeeded when other companies have far more resources and money than I do? The problem is they can’t hire me.”
2. “I am very good at technology and engineering. Everyone’s got their talents, that’s one of mine. I can’t sing or dance, but I can do that.”
3. “I don’t think there’s a lot of people who would actually want to trade places.” — noting that he works 80-to-90 hours a week and doesn’t own a house or boat or take any vacations.
4. “No one has ever made a fully reusable orbital rocket of any kind whatsoever. We just live on a planet where this is an extremely difficult job. If this was a video game, the setting is on ‘maximum’ but not ‘impossible.'”
5. “The next really big thing is to build a self-sustaining city on Mars and bring the animals and creatures of Earth there. Sort of like a futuristic Noah’s ark. We’ll bring more than two, though—it’s a little weird if there’s only two.”
6. “I’ll be surprised if we’re not landing on Mars within five years.”
7. “We did Tesla essentially out of desperation — not because we thought it would be lucrative, but just to show that it could be done.”
8. “Bitcoin may be a store of value, but it is not a good substitute for transactional currency.
Even though it was created as a silly joke, dogecoin is better suited for transactions.” — Musk noted dogecoin allows more transactions per day, and its built-in inflation encourages people not to hoard it.
9. “You want those who are managing capital to be good stewards of capital. And I think the government is inherently not a good steward of capital.” — justifying his resistance to taxing billionaires’ wealth.
10. “I’m not Warren Buffett’s biggest fan, frankly. But he’s not engaged in insane, conspicuous consumption.
So you have to say, ‘Sure, he’s got a high net worth, but he’s doing a useful job for the economy, and he’s very skilled at it and should probably keep doing it.'”
11. “I don’t really think about brand optimization to be frank. That’s obvious from my tweets, which are often self-inflicted wounds.”
12. “I mean, are you not entertained? I’m not saying I don’t make foolish tweets, of course I do. There are times when I shoot myself in the foot. But on balance, it’s entertaining and interesting, informative, whatever.”
13. “The markets move themselves all the time. Tesla stock has seen some very big changes in value from one day to the next, based on nothing as far as I can tell.” — Musk downplaying the impact of his tweets on asset prices.
14. “This place is basically a technology monastery. There are some women here, but not many, and it’s remote, and we do technology, so this is a techno-monastery.” — joking about why he doesn’t have a girlfriend.
15. “I’m just trying to get people to Mars, enable freedom of information with Starlink, accelerate sustainable technology with Tesla, and free people from the drudgery of driving.
It’s certainly possible that the road to hell to some degree is paved with good intentions — but the road to hell is mostly paved with bad intentions.”