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💬 "Elon Musk: Somebody that I Used to Know"

On with Kara Swisher

Table of Contents

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Hosts: Kara Swisher & Nayeema Raza
Category: 💬 Opinion | Elon Musk

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[2:43] KS: "I've known [Elon] for a long time. [...] [I went] back and looked at some emails and our emails are very funny. They're interesting. He's a very challenging person sometimes. But I'd forgotten how much we talked about stuff. And it's interesting to see what he's morphed into now. [...] I've covered him since 1999. [...] I'll support him when he's doing great things. And I will tell him when he's being an asshole. [...] I've [also] been covering Twitter from the get go."

[5:36] KS: "I'd like to say to start, I really have been very supportive of Elon, even when he's acted badly sometimes. Because I really do believe especially around Tesla and SpaceX, and some of his other stuff, I think he's really visionary. So I've always been someone who's been much more supportive than than other reporters and I think I get dragged a lot for that. [...] Silicon Valley is full of really smart people working on small ideas. [...] And Elon Musk was a big mind working on big ideas and so I always appreciated that for sure."

[7:20] KS: "I had asked [Elon] for an interview for [this podcast] and we had a great back and forth about what should be done at Twitter [in October 2022] [...] And then I tweeted something that he didn't like. I tweeted this Washington Post article, which cited an anonymous US defense official talking about Starlink. The official said "Elon is going to Elon" and I wrote on Twitter "Elon is going to Elon kind of says it all". [...] But I didn't agree with this defense official. I think they should pay Elon and I said that. [...] [On October 17 after 9pm I got an email from Elon and the subject just said] "you're an asshole". [I wrote back, but we haven't been in touch since]."

[9:55] KS: "I think as you get that rich and people tell you what a genius you are, you start to really believe and you don't like people around you who disagree. And even if people think they're disagreeing around them, they're really not. They're not risking their relationship."

[16:40] KS: "[In the early 2000s] I literally was surrounded by people pitching me the stupidest [...] startups and they were making a fortune. And part of me hated them for that. Because this was a chance to change humanity. I got into this because I love tech and I think tech has these amazing, great breakthrough qualities. [...] [Elon on the other hand] was talking about cars, [...] climate change, [...] space, and [...] we have to become a multiplanetary species. [...] There was no way not to be excited by it."

[18:25] KS: "All really good entrepreneurs are contrarians. They just are by nature. So he's taken it to an extreme in lots of ways. But I would say on good days, I think he really [...] wants to make a dent in the universe."

[35:50] KS: "I've done an online interview with Jack Dorsey and he said Elon was his favorite Twitter user. [...] [Elon] makes a lot of jokes. [...] He's just got a lot of energy and so it has to have an outlet. [...] I just think he wants to talk. [...] I have to say it must be lonely [...] in the position these people are in. Their worlds get smaller and smaller. They have more and more minions around them. And it's more and more comfortable. I've taken it on recently calling it a cashmere prison."

[38:11] KS: "[In my New York Times column in 2018 I wrote: Elon is not crazy.] Not at least in my various encounters with him over nearly two decades, including recently in which he has been alternately funny, rude, compelling, obnoxious, accessible, easy to deal with, hard to deal with, always on, outspoken to fault, even when he might be at fault, angry, charming, intense, and also strikingly confident, which is a long way of saying deeply human with all the positive and negative characteristics that suggest. And that is why to me, Elon Musk has become the "Id of Tech". But his desires and needs are never unconscious or hidden. They're all there in the brightest [...] color for all to see. In the oddest of ways, he is transparent, so utterly direct that is unsettling and even painful at times to those around him."

[48:46] KS: "[If we'd talk today, I would say to Elon:] What are you doing? [...] You're better than this. [...] I can sort of see the good parts of what you're doing. Some of the moves he's making are correct. But the way he's doing it, the cruelty about people leaving, the dragging people. [...] When Mark Zuckerberg looks like a classier guy than you, you're doing something wrong in terms of these layoffs. Mark Zuckerberg did a great job. [...] The adulation from the fanboys has gotten out of town. [...] I feel sorry for him right now. [...] And I think he could be the one to fix [Twitter]. So it's killing me in that regard. Maybe he will."

[52:16] KS: "The Pelosi thing [is where] [Elon went] too far [for me]. [...] What an irresponsible terrible thing to do as one of your first acts as CEO of this site: [...] [sharing] misinformation, [that is] anti-gay, plain mean to a guy who got attacked. Everything about it was loathsome and [...] I've had it."

[55:34] KS: "I don't think I'm particularly woke. I just don't like bullies. [...] I think people would be surprised how conservative I am about lots of things. I think people like to put labels on you. [...] Stop using [woke] as a lazy term because you don't have any other good arguments."

[58:44] KS: "I think it's very easy to say [...] [that Elon] is a narcissist, malevolent. [...] I think he does want to [...] make a dent in the universe. I think he really cares. [...] It's much more complex than just "what an asshole". [...] He's one of the biggest thinkers in Silicon Valley. He's also become more narcissistic than I thought possible. [...] I think it's in him to do great things. I think what he's doing now is indulgent, the way he's behaving. I think he should bring in the best people, and he should listen to them. And he should find new fresh ways of doing something [at Twitter]. And if he doesn't, he's gonna lose a lot of money. [However] I don't think he cares about money.”

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

🎙️ Apple | Google | Spotify
🗓️ 11/14/2022
✅ Time saved: 1 hr 5 min