5 Takeaways From Elon Musk’s Interview With The Times About Tesla
Tesla is not considering hiring a second in command, the electric carmaker’s founder and chief executive, Elon Musk, said in wide-ranging comments to The New York Times.
Mr. Musk’s remarks came during an hourlong interview Thursday in which he described the extraordinary demands of running Tesla and the profound effect it has had on his personal life.
“If you have anyone who can do a better job, please let me know. They can have the job,” he said from his home in Los Angeles. “Is there someone who can do the job better? They can have the reins right now.”
Here are five takeaways from the interview.
Impromptu Tweet on the Way to the Airport
Mr. Musk provided a detailed timeline of the events that preceded the tweet that roiled financial markets, outlining how the day began with an early workout at his home before he drove himself to the airport in a Tesla Model S.
En route, he typed out the message that provoked the latest crisis over his leadership of Tesla.
Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.
― Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2018
― 埃隆・马斯克(@elonmusk) 2018年8月7日”
Mr. Musk said no one reviewed or saw the tweet before he sent it, but the post sent Tesla’s shares soaring. He then reached the airport and took a private jet to a Tesla battery plant in Nevada. Later that evening, he flew to the San Francisco Bay Area and held meetings into the night.
When Mr. Musk sent out the tweet, Tesla’s share price rocketed upward, finally closing up 11 percent to finish the day just above $379. He said in the interview that he had sought to offer shareholders a roughly 20 percent premium over where the stock had recently been trading, and rounded up to $420 a share.
Since then, however, Tesla’s share price has nose-dived. On Friday, Tesla shares ended trading at $305.50, a fall of about 9 percent for the day ― and about 24 percent lower from where the price closed on the day of the tweet.
Will There Be a No. 2?
“To the best of my knowledge,” Mr. Musk told The Times on Thursday, there was “no active search right now.” People familiar with the matter, however, said that executives were looking for a No. 2 executive, and one person said the hunt had intensified in recent weeks.
A couple of years ago, Tesla approached Sheryl Sandberg, currently Facebook’s second most senior executive, about the job, Mr. Musk said.
Although his tweet prompted questions from the Securities and Exchange Commission ― such information is usually issued through official channels after extensive preparation ― and from his own board, Mr. Musk said he did not regret sending it.
尽管他的推文引起了证券交易委员会(Securities and Exchange Commission)和他自己的董事会的质疑――这类信息通常是经过充分准备后通过官方渠道发布的――马斯克说，他并不后悔发表了这条信息。
“Why would I?” he asked.
The Tesla chief said he did not plan to stop using Twitter, either. Some board members have recently told him that he should lay off the social media platform and focus on his company, according to people familiar with the matter.
‘Not on Weed’
Once Mr. Musk’s tweet about taking Tesla private was posted, speculation was rife that his target share price, $420, held an implicit message ― the number has become code for marijuana in counterculture lore.
Mr. Musk was, however, definitive in his response. “I was not on weed, to be clear,” he said.
“Weed is not helpful for productivity. There’s a reason for the word ‘stoned.’ You just sit there like a stone on weed.”
He did note, though, that he sometimes takes Ambien to help him sleep when he is not working, a practice that has worried some of Tesla’s board members.
They worry that the drug does not put Mr. Musk to sleep, but instead contributes to late-night Twitter sessions, a person familiar with the matter said. Some board members are also aware that Mr. Musk has occasionally used recreational drugs, according to people familiar with the matter.
‘The Worst Is Yet to Come’
Mr. Musk outlined the toll that running Tesla had taken on his personal life, from spending the entirety of his birthday at work to nearly missing his brother’s wedding, where he was to be best man.
But while that effort appears to have helped Tesla gain a firmer footing, things could get worse for him personally, he said.
“I thought the worst of it was over ― I thought it was,” he said. “The worst is over from a Tesla operational standpoint.”
“But from a personal pain standpoint,” Mr. Musk added, “the worst is yet to come.”