All-In with Chamath, Jason, Sacks & Friedberg - E69: Elon Musk on Twitter's bot problem, SpaceX's grand plan, Tesla stories, Giga Texas & more

So live from an undisclosed location with the sultry filter on

Very sultry filter on


Having a great hair day. Yeah, that is a good hair day for you. Great hair day my pal and

Your favorite CEO and Twitter, mr. Elon Musk. How you doing, pal?

Brain man David

Appreciate you coming to the event and are coming zooming in. Yeah, what’s new in your world?

Well, let’s see, um, I guess right now

I’m sort of debating the number of bots on Twitter

Bra on Twitter



Currently, I’d like to what what’s what I’m being told is that the there’s just no way to know the number of bots

It’s like as unknowable as the human soul, basically

Witchcraft and alchemy is needed to determine these

Said like why don’t try calling people, but I haven’t got a response, you know, like if you try calling people or something, you know

like maybe

No, I don’t know but I think like that would be one of the things to do to say like

Have you tried calling them as opposed to trying to read the tea leaves here that’s like impossible, you know

Obviously you can have an account that looks exactly like a human account or is being operated where one person is operating a thousand accounts

or something

But that person can only buy one toaster. They’re gonna buy a thousand toasters

So you care about like number of unique real people that are on the system?

it’s extremely fundamental and anyone who uses Twitter is well aware that

The the comment the comment threads are are full of spam spam and and

just a lot of you know, fake accounts, so

it seems

Beyond beyond reasonable for Twitter to claim that the number of

Essentially the number of real said another way the number of real unique humans

That you see making comments on a daily basis on Twitter is above 95%

That is what they’re claiming. Does anyone have that experience?

There’s a bridge I’d like to sell you, you know

You can buy the Brooklyn Bridge

Um, what do you think it is what yeah, what’s it what’s the I mean and it’s not 5% What is it?

Um, I think it’s a number that is probably at least four or five times that number, but I’d say it at

if you did sort of the

The lowest estimate would be probably 20%


And this and this is a bunch of

Quite smart outside firms have done analysis of Twitter and

Looked at the the sort of daily daily users and their conclusion is also about is about 20% but that’s a lower bound

It’s not an upper bound

if you look at say

the most liked tweets on Twitter

So I I have the honor of

having the most liked tweet of any living human

This is

Thank you everyone for liking my tweet

Including you both with some of the bots out there


That tweet is less than 5 million likes

It’s like four point seven or something like that and hit that that was the where I tweeted about

That next time buying coca-cola to put the cocaine back in

Definitely there’s clearly something that the public really wants and

You know coca-cola corporation should really think about going back to their roots

Coca-cola, I mean this this I guess is the reason why our grandparents could sort of walk 20 miles in the snow

They had coca-cola with cocaine this is real reason

Anyway, that’s that’s that’s literally the most popular tweet

of any of any living human and

But Twitter says that the daily money the sort of monetizable daily active users is 217 million

So why would it be that the most popular tweet ever basically is?

Only you know two two and a half percent

This this seems a very very low number


And the most popular tweets generally are clustered around that sort of four million

Like level so it’s a sort of like basically two percent or less or less than two percent of the

Daily active users and and technically monetizable daily active users is how it proportions

Well actually, you know if you think about it Elon

There’s a corollary on youtube

What do what’s the total user base of youtube and what have the most popular videos gotten there?

Yes, and I think there’s there’s a correlation between what’s the total user base of youtube and what’s the total user base of twitter

And what’s the total user base of youtube and what’s the total user base of twitter

What do what’s the total user base of youtube and what have the most popular videos gotten there

Yes, and I think there’s a billion or two

Maybe a billion people using youtube and those the most popular videos have tens of billions of views. Yes

That might be instructive

Exactly that ratio makes a lot more sense. Um, so

Something doesn’t add up here

um, and and my concern is is not that is it like, you know,

Is it five or or seven or eight percent, but is it?

Potentially eighty percent or ninety percent bots

Yeah, you know, is it I mean, I certainly know there’s some real people on twitter, but uh, but what’s if it?

Is it an order of magnitude?

Is it is it fifty percent instead of five and that’s obviously an incredibly material number

especially since twitter

Uh relies primarily on brand advertising as opposed to specific

Click through advertising where you make a purchase if you if you make a purchase

It doesn’t really matter that much but for brand advertising, which is really just awareness advertising

It matters if real humans are seeing that or not

yeah, and and so

I guess stepping back for a second people are curious why you want to buy twitter. Why is this so important to you?

And then I guess what are the chances you think the deal gets done at this point so a two-parter

Why is it so important to you, I mean some of this i’ve articulated before but I think there’s

a need for a a

Public town square digital town square that uh where people can debate, uh issues of all kinds. Um,

including the most substantive issues, um, and in order for

The uh for that to be the case you have to have something that is as broadly inclusive as possible

That has as much of the the people on the platform as possible

uh where it’s uh, it feels uh,

Balanced from a political standpoint. Uh, it’s not biased one way or the other

and where

The system is transparent

This is why I think it’s important to put the algorithm on on github and actually

Allow the public to see it and critique it and improve it

Um, and if there are any manual changes, uh sort of shadow banning as it’s called, uh, or

Increasing or decreasing the prominence of a tweet

That’s done manually that that should be noted. Uh, so, you know what has happened and it’s not just


you know

You’re just where it is right now. We don’t know what the heck is going on

Why is one tweet doing well? Why is another tweet not is it is the algorithm that someone manually to intervene?

Uh, why are some accounts banned?


with no recourse apparently


and um, you know, the the reality is uh, that that twitter at this point, you know has

Uh a very far-left bias. Um, and I I would classify myself as as a moderate and you know

Neither republican nor nor democrat. Um, and in fact, uh, I have voted voted overwhelmingly for democrats

Historically overwhelmingly like i’m not sure

I might never have voted for republican just to be clear. Right? Um now now this election I will

David you okay?

Keep going, he’s fine. He’s fine. We’re gonna resuscitate him. We’re gonna resuscitate david sacks. I mean

Let me ask you a personal point i’m trying to make is that this is not some sort of attempt to uh,

You know, it’s not some right-wing takeover. Um as as say people on the left may fear

but rather a moderate wing takeover, um and an attempt to uh, ensure that that people of of all, uh,

You know political

Beliefs feel welcome on on a digital town square that and they can express

Their their beliefs without fear of being banned or shadow banned. Um,

and and and that we we obviously need to get rid of the bots, uh, and and scams and trolls and people that are operating

uh, huge bot armies and attempt to uh,

Unduly influence the the public opinion. So this is what I think it’s very important that we have that like the


some of the smartest people in history have

Thought about it and said like free speech is important for a for a healthy democracy. It is important and free speech only matters


Like say when does free speech matter most it’s when someone when it’s someone you don’t like saying something you don’t like

Yeah, that’s when it actually matters. Um, so

um, you know

Obviously and and and it’s pretty annoying when someone you don’t like says something you don’t like

that’s that’s that’s bad, but it’s actually a good sign of

That that you have free speech


So, um, I mean I get trashed by the media all the time. It’s fine. I don’t care

I do do it twice as much. I couldn’t care less

Um, but it’s indicative of the fact that even though um, you know, I have like a lot of resources

I do not actually have the ability to stop the media from trashing me and that’s actually a good thing

Yeah, I I have to ask. Um with regard to this current administration

I know how hard you work, uh on the car company

And then biden, you know

You’ve been a lifelong democrat. You’ve donated to obama and to everybody probably never voted republican


Yet and the same is true for joe rogan. Joe rogan is, you know, a bernie sanders supporter

And that the democratic party has been openly hostile to joe rogan and biden

Can’t even say the word tesla or invite you to the white house when they do an evie summit

I’m curious just on a very personal basis. What does it feel like to have that experience where the party you supported?

Is it won’t even say the name of your company or invite you there? They should be celebrating the work you’re doing

yeah, I mean it definitely feels like this is not right like this is

the the issue here is that there’s just an

This the democrat party is overly overly controlled by the unions and by the

trial lawyers, particularly the class action, uh lawyers

And generally if you if you’ll see something that doesn’t that is not in the interest of the of the people


On the on the democrat side it’s going to come because of the unions, uh, which is just another form of monopoly and the uh,

the trial lawyers, uh

That that’s where actions will be happening from the democrat side

They’re not in the interest of the people and then um to be fair on the republican side

Uh, there’s there’s if you say like where is something like not not ideal happening. It’s because of corporate evil. Um, and

religious zealotry

Um, but that’s generally where the bad things will be coming from on the republican side. Um,

that are not representative of the people so

Um in in the case of biden, he is simply too too much

Uh captured by the unions, um, which was not the case with obama

Um, so in the case of obama, you could have you know, he was sort of quite reasonable

um, and I think he took more of a view of that, you know, obviously you take the

Concerns of the unions into account, but uh, there are bigger issues at stake and and unfortunately biden does not do that

You’ll have a i have a tesla question. I read today. It’s incredible

There was a bloomberg article that said the following so the setup is this

It said since you went public tesla’s up twenty two thousand percent

uh, eleven quarters of profit sequential profitability, so hitting on all cylinders, but the

public analysts

Absolutely, that’s a car joke. That’s a combustion

Stepping on the gas pedal firing

But analysts, uh when they put out their projections


It’s it’s one of the most enormous bans for any company in america the the price targets for tesla despite all of this success

Some have it at 200 some have it at 1600. It’s all over the place you tweeted

Uh a couple months ago tesla’s not a company. It’s like six companies inside of a company like you’ve had

Yeah, maybe more can you just explain to people

All these companies inside this super company just so folks have a sense of what had to be done to get here

Okay, I mean this this question requires thought and i’ll probably be leaving out uh quite a few things

But if you look at say what what does a typical?


car company do

uh, what what they do is they they um

They they assemble vehicles

Um, and they send them to dealers and they manage the supply chain

Uh, the the they might make the engine, uh, typically we’ll make the engine but most of the parts are made by suppliers

Um, and a lot of the actual technology development is done by suppliers and most most of this vehicle software is done by suppliers

So the actual amount of uh real work done by car companies that what you think of sort of like a gm or ford is

Not actually that much


And but like so they don’t do they don’t do uh sales. They don’t do service. Um,

They uh, so in the case of tesla, for example, we we do we we do our own sales and service

We don’t have dealerships, um

then uh

Tesla also has by far the biggest network of superchargers sort of the electric equivalent of gas stations

So we built an entire global supercharger network, which is still the most advanced and by far the best

way to charge your car when traveling long distance or if you live in a city, um, and uh,

And don’t have the ability to charge your car. There’s a street parking or an apartment

So the whole supercharger network we developed the supercharger network

We deployed it. I think we have

I don’t know 15 000 superchargers globally. Um

You can travel anywhere in america right now with uh,

the tesla supercharger network


then, uh in terms of vertical integration, uh, we

uh, we make the the battery pack, uh, the the power electronics the drive unit, um,



We actually make we’re we’re more integrated in in the parts. We actually make so much of the car, uh internally

we’re vertically integrated, um, not necessarily because we just we think that there’s some religious reason to be vertically integrated, but because

The pace at which we needed to move was just much faster than the supply chain could move and to the degree that you

Inherit the legacy supply chain you inherit the legacy constraints including their speed, uh cost and uh and technology

And then tesla is as much a software company as it is a hardware company

So the software that runs in tesla operates the car operates the screen

Uh does the charging?

All of that stuff is developed by tesla

and um, so we have sort of a car a tesla os in the car when you

I’ve been gone for a long time and then very importantly, uh,

tesla has built a


An autopilot ai team from scratch. Uh, that is the best real world ai team on earth

Um, and if anyone else has got a better one, i’d like to see it demonstrated in a car

um the

the full self-driving beta at this point, uh,


Very often take you with zero interventions across the bay area from san jose to marin


Through complex traffic. It’s really quite sophisticated

Um and invite anyone to to join the beta or look at the videos of those who are in the beta

We’ve got like a hundred thousand people in the beta

So it’s not tiny and we’ll be expanding that to I don’t probably a million people or a million

I don’t know on that order by the end of the year. So

um, it’s um

You had this slide

We also we also built a chip team too because there wasn’t it wasn’t hardware that we could run the friggin

uh ai on

Uh, we couldn’t just fill the trunk with a whole bunch of gpus. Um, and and

you know

Like they would have taken a trunk full of gpus

That would have been very expensive and take massive amount of power and cooling

Uh, just to be able to do what the tesla designed, uh, full self-driving computer can do

So and we started a chip team from scratch designed it

It was the best in the world and still is the best in the world several years later. Um,

And we’re also then developed we’re designing a dojo, uh supercomputer to be able to process the


all the video that’s coming in from billions of miles of data because

Just sort of like the way that that it’s pretty cool to compete with google because they have so much data

And they have all the people doing searches all the time and humanity is training it

But the same is true of tesla. You really need billions of miles ultimately tens of billions of miles of training data combined with

Sort of a vast training computer and then uh optimize

uh inference hardware in the car

Um and state-of-the-art ai and training and specialized software across the board to be able to achieve a full self-driving solution

I uh, I just thought

That when when he opened tesla gigafactory remember this six or seven years ago

I’ll just tell the audience’s story quickly ilan. He puts a slide up there and he says guys. We’re not actually building

A factory we’re building a machine that makes machines and he puts the layout of the factory and it looks like a chip

And it was basically like how you would actually lay out a microchip if you were or you know

You were like a layout engineer. It was the craziest thing i’d ever seen

I was like that was when I first got it

Yeah, you know you walk on 10 and you see what’s happening and you have an insurance company now

You’re doing insurance for tesla owners and an uber competitor, right and eventually a robo taxi uber competitor. All right, babe


Yeah, I mean insurance is not quite significant now. Are you okay? I’m, okay. Okay

This the the car insurance thing is a bigger deal that may seem a lot of people are paying. Um,

You know 30 40 percent as much as their lease payment for the car in in car insurance

um, so the car insurance industry is incredibly inefficient because they’re they’re just

first of all, you got like so many, um sort of middle entities you’ve got you’ve got from an insurance agent all the way to

The final sort of reinsurer there’s like a half dozen companies each taking a cut. Um, and then uh the

It’s all very statistical so that there’s um, even if you’re a very good driver like you could be like, you know

20 years old and a great driver, but they

It’s all statistical so you can’t get you either can’t get insurance or it’s extremely expensive. Um,

So but tesla allows for real-time insurance based on how you actually drive the car

Um, you can actually if you drive the car

in a safer way you actually

Have lower insurance. So ours is is insurance is based on how you actually drive not how

you know

historically people that you know

Fit your whatever demographic have drive. It’s and then you can close the loop around your uh,

insurance rate by simply driving better and looking at your score

And and and lowering your assurance in real time and people do it actually promotes safer driving

I actually have had this experience because

In my household two people drive my car and one of them has a 93 score and the other one

Does not they have like a 60 score?

And um, you may have met this other person, but uh, i’ve been trying to work with her on the aggressive turns and stops

in advance

of our insurance bill, uh

Which we’re hoping will go down at some point

Um, you didn’t oh the one question are

Is this twitter deal going to get closed you think what are the chances here?

Well, I mean it really depends on on a lot of factors here

um, i’m still waiting for uh, some sort of

Logical explanation for the number of sort of fake or spam accounts on twitter

And twitter is refusing to tell us. Uh, so

You know

This just seems like a strange thing. Um

Wait, sorry is are they refusing to tell you or you don’t think they really know? I mean

There’s a good chance. They may just have no idea

They claim that they do know


And they claim that they’ve got this complex methodology

Uh that only they can understand

But the guy who landed two rockets

This cauldron and then you throw them


And then suddenly it comes to you in a dream, I don’t know


But there should be some uh

You know objective way to set the uh thing because this is a this is a material public state threshold issue. Yeah

It you know, it’s it’s a you know, it’s a material adverse. Uh,

misstatement, uh, you know if if they in fact, uh have been

Um vociferously claiming less than five percent

Of fake or spam accounts, but in fact it is four or five times that number or perhaps ten times that number

This is a big deal. Um, it’s not this it seemed like if you said, okay

um, i’m gonna

I agree to buy your house. You say the house has less than five percent termites

That’s that’s an acceptable number. But if it turns out it is 90 termites, that’s uh,

Not okay, you know, it’s not the same house. Um

This house is made mostly of termite

Leave it literally your house will disappear because it’s mostly made in two months

um, so

You know that that would obviously just not be appropriate

So in in making the twitter offer I was obviously reliant upon the the truth and accuracy of their public filings

if those those filings are not accurate, it’s simply

Not that that’s that it’s it’s not you you can’t pay the same price for something that is much worse than they claimed

And you know they say elon life’s a negotiation so at a different price it might be a totally viable deal, correct

I mean that

I mean, it’s not out of the question. Um

But I really would you know, this is you know, the more the more questions I ask the more I the more my concerns

uh grow, um, so


You know at the end of the day

Acquiring it has to be fixable

um and and fixable that we are with

With reasonable time frame and without revenues collapsing along the way and all that sort of stuff. Um,

and so

You know, I I really need to see


These things are being calculated and and it can’t be some deep mystery that is like more complex than the human soul or something like

That um, it’s got to be you know

It’s it’s I think we can apply the scientific method to this and try to figure out what’s really going on

And um, you know twitter’s revenue is is is primarily dependent

I think 70 or some that order on brand advertising as opposed to specific purchase advertising

This is a big deal because brand advertising is not there’s not a there’s not a purchase that results from that

So it’s basically, you know, how much mind share or like basically if you’re a big company

How often do they hear your name?

Um, it’s as opposed to something that where you can directly measure the outcome

um, so that that means that they’re somewhat going on faith, um,

And if that faith is undermined or reduced because of the reality of the situation coming to the fore

then the

tesla’s revenue or twitter

The twitter’s revenue


Will be uh significantly impaired and that’s a major problem

Elon did you have a chance to ask these questions during your negotiation?



Like I said, I was reliant upon their public filings

so to the degree that their public and this is normal for a public company if you

You know if if you make a formal filing, um

That that that is what investors are relying upon or relying on whether they are making an acquisition offer or simply buying some shares

So this this this the accuracy of these filings is important whether you’re buying one share or the whole company

um, and so if these filings are inaccurate or if they’re

Sort of potentially blatant. Yeah, it’s a big

Deal, you know, I do have a sense of why this has been such a persistent problem for twitter

Do they not have the technical capabilities to solve the the bot problem?

Or is it more of like just uh, they’ve underprioritized the issue or been unwilling to because potentially their implications for



I I I don’t know. It’s sort of speculative at this point. So the you know, the the uh,

The worst interpretation would be that they don’t want to look too closely at the thing because they might not like the answer

That would be the worst interpretation. Um, but the bet i’m not sure what the best interpretation is, but the least bad interpretation would be

Maybe they thought it was this way

But they’re the way they were doing it was wrong and they didn’t realize they were mistaken and simply weren’t paying enough attention

Um, it does seem as though it should be a lot easier to get rid of the bots and and spam and trolls

Then uh, like this is not some we’re not trying to split the atom here, you know

Uh, we’re not trying to get to the moon. Okay, we’re just trying to


Limit the amount of obviously scammy accounts

If it’s if it’s like

bitcoin giveaway, um

you know

probably it’s it’s a spammer, you know, like

it does

Maybe you know, wait, you’re not giving away a hundred bitcoins. I just sent you ten

If if you send me two bitcoin i’ll send you one back, all right, that’s my what if I send you 20

Actually, um, I thought one of the interesting things that came up in your product roadmap

Or I guess this was released and people covered it was the um

possibility of twitter becoming kind of a super app with

Payments included, um, maybe perhaps even doge or something

This seems to me, uh based on your work with with david at paypal like a pretty brilliant idea

What’s what’s the vision there in terms of if you were able to buy it, you know, perhaps at the right price

Um, what would it look like if you know, I could add jason to add elon musk, you know

10 bucks or something if you know, we were splitting a check or something

sure, well

For those that have used wechat. I think that’s wechat’s actually a good model

Um, if you’re in china, it’s basically you kind of live on wechat. It does everything


It’s sort of like twitter plus paypal plus a whole bunch of other things and or roll into one with actually a great interface

And it’s it’s really an excellent app

And we don’t have anything like that. Um outside of china. So

Uh, I think it’s such a such an app. Um would be really, uh useful. Um, and

it just like the utility of it, uh of of sort of a

a spam free thing where you could you can make comments you can post videos you can


You know, I think it’s important for content creators to have a revenue share

Um now now this this does not need to be done on twitter. It could be done from something that’s created from scratch

So it could be something new

um, so really but I think this thing needs to exist whether it is

converting twitter to

be the sort of like

Kind of all-encompassing app that that like I said everything from digital town square where important ideas are debated

Uh, you know maximally trusted and inclusive

And at a point where you sort of have a high trust situation then then payments, uh, whether it’s crypto or fiat

Uh can make a lot of sense

Just we just want something that’s incredibly useful and that people love using

um, so

That that but it’s it’s either convert twitter to that or start something new. Those are the two

But it does need to happen somehow

Well, it’s interesting you bring that up because the price of twitter

Um is pretty high and you’ve built a couple of companies and some engineers like to come work for you

Um, and you’ve now gone through the intellectual exercise of studying all this

Um, if you’re looking at the two choices now fixing twitter given all these problems and maybe just starting your own version

Which one are you leaning towards because it I have watched you build a couple of companies and the products have turned out pretty good

so is it easier for someone like you to just start from scratch, I mean

I mean, it’s certainly the

My my default inclination is to start things from scratch

Uh, I mean, i’m not really I don’t buy things like there’s still this sort of you know, uh


Yeah, like like spacex was started from scratch

You know in the case of tesla, uh, you know

It was like five people

It’s still this guy mart eberhard

Who’s the worst guy i’ve ever worked with who tries to claim like sole credit essentially for?

Creating tesla and if he’s so damn great, why don’t you just go, you know create another car company when he was fired?

um, but anyway



I mean, that’s a pretty good story. I mean, yeah

I remember because he’s a sad I mean no, but I remember having this conversation with you

We were having a conversation about the roadster. I think I can tell this story

I said, how’s it going pal? And you said well, I got one problem


It turns out the roadster parts and putting it together cost a hundred ninety thousand

Yeah, and I said I gave you 150 for number 16

So if you make 2000 of these you’re going to lose 80 million dollars and you were like, yeah or double that

I mean they basically

The parts of the car cost more than they were selling it for when you were starting to get involved. That’s it was this

No, I got involved well before that before that. Yes

When twitter when tesla was was nothing but a piece of paper. Let me be crystal clear crystal fucking clear

Uh, no, they didn’t bring me in



I I was gonna start I was gonna start an ev company with jv struggle

And uh based on the the ac propulsion t0

And when I when I asked ac propulsion if it was okay to do that

Uh, they said well, there’s also some others who want to create an ev company, but have not created one yet

Yes, would you like to join forces with them? And I said, okay. Well, we’ll do that

That was a huge mistake jv and I should have just started the car company ourselves instead

Uh, we uh teamed up with uh, evahod topping and right

um big mistake, uh, the the the actual moral error here was me trying to have my cake and eat it too, which is like

I just want to work on the technology and the product

and have someone else be the ceo and and and sort of run the business operations because I just like working on technology and

product and design and um

And and also I was like doing spacex, uh, you know at the time in our orchestra blowing up so it seemed like uh,

Okay, this is like I always wanted to an electric car company. This is how I can have my cake and eat it, too

Uh, that was a huge mistake and fundamentally a moral error. Um,

and uh

so so uh

In the end I had to friggin be ceo and I didn’t want to be basically. Um,

uh, so but it’s either that or the company’s gonna die so, uh, so we started with really just nothing and uh,

The uh, you know the the t0 prototype from ac propulsion not not it. That’s the that’s the precursor to tesla. Um,

One half second clear once again, uh when uh, we created tesla

When I when I joined there were no employees. There was no intellectual property. There was no prototype. There was no nothing. Yeah

crystal fucking clear


It almost bankrupted you I mean you yes that sent you to the cliff


I mean, yes, we’re on the ragged edge of bankruptcy so many times it was ridiculous. Um,


um, I want 2008 was one of the worst years where basically the

you know, gm and ford just a gm gm and

Ford almost went bankrupt

And um, you know trying to raise money for a startup electric car company in 2008 while gm was going bankrupt was uh,

Difficult to say the least. Um

You know people were angry that I even asked them, uh for money

They’re like fuck you and hang up

So the only way that that that tesla actually made it through 2008 was uh a subset of the existing investors

um, which includes like people like antonio gracias and uh, you know, um, steve jovenson and

And a few other key people our aaron price. Uh,

Who who I’ve hold a debtor gratitude to the state?

Um, and and I I put in all the money I had left and they said

Everything literally everything. Um, uh, I didn’t even have a house. Uh, so

Uh, this is my ex-wife at the house

So I was like staying actually in jeff skull’s bedroom a spare bedroom

Um and and but there was the the uh

The subset of the besters would say okay

If I put in they’re putting as much as I put in so I put in everything. Um, and and then we closed that round 6 p.m

uh christmas eve 2008

It was last hour of the last day that was possible because after that people were like I break it for the holidays

And we would have bounced payroll two days after christmas

it was uh

Pretty that’s doorstep. I mean it was an incredible moment in time and people also forget at the time

that the first two rockets spacex sent up, uh didn’t exactly make it to orbit like

The first three and

I remember having dinner with you at that time and I asked you. Hey, how’s it going?

I heard your gawker says you got four weeks of payroll left and you said that’s not true

And I said thank god and you said we have two

And I said

I said no, I mean

Both spacex and tesla in 2008 if we’d simply paid our suppliers on time, we would have gone bankrupt immediately

Tell us tell us actually, uh

It was it was a pretty crazy moment because I also remember asking you at we were having dinner at boa and I said

Well, certainly there’s got to be some good news

And you took out your blackberry to date the conversation. I don’t remember it. Oh, yeah

And you said don’t tell anybody jake how I said no problem and you showed me the clay version of the model s

Yeah, the most beautiful car i’d ever seen and I said

Oh my god, it’s stunning. Um, how much is it going to cost?

He said I think I can make it for 50 000. I remember it was yesterday

I said if you make that car for 50 000, you’ll change the fucking world and you did it

And it was a little more than 50 000, but uh, yeah

Thank you

Has your

Let’s ask about spaces. Okay. Well, that’s what space but I want to ask one more personal question has life gotten

Easier for you as these companies have hit scale or has the complexity

Made life even more challenging because those early days it was just fighting to survive

Nobody knew who you were you were anonymous

And it was really just about the work and now

Let’s face it you’re the world’s most famous guy

Um, and everybody’s watching everything you do, but these companies are also very big

So what’s life like for you today? Are you enjoying what you’re doing every day?

Um, well, I mean it’s somewhat of a roller coaster, um, so there are like good days and bad days, um,

And there’s there are also crisis issues


and you know, like sort of, you know, knock on wood like we’re not like


Facing, you know death in the face like like it’s it’s it’s definitely like quite stressful when like, you know

Death is like trying to eat your face off and like the foam is like, you know, just kidding

And like yeah

Right there, you know

You know, that’s it’s pretty stressful in that situation


so like right, you know, both spacex and tesla have um,

You know significant cash reserves so like

You know, it’s not we’re staring death in the face. We can sort of see it over in the horizon

you know, so I don’t want to get complacent or entitled because um, but but if it’s not like just sort of

Foaming at the mouth and gnashing trying to eat your face off on a daily basis

That’s that’s certainly we’ve moved on from that point. Um, and hopefully never never return. Um,

but but there are a lot of issues that need to be it’s just

Like the if you’re a ceo of a company the chore level is high and if you don’t do your chores

Then the company goes to hell and I hate doing chores frankly. So, uh, who do who does? Uh,

so that’s the real

like there’s a whole bunch of sort of uh, you know personnel issues and legal issues and and and things that I I

I don’t find enjoyable to work on but if I don’t work on them the company suffers so

it’s more like

Just the sheer volume of work is insane. That’s the uh,

And then and then you know go do something go add to it with you know, twitter or something like that

Yeah, I mean honestly my extra processor

Yeah, I mean

I I have a habit of biting off more than I can chew and then just sitting there with like chipmunk cheeks

Tell us uh, you know, tell us a little bit about where we are at spacex like how

You fund the ability to go to mars, but then also commercially still build

A conventional space business domestically. I think this russia thing was probably really good for spacex

If you want to just tell us a little bit about that

Sure, um, well the the

I mean the goal of spacex is to develop the technology that enables life to become multi-planetary. Um, and

you know and make humanity a space-faring civilization, which I think is

very exciting

Inspiring thing and it’s like some one of those things where you can that I think

Just makes kids like be excited about the future

And and we need things that are inspiring and exciting and make the future seem like it’s going to be better than the past

Life can’t just be about solving one miserable problem after another

It’s got to be like like what’s what’s inspiring and exciting and I think that a future where we are space-faring civilization

is is one that we can all get excited about um,

And and we can go out there and find out what what’s what’s out there in the universe

And what’s the meaning of life and you know, where are the aliens and hopefully they’re friendly and that kind of thing


so, uh

You know, it’s interesting I do get asked about the aliens question a lot and I’ve

I’ve not seen any evidence of aliens. Um, and i’ll i’ll be the first to you know

Tweet about it or whatever if I found if I see something, I mean you’ll tell us if you find them

I will tell you I I will definitely tell you if there’s aliens. Um,

and um

You know, uh, I think it’d be quite helpful for you know

Like like if we found aliens

Like probably spacex would get a ton more revenue because people like oh man aliens

We’ve got to upgrade our space technology pronto was what if you’re unfriendly, you know?

um, it’s like

you know, uh

Is the idea that you build, um,

basically the ability to do


Cargo take all those profits

Launch starlink take all those profits and move it all into building something that can get to mars. Is that the kind of rough?


Pretty much. It’s if it was like a three step three slide powerpoint it would be

pretty much as you described which is


Develop rockets that are that are capable of taking satellites to orbit and crew to the space station


You know basically servicing government commercial space launch needs. Um, and then uh,

Build a global communication system in space

Uh that obviously it does a lot of good for earth by providing internet connectivity internet connectivity to the least served

Because a satellite system is really great for remote locations

And you know countryside or or remote islands or or places where someone’s trying to cut off their internet


As a prelude to a war we take them

System like in star wars. Yeah. Yeah, so it’s like, you know, so it can be pretty pretty helpful

Like I think like a starlink basically I think is a a sort of forceful grid in its own, right?

um by providing uh

Connectivity to the the least served where they’ve got either no connection or a very expensive or poor connection. Uh, you know, um

The like we’re like we’re connecting a lot of schools remote schools in brazil right now

I’m actually gonna be gonna be headed there, uh to sort of kick things off

Um, but they’ve got a lot of schools that have no connectivity at all and in a modern age

Uh, how do you learn with no connectivity? I mean you get I guess old textbooks and stuff, but it’s really

um, you’re at a huge disadvantage if you um have no digital connectivity, um,


I think there’s just a lot of good that starlink can do

In it just by by itself

but but then the the revenue generated from starlink is what can enable the uh conclusion of a permanently

Uh crude base on the moon, which would be the next, you know

Next step from apollo which is like let’s just not go there for a few hours and and then head back

Let’s have a permanently occupied like science station

on the moon

Um, and we could also build um some pretty epic, uh telescopes, uh on the moon

Uh that uh would enable us to learn more about the nature of the universe and and figure out what’s going on and maybe detect

those aliens

um, do you

Do you um, do you think that there’s enough profit in those businesses to fund all this or do you need?

Wall street and other investors to come share the load with you

Is going to mars a partnership with the government? Does it need to partner with governments to get there?


Well, I think technically it does not need to partner with governments. Um, but of course, uh government support would be helpful. Um,



I mean, it’s going to be very expensive to

Build a self-sustaining city on mars like in order for us to become multi-planetary in a way that’s meaningful. Um, the the key threshold is

At which point does the city become?

Self-sustaining such that if the ships from earth stopped coming for any reason

And it could be any reason could be world war three or it could be just, you know, civilization subsided

And um, and and just gradually got decrepit or something

But but if the ships stop coming if the resupply ships from earth stop coming to mars for any reason

Does the city still survive?

And and that’s that’s like really a large base of resources that are that that are needed

Uh on mars you can’t be missing any one critical ingredient

Uh, so and and you think of this like there are these various great filters

Um, you know that that perhaps stop civilizations

Um, and one of the great filters is will we become a multi-planet species or not? Will humanity be one of those?

Species that passes the great filter of going beyond one planet and being a multi-planet species

And this is certainly something we will have to do at some point because this the sun is expanding and will eventually boil the oceans

And destroy all life on earth

So if you care about life on earth, you should really care about life becoming multi-planetary and ultimately multi-stellar because otherwise

You’re basically saying you’re signing the the sort of death warrant for all life as we know it. It’s it’s inevitable

um, and then there’s also the the various things that kill off the you know, the dinosaurs and and

I mean if you look at the fossil record, there have been five major extinctions

Uh that are sort of on the order of 89 80 to 90 percent of all creatures on earth dying

um for for a wide range of reasons, um

but uh, and then humans can also you know with us the world war three danger, um that

That that other creatures didn’t have where we could do ourselves in

um by sort of misusing advanced technology and and sort of just you know, having some

Radioactive hellhole, that’s all that’s left after world war three. So

um, you know, it won’t you could even characterize it potentially as which will come first world war three or

life becoming multi-planetary on mars

Yeah, sorry, I was gonna shift but um, you know when you think about the importance of going to mars versus

solving critical energy and climate change problems here on earth, obviously the effort with tesla is related to

sustainable energy

And I think going back to like probably the 1950s there were engineering designs around plasma fusion or fusion based systems that have evolved

To these plasma systems to these tokamak systems

And every year every decade it’s like hey next decade. We’re going to have it

What’s your point of view?

On where plasma fusion systems are are we going to have fusion energy?

This century this decade and does it create limitless energy where the electricity production goes up by ten thousand fold?

And the price of electricity drops by ten thousand fold

And then what does that world on earth look like if that happens?

So I guess question is like is that technology real?

When does it happen and what happens to the world here when and if that happens?

I’ll answer that question, but then i’ll

Let me sort of point out what the what the actual issue is. Uh,

If the question is like, uh, is it possible to solve a fusion energy? Uh,

100 yes, definitely definitely definitely definitely is for sure

um, so the the and and really just using a tokamak style, which is like a basically a donut ring with uh,

with electromagnets that control the the plasma

Uh, the the way to solve that is simply scale up the tokamak

Fusion is uh, very much a scale

Base thing you want to minimize your surface volume ratio. So as you scale up a tokamak you reduce your surface volume ratio

Which means like the the the volume you have relative to the the surface, uh, you you now have much more

Uh, like you you can basically have a hot zone in the center. That’s relatively far away from the walls

and more of a hot zone, um, so the the

So it’s not in my mind a question as to whether fusion can work

But there is a question as to whether it is economically viable

um, and and whether it is competitive with

Uh with with alternatives, I think the economic viability of fusion is a much bigger question

And I I think the answer probably is that a fusion

Fusion is not competitive economically. I think that is that is uh,

I I would say it’s probably not competitive economically by an order of magnitude

Where does it break? Is it a materials breakdown or where does it break down?

economically well

so so you can’t just um

Use uh

Normal hydrogen, you know, you you need to use like deuterium and tritium like unusual forms of hydrogen

helium three

uh, uh, you know that there are um, there are some

some other types of fusion that could be used, uh, but

Um, these are just not they’re not like there’s not a lot of this raw material

It’s quite difficult to get the raw material. So first you have to get the raw material

Uh, that’s that’s expensive raw material

um, and then um, it’s not just about generating the the energy you’ve you’ve got to um,

Turn that energy into usable electricity

You can’t just have a hot thing. Okay, so the hot thing has to translate to usable electricity

So I think you’ve got you’ve got a cost of fuel issue, which is very significant

uh, you’ve got you got a whole bunch of knockdowns from uh, when you generate the heat to

When you actually convert that into electricity

um, you’ve got some very difficult maintenance issues with with a

fusion reactor




And that should be then compared to alternatives. Uh, the the sustainable energy alternatives that I think are overwhelmingly more competitive are


solar energy wind, uh geothermal


Some tidal and energy but it’s really primarily uh solar

and and wind



and you can really say like

Why bother creating a fusion on earth when we have a gigantic fusion reactor in the sky that just works with zero maintenance?

And it shows up every day

That’s pretty consistent. Yeah, but can we scale to a thousand x or a hundred x our electricity production here using solar?

And other renewable sources

yes, so

the amount of uh surface area you need to

Power the united states is remarkably tiny. Um, so you need like basically

Roughly a hundred miles by a hundred miles of territory and it obviously doesn’t need to be in one place

Uh in the united states to power the united states. It’s like a little corner of texas or utah the entire country

um, and and then if you if you

You could you could basically power, uh, you probably 10x the the just with solar alone

um without displacing, uh anyone’s home

Uh power and economy 10 times the size of the united states in the united states

on land

When energy prices if you extend that to water

Because earth is 70 percent water. Yeah, I mean you could you could say okay now we could probably have

A civilization that is a hundred times as energy intensive as we currently have it

And so what does that look like with the last part of my question?

Which is a world where energy costs are say let’s a hundred times cheaper than they are today

And we have a hundred times more energy production capacity

What what changes about civilization? What do we do differently? And what do we see?

change most kind of

Dramatically. Well currently we’re not

Because of of just generally, uh low growth rates almost worldwide


Civilization is not headed to

Have a population

That is an order of magnitude greater than where we’re currently. We’re currently headed towards a population decline

Uh, and this is almost everywhere in well in the world

um, so

You know, it basically seems as as though as soon as you have like urbanization

Um and and and education beyond a certain level and income beyond a certain level birth rates plummet


And so as countries get get wealthier their birth rates plummet

It’s it’s somewhat counterintuitive because people will say like well, it’s too expensive to have a baby

Nope, the the wealthier you are the fewer kids you have

um, the more educated you are the fewer kids you have so


It’s it’s it’s it’s the inverse


So so i’m not sure who to use all that energy. Um, unless there’s a significant change in the birth rate

Um, or we have a very robot oriented economy, so that’s also possible. So if we’ve got a lot of um,

you know

four-wheeled robots in form of cars and


Humanoid robots, then you can certainly see that there’d be perhaps a need for an order of magnitude more energy

But it’s not coming from the humans unless something

Major changes on the on the human, uh birth rate, uh level

This by the way is I think the biggest single threat to civilization. Uh right now is the why why do you think?

Societally people just make those decisions when they become more affluent

Is it that they just become more selfish or there’s more things for them to do and they have more money to spend on themselves?

And they say you know what?

I don’t want to have

A large family. I want to

You know go to Coachella

Yeah, well

there is this like weird like mind virusy thing where some people are

Think like having fewer kids is is like better for the environment. Yeah, that’s crazy total nonsense

The environment is going to be fine. They’re going to be fine. Even if we if we doubled the size of the humans

um, this is and I know a lot about environmental stuff, so

um, you know, uh

You we can’t have civilization just dwindle into nothing. Um

And you know japan’s leading indicator here like the

Japan’s population declined by 600 000 people last year that lowest birth rate in history

Uh, it’s you know, it’s pretty bad. Um


I don’t know

I think

So so this one element of is is

A lot of people just think that having kids is somehow bad for the environment. I want to be clear

It’s not it’s essential for maintain for maintaining civilization that we at least maintain our numbers. We don’t necessarily need to grow

Dramatically, but at least let’s not, uh, you know gradually dwindle away and until uh

civilization ends with us all in adult diapers and

In a whimper like we don’t want civilization to end in adult diapers with a whimper that would suck

kind of suck


Bleak and sad. Well, I mean and you and I have had this conversation

I mean in japan, I had two people tell me when I was there

Like I think it’s immoral to bring humans into the world. I mean people have gotten very

Sad about the future. It’s kind of crazy. It’s great

Life’s awesome


No, there’s there’s literally i’ve heard many times how like how can I bring a child into this terrible world?

I’m, like have you read history because let me tell you it was way worse back then

Okay. Yeah

Now it’s a good time

Hey, you know, listen, I I know you’re super busy, but I want to ask you about the move to texas because i’ve been thinking about

it, uh austin california

Uh, I I don’t know some senator told you to go. Fuck yourself and like

You know, like we don’t need a couple senators with that actually

Yeah, it seems to be turning into a bit of a trend. Um, but how has

building the tesla, um

Gigafactory which I got to see in austin a couple weeks ago, and it was

one of the most inspiring things i’ve ever seen I mean

I don’t know how many months it took to build there, but

how long did it take to build that dreadnought and then

What would have taken to build that in california california under gavin newsom?

so we built the

The giga texas which is the biggest factory in north america. I think possibly the biggest factory in the world


And it’s it’s three times the size of the pentagon to give you a sense of scale

Okay, this is friggin big. It’s like it’s weird. It’s like so big. It’s weird like you

I was trying to find you in it and I was trying to drive around and it took me about 45 minutes to find you


Like no, you have to like call so you can’t like find someone in the building

You have to call them on their cell phone and say where are you? You know?

um, so, uh, I mean the building is like, uh,

Just under a mile long and we’re actually going to extend it. It will be like literally a mile long

And about a quarter mile wide

Uh, and it’s uh, 80 feet tall

so it’s just uh ridiculously big


and when you think about it like for manufacturing situation, like what what

What are the two the two things that really define manufacturing competitiveness are economies of scale and technology

And so if you’ve got an ace on economy

Like if you sort of maximize your ace level on technology and you maximize your ace level on scale

This is obviously going to be the most competitive situation and that’s why they’re so friggin giant


and the the

giga, texas will go all the way from um

Cell raw materials like like like basically rail cars of cell raw materials coming in and then forming the the battery cell

Then the battery pack, uh building the the motor

Uh casting we’re also

Have introduced a major innovation which is to cast the entire

Uh front third and rear third of the car and as a single piece

Um, I got this idea from toys actually because I was like, how do they make toys? Those are cheap

They just cast them and I was like, well, can you pull the casting machine?

That big and they’re like well, no one ever has i’m like is are we breaking physics like no

Well, let’s just ask them and there were six major casting machine suppliers in the world and five of them said no

And the six said maybe i’m like i’ll take that as a yes


Well, I mean this you wanted to do this for the model three, but it was just too soon, huh?

And and now it’s almost there

Actually, this this partly comes from the model three, which is actually a fantastic car in many ways

um, but we were rightly criticized for an inefficient design, uh with

for the front and rear body, um

Like sandy monroe who I think is really

Has excellent from an engineering standpoint and and really a very fair critic


He pistol whupped us for um, the design of the battery

And piece by piece told you why you suck and then he did the why and told you why you’re awesome

He took it apart and told us exactly why he’s why we sucked and he was correct. Um, and then

And I was like, well, that’s pretty embarrassing. So

uh, no, he was complimentary of other parts of the car but not the body design and

Uh, and so it’s like okay, we’re gonna go from like, you know


The the it’s just incredibly difficult body to make it’s made out of like 120 different pieces with dissimilar metals that are joined

And you’ve got galvanic corrosion challenges. It’s it’s very difficult to make

Um to a single piece casting that’s one piece. So like 120 pieces went down to like one so


It’s it’s a it’s a huge and

And the the like the model wide body shop, especially the new one where we cast both the front and rear

Is 60 percent smaller than the model three body shop

So it’s it’s you know

Gigantic, uh, it’s quite there’s a lot of innovations of tesla besides the stuff that is is obvious. Um,

so anyway, so yeah the the

And and really, you know to to refer to to gavin newsom like, uh,

you know

if you

If you had a gun to gavin’s head, okay

Um and said we need to build start building this factory in california right now

He couldn’t do it because there are so many. Uh,

regulatory agencies, um and so many

Litigators in california that want to stop you from doing anything that even if you’re the governor of the state you cannot get it done

um, so

Something’s got to be done to to to you know, because california used to be the land of opportunity

And it’s a beautiful state and I love I loved living there

I still spend a lot of time in california, even though every time I go there I get

Every literally every day I go there. I get the bejesus tax tax big tax bill by day

Like the sheer cost per day of me going and working in california today is boggles the mind and I still do it

You know, um, but but the california’s gone from the land of opportunity to to the land of of of

sort of taxes

uh over regulation and litigation

And this is not a good situation and really there’s got to be like

A serious cleaning out of the pipes in california. How many months was it to get?

The giga austin done

Took a year and a half two years. Yeah, 18 18 months to build something three times the size of the pentagon

And you just basically the answer to how many months it would take in california’s infinity. We would still be working on the permits


This this begs a good question, which is

But we have one more form for you, what’s a better model?

Yes, what’s a better model for government? So, you know, like all governments tend to increase in complexity

dictatorship capacity

Is the dictatorship the right model?

and um

You know, like like how do we solve this? Let’s say you go to mars or let’s say you have to fix california

Is california permanently broken?

Is there a way to fix it or like how do you set up a better model?

So that you don’t end up having this this kind of special interest complexity

situation that eventually kills the uh


I mean, I think ultimately with california the people of california just have to get fed up and and demand change

Um, that’s the thing that really has to happen. Um,

And and and there’s got there’s got to be an above zero percent chance of the of the republicans winning in california

If if if it’s if it’s just the democrats every time

You’ve got to be

Yeah, and this is this is like occasionally. It’s the thing is that right right now, uh, you’ve you’ve

plus the level of

level of gerrymandering, uh, which is basically just treating the people like sheep, uh, and and uh, it’s terrible. Um,

That’s gone on in california is outrageous. So california, uh, the dems have a super majority

In um the house and senate in california and the governor and everything

And so how responsive is any political party going to be to the people if they are guaranteed to win?

It’s great. It’s a one-party state

and so

I’m, not saying that you know go

Sort of elect the republicans every time but if it’s never

You’re you’re just making california a one-party state

They will no longer be responsive responsive to the people and will only be responsive to those that funded their political campaigns

Clip elon saying that 30 seconds on tv over and over go ahead sex. Yeah, so elon shifting gears to the economy

Um, you know, we saw this uh surprise report of negative 1.4 percent gdp growth in q1

Uh interest rates been rising that increased the cost to the consumer of getting loans things like that

Uh, we’ve had a stock market correction really a crash in a lot of growth stocks software stocks


From where you said and the data that you see

Uh, where do you think the economy is is headed right now?

Do you think we’re in a recession or is it just a risk? How do you how do you assess our current economic situation?

Well predicting economic macroeconomics is always difficult. Um, and and one should assign probabilities to these things

Um, but ironically I did last year people asked me what I think about the economy

I said, well, I think we might enter a recession in approximately. Uh,


spring of

2020 of 2022

Called it

Um, yeah, um, so

Uh, you know now the thing is that

Recessions are not necessarily a bad thing. Uh, they they you know, um,

what what I’ve now been through a few of them and what tends to happen is if you have um,

A boom that goes on for too long you get misallocation of capital. Uh, it starts raining money on fools

Basically, it’s like any any dumb thing gets money and i’m sure you’ve seen a few of those

um, so

At some point it gets just out of control and you just have a misallocation of human capital

Where people are doing things that are silly and not useful to their fellow human beings

Um, and and then those companies there needs to be sort of an economic enema if you will, um,

Have everyone sort of shift uncomfortably in their seats. Um, so


I’m, sorry, it’s just i’m visualizing it

The economic enema, I mean listen, it’s got alliteration

So, uh

This too shall pass

Eventually the economic enema does its job it clears out the pipes if you will. Yes

And um and and sort of the the bullshit companies, um,

Uh go bankrupt and the ones that are doing useful products, uh are prosperous. Um,

And um, but there’s certainly a lesson here that if one is making useful part and and and do it

Has a company that makes sense, uh, make sure you’re not running things too close to the edge from a capital standpoint

They’ve got some capital reserves to uh last through

Uh irrational times because in the in the past when there’s been a recession

Um, it has gone. It’s it’s amazing. It’s flipped like a light switch

I mean david do remember this when from the from the paypal, you know x paypal days when when we

Uh raised 100 million dollars in march of 2000

Uh, and we literally we had

The demand was so high we had uh people like

Vcs, like just literally without even a term sheet wiring money into our account

We’ll send the term sheet later

They literally were like we like sleuth out our our bank account number and wire money in and we’re like

Where’d this come from? And it’s like oh


So it was like there was literally fire hosing money in march of 2000

And and then in april 2000 the market went into freefall and it went from money raising money was trivial to even good companies

Could not raise money

uh in a month

Um, so it’s just important to bear in mind like that, you know paypal almost went bankrupt in in 2000. Uh, we came close


But but thankfully we’d raise that that hundred million dollars in in march 2000, uh without which we would be

We’re in game over basically, um

Uh, and we kind of saw it coming

So it’s like we we got that the the the x confinity merger done in like three weeks and raised 100 million dollars

because we were all like oh

We see this coming to an end pretty soon. And then a month later it was like

You know a nightmare basically. Um

And and uh, anyway, so it’s just important to make sure if you’re a healthy company, you got some capital to get through things


and and then what what’s your costs and uh, if you if if it is a recession, which

More likely than not. It is a recession not saying it is but it probably is

um, then just uh

Make what’s your cash flow and get positive cash flow as soon as you can. Um, so, um,

yeah, uh

But I think we probably are

Are in a recession and that that recession will get get worse


But you know these things pass and then there will be boom times again

Um, so it’ll probably be some some tough going for I don’t know a year. Uh, maybe maybe

you know 12 to 18 months is usually um,

The amount of time that takes for for the a correction to to happen. Um,

I mean, what do you guys think? Yeah, I

David, uh, how do you feel about it? Yeah, I mean it feels like it started. Um

You know what started as a slowdown earlier this year?

Um now seems like I mean technically I guess we need two quarters of negative growth to be in a recession

But it feels like we’re in one feels like it started

um, you know the growth stock the software businesses that we invest in are sort of the canaries in the coal mine and there’s a

lot of a lot of dead canaries

They’re having a hard time breathing

It’s not dead it’s just it’s just napping it’s

Napping wake up little birdie

It’s just stunned it’s got it got stunned for a brief moment and and and it just it’ll be fine. Um

It sort of reminds me of the parrot that you know, the pet shop sketch with the parrot with monty

Pining this parrot is pining for the fjords

Hey, um

Elon a lot has been talked about as we wrap here and you’ve been incredibly gracious giving us so much time

Thank you for that. Um

a lot of talk about american exceptionalism over the last couple years, um waning

and maybe this country had seen its best days and

We see the work you’re doing and other people in this great country are doing and the debates we’re having about the future

And yeah, china’s doing pretty fantastic rushes on the ropes


But it does seem like uh, america is still producing

Some of the greatest companies, uh, the world has ever seen some of the greatest innovations

What are your thoughts on america and our future and what we need to keep this country and and this beacon of hope that?

You know four of the five of us were not born here

You know two of you came from south africa and no three of you three of you came from south africa

One of you from can I don’t know what they’re putting from sri

Lanka and from sri lanka through canada via canada

He came through canada, too. Yeah, I know

It seems like that’s the that’s the way canada is a gateway. It is a gateway


How do we?

It’s well i’m hinting at the answer here, but you know, it does seem like our immigration policy is absolutely insane

And uh, maybe we need to keep collecting some of the great individuals that I get to share the stage with here and yourself

We need to keep bringing great people to this country

Why can’t we get that in our heads that?

Yeah, not immigration. It’s talent recruitment. No, absolutely. I think uh, it’s incredibly important that the united states be

Like the destination for the world’s best talent

I mean you can think of this like like like a pro sports team if you want to win the league

um, and and uh, you know, you want the best players on your team, um, now there are obviously a lot of

Very talented people born in the united states

um, but if you can add a few aces from uh from uh,

Outside the country to the team you’re going to win the league

Um, and and and and here’s the thing those aces actually want to work for your team

They don’t want to compete against you. They want to they want to be on team america

And and so it’s like we have to like fight them off to not be on team america. That’s the crazy thing

Um, and so it’s like if you have some aces that are the difference between winning and losing

we should be like

Really recruiting them like you’d recruit like a star

Basketball player or football player. That’s what we should be doing. Um

active recruiting

Um, just like if you’re a company that wants to succeed you actively recruit the best talent

And then and and that’s the way to win and and if if that stops happening america will stop winning

And we have two administrations in a row

biden and trump who don’t want to let

The greatest minds the most talented people into this country is absolutely insane

I mean, I think deal with this every day

Reality is like actually anyone who who’s gonna who wants to to to work hard and be and do useful things

um, and and this you know, uh, we we want in the united states, um,

And and it’s not just people who are sort of intellectually strong, but it’s just anyone with a strong work ethic

You know if if they’re coming from mexico or if they’re coming from you know, europe or china wherever it’s just if they’re like

Going to come here and crank hard and and and contribute more than they take

Hell, yeah, I mean, that’s just it’s a no-brainer

we have you been have you been disappointed in the

Similarities between biden and trump on this like maybe you could have expected it from trump because that was a rhetoric

He needed to use to get elected, but it’s not as if biden has flipped the script and said, okay

We’re going to go 180 degrees in the other direction. He’s kind of kept it the same

Which has been really surprising actually, man. It’s hard to tell what biden is doing if you’re totally frank, um, you know



I feel like it’s weekend at bernie’s

The the real president is whoever controls the teleprompter, you know, it’s like it’s like

The path to power is the path to the teleprompter, you know, like what because that then he just reads the teleprompter

So, you know, I do feel like like if somebody would accidentally lead on the lean on the teleprompter

It’s going to be like anchorman. It’s going to be like qqq asdf-123, you know type of thing

I mean

in fairness to biden, he he hasn’t been napping as much as he needs to but

Well, it’s just it’s hard to see

Are getting done, you know

I mean, this administration just it doesn’t seem to get a lot done like and you know

Whatever like the trump administration

Leaving trump aside. I there were a lot of people in the administration who were effective at getting things done. So, uh,

but this

this administration seems just just to not have like the drive to just

Get shit done. Uh that that um

That that’s why it’s it’s that’s my impression. Um, so


You know, we definitely need to fix immigration policy like we had covid which was an issue and and and so that was like

One reason to like not, you know, I guess clamp down on but now now we’ve moved on and so

Let’s let’s just make sure we’re getting top talent

in the united states

Um, and and really i’d say broadly it’s anyone who who wants to work their ass off

um and and uh

And contribute more than they take to the economy like that’s just necessarily going to make for a stronger better society in america

Elon, did you see uh, jeff’s

Uh bezos’s tweet back and forth with biden. Um where biden I think was talking about inflation inflation

But then he correlated that to taxing corporations and bezo said this is misinformation and disinformation, etc, etc

What do you what do you think about that whole exchange then back and forth?

I mean the obvious reason for inflation is that the government printed a zillion amount of more money than it had

obviously, um

so it’s like the government can’t just uh

You know have

Issue checks far in excess of revenue without there being inflation, um, you know velocity money held constant

so unless there’s something would change with velocity money, but

But it’s just look the the federal government writes checks. They don’t they never bounce

So that is effectively creation of more of more dollars

And if if there are more dollars created then the increase in the goods and services output of the economy

Then you have inflation again velocity money held constant

but so, uh

This is just this is very basic. This is not like, uh, you know, uh super complicated. Um,

And and if if the government could just issue, uh

Massive amounts of money and have a and deficits didn’t matter then. Well, why don’t we just make the deficit a hundred times bigger?

Okay, the answer is you can’t because it will basically turn the dollar into something that is worthless. So


And and various countries have have tried this experiment multiple times. It’s not like oh, I wonder what happens if this if this is done

Have you seen venezuela like the the poor people of venezuela are you know have been?

Just run roughshod by their government. Um, and

so obviously you can’t simply

Create money the the true economy is very important. Like the true economy is the output of goods and services. It’s not money

It’s it’s literally what is the output of goods and services money is simply a way to

To for us to or anything that you call money

Is is a way for us to conveniently exchange goods and services without having to engage in barter

And also to shift obligations in time that those are the two reasons that you have money this thing called money

It’s it’s really a it’s a database money is an information system

For uh for labor allocation and for exchange of goods and services and for translating in time

and the quality of that information is a function of it’s like you basically you can apply information theory to money and

I think it it

Helps explain

Why one money system is or why why one action is better than another and so

if like the the money you you just just like a

An internet connection you’d want something that’s high bandwidth

Uh low latency and jitter and uh, it’s not dropping packets. It’s not having a lot of errors in the system

And the same is true true of money. Um

You want then and really like you said, what did paypal really really do that helped improve?

The the the bandwidth the speed at which money could move

Um instead of of mailing checks back and forth, which amazingly that was what people did

in 2000

Uh, you you could now do real-time exchange of of money. Um,

And and now you could ship your goods immediately instead of mailing a check and waiting for the bank to clear the check


uh, like

And and the the ultimate thing that with paypal or if it sort of was in the

Sort of went more less sort of niche payments more sort of broad financial would be to simply does that

Doesn’t to mediate all the heterogeneous, uh cobalt databases out there running on mainframes doing batch processing and have a single real-time system

that uh

that was secure, um and not batch processing, um, and so

It would just be from an information standpoint more efficient and and eventually it would all the the

Batch processing cobalt mainframes operated by the banks would cease to exist

you’ve um spent more time, uh

and uh built more in china than

Almost anybody. I mean apple would be the only company I could think of that’s probably got a bigger footprint, but i’m not certain of that

Um, what have you learned about china?

Uh that you didn’t know before you opened the factories there and started delivering cars there

And what should we know about china, you know as americans?

How should we think about china and our relationship with it because we haven’t spent time there

Sure, well I’d say like china first of all, it’s not monolithic. It’s not like, uh, everything everything is not some plot by the chinese government

um the uh, the the there are many uh factions within china that compete, uh vigorously within china, um,

and uh



and and

perhaps most important is that there’s just a

A just a tremendous number of hard-working smart people in china who want to get ahead and get things done

Um, and they’re not complacent. They’re not entitled

um, and they’re gonna they’re they want to get things done and they they want to make a better life for themselves, um, and

What we’re going to see, uh with china for the first time that anyone can remember who is alive is an economy

That is twice the size of the u.s

Possibly three times the size of the u.s is going to be very weird living in that world


uh, we we better

Stop the infighting in the u.s and stop punching ourselves in the face because like there’s a whole there’s way too much

Uh, you know of america punching itself in the damn face. It’s just just dumb. Um, and and think about like

Hey, we got to be competitive here

And and uh, there’s a new kid on the block that’s going to be two to three times our size

We we better step up our game


And uh, you know and stop infighting. Um

You think it’s easier to stop infighting once we’re beaten or do you think that there’s a way?

folks here can actually just you know, get their political and

Commercial act together, but or does it not happen until we’ve realized we’ve lost or do we need a war?

I mean, I we I sure hope we don’t even need a war. Um,

uh, but there will be certainly um

You know an economic competition that I think will will blow people away. Um,

And when they realize just how competitive they have to be to be competitive with companies in china, it’s very difficult

Um, you know tesla is competitive but tesla is competitive because we have an awesome team in china that uh, you know


um, like do your tesla china employees work some meaningful percentage more or harder than your tesla non-china employees

Do you find like it’s two different companies basically?

Well, I mean I I think tesla is somewhat it tesla is sort of pretty far out there in terms of work ethic

uh anywhere in the world, so I

the tesla work ethic in the u.s. I think is substantially greater than

Any other car company or or any large manufacturing company that i’m aware of? Um, so, you know tesla

Tesla does have a a strong worth work ethic in in the u.s

but but

To be totally frank it it the work that work ethic is exceeded. Um, uh on balance by uh,

The tesla china team that that is I think objectively true


There’s not say there aren’t lots of hard-working people at tesla u.s

There certainly are um, but if you say on average the the the work ethic in china is higher. It’s just

Tell us tell us like it is, you know, so what about if you’re an american ceo?

How do you deal with you think?

just the

Need for managing all these political factions inside of a company you probably saw

You know all the sturm und drang related to disney and what happened to them and what’s continuing to happen to them on both sides

Between their employees as well as the governments, etc

Um, do you have any advice or what do you tell like young ceos that you hang out with?

About how to deal with that how to make those decisions where you land

In the spectrum of dealing with all of this stuff

The non-work issues that are related to now, you know going to work every day

I’m, not sure. I entirely understand what you mean like, uh

You know

Whether it’s the the need for political correctness or the need for having

Political points of view and having to bring that and balance that in the workplace. How do you deal with that?

How do you give advice to other folks about having to deal with it?

Look, I think it you know, the the point of a company is to produce useful products and services

For your fellow human beings. It is not, uh, you know, some political gathering place or

A thing where it that’s the point of a company like it’s i’d say like it’s you know politics and other stuff should

Let’s not lose sight of why companies should exist

So I I I gotta I gotta

I’m actually late for yeah

I gotta work on the rocket guys. Uh, yeah

We’re gonna go ahead and let you uh get to mars and uh, i’ll see you soon


We should all just get a room and just have one big huge orgy because they’re all just useless

It’s like it’s like sexual tension, but they just need to release somehow

What we need to get

I’m going

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