World’s richest man and CEO of Tesla Group Elon Musk has said that he was working “at the absolute most amount … from morning ’til night, seven days a week.” He said this in reference to his recent acquisition of Twitter and his leadership of car maker Tesla.
“I have too much work on my plate, that is for sure,” Musk said by video link to a business conference on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali.
Musk is CEO of both companies and also runs rocket firm SpaceX, brain-chip startup Neuralink and tunnelling firm the Boring Co. Wearing a batik shirt sent by the organisers, he appeared on screen lit by candles, explaining that he was speaking from a place that had just lost power.
Tesla investors worry that Musk, a self-confessed “nanomanager” who has been personally involved in working-level decisions from car styling to supply chain issues, is distracted at a critical time for the world’s largest electric vehicle maker.
Tesla’s shares have halved in value since early April, when he disclosed he had taken a stake in Twitter. His Tesla share sales, including another US$4-billion last week to bring his Twitter-related sales to $20-billion, have added to the pressure.
When asked about the complexity of industrial supply chains “decoupling” from China and the risks from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Musk returned to how busy he was.
Responding to an observation that many business leaders in Asia wanted to be the “Elon Musk of the East”, Musk said: “I’d be careful what you wish for. I’m not sure how many people would actually like to be me. They would like to be what they imagine being me, which is not the same thing as actually being me. The amount that I torture myself is next level, frankly.”
Musk also said he wanted to see Twitter support more video and longer-form video so that content creators could make a living on the platform but did not provide details. His remarks were streamed live on YouTube.
Indonesia has been trying to secure a deal with Tesla on battery investment and potentially one for SpaceX to develop a rocket launch site.
Musk made no commitment to either of those but said Indonesia had a large role to play in the electric vehicle supply chain and that it would make sense “long term” for SpaceX to have multiple launch points around the globe.
It was not clear where Musk was during the Bali event. His personal jet has remained in Austin, Texas, Tesla’s headquarters since the weekend, according to @ElonJet, a Twitter account that tracks Musk’s Gulfstream G650.
“I’m just looking at this video and it’s so bizarre,” Musk said. “I’m sitting here in the dark surrounded by candles.”
Musk added he believed that the economy would make the transition to sustainable energy, adding it was “just a question of how long it takes”. He said space exploration should remain a priority “so we can understand the nature of the universe and our place in it”.
“Maybe we’ll find alien civilisation or discover civilisations that existed millions of years ago, but we see the ruins of ancient civilisations. I think that would be incredibly interesting,” he said.