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Shit Elon Says - Transcript - Tesla CEO Elon Musk

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That is water.. tastes like water. Well, I mean, diet coke is good. There's something that they put in that stuff that is - ya know, you never get sick of it for some reason. It's some infernal ingredient.. I'm trying to cut down these days. There was probably times when I had like eight a day or something ridiculous. I think these days it's probably one or two. So, it's not anything crazy. [and coffee?] Usually two a day. [but not water so much?] Not really. I used to have so much coffee and Diet Coke that I'd get really wired and then I'd get over-caffeinated and it wouldn't be good. I'm cutting down to, I think, more reasonable portions these days. [You work a lot of hours.] Yeah. It's really varied quite a bit over time. These days it's probably 80, 85 hours per week. For a while there it was over 100 hours per week and that's just - that's a very high amount of pain. The difficulty and pain of work hours really increased exponentially. It's not linear. When the financial crisis hit in 2008/2009, it was just every day, seven days a week, morning till night and dream about work. It was terrible. Bad dreams. [What time do you get up?] For me, usually, it's about 7, but I got to bed late. Usually I go to bed around 1am or so. [Do you have breakfast?] That also varies a lot. I think it's probably true that having a good breakfast is a good idea, but usually I don't have time for that. Sometimes it's made for me, but probably half the time I don't have any breakfast. I'll have a coffee or something like that.. and a Mars bar, sure.. but I'm trying to cut down on sweet stuff. I think I probably should have an omelet and a coffee or something like that. That seems like the right thing and sometimes I do have that. Lunch is usually served to me during a meeting and I finish it in five minutes. It's a bad habit. Dinner is where the calories really come into play. If I have dinner meetings - they're the worst, you eat enough for two people at those things. You have the appetizer and the main course and all that sort of stuff. Business dinners are like the thing that really - where I probably eat way too much. I certainly could be slimmer I think. I work-out once or twice a week. I mean, yeah, once or twice. I should do it more often, for sure. [What do you do?] Run through the forest? No. I usually just do a little bit on the treadmill or lifting some weights, I suppose.

[Is Tesla and SpaceX 100% you?] Of course definitely not. I certainly have a strong influence, but there are many people at these companies. SpaceX has four thousand people now. Tesla we just passed ten thousand people today. There's a lot of people who have had a huge impact and influence on building the companies. I've had more of an influence than anyone else, but it's a big team effort from a lot of talented people. [Are you looking for other CEOs?] Not for SpaceX. The plan I had when we created Tesla was I thought I would allocate maybe 20 or 30% of my time to Tesla and then for Solar City I figured 5%, 10% of my time, that sort of thing. Solar City turned out to be true. In fact, even better than that. It probably takes me less than 5% of my time on Solar City. Tesla ended up being much more. Unfortunately the first CEO didn't work out and then I got a temporary - I mean, I tried pretty hard not to be the CEO. Like, I could have been the CEO from day one. I feel that people sometimes don't realize that, but I just wasn't able to find the right person. In the case of Solar City, there's a great team that runs it, but it's really hard to find someone who can grow a company. Running a company in steady state is much easier than growing a company. With Tesla, as more people joined the team, investors would ask me how long am I going to be CEO and I said, well, I'm committed to be CEO through the high volume production vehicle. Probably three or four years, but at that point I would then have to consider what makes sense. I mean, "I would never leave Tesla ever, but I may not be CEO forever. No-one should be CEO forever." [Is there someone who could do the job?] No. There's no plans or anything like that. Right now our plan is just to - for sure, I'm CEO through the production of the Model 3 and the Gigafactory, and then evaluate.

[Question about the price of the Model 3.] 35. [On the European market?] Well, it might be less. It depends on what the exchange rate is, of course. It's always a bit tricky. In the US, the prices are quoted before sales tax and in Europe it's with VAT. There's like a 20% VAT and all that stuff. It would probably be like 30,000 euros, or a little bit less than that. [It will be on the market in two years time?] I'd say three.

[Question about skills the CEO would have to have.] When I interview someone I really just ask them to tell me the story of their career and what are some of the tougher problems that they dealt with, how they dealt with those, and how they made decisions are key transition points. Usually that's enough for me to get a very good gut feel about someone and what I'm really looking for is evidence of exceptional ability. Did they face really difficult problems and overcome them? and then of course you want to make sure that if there was some significant accomplishment, were they really responsible or was someone else more responsible, and usually if they're a person who has had to struggle with a problem, they really understand it, and they don't forget - it's really difficult. You can ask them very detailed questions about it and they'll know the answer, whereas the person who was not truly responsible for that accomplishment will not know the details. There's no need even to have a college degree, at all, or even high school. I mean, if somebody graduated from a great university that may be an indication that they will be capable of great things but it's not necessarily the case. If you look at, say, people like Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Steve Jobs, these guys didn't graduate from college but if you had a chance to hire them, of course that would be a great idea. Really, I'm looking just for evidence of exceptional ability and if there's a track record of exception achievement then it's likely that will continue into the future.

[What do you have in common with other great CEOs?] Well, those are pretty different personalities - between Gates and Jobs and Ellison. I think all three of those were technologists but with different types of skills. Jobs was obviously very good with aesthetics, and he understood technology of course, but he also understood what people wanted even when they didn't know themselves, and he wasn't afraid to break boundaries. Gates would probably be better at raw engineering and technology than Jobs but not as good on aesthetics. For all these guys, they're obviously very driven, and they're very talented and they're able to attract great people to build a company. The ability to attract and motivate great people is critical to the success of a company, because a company is just a group of people that are assembled to build a product or service. That's the purpose of a company. We can all sometimes forget this elementary truth. If you're able to get great people to join the company, work together towards the common goal and have a relentless sense of perfection about that goal, then you will end up with a great product, and if you have a great product lots of people will buy it, and then the company will be successful. It's pretty straightforward really.

[Is there a talent you'd like to have?] I suppose I'd like to play a musical instrument, that'd be cool. I can whistle. I kinda have like a whole bunch of songs that kind of randomly. I just whistle randomly. Please don't ask me to whistle.. like, I can whistle but it's maybe not the coolest instrument to play. "I can whistle Pachelbel's Canon, which is a tricky one, but I'm not going to whistle for you now because that'd be too embarrassing."


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