, billionaire founder of PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla, and poster boy for the most extreme form of definite optimism, got in trouble a couple of weeks ago after tweeting
about taking Tesla private. This prompted an SEC investigation and this extraordinary interview
with the New York Times that in parts seemed like a cry for help.
How should we think about Musk? On the one hand he seems to embody lots of what we valorise in founders: huge ambition, absolute determination and, of course, repeated success. On the other, his behaviour over the last few months has been erratic
, bewildering and perhaps even illegal.
The two best takes I’ve seen are from Matt Levine
, who says that Musk is incapable of not
making life hard for himself, and Morgan Housel
, who argues that something like that is unavoidable for the “natural maniacs” who chase the biggest outcomes.
But I’m not sure. Saku rightly points out
that this is a classic (and so seductive) narrative. And, as Housel himself notes, we do have very prominent boring billionaires
. They’re just less interesting on Twitter.