The billionaire tech-tycoon, Elon Musk has been making waves recently in a series of situations in which he exhibited bizarre behavior. The permanent members of the hate-Musk club have attributed his actions to mental illness or a lack of self-awareness, while his equally cult-like fanbase has defended the Tesla CEO as a genius. So, what exactly did Musk do to rile everyone up, and is he acting as irrationally as everyone is saying?
First off, a little background. Elon Musk was born in Pretoria, South Africa in the Summer of 1971. During his youth, he taught himself how to use computer coding and developed a series of games and websites, pocketing a fair bit of cash in the process. He was an avid reader, especially in the realm of reason and science. Eventually, he left College and went on to start several businesses, finally co-founding Tesla and becoming the CEO of both Neuralink and SpaceX.
Musk’s brash nature and vast intellect earned him both enemies and followers. He is known for speaking his mind, which has occasionally gotten him into trouble. One of the most recent examples of this was his accusations of child-marriage against one of the divers that helped in the Thailand-cave rescue, a British man by the name of Vernon Unsworth. The allegations appear to be unfounded and it is unclear as of yet just why he leveled the charge, but it may have something to do with the Diver’s comments regarding Musk’s rescue-submarine concept.
A potentially legal problem his blunt nature caused was a tweet he wrote recently declaring that at a value of $420 a Tesla stock, he would take the company private, as his other two companies already are. As it turns out, there may be legal ramifications for meddling in the stock market in such a matter, and he has since retracted his announcement and will keep the company public for the foreseeable future following an immense backlash from stockholders.
Of course, the thing that set social media on fire over the weekend is the podcast Mr. Musk did with stand-up comedian and political-centrist, Joe Rogan. During the interview, the two discussed everything from flamethrowers to artificial intelligence, but the thing that really caught everyone’s attention was the moment when Musk smoked an actual joint on-air.
(As a side note, this was in California and thus was legal, and the rumors that the Air Force was looking into the matter as a legal issue due to Mr. Musk’s government clearances have been proven untrue.)
So why all the fuss? Well, for one, Marijuana is a controversial subject at the moment and has ruffled up the feathers of those who are against its use. Another issue is the fickle nature of the stock market – following Elon’s show with Rogan, Tesla shares fell dramatically. This is normal, people are emotional when it comes to money and anything out of the norm is enough to cause a company’s shares to fall to an unjust degree. However, the big issue is that in many people’s minds, his decision to smoke weed on the show just added to the perception in people’s mind of Musk as a chaotic character, which seemed to be held by several senior officials at Tesla who left the company the following day.
In the end, this isn’t the first time the CEO has been on the ropes, and despite the claims of insanity, Musk is an intelligent person and is likely to salvage his current position in the media as new advancements in his companies continue to be made. In fact, during the interview with Rogan, Mr. Musk hinted at something coming down the pipe from his company, Neuralink. Whether it was bluff or the next advancement in human evolution is anyone’s guess when it comes to Mr. Musk and his scientific quests.