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June 4, 2020 91 mins

Robert is joined again by Sofiya Alexandra to continue discussing Elon Musk.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:02):
Welcome back to Behind the Bastards, the only podcast where
the host just got an email from the A t
F asking him to sign some documents that I can
get a suppressor for my A R fifteen. So that's
exciting news, quite a weird flex. Congratulations dude, thank you,
thank you. I'm just really excited that I only have

(00:22):
to wait another twelve months to get it. Um. I'm
excited to you at some point get to shoot guns
with you when we can be around pun Sophia. That
will be a very fun day, especially if my fans
in the A t F push that paperwork along. I
have a lot of a lot of A t F
fans well, because I only talk about wanting the FDA

(00:45):
to raid me like I don't have any I'm not
starting to fight with the A t F because I
know they'll burn down my whole compo. Oh ship. I
made a Waco. Sorry, this was also that I could
do a Waco. That was all for a Waco. That
you built that entire thing up just to bring up
Waco again. I did, I did, And it's going to

(01:07):
take two years now for me to get my fucking suppressor.
I'm gonna get rated by the a t F for
starting a cult in the woods before I get to
pick it up, and then they'll burn it down along
with seventy children keep waking. The A t F would
think that you wacoing is hilarious, they would. I bet
they laugh a lot about Waco in the A t F.

(01:29):
I mean, it could be longer than two years. We
know that they're terrible at communicating. Yeah, I've spent like
literal like tens of hours in the last two weeks
going into like boogaloo Facebook groups and sub creddits and
like stuff like that, and like there's so many Waco memes.
They love that fucking Waco uh Netflix show, which was
like one of the most irresponsible TV shows I've ever seen.

(01:51):
Electric Boogaloo. What did you say? Yeah, like like the
civil the second Civil War. That's like the right wing
meme for like they want to start another civil war.
It's the boogaloo, that's what they call it. That's how
ship happens on the internet. Now, Oh gosh, all right,
so there's like thousands of people on Facebook trying to
make a civil war happen because they want to get
to use all of their fancy guns and they also

(02:12):
really hate the a t F because of Waco, and
so they have a ton of Waco memes about like
shooting a t F agents, And it's fine for them,
but the fucking anti for kids who throw oranges at
cops get like arrested tear guest for vandalism. It's great
the mix of how law enforcement responds to these things.
Were talking selective law enforcement? Were you talking about the

(02:32):
Waco mini series with McCauley Culkin's brother you're talking about
I didn't know he was in it, but I think
that mini series wildly which Caulkin here in Rory's you
didn't realize there was a coin in there. It's an
incredibly irresponsible series because while it does accurately I think
depict how irresponsible the government was, it makes fucking David

(02:55):
Koresh look like a cool dude when he was lighting.
No he was not, but I don't know. It's it's fun.
Fun when you starts where they like show him and
it makes him look like he can actually sing and
hiss like a rock star. That that scenes, Yes, yeah,
like he's a cool rock star. They even try to
make the fact that he had teenage brides less up.

(03:16):
It's weird. Netflix really went to bat for David Koresh
in a way that's kind of baffling. It's like, that's
a weird. It's an interesting enough story. If he and
the A T F both suck like and they made
him hot, he's not that he was picked. No, he

(03:40):
the guy they picked I think looks exactly like him.
I will give them that. They cast it like he
looks and just started his career as a model. I know.
But if you look at pictures David Koresh like they
they fucking I think they actually kind of nailed the look.
They had nothing to contribute to this. I have not
seen it at all. Yeah, I mean it's not, Oh,
you're not a Koresh fan. You're not full korushing on korush. No,

(04:04):
I am not a corrush. You are so fucking wrong. Okay.
I'm looking at a side by side his face. One
of them is holy nipples hard, and one of them
is like, oh send me when I will tell you
right now, when I start my cult and get taken
down by I V the F D A or the
A t F. It's a fucking roll of the dice,
which one actually burns down our compound and all of

(04:27):
our children. Um, but when they take me down and
then make a Netflix movie that whitewashes all of my
many crimes, make sure Ian McShane plays me. He doesn't
look like me or sound like me. But that that
is my wish and it's up to both of you
to make sure that happens. No, no, no, no, it
can't be him. Who do you think should play him? Like?
Maybe give Jared Letto like like some like Oh no,

(04:50):
no no, but that's nice that you think I'm more
muscular than Jared Letto. I do appreciate that Sophia does
any of Jared letto eyes? Oh, now that part it hurts.
I'm trying to think of. I think that's the only
nice thing about Jared Letto is his eyes. Are you
kiding me, Robert? I think we should just got full
circle and have you played by Jeremy Renner. Okay, alright, Leyeah,

(05:13):
let's do it, fuck it, Yeah, let's have Renner in there.
I'm I'm down that, I'm down with that casting. Yeah,
all right, we've we've figured out when when my Waco
movie happens. This has been a very Waco start to
the part two of our Elon Musk podcast. Yeah, let's
let's get back to talking about Ellen. Hey, thanks for
having me, by the way, Thanks thanks for coming on,

(05:35):
Thanks for coming on. I do want to I do
want to start because like I've been thinking about what
you said at the end, and I really don't want
this to be a situation whereby people are like going
after you because like they think that I was trying
to be fair to him. I was. I want I
like there's a lot of ship we're gonna talk about
today that he did bad. I honestly think the worst
thing he did is his failure Kitch played Koresh. Sorry

(06:01):
I sat her aside? Are we still come on so hot?
That is such badcasting? You Look, it is the official
position of this podcast that David Koresh that is not true.
It Look, we have to we have to acknowledge David
Koresh is sculpted. ABS have to right the side by

(06:28):
side where it says one of these things is not
like the other. David Koresh is hot, Elon Musk is bad,
And I will that that is the stance that I
want all of the Elon Musk fans hate listening this
to take out of this is that I officially endorsed
David koresh is hot. That's important. I officially endorsed you

(06:51):
to continue this podcast. Hello listeners, this is Sophie. Robert
is out reporting at the current riots happening in Portland
right now. But he wanted to make sure that we
had this correction in part two of this episode. Uh,
he incorrectly labeled author Ashley Vance as is she and
he is a he. And Robert also wanted me to

(07:11):
mention that his book Elon Musk Tesla, SpaceX and the
Quest for a Fantastic Future is a wonderful book. You
can find a link to that book under the footnotes
in part one. Now back to the episode. The thing
that I condemn Elon most for is and the reason
I think it's someone important to understand, like how fucked

(07:33):
up his childhood it was, is that when you have
an experience like that, a good person should have that
make them into a better person, a more empathetic person, right, Like,
that's how what you hope to like. You and I
both talked Sophia about how like we got bullied a
bunch and dealt with a bunch of ships like that,
and I think it made us both into people who

(07:54):
sympathize a lot with people who are being victimized. Elon
Musk did not take that out of it. He did
take the thing where like he clearly hates bullies, but
he also just basically uses that as an excuse to
say that everybody who rightfully criticizes him as a bully.
He clearly didn't learn the most important lesson of his childhood,
which should have been that a lot of people in

(08:16):
the world may be forced to serve and horrific militaries
or stay in countries that they can't stand elite to
live in, and that it is like an act of
evil to stop people from trying to find a better life.
And instead he was willing to like shut his fucking
mouth and work with an administration that was doing his
best to cut off other in need kids in a
similar situation that he was in himself. He did not

(08:36):
let that turn him into a more empathetic person, and
that is something that he should be morally condemned for,
as well as everything else we're about to talk about. Yeah,
I think that's a really good where you could have gone,
Like they're by the grace of God, go I instead
of fuck these kids, I made it out funk these kids.
Fuck them. They weren't lucky. Yeah, you know, it's not

(08:57):
even I would have a little bit more respect for
him if he was like a hardline right winger being like, no,
I think like I have very strong opinions on immigration
because with racist piece of shit. No, it's all money related, yeah, exactly,
he wanted to keep his nice government contracts. Exactly. It's
all money related, yeah, yep. Ashley Vance spends the book

(09:18):
of her biography of Elon Musk outlining the entrepreneurs history
of business, setbacks and successes. And you can find that
story in a lot of places. I'm not going to
spend a huge amount of time discussing his products the
technology behind them, are giving play by plays of every
acquisition in his history. She writes a lot about his
cool technology, and it is cool. I've driven a Tesla
a couple of times and their neat Uh he didn't
make them. Um yeah. Anyway, in Musk and his brother

(09:41):
headed to the US. They started their time with a
road trip and the summer before Musk had to get
started in his degree, he held a couple of internships
in Silicon Valley. The tech industry was a natural fit
for Elon. He developed a reputation as an obsessive worker
who was willing to put in impossible hours, a reputation
that has followed him his entire career. When he was interning,
he had the idea for his first business. A salesperson
for the Yellow Pages walked into one of the offices

(10:03):
where he worked and tried to sell his startup on
the idea of an online listing add onto their normal
Yellow Pages listings. The pitch was poorly delivered, and the
guy clearly didn't know anything about the Internet, but Ellen
saw a glimmer of promise in the idea. In he
and his brother Kimball formed Global Link Information Network, which
changed its name to ZIP too because Global Link Information
Network is a ship name. Uh. The idea behind ZIP

(10:26):
two was to convince businesses to create web press talking
that a guy named Kibble isn't good at naming stuff.
I think I think Musk is the bad nam er
for reasons that will become clear. He actually has kind
of an early history of sucking at naming companies and now.
The idea behind ZIP two was to convince businesses to
create web presences on a searchable business directory that also

(10:46):
had a maps component. Obviously that's a good idea because
it's the way everything works now. Uh. In in very
ahead of the curve. Uh. And if you've read any
story about a scrappy tech startup in the Bay, you
know the story of ZIP to Elan and his brother
started alone own in a dicky office with the toilets
backed up, yeada, YadA. They had no money. Uh, the
shoestring budget, all that bullshit. This is not exactly true.

(11:07):
Like all of these stories, the scrappy underdog entrepreneurs had
much more funding than they tend to emphasize. In Musk's case,
Zip two was formed with the help of twenty eight
thousand dollars of his dad's money. Um. Yeah, he doesn't
like to talk about that. Uh. Sometimes he openly acknowledges it.
I think sometimes he lies. I don't know. Yeah, Ashley

(11:29):
Vance acknowledges this, but in a way that tries to
make it seem like it wasn't a big deal. She writes,
quote they were more or less broke after getting the
office space licensing software and buying some equipment. For the
first three months, of zip to his life. Musk and
his brother lived at the office. Uh, they had a
small closet where they kept their clothes, would shower at
the y m c A. I'm so sorry. Oh could
they have sold any of their free floating diamonds? I
mean sorry? Uh, fucking what was it? Em I'm sorry there,

(11:55):
Emerald mon they left the emeralds behind with dad and
just took twenty eight grand of his money. That's it,
just a small just a small amount, you know, like
twenty eight you know, it's not like a Trump size loan,
but it is significant, right, Like, And like I'm sure
he's like he's not lying when he says, you know,

(12:17):
we were on a shoestring budget. But the fact that
you had a budget is because your dad was rich.
Like that's the point. The point is not that it
was easy to start a business on twenty eight grand.
It's that most of us don't get twenty eight grand
to start a business and do not have an emerald
mind to fall back on. Yes, yes, don't have dad's
emerald mind money to fall back on. Yeah. So, like
most entrepreneurs in a similar position, Ellen doesn't like to

(12:39):
talk about the privileges that made his success possible. In
this case, I suspect some of its pride, but I
think some of it's also the fact that he hates
his dad um and probably doesn't want to admit that
his dad helped a lot. I suspect that if you
were to get him to be honest about this, he
would blurt out something like, I earned that money by
putting up with his ship my whole childhood. But that's
me editorial thing on Elon's mind a little bit. ZIPP

(13:02):
two grew rapidly, and this is probably due in part
to the fact that Ellen put in fundamentally lunatic hours
to build his company. One of his early employees recalled
to vance quote, almost every day, I'd come in at
seven thirty or eight am, and he'd be asleep right
there on that bag. He had a bean bag. Maybe
he showered on the weekends. I don't know. You get
the feeling that Must didn't shower a lot. That's why Must.

(13:22):
That totally makes sense now, the all of these the
thing that is emphasized. I worked as a tech journalist
for a while, so I've little read a lot of
biographies about a lot of tech guys, and they all
smelled terrible, and so did their little offices. When they started,
they were all fucking nasty. It's not hard. You get
your best ideas in the shower, yes, just they get

(13:47):
their best ideas by forming like a fucking a crown
of scrutal sweat around their fucking draw string pants. I
don't know. I used to work at Google. Yeah, and
some some the engineer areas would sometimes get must Yeah.
There's a smell that engineers have, engineer stink. Yeah. It

(14:07):
was Musk's manic level of devotion and obsessive work ethic
that endeared him to the venture capitalists who investments helped
ZIP to grow into a viable business. They saw him as,
in the words of one employee, willing to stake his
existence on building this business. He told one investor, my
mentality is that of a samurai. I would rather commit
seppuku than fail. Um. Yeah, I would die for Global

(14:30):
Link Incorporated. Yeah, I would die for the Yellow Pages. Yeah.
But zip to success was also heavily dependent on the
good will of friends that Musk and his brother made
during their time at Canada. Their buddy Greg Corey was critical,
giving them six thousand dollars when they left for California
to start their company, he became a co founder and

(14:50):
his past real estate and business experience were crucial. Ashley
Vance Rights quote the Canadian had a knack for calming
musk and ended up being something of a mentor. Really
smart people sometimes don't understand that not everyone can keep
up with them or go as fast, said Derek PROUDI
and a venture capitalist who become ZIP to his chief
executive officer, Greg is one of the few people that
Ellen would listen to and had a way of putting

(15:11):
things in context for him. Kourie also used to referee
fist fights between Elon and Kimball in the middle of
the office. So and his brother's exactly the kind of
I expect from peoples and bits totally. Yeah, and it's
the thing that it's the thing that is true also
about Facebook, where it's like, yeah, it should be against
the law for teenagers to start businesses. It's actually it's

(15:35):
bad for a lot of reasons, in part because they
never grow out of being teenagers in their heads. Yes,
he had office fist fights with his brother, and Kimball's
insistent that he was the only person Ellen ever fought physically.
At least one uh SpaceX employee has accused Ellen of
being physically aggressive with him. Um, but that came years later,
so we'll talk about that maybe a little bit later.
Kimball claims that neither he nor his brother quote have

(15:56):
the ability to reconcile a vision other than our own,
which I think is totally accurate. I don't think Kimball's
lying at all about that. Um. The fights ended after
Ellen ripped some of the skin off of his fist.
I think because he missed a punch and hit something
else and he had to get a tetnis shot. Uh.
Corey told them both that they had to stop fighting
in the office after that, which you shouldn't have to

(16:17):
tell people. But whatever, boys, boys, keep it down in
the office of the business. You're trying to start of
the business, your courting investments for fewer fist fights on
the floor when the investors are in the room. Yeah.
By the company was off the ground and running, Elon,

(16:37):
a self taught coder, was largely replaced by a team
of new professional coders who rewrote almost every line of
code that Ellen had put in. There was a good
reason for this. Elon's code was functional, but tended to
be idiosyncratic, difficult to update and expand over time, difficult
for other people to work on. Handing over control for
this was difficult for him. He had particular trouble with
the fact that professional coders wanted to work normal human hours.

(16:59):
He tried to get them to go without sleeping for
days at a time, but they were unwilling to do
this for some reason. He tried to get them to
stop breathing and willing for some crazy reason. Aren't you
guys willing to die for my vision? No, it's the
Yellow Pages, but Internet Ellen, like calm, calm, the funk

(17:19):
down people are not still the business. Yeah, yeah, that
is an important point you make, Sophia. One of the
things that I think that I have learned reading all
this is that like Ellen makes a big point now
about how all of his business is. His goal is

(17:39):
like saving the world, Like SpaceX is to save the
human race by getting us off the planet. Tesla is
to save the human race by like putting it into
fossil fuel use. And he talks about that enough, and
a lot of reviewers act as if he just believes it,
And I'm sure he has convinced himself that he believes
that you get the feeling though from his fucking Yellow
Pages business. He's always needed to be able to claim

(17:59):
that his businesses are that important so that he can
justify the fact that he is an unreasonable workaholic that
fox over people in them, like he had to find
a business that he could claim was critical to the
future of the human race so that he could act
like the asshole he's always acted like in business. That's
that's I think core to him. Oh, totally, you're right

(18:20):
on about that. And it also reminds me of like
a lot of comedians who are like, no, where art
is I mean, like as a comedian whenever people are like, hey,
you know what, where art is okay? And like sometimes
we have to like do stuff to like for our
art and like it's it's fine if we're dicks, Like
it's gonna make for great jokes and stories later. It's like,
you can't do that other people's expense. Man, I have

(18:43):
I have endangered myself and the people around me for
my career. I fucked up and been very unreasonable and
unfair and relationships for the sake of my career. Um,
there's a lot of men, in particularly men who wind
up succeeding under capitalism, who have that aspect to their personality.
And it's not a good thing. It's bad. It's bad

(19:04):
that I do it. It's bad that Ellen does it.
It's a bad thing to do. Um. It's not just men.
A lot of women have it too, But I guess
men get away with it. I think more because it's expected,
and I think it's sometimes has admired. They're like, well
that's what you have to do. If you want to
become a Steve Jobs, you have to fucking be a dick,
Like that's what it is. Yeah, Yeah, And you get
a lot of positive reinforcement as a man for being

(19:26):
an unreasonable workaholic. Like for years before it started to
be a problem in like my romantic life and my
personal life, I got praised a ton for like what
a hard worker I was, And it was like I
wasn't actually being praised for working hard. I was being
praised for working unreasonably. Um, but it's my husband is
the same way. Yeah, it's rewarded. You can make a

(19:48):
lot of money doing that. Term the greatest movie ever,
even though you leave for seven years to fucking figure
it out, you know, and don't see your fanis you know, Sophia.
You don't talk about your husband James Cameron often. Um,

(20:09):
and he's he's right in the background as we talk,
working on another fucking submarine. Like enough with the submarines, James,
God damn it. Uh um yeah, thank god. So uh yeah. Um.
The business did well. ZIP two did really well, and

(20:30):
success made Ellen into a more confident person, giving him
a sense of control that he'd lacked in his early life.
He slowly learned to tone some of the less productive
aspects of his personality down. His wife Justine later claimed quote,
Ellen is not someone who would say I feel you,
I see your point of view, because he doesn't have
that I feel you dimension where things that sleeemed obvious
to other people that weren't that obvious to him. He

(20:52):
had to learn that a twenty something year old really
shouldn't shoot down the plans of older senior people and
point out everything wrong with him. He learned to modify
his pavior in certain ways. And this is true objectively
because he got good at dealing with money people, but
he only learned how to communicate more carefully with people
he needed things from Uh, Doris Downs Zip to his

(21:13):
former creative director, later recalled I remember being in a
meeting once brainstorming about a new product, a new car site.
Someone complained about a technical change that we wanted being impossible.
Ellen turned and said, I don't really give a damn
what you think and walked out of the meeting. For Ellen,
the word no does not exist, and he expects that
attitude from everyone around him. This is again Advance his

(21:34):
book to always spun as a positive thing. And the
thing that Vance will point out is that like and
and that employees who both like and hate Ellen will
point out is that his trigger is being told something
can't be done. You always have to present him with
an alternate option of what can be done instead. And
again that's often seen as like no, this is like
a good management practice, that's part of his success that

(21:54):
like he makes his people always present him with another option.
But it really is rooted in the fact that he
can't hear no. He can't be told no. He's not
learned that, which is good. Sophia, Yeah, I mean that's
actually first wife down Yep. Clearly be just a great
learning of lessons for him. No. Ever, and it's interesting

(22:17):
that he did learn how to modify kind of the
noxious aspects of his behavior around people. He needed money
from UM. That is really telling, and he doesn't want
to with his employees, so he feels fine taking like
acting that way around them anyway. That's good behavior. ZIP
to continue to grow and it it did consistently lose money,
but obviously in Silicon Valley that doesn't matter. UM and

(22:39):
the VC money kept trickling in enough to keep it
alive until the company was purchased purchased by Compact in
February of nine for three hundred and seven million dollars
in cash. Ellen walked away with bucks himself. Yeah, he
got about twenty two million out of that, and he
left the company immediately because he didn't actually really care
about this project. He just wanted to get rich off

(23:00):
of it. UM and Yeah, when he talks about this
in the present day, his chief lingering frustrations with his
time seemed to be number one that the coders he
worked with weren't as good as him. He always talks
about like how he had to correct their funk ups
and like everyone else, always talks about the fact that
his code wouldn't have worked in a real product and
like needed to be fixed by people who knew how

(23:21):
to actually code um in a productive way. Uh yeah,
and he also is really angry that he never got
to be CEO because everybody agreed that he was bad
at dealing with people and wouldn't let him be CEO.
So that's what he was angry with walking out of
his first business. So uh, he spent a million dollars
immediately on a on a McLaren, which is some sort

(23:41):
of fancy rich person car that there's there's not many
of them, so rich guys love it because there's only
like sixty Oh I'm just like you. I'm a rare, precious,
precious you know, muscle that's me. Yeah yeah, by car
there's just like may really precious and rare and special
and expensive. And he needed to be unique even more

(24:05):
because like, not only did he need to get the
car that's like the fancy car that almost no one
gets to have, but he also couldn't be like a
normal rich guy and like have it be like his
fancy special car that he drives when he wants to
be fancy. Like he was famous for treating it like
ship and like letting it get dirty and like fucking
it up, hitting curbs curbs, and he bragged about it.
It's important to people that people that he knew that
he had this unique car and that he treated it

(24:26):
like ship, like he needed other folks to know that
about him. I would literally throw this money in a
garbage disposal, bra I don't care, Okay, I just throw it.
I don't care disposal. I'm cool. When he had the
car delivered, he had CNN show up at his house
to film the delivery. The interview caught Ellen at an
interesting point in his life, when he was clearly elated

(24:47):
by his new found wealth, wildly cocky, and far too
young to know how off putting all of this is.
Ashley Vance writes, quote the whole time, he looked like
a caricature of an engineer who had made it. Big
Musk's hair had started thinning, and he had a closely
cropped cut that is tuated his boyish face. He wore
an all two big brown sport coat and checked his
cell phone from his lavish car, sitting next to his
gorgeous girlfriend, Justine. Justine moved to California, by the way,

(25:09):
and he seems spelled by bound by his life. Must
rolled out one laughable rich guy line after another, talking
first about the ZIP two deal receiving cash as cash,
I mean, those are just a large number of Ben
Franklin's and next about the awesomeness of his life there
it is, gentleman, the fastest car in the world, And
then about his prodigious ambition. I could go and buy
one of the islands in the Bahamas and turn it
into my personal fiefdom. But I am much more interested

(25:32):
in trying to build and create a new company. So
he's just like a real asshole about this and patting
himself on the back during it. He's like, I could
have done another rich guy thing, but I'm doing this
rot guy thing that I think is better. Yeah, that's
what happens when you give a rich kid in his
early twenties twenty two million dollars of his own I'm
not like other rich guys. Yeah, I'm making a space

(25:57):
company or what I'm gonna make it. Well, not yet. First,
he wants to make an internet based bank. Uh So
he rolls most of his money that he got from
gets from the sale into x dot com, which is
this his idea for an internet best based bank, and
what's unusual about this is that most tech millionaires, like
who started new businesses after their first hit, got other

(26:18):
people to put in the money. And this is something
that Musk is rare about. Musk is that he he
put most of his own fortune into X dot com
um and this this was really uncommon. And the reason
why is because he wanted control. He wanted to be
CEO this time around, and so putting in the majority
of the funding gave him control and meant other people
could have less of a say over his vision and

(26:39):
couldn't say no to him. Now, from the beginning, there
were conflicts at x dot com based on the alon's behavior.
One of his co founders was a guy named Fricker,
who had moved from Canada to help start the business
and was frustrated by Evon's attitude. Fricker wanted to create
a straightforward where I'm so sorry, it's really boring here
during this podcast, just in my life. So Fricker wanted

(27:03):
to create a straightforward online bank, like he didn't see
why it needed to be a big deal. It was like, yeah, people,
the internet is the thing. Now people are gonna need
a bank. This seems like a thing we should do
and make money, whereas Elon was like, no, we're going
to completely change the banking system and the way that
banking has done will never be the same, And it
had to be like this big fucking deal for him,
whereas this guy was like, Yeah, we could just make
like a bank app thing online and that will be

(27:26):
a thing people want. Ellen it had to be a
bigger deal for Elon, and Fricker accused Musk of overhyping
their product and eventually attempted a coup against Musk. So
five months after x dot com was founded, Fricker and
most of the best engineers in the company all left
to form their own business. It says a lot about
Musk's personality that very few of the people at the
company sided with him in this personal dispute. You get

(27:49):
the feeling they all found him very frustrating. But Musk
kept going, and he was able to hide x dot
COM's internal problems from Mike Moritz of Sequoia Capital, who
put in a major investment that allowed Elon to hire
are more engineers to continue his vision. One former employee
later recalled, you look back and it was total insanity.
We had what amounted to a Hollywood movie set of
a website. It barely got past the venture capitalists. The

(28:13):
x dot com office was tiny and cramped and by
all accounts disgusting. One employee recalled, it was this massive
adolescent men that worked so hard it stunk so badly
in there. I can still smell it leftover pizza, body
odor and sweat. He's so lucky that he isn't Jewish.
If he had like just come out and been like,

(28:34):
I'm going to change the banking industry, people would have
just said all kinds of anti Semitic ship for him
to him for the rest of his fucking life. It
would have followed him around. Yes, this was the one
time anti Semitism might have helped us all out. But
alas if only oh man yeah uh in a company

(28:58):
filled with broken souldman who worked way too hard on
a damn banking app must work the way too hardest,
putting in twenty three hours a day to everyone else's twenty. Uh.
That's a bit of an exaggeration, but it's how he
describes it, and probably not super far off from the truth,
just based on what we know of him. By Thanksgiving
of x dot com was live and it worked. It
was not the only game in online banking town. However,

(29:19):
Max Levchin and Peter Teal were working on a competing
product at exactly the same time. They called it Confinity,
which is a ship name. But Teal and company also
picked an objectively good name for the service. They called
it PayPal, which is a way better name than Confinity,
or than X dot com, which sounds like a porn side. Well,
it's actually what I heard. What I heard is that

(29:40):
X dot com got bought out by Exhibit and became
X to the Z dot com. Oh, I don't get
the joke. I understand there's a joke. I just don't
get it. It's fine. You need to know who Exhibit is.
I know enough for for the both of us that
so thank you. So yeah. In March, so they competed

(30:02):
for a while and we're basically like running both companies
out of business by fighting with money. Uh. And so
in March of two thousand they decided to merge um
personality crop conflicts cropped up almost immediately. Uh and it
I hate Peter Teal is honestly more deserving behind the
bastards than Elon Musk. He'll get one at some point
because he is a real monster. Um, but he comes

(30:23):
off as the more reasonable person in the fight between them. UM.
So the big issue is that Peter Teal and everyone
else at the company thought PayPal was a better name
for their service, and Elon Musk was in love with
X dot com because he'd come up with it and
he was not willing to come from bias, and he
was objectively wrong. But it's also such a little kid

(30:47):
named to like, he's like X dot com And if
that's taken, what about dot com? And if that's yeah,
it's it's silly. There's a lot that's been written about
the Apaul Mafia, which is what all these guys came
to be known as in this period, and I'm I'm
just not going to talk much about it because I
don't find it interesting and fuck it. But yeah, I

(31:10):
should just let you know that that's a term you
here a lot, and I don't care about it. I'm
not gonna go into much detail about PayPal because it's boring. Um.
What's most important is that there was a split between
Musk and Teal, and Teel actually resigned from the company
two months after the merger. Peter Teal is a huge
piece of ship. But it really seems like Musk was
more of a problem here, given this was the second
time in less than a year that a co founder
of the company that he worked at had quit after

(31:31):
an argument with Ellen. Uh. Yeah, so that's interesting. UM.
X dot com had other issues. The company picked up
new users at a huge rate, but it's infrastructure was
not able to handle the loads, so the site collapsed regularly. Uh.
Fraud was rampant, and the business lost tons of money
as a result of stupid shit. Uh. And I'm gonna
quote from Ashley Vance's book Now. As x dot com

(31:52):
became popular and its transaction volume exploded, all of its
problems worsened. There was more fraud, there were more fees
from banks and credit card companies. There was more competition
from star ups. X dot com lacked a cohesive business
model to offset the losses and turn a profit from
the money it managed. Ralof BOTHA, the startups chief financial
officer and now a prominent venture capitalist at Sequoia, did
not think Musk provided the board with a true picture

(32:12):
of x dot COM's issues. A growing number of other
people at the company questioned Musk's decision making in the
face of all the crises. What followed was one of
the nastiest coups and Silicon Valley's long illustrious history of
nasty coup's. A small group of x dot com employees
gathered one night at Fanny and Alexander, a now defunct
bar and Paulo Alto and brainstormed about how to push
out Musk. They decided to sell the board on the

(32:32):
idea of Teal returning a CEO. Instead of confronting Musk
directly with the plan, the conspirators decided to take action
behind Musk's back. So the coup plotters acted right as
Elon Musk left for his honeymoon with Justine. They actually
married months earlier, but hadn't been able to celebrate it
because Elon Musk is a workaholic. Uh. So he finds
out that they're ousting him as CEO right after they

(32:55):
land in Sydney, Australia. Um, and he immediately leaves the
honeymoon to go try to win his company back because
that is where I what she said when that happened.
She's so excited. Yeah, he loves me. Yeah. So Ellen
and Justine land in like Australia. Yeah, and he just

(33:16):
like books a trip back right away. He didn't get
his way, though. Teal took over. X dot Com was
rebranded as PayPal, and according to the folks who worked there,
Ellen did take this eventually. Well, Um, he didn't blow
the company up or anything, although we probably could have tried.
With new, better management and a much better name. PayPal
took off in July two. eBay offered one point five
billion dollars for the company. The board accepted the deal,

(33:39):
and Musk got two hundred and fifty million. This shuck
out to about a hundred and eighty million dollars after taxes. Question,
Justine stay and enjoy Australia by herself and have a
good old time. Was that mentioned? Because that's what I'm Yeah,
I think, so, I think, Yeah, I hope. So she

(34:00):
writes fantasy novels, which wasn't initially very supportive of, and
then made fun of her four around his friends. Um,
because that's the kind of guy he is. What a
shitty piece of ship. Yeah, my husband made part of
my career behind my back. Yeah he would be dead.
Yeah yeah, yeah, don't don't ship talk your spouse's career.

(34:22):
Unless your spouses Elon Musk, then absolutely do ship talk
your spouse's career grimes. Start a fucking book club just
so people can come over and rag on your husband
with Yeah. So like, hey, Ellen, you've seen any space lately?
I don't know how to I don't have a good

(34:42):
joke yet. Give me a minute. Yeah, thank you, eat it.
And while you take that minute, that'll teach you it's
time for something else, Robert. While you take that man, Hey, hey,
rocket man, why don't you burn out your fuse alone?
Because you're incapable of intimacy? There we go, Bam, that

(35:03):
was weird. Um, But anyway, you know what's not incapable
of intimacy these products and services. We're back. We're back
from those incredibly horny products talking about the equally probably
horny Elon Musk, but horny for business, horny to save

(35:25):
the world. That's Elon Musk in this period. So uh,
as everyone I'm sure knows, Ellen takes all his money
he makes from eBay and he throws it into Tesla
SpaceX and his brother's business, Solar City. UM. Ashley Vance's
book gives a good blow by blot blow account of
how this all went down if you're interested. Solar City
next door to um Circuit City, Yes, yes, yes, Party City,

(35:49):
corner from Party City, yes, around the corner from both.
It's in the city block of Lincoln City. I don't
know it. Tesla started out as some other dudes electric
car company, So Elon Musk didn't start Tesla, which is
should be obvious because it has a good name. And
as we've learned, Elon Musk cannot name a business well. Um.

(36:10):
But Musk like the idea behind Tesla, and he pumped
in a bunch of funding to become part of the business.
He also introduced the founders to a genius battery building
engineer whose research must had helped to fund, so he
does get some credit. Um. And around the same time,
Musk also started SpaceX, the company grow out of conversations
and research that Musk had started to fund between a
bunch of space nerds. In essence, Elon had money and

(36:31):
he used a bunch of it to gather a group
of smart astro nerds together and get them talking. The
rough goal at first was to try and send mice
to Mars and then send them back to Earth alive,
which is a cool idea. The scientists he was talking
to thought that they could do this for like twenty
million bucks. The plan gradually evolved into the idea of
building a robot greenhouse and launching it via rocket to Mars.

(36:51):
The greenhouse would mix Martian soil with Earth soil and
squared out tiny bits of oxygen, and in the Martian
atmosphere would send video feedback to Earth, so people could,
you know, see plants growing on Mars, which is a
cool idea. That would be a neat thing to see
plants growing. Love to watch that. That's the most I've
ever been interested, uh so far in Yes, what he's

(37:11):
been inventing, I mean, PayPal it's a fine I guess, no,
fuck it, it's a cool about this fucking space garden.
That sounds to bring me a space tomato from Mars. Yeah,
a space tomato from Mars. You could, honestly, yeah, I
would kick starter that. Yeah. And when you tell stories

(37:34):
like that, you can see why space nerds fell in
love with Elon Musk at this period. That's a fucking
cool thing to want to do. Um And it's a
cool thing if you have tens of millions of dollars
to put money into um. Since Elon had a lot
of money to spare, like obviously he could actually make
this happen. He flew to Russia with a rocket scientist
he knew to see if the Russian government would sell
him a rocket, and they were totally down to sell

(37:55):
him a rocket, but they wanted way too much money. Um.
So yeah, he decided to start SpaceX in order to
make space travel cheaper and get mankind to Mars. And
gradually the goal switched from space Garden to make it
cheaper to get satellites into the air and provide shipped
to the I S. S. Which is like not a
not cool thing to do, but it's not as cool

(38:15):
as space Garden. I think we can all agree on that. No,
and I can't eat that. That's most spaced tomatoes, you can.
I mean, they do grow things in the I S S.
So you can say he's contributing to space tomatoes, but
he's not contributing to Mars tomatoes. Right now? Yeah, for real,
where the funk is my Mars Basil? That's why I'm

(38:35):
waiting for. Yeah, funk, where's our Mars Basil? Elan, you
fucking asshole, Oh my god, do you think they could
make way bigger vegetables on Mars because of the weight thing.
If they could make from what I understand that as
big as my whole body, holy sh it, you can
make like giant. You could make a watermelon that reaches

(38:55):
from Mars to the Earth and then we could eat
our way to Mars inside of a water melon that
protects us from space. Dude. Finally behind yes, giants space watermelon,
space giant giant space elevator made out of a watermelon.
Hell yeah. So um Musk has been pretty adamant from

(39:19):
the beginning that his goal with SpaceX was to make
space travel cheaper and get mankind of Mars. That's always
like the dream, like everything, Like he always emphasizes, like
the goal is to get human beings to Mars so
that we can become like an interplanetary society and you know,
not get wiped out by a fucking rock or whatever. Um,
And that's like the that's like the pitch that he's
gotten very good at giving. Um and both of Elon's

(39:40):
big two companies that he founded with his eBay money
have dreams like this from the beginning, Even before Elon,
Tesla's goal was to make sweet luxury electric cars and
use that money in the lessons from it to drive
down the cost of building an electric car that could
dominate the US auto market. Now, there is a big
debate to be had as to whether or not either
SpaceX or Tesla have ever had a chance of contr
beating to the grand goals set for them. They certainly

(40:02):
have not achieved them um, and we'll discuss that a
little later. But the fact that both of the companies
were started with species life and death as the stakes
um had some benefits for Elon. For one thing, they
allowed him to inspire and motivate his work place with
things beyond money. So you can have your workers work
themselves into an early grave if they think they're saving
the world, whereas it's hard to do that if they

(40:24):
think they're making the Yellow Pages. Right. Um, that's one
benefit to a guy like Ellen. Um. The other benefit
is that, like he didn't really want to make either
of these companies public, especially not early, because that means
you lose control if you have a public company of
less control than a private company, and Ellen is a
big control guy. UM. So again, focusing on saving the

(40:46):
human race is the goal for both companies allowed him
to justify keeping control, which meant less money for his workers.
Uh meant they didn't get to cash out their stock options,
but also meant that he had the control he needed
to see these dreams through and it makes it easier
to sell people on that. From the beginning, both companies
were based entirely off of the work and genius inventions
of other people. Tesla's founder, a guy named eber Hard,

(41:09):
was a brilliant and is he's still alive, a brilliant engineer.
SpaceX relied on a huge crop of genius rocket engineers.
Musk did make his contributions, and he is a talented engineer,
and on the engineering side he did some meaningful things,
but they were also a mixed bag. For example, he
insisted the Tesla Roadster have a carbon fiber body, which
necessitated a specific sort of paint. The paint happens to

(41:29):
be very toxic, which has led to Tesla being fine
tens of thousands of dollars by the State of California
for polluting the air with land with toxic waste. So
that's good. Carbon fiber is cool. Can't make an omelet
without ruining all of the chickens ability to make eggs.
That is a very true statement. Sophia Musk is a

(41:52):
hands on boss, and it's clearly important to him that
he'd be seen as one of, if not the leading
minds behind both of his big businesses, signature products and
to those. In five Tesla got its first New York
Times coverage. It was very positive about company founder eber
Hard and the other genius engineers, but it completely ignored
Ellen when if Tesla's early employees later said, we tried
to emphasize him and told the reporter about him over

(42:14):
and over again, but they weren't interested in the board
of the company. Ellen was furious he was living. But
nobody puts Ellen in the corner. Okay, no, not ever.
The early buzz around Tesla was very positive, and they
were huge problems with the car behind the scenes, though,
which you'd expect because it's like a hard thing to do.
The product was laid repeatedly, and it had issues that

(42:37):
kept cropping up with the transmission and the body, and
the cost ballooned, YadA, YadA. It became very clear eventually
that Tesla's early engineers had wildly underestimated what their car
would cost. To make, and they had sold hundreds of
pre ordered cars at a price way less than what
the car would actually cost to make. I think they
were selling them for like ninety thousand, and they found
out it was gonna cost a hundred and seventy grand
per vehicle. Um. And Musk had been the guy largely

(43:00):
delivering the big speeches that had sold a lot of
these cars and hyping them up, But he hadn't been
the guy that was responsible for fucking up the cost calculation. Um.
That was eber Hard, and he does seem to have
genuinely really fucked up at estimating what these cars would
cost to make. And Musk used this funk up as
an opportunity to push the company founder out as CEO,
and so Ellen finally got to be CEO. Uh. There's

(43:22):
certainly a case to be made that he was this
was the right thing to do. Many early Tesla people
will say that Eberhard did funk up badly and he
needed to be ousted at that point. Um. And you
could say he needed to be ousted as badly as
Ellen needed to be ousted in ordered for PayPal to
be a success. But the whole endeavor led a tremendous
bad blood between Eberhard and Musk, and the two men
would snipe at each other for many years after that point. Um,

(43:44):
now this is another thing I've seen folks online come
after Musk four and I don't I don't like like
the fact that he stole the company from this guy.
I don't know. It's debatable as to whether or not
he did the right thing. He probably did the right
thing for making Tesla into a profitable company. Uh, what's
not debate bole is how fucked up it is that
Elon Musk gets credit for building all of these wonderful
devices that he did not build. A January article got

(44:08):
the title how Elon Musk built a Tesla factory in
China in less than a year. Obviously he didn't. He
never built a factory his life. In September two tho nineteen,
Courts published an article titled Elon Musk is designing his
rocket as fast as he can or undesigning. It was
making a point about how he thinks, but like it
still gives the credit to him for like making this rocket. Uh,
Musk gets a lot of credit in general for the

(44:30):
wonders that his companies have produced in a two thousand
seventeen Rolling Stone article, Neil Strauss opened by noting that
Musk has not yet achieved either of the incredibly lofty
goals he's set for tests that or SpaceX, but quote,
what he has done is something that very few living
people can claim. Painstakingly bulldozed with no experience whatsoever into
two fields with ridiculously high barriers to entry, car manufacturing

(44:51):
and rocketry, and created the best products in those industries
and measured by just about any meaningful metric you can
think of. In the process, he's managed to sell the
world on his ability achieve objectives so lofty that from
the mouth of anyone else they'd be called fantasies. And
that's frustrating to me, because, uh, he did jump in
without any experience to do very difficult, interesting industries, but

(45:13):
he didn't create those fucking products. Um And yeah, it's frustrating.
It's frustrating that the writers of Star Trek Discovery saw
fit to give Elon Musk credit as a brilliant inventor.
They listed him next to the inventor of the warp
drives that from Cochran as a genius scientific mind, which
is bullsit Ship se from Cochrane lived through World War
Three and made a fucking I mean, he's a fake guy,

(45:34):
but whatever. It's bullshit to put Elon Musk at that
level because he's not a genius fucking inventor. Um. It
is fair, I think, based on what I've read to
say that he's probably contributes more to the development of
his products than most CEOs do, but he is also
not just sitting there making them as a general rule.
Ashley advanced. His book goes into the into tremendous detail

(45:55):
about the incredible sacrifices that space X Rocket Engineers UH
made to build the company's first successful rocket. They did
it in like this this island off of the coast
of Hawaii, and like lived on this primitive, humid like
base for years that like didn't have like things that
people normally need to have to be comfortable. They didn't
see their family for like months or even years at

(46:16):
a time. They sacrifice their health and social life because
these like they believed in the dream of human space flight.
We're back, uh, listeners will hear this is seamless, but
we just had an interruption for a mystery, and none
of you will ever know and it's a it's it's
a you won't We're not gonna tell. Sorry, suckers, suckers,

(46:38):
suckers liking my work, said, suckers, But you really went hard.
I turned it into learned. Yeah. The key to keeping
an audience is to be like a little bit abusive
to them, you know, like negging. You need the audience.
I think when you do that, because they feel like
he knows we can take it, We're to and then

(47:00):
they send you more knives. It's weird. You guys have
a beautiful love it they do. I abuse them and
they send me knives. And that is the healthiest relationship
in my life. If anybody wants to send Robert a
knife for me, I would take it. Just step why
I Sophia, I was not considered in this factor. But okay, uh, Sophie,

(47:24):
do you want a knife? No? No, no, that I'm not.
I've given you so many nice relationships that I wasn't
part of that, and it's most functional all your podcast. Yeah,
I know, I know. See that's because I habitually torpedo
my relationships. But that's how it works. Were great, you

(47:46):
know the problem. The real problem with this line of
jokes Sophia is that if you start getting mailed a
bunch of knives, you're not gonna know if it's because
Elon Musk fans want you dead or because they really
enjoyed your performance. Okay, okay, let me amend my request.
You can send a knife for Robert for me if
it includes Oh I see, that's badass. I'd love that.

(48:08):
Just so I know it's not aggressive. You can like
draw a happy face on it if you want, or
just include a little with a happy face so I
know it's like a non threatening gift. Send her knives
and smiley faces, which is the totally non threatening gift
is knives in pictures of smiling faces. Everyone, No one's
creeped out by that at all. Let's move on. Hey,

(48:32):
I know what I like. Yeah, So the thing I
want to emphasize is, like, again, muskets all this credit
for like he made like he's a rocket engineer, he
like made these incredible space things, and it's like, I think,
like there's a lot that actually is objectively incredible about
SpaceX is rockets, including the fact that they like are
capable of kind of piloting themselves back to the guard.

(48:53):
A lot of cool stuff has been done by engineers
at SpaceX who are brilliant rocket designers and who sack
or fist an enormous amount. Again, these guys had to
live for years unlike an island base, with like very
little in the way of comforts, like ignoring their families,
because there were people who believed in this dream of
getting to Mars and like sacrificed huge chunks of their

(49:15):
youth to make these rockets work. It was an incredibly laborious,
nightmarish process in some ways, and they did it. And
Musk was sitting in California watching test launches on closed
circuit video and hyping up the company. Which is not
to say that like as a CEO, he's not thinking
probably make the case that he's one of the more
valuable CEOs out there, which I also think he's still

(49:36):
very overvalued. But anyway, it's frustrated to me that he
gets so much credit and all these fucking engineers and
the guy's actually doing the cool work but whatever, um yeah,
Must gets. The thing that's frustrating me most is that
Must gets the credit for the successes of his workers
while being able to blame them for his or for
the failures of the company. One example of this came
in March six. SpaceX had an important launch of its

(49:59):
Falcon one rocket. The rocket wound up like fucking up
and blowing up and ship. Uh so it didn't work out,
and this was made them push like the date because
they had like contracts and stuff to put stuff into
space and they couldn't get their rocket to actually work.
Because Elon Musky used to build that those rockets when
he was a kid with explosives and was like, I'm
lucky I kept my fingers. Yeah, you're gonna put that

(50:20):
guy in charge of your rocket. Yeah. He wasn't really
like it was engineers and stuff who were like, it's
it's hard to do. It's hard to do there anyway
rocket science Robert I am aware. Yeah, yeah, yeah, well,
and like you would think a good boss would be like, no,
it's fucking hard, Like it's nobody's fault. This is going

(50:42):
to take some time to get right and like it
didn't work this time, but we're going to get it right. Um.
And that's kind of what Elon Musk like put out
to the world. But he also needed a scapegoat to
blame for the investors and so he picked one of
his hard working engineers who had been sacrificing his youth
out on an island um in a very unfair way.
And I'm gonna quote from Ashley vans Now. Musk and

(51:03):
other SpaceX executives blamed the crash on an onion named technician.
They said this technician had done some work on the
rocket one day before the launch and failed to properly
tighten the fitting on a fuel pipe, which caused the
fitting to crack. The fitting in question was something basic
and aluminum b nut that's often used to connect a
pair of tubes. The technician was Holman, who was like
one of the guys living out there. In the aftermath
of the rocket crash, Holman flew to Los Angeles to

(51:24):
confront Musk directly. He'd spent years working day and night
on the Falcon one and felt enraged that Musk had
called out him and his team in public. Holman knew
that he'd fastened the b nut correctly and that observers
from NASA had been looking over his shoulder to check
the work. When Holman charged into SpaceX's headquarters with a
head full of fury. Mary Beth Brown, Musk secretary tried
to calm him and stop him from seeing Musk. Holman

(51:46):
kept going anyway, and the two of them proceeded to
have a shouting match at Musk's cubicle. Now, later investigation
proved that Holman had done nothing wrong. The culprit was
the aluminum body of the rocket. Another board member later
admitted that Holman quote kind of got blamed so they
could get out an answer to the investors as to
why the launch had not worked. And that's fucking shitty.
And that's one thing that pisces me off about Elon Musk,

(52:09):
because he gets a lot of credit when the rockets work,
and he finds a hard working person to blame when
they don't. That's bullshit. It's like, yeah, literally the opposite
of good leadership. When you're a leader, you take credit
for both. You know, it's the it's the responsibility of
of being the head of something. You take credit for
the good and the bad, and you shield your people

(52:30):
who work for you. I would go so far as
to say that a great leader takes credit for the
bad and gives credit to his subordinates for the good stuff.
That's a really good leader that doesn't exist in the
tech world. So it was not even trying to go
that yeah Hi, I was like, just be a good
at decent boss and be like, yeah, the funk up

(52:53):
is also on me. If you're gonna take credit for
the good ship and when you are really a great leader,
your subordinates will make sure that you get a lot
of credit for the good stuff that happens. You don't
do that yourself because that's being a dick. But anyway, whatever,
fuck it. Uh So Mary Beth Brown, let's talk about
Mary Beth Brown. But he's not gonna stop being a dick,
right because his social skills are just not very good

(53:15):
as we've known like the whole time. Speaking of that,
let's talk about his relationship with Mary Beth Brown. So,
Mary Beth Brown was Musk's assistant at both SpaceX and
Tesla from the beginning of both companies, and basically everybody
who spent any time around either company in this period
will agree that she was absolutely critical to both success.
Ashley Evance describes her as Musk's Pepper pots Um because

(53:36):
there's a lot of fucking iron man uh tony start
comparisons that made the Musk and for years she was
the gateway to Elon Musk and his mediator because again,
like you were just bringing up, he has no social skills.
So she would keep people away from him when he
was in a bad mood and unable to productively engage,
and she would like tell people when it was a
good line to talk to him because she was under
She was like the Musk whisper. She brought him his meal,

(53:59):
she scheduled his time, him with his children, She picked
out his clothes. She was his fucking mom. That was
her job, right, That is so sad. I always felt
so sad for Pepper and those fucking movies. Yeah, it's
a bummer. Uh And it's a bummer. Yeah. I mean,
at least he didn't have a weird relationship with her,
I guess, but it was weird anyway, that that's a thing.

(54:20):
But also he was like a fucking man child, as
all of these tech guys are. So. Vance credits Mary
Beth Brown for helping to set up SpaceX's early culture
and asking as a bomb whenever Musk would ruffle feathers
and hurt anyone in any like a key a key
employees feelings. She worked twenty hour days when Elon worked
twenty hour days. She traveled with him when he would
because he would he spends like two days a week

(54:40):
in l A, two days a week in San Francisco,
had his other company like he traveled around all the time,
So she this was like a fucking nightmare job. Um
that she must have been obviously debt. She bought into
the beliefs of the company, and it seems to be
widely agreed that she was a very important part of
both companies, especially as they started off. Um she played
a huge role in in the that both were a success,

(55:01):
and Elon Musk fired her in two thousand and fourteen.
The story goes that she finally worked up the courage
to ask Musk to be paid a salary in line
with what the top executives at SpaceX were paid. Shouldn't.
She was one of the longest serving employees and a
key part of the operation, and was forced to like
live Elon's unreasonable schedule. She thought this was fair. Musk

(55:21):
told her to go take a vacation and he would
do her job himself and decide if he really needed her.
When she came back, he told her that she was
unnecessary and fired her without ceremony. So that's cool. I
remember reading about that and being like, that is the
most insulting way to fire someone that's given so much
of their time and life to you. To just make

(55:44):
sure that they know that you think they're worthless before
you let them go. That is so shitty for no reason. Yeah,
to not just say like, well, I'm not going to
do this and I don't need you anymore, but like,
but first I'm going to devalue the decade that you sacrifice.
That's what I'm saying. That's so wild. That's like just
the true example of someone being Yeah, of someone being

(56:05):
so self absorbed that it is truly abusive to other
people because they do not consider the other person's like
feelings or their livelihood or anything. Yep. Cool, to be
a billionaire makes you superhuman, it does very human case
Alex Luthor more morals. Yeah, I mean, you know what,

(56:25):
at least Lex Luthor has an understandable life goal. He
wants to murder Superman, and don't we all, Yeah, you
have a sex I mean, for me, Superman is the
f d A. But I get it, like, yeah, well
you'll have an emesis Robert mm hmm. It's the f
d A for everyone now, uh yeah, sorry. What he
did with Marybeth Brown follows a pattern for Elon Musk.

(56:47):
He hates being told no, um, he's being told anything
he doesn't want to hear. And every former employee you
can find is very consistent about the fact that telling
him you can't do something is the worst career if
you can make. Musk is famous for reacting to this
by telling people, Okay, then I'll do your job and
I'll be the CEO of two companies, and then he
fires them and does their job. And in the stories
that get told, he always does the job well, and
you know, the person goes away. And it is true

(57:09):
that Musk is very smart. Uh he might even he
might even say he's brilliant at some things. Uh. It's
also true that he has contributed to both of his companies.
He has had a particular impact on the development of
Tesla's vehicles. From what I can tell, he seems to
have the same kind of gift that Steve Jobs has
or had. Uh. And the gift is like the thing
that Jobs did that made him special and that made
him actually kind of worth the money he got paid

(57:30):
as a CEO or more of it than most CEOs are.
Is that he he was really good at saying no
to Like he knew to his employees when they would say, like,
we think we've got this phone right, he knew, like
he had kind of an instinctive knowledge of what people
wanted to hold in their hands. And that's why the
iPhone worked and other phones that were made around the
same time smartphones early smartphones didn't work. His jobs understood.

(57:53):
He like refused to let the product out until he
knew that it was like going to feel good in
people's hands and to light people. And Musk did kind
of the same thing with the Tesla, which is why
people fucking love their Tesla's because it is a well,
it's a car designed to delight people in certain ways.
Like one of Musk's big contributions was insisting that the
door handles do that thing where they like pop out
and like it's silly and unnecessary, but also having driven one,

(58:16):
like it's fucking cool as hell, and it makes people
happy and loyal to the product because it don't like
has a Tesla and he fucking loves it. The amount
of joy from driving it. I'm like, this is stupid,
but it is cool. Yeah, it's cool. It's cool, and
and must get some credit for a number of the
really cool things about that car he has he does have.
I think that the CEO to compare him most too

(58:38):
is Steve Jobs, who was a monster UM but who
was also UM had a skill, and Musk has that
same skill. He's not a rocket engineer. He is someone though,
who understands. He understood something important that people wanted and
and he was the first person who understand that thing.
And as a result, UM he put out a product
that delights people. And that's that's a that's a town.

(59:00):
You can say it's not worth nearly as much as
he's been paid, and I would agree with that, but
it is a talent UM. So at SpaceX, however, Musk's
main achievement seems to be pushing a policy whereby the
company makes the vast majority of their spacecraft components in house.
This is a really weird thing to do that no
one else in the rocket industry does UM, and it
caused them to take years to get off the ground

(59:21):
because they had to like invent everything from the ground up.
But it also allowed them to bypass a lot of
the bloat that the heavily regulated space industry has um
and has allowed them to do stuff like the radios
that SpaceX put in rockets cost a fraction of the
radios that like we're put in rockets before because they
didn't like get into this Lockheed Martin bullshit where everything's

(59:41):
like stupidly overbuilt and expensive like, and that it was
a good idea um to do it this way. It
seems like a policy that was successful in reducing the
cost of shooting ship into space. So whether or not
you think that's good, it worked. My issue with Musk
isn't that I think he's useless. It's that I think
he gets way too much fucking credit, and that he
uses the world saving goals of his company as an

(01:00:02):
excuse to treat loyal and critical employees who do more
of the work in a lot of cases than he does,
like ship whenever he feels like they're getting in the
way of what he wants to do at the moment um.
And I'm gonna quote again from Ashley Vance's biography. This
is near the end of the biography. The rank and
file employees tend to describe Musk in more mixed ways.
They revere his drive in respect how demanding he can be.

(01:00:24):
They also think he can be hard to the point
of mean and come off as capricious. The employees want
to be close to Musk, but they also feared that
he'll suddenly change his mind about something, and that every
interaction with him is an opportunity to be fired. Elon's
worst trait by far, in my opinion, is a complete
lack of loyal to your human connection, said one former employee.
Many of us worked tirelessly for him for years and
were tossed to the curb like a piece of litter

(01:00:45):
without a second thought. Maybe it was calculated to keep
the rest of the workplace on their toes and scared.
Maybe he was just able to detach from human connection
to a remarkable degree. What was clear is that people
who worked for him were like ammunition, used for a
specific purpose until exhausted and discarded. What a ghoul. Wow, Yeah,
that's some baltimort ship right, just fucking sucking the all

(01:01:08):
the I don't know, Yeah, I would say it's a
bad thing to do. Death theater. They'd like, suck out
all your life force right out of your out of
your body and then just leave you all your warm
memories and you just sucking die. That's how I feel
it is of your talent. Thank you the mentor I
needed help. Thank you. Um You're the only person I

(01:01:31):
would let make a Harry Potter comparison here. Thanks. I've
earned it with my service, um, with my with my
dead baby killer service. Um you have. I've graduated to
not being on those episodes and I've never been less
disturbed in my life. Speaking of babies alive babies, let's

(01:01:57):
talk about thought And I was like, where, what how?
But Sophie, you know who won't kill babies? Well, Raytheon
kills a lot of babies. Here's the thing about Raytheon.
What do we all hate weddings? Nobody likes having to
go to a wedding, And the dream of Raytheon is

(01:02:18):
to make weddings a thing of the past, not just
for people in Afghanistan, but for everyone all over the world. Yes,
with Raytheon, we can all live in a world where
no wedding gets to happen without a drone strike. And
isn't that the world we all want to live in? No?
I like weddings. Weddings are dope. There's an open bar
usually and I get free. What are you talking about, Robert,
I mean, I don't want to be I don't want

(01:02:39):
to be in a wedding. That's a lot of work.
But like this makes no sense. Well it doesn't have
to make sense because it's Raytheon, Raytheon wonderful. This is
the ad break Yeah, adds, we're a and we're talking

(01:03:01):
about Elon Musk's first wife, Justine. She famously wrote a
viral article in two thousand ten after their divorce for
Mary Claire. Its title is I was a starter wife.
That is one of the biggest article. That is where
a lot of my information comes from. It's pretty it's
a pretty good breakup article information. Uh. It followed on

(01:03:22):
the heels of Justine's blog, which she had kept for
like the entirety of their marriage and had regularly like
written some unflattering things about Elon about that like then
made it out like all sorts of like gossip rags
and stuff would talk about it. Um. He did not.
He was not happy with that. Um. And also I
kind of think it was her way of like striking
back at him for like talking some ship about her
career as a writer. Um, She's like Okay, then, well,

(01:03:44):
I'm going to write about what a dick you are
in my blog and then, oh, I bet you're gonna
hate it a lot fucking more when it's about you.
And what's very funny? It was very funny. Um, the
article isn't funny, but that's funny. Uh So yeah, um,
it's full of fun details and I'm gonna read one
of them now. As we danced at our wedding. At reception,

(01:04:07):
Ellen told me I am the alpha in this relationship.
I shrugged it off. You shouldn't do that, just as
I was as I would later shrug off signing the
postnuptual agreement. But as time went on, I learned that
he was serious. He had grown up in the male
dominated culture of South Africa, and the will to compete
and dominate that made him so successful in business did
not magically shut off when he came home. This, in
the vast economic and balance between us, meant that in

(01:04:27):
the months following our wedding, a certain dynamic began to
take hold. Ellen's judgment overruled mine, and he was constantly
mark remarking on the ways he found me lacking. I
am your wife, I told him, repeatedly not your employee.
His response to that was, um that, Uh, if you
were my employee, i'd fire you. Um, he absolutely would. Yeah, yeah,
I'll fuck me. I'll fuck me so good, I'll fuck

(01:04:50):
me off. Have my own babies al raised, that'll show
you nothing. Yeah, it's amazing. So yeah, that's great. Justine
notes that after the first time she flew to Silicon
Valley to meet Musk while he was building zip Too,
he asked her how many kids she wanted. She said,
one or two unless she could afford nanny's than she
wanted for. He responded with a laugh and the reply,

(01:05:13):
that's the difference between you and me. I just assumed
that there will be nanny's. A good person says that
that's the thing about me and you. I I expect servants.
That's the difference. I know. I'll have servants, slave servants,
slave servants, servants, definitely servants my dad has. Which was
it that my dad has? Yeah, not that, yeah, but

(01:05:35):
essentially that yes. Justine also claims that Musk had her
meet with his lawyer two months before the wedding to
sign a financial agreement that he assured her was not
a prenup, but essentially was, and it had her sign
away most of her rights, which does kind of suggest
that Musk was planning on the marriage not lasting, which
is kind of the point of the title of her article.
She also notes that during the marriage quote, no matter
how many highlights I got, Ellen pushed me to be blonder,

(01:05:57):
go platinum, he kept saying, and I kept her using,
that's cool, but whatever. Yeah, it's hot when someone you
love just tries to change you all the time. I
love it. I That's what I've been told. That all
women love to be changed by men, and just like
all men like to be improved by women. People that

(01:06:19):
want to not be loved for being themselves, yeah, everybody does. Yeah.
People just want to be told that their garbage and
that they need to change. That's what people want to
need is to be told their garbage, which is why
I tell my audience that their garbage, so that they'll
be better to try and impress me. Send you a knife,
because they were like that felt good. Hurt me again, daddy, Yeah, yeah,

(01:06:41):
hurt hurt me again, daddy podcast Daddy. That's exactly what
it is. That's the slogan of behind the bastards. Hurt
me again hurt podcast daddy, So yuh. It is worth

(01:07:02):
noting that this this postnup didn't really seem to matter.
Justine what got what seems like a pretty fair settlement
to me. She's rich as ship. She gets like eighty
something thousand dollars a month in addition to getting like
a couple million up front, and how like she's doing
fine now it's it's it's she. She seems to be okay,
but must did not treat her well um and was
a giant dick. And almost as soon as they broke

(01:07:23):
things off, he flew to England and met to Lula Rightly,
an actress who happened to be fourteen years younger than him.
He hit on her by showing pictures of his rockets,
and that seems to have worked. The two hung out
for a night or two in England, and then she
flew out to visit him. A few weeks later, when
she'd been out in California for five days, he asked
her to marry him. She was twenty two, so gross

(01:07:44):
and just like cliche. I'm like, dude, come on, come on, dude,
like five days or I mean it was a little
more than that, but not much, but you pathetic dude,
so she said, yes, they got married. They got divorced
soon after that, and Must tried to be on his
own for like ten months, and then he got remarried
to too Lula uh, and then they got divorced again.
When Ashley Vance published her book in two thousand fifteen,

(01:08:06):
Musk was in the process of fixing things before fucking
them up again with Riley, So her book doesn't really
get into detail about what happened later. But that two
seventeen Rolling Stone article certainly does. And it is a
fucking doozy. I love that article also. Yeah, it opens
right after he broke up with I wrote some famous lady,
but it's Amber heard. Um, it's okay to call her

(01:08:27):
some famous lady, right What does she do? What's her thing?
She's an actress and stuff. Yeah, and I'm gonna quote
from that Rolling Stones article right now. He heaves a
sigh and ends his effort at composure. I just broke
up with my girlfriend, he says, hesitantly. I was really
in love and it hurt bad. He pauses and corrects himself. Well,
she broke up with me more than I broke up
with her. I think This happened right before Musk had

(01:08:47):
to launch the Model three, and he claims it made
his job Must harder, much harder. I've been in severe
emotional pain for the last few weeks. Must collaborates severe.
It took every ounce of will to be able to
do the Model three event and not look like the
most depressed guy around. For most of that day, I
was morbid, and then I had to psych myself up,
drink a couple of red bulls, hang out with positive people,
and then like, tell myself, I have all these people

(01:09:08):
depending on me, all right, do it? So he talks
about how he did it, and then he gets back
onto the subject of his breakup. In the middle of this,
he straight up asks Neil Strauss, is there anybody you
think I should date? It's so hard for me to
even meet people, which, uh, it's both so entitled and
so pathetic at the same time. It's just like quite

(01:09:28):
a mixture. Yeah, I don't know how to I don't
know how he would handle that as an interviewer. It's
actually to Neil Strauss's credit that he managed to like
not explode in awkwardness at this moment. That's like a nightmare.
I would think of someone I hate, and then I
would hook hook them up. Yeah, yeah, I would. I
would get him to date. I don't know Ivanka Trunk honestly. Um,

(01:09:51):
so yeah, it seems like that actually might happen. Okay,
I'm gonna continue reading from the Rolling Stone article. He
swallows and clarifies, stammering softly. I'm looking for a long
term relay hip. I'm not looking for a one night stand.
I'm looking for a serious companion or soul mate, that
kind of thing. And yeah, it's just like it's so bad.
This is like the worst thing I can imagine happening
as an interviewer. Um, it's just unbelievably awkward. Uh. I'm

(01:10:15):
gonna quote from Strauss again. I did eventually tell him.
I eventually tell him that it may not be a
good idea to jump right into another relationship. He may
want to take some time to himself and figure out
why is previous relationships haven't worked in the long run,
which is like voice of reason here, that's amazing. Neil
Strauss is the guy giving him legitimately good advice. Was like,

(01:10:36):
maybe figure out what about yourself makes you incapable of
staying in relationships. He needed Rolling Stone to tell him
to take it easier and figure out who he is. Yeah, yeah,
it's weird that rolling Stone would tell him to take
it easy. Normally that's the Eagles. Oh god, Wow, you

(01:10:59):
are more of a dad than you've ever been. I know.
That's the dada ist fucking joke I've ever made. You know,
who's barely a dad? Elon get Yes, he's a terrible
I feel like Jack O'Brien just took over your body.
Thank you? Uh so? Yeah, Musk shakes his head and grimaces.

(01:11:22):
If I'm not in love, if I'm not with a
long term companion, I cannot be happy. And this is
Strauss again. I explained that needing someone so badly that
you feel like nothing without them, nothing without them is
textbook codependence, which, again Neo Strauss, author of the game,
is the guy explaining very reasonably. Yeah, it's incredible. Have

(01:11:50):
you looked inside yourself and realized you have a problem
and maybe that needing people for the way that you
do isn't psychologically sound? Neil Strauss. Yeah, I wrote the
book that made negging into a household term. And I
want to tell you I think you might not be
healthily approaching your relationships. Dude. That's like Michael Jordan being like,

(01:12:17):
you have a problem with gambling. I'm gonna need to
talk to you about that. You gambled too much. Yeah,
it's like O. J. Simpson telling you you have problems
with not murdering people. I don't know, probably shouldn't go
into that. It's like the A. T. F telling you
you're not treating compounds with seventy some odd children in them,

(01:12:39):
well with your tear gas that you think wacing a
third time is going to be the thing that got
you out of this. If I have a motto, Sophia,
it's a b W always be wacoing. That's the That's
the fucking way I run. It wasn't hot, Robert. You're
going to have to get over it. I know, I

(01:13:00):
know I will. Uh so. Yeah. So Neil Strauss very
reasonably tells Elon Musk that he's codependent to ship, and
here's what comes next. Musk disagrees strongly. It's not true,
he replies petulantly, I will never be happy without having someone.
Going to sleep alone kills me. He hesitates, shakes his head.
Falters continues, it's not like I don't know what that

(01:13:22):
feels like, being in a big empty house and the
footsteps echoing through the hallway, no one there and no
one on the pillow next to you. Fuck. How do
you make yourself happy in a situation like that? Um?
You spread the funk out on the bed and you
sleep eagles style. That's what I do. What the funk
are you talking about? You enjoy the ship out of
your fucking single ass self. There you find a sex worker,

(01:13:45):
group of sex workers whose personalities you enjoy, and you
pay them very well because money means nothing to you,
and this way you're not emotionally damaging somebody. You can
just pay someone to cuddle with you at night because
you're a billionaire and you don't have to consistently be
marrying these people and leading them in these very stressful relationships.
That's an option for you, Ellen, It would be fine.

(01:14:07):
Wait what question? What year was this? Though? Robert? This
is think about how much needs to be solved in you,
and like how unhappy you are with yourself that you
cannot stand to be alone. Do we think theory that
he just heard the song hate Sleeping Alone by Drake

(01:14:28):
one too many times and got it stuck in his
head and decided that's how you're just going to live
his life. No, but that's why I was at that.
His emotions, the most he's probably ever identified with anyone,
has been like when he just listens to Drake, he's like, ah,
that's what emotions are like. He's like, hate, sleeping alone,
got it, got it? Got it? I hate that. That's me,
Drake says it. So I believe it. So this interview

(01:14:50):
keeps going on. Quote when I was a child, there's
one thing I said, must continues. His demeanor is stiff,
yet in the sheen of his eyes and the trembling
of his lips, a high tide of emotion is visible,
pushing against the retaining walls. I never want to be alone,
That's what I would say. His voice drops to a whisper.
I don't want to be alone. So yeah, that says
a lot. Uh. But you know what says even more, Sophia,

(01:15:17):
Is it goods and services? No, it's a line in
the article where Elon Musk kind of let slip that
he might believe in race science. Oh I forgot about that.
How could I have forgotten? Oh? My god? Of course,
according to Musk's best guess, our personalities might be eight
percent in nature and nurture. And by the way, there's

(01:15:40):
a number of lines where he makes similar kind of
points in the biography that, like, on their own you
might not notice, but when you put him together, it's like,
I think some of that a lot of that apartheid
ship rubbed off on Elon. Yeah, And again I want
to be fair in pointing out like he tried to
get away from it, but like some of that ship
is plugged deep into his head. And this is part

(01:16:00):
of the problem with being a kind of person who
can't take any criticism, is that you both wind up
codependent and wind up pushing some weird race science ship
because you're not able to take criticism about yourself. Anyway,
that's good that he's nice to his servants, So yeah,
that's great. That's good stuff. Uh yeah, Now, so much

(01:16:22):
has been written about Musk that it's very hard for
me to draw a line on how much to include,
or what is reasonable to critique him on, or what
is even true about the guy, because there's a lot
of disagreements and stuff. I included some statements by his
dad and Elon claims his Dad as a liar and untrustworthy,
and that's definitely true. One thing I'm sure that longtime
Musk fans will ding me On is not touching enough
on the subject on the period when Musk nearly lost

(01:16:42):
everything betting on Tesla and SpaceX. This is the most
mythically significant part of Elon's career, and the basic story
is that at one point, both Tesla and SpaceX had
yet to prove themselves with their key products. Both companies
hemorrhaged money. Must had to throw in almost every dollar
he was worth to keep them afloat, and he executed
an intricate series of moods that just barely managed to
bring in enough VC dollars to keep both companies solvent

(01:17:04):
until their products proved themselves. It is true that Must
risk much more of his personal wealth than most tech
entrepreneurs do. It's also true that he was never in
danger of being poor, and he always had a few
million dollars in reserves. And it seems to me that
most people who write about el Un focused on the
fact that he gambled of his wealth and ignored the
fact that the remaining five percent was still enough money
for him to live uncomfortably for the rest of his

(01:17:25):
life without working another day, or as other people who
are poor call it, not gambling, not really gain. You
still have enough money for the rest of your life.
That's not gambling. Yeah. Yeah. I would prefer instead to
report on the elements of Musk Musk's success that don't
get covered often. For one example, reporting in two thousand

(01:17:48):
fifteen by The l A Times revealed that Musk's three
big companies had benefited from an estimated four point nine
billion dollars in government support. This money came in a
variety of forms, including tax credits and rebates for the
years of solar panels and electric cars. It is interesting
to me that Musk's bravery and investing so much of
his own money is always mentioned in stories about his success,

(01:18:08):
but the fortunes and government money that made it possible
almost never are. A lot of this money came in
the form of money from states who desperately tried to
convince Tesla or SpaceX to set up facilities in their backyard.
Nevada gave Tesla one point three billion dollars in incentives
to build a battery factory near Reno. SpaceX also got
twenty million dollars in development subsidies to build a launch

(01:18:29):
facility in Texas. And that, Sophia and my dear friends
on the Internet, brings us to what will be the
closing anecdote of this episode, how Elon musk destroyed the
small town of Boca Chica. You heard this story, Sophia.
I think I was reading a whole threat about it
actually yesterday for the first time. Yeah, it fucking rules. Um,

(01:18:52):
Boca Chica does not matter in the big picture sense
of the world. It's a tiny, tiny, tiny retirement community
in the village on the Texas post um and it
has almost no I think it only had like two
permanent residents. Like it's what you'd call a snowbird community
where old people have their retirement homes and come to
at the end of like during the winter, basically because

(01:19:12):
it's it's got a nice beach. Uh. And I read
a really good Esquire article about the destruction of this
small town by Elon Musk uh And it opens with
a Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine quote from nineteen two quote.
The schemes and dreams of developers to build on this
beautiful and desolate area die hard, but diet they always have.
And this is more or less sums up why the

(01:19:33):
property values here have stayed low and why old people
who aren't rich have been able to afford to have
homes here. Um. It's never been taken over by hipsters
or developers due to its isolation and its proximity to
Texas poorest city, uh and difficult geography. Booka Chica is
a perfect place for old people to spend their golden
years without having millions of dollars. Um. It's no wonder

(01:19:54):
that Elon Musk picked the area for his rocket test range,
stating in two thousand and eighteen, we've a lot of
land and nobody around, so if it blows up, it's cool,
which because the Columbus was like, well, there's no one
here in America, so we're gonna just take it. When

(01:20:17):
they were definitely people here. Musk started working to get
the land at two that's in thirteen, claiming he was
going to make the commercial version of Cape Canaveral. He
pushed for two bills in the Texas State House, one
to reduce a private company's liability over nuisance complaints and
run from the city of Brownsville, which is the city
nearby that would allow city officials to deny public access

(01:20:37):
to beaches when space flight activities were on the calendar. Incidentally, Sophia,
the beach around Boca Chico was known as the poor
People's Beach for being one of the only chunks of
nice coastline in Texas that was free to use for
poor people. I read about that, and also from what
I understand, it was a key wildlife corridors. It is

(01:21:00):
a lot of turtles, a lot of turtles. Musk claimed
that SpaceX would make twelve launches a year for its
commercial operations and that one day a man would leave
Brownsville and go to Mars, which is how he got
the local government on board. This was a lie. The
plan quickly changed. Basically, he was like, this is where
we're gonna like Cindament to Mars from. And then what

(01:21:20):
he actually did is like, this is what we're going to.
This is where we're going to test all of our
rockets that will funk up and break um. So that's
what it be. Can blow up in a fucking old
people's houses. Yep, and SpaceX started running almost daily tests
when they said they would be doing like once a
month on experimental rockets that were very loud, often dangerous,

(01:21:40):
and lead led to the beach being closed much of
the time. The roads were increasingly blocked. Life blocked. Life
was made almost unlivable for many residents due to the
constant construction and experiments. Musk started buying up Boca Chica
piece by piece. He offered extant residence three times their
property value, which stands generous until you realize that property
values were extremely low, which these old people who work

(01:22:01):
their whole lives to be able to live on this beach.
We're only getting enough money to buy like a tiny,
like a tiny shitty place in like a city, like
not a place like they had, which was a nice
place where they got to be out in the middle
of nowhere near a beach and live comfortably. Like they
couldn't buy anything that was like what they were losing.
Even though he was making this quote unquote generous offer

(01:22:22):
because the property of values here were low, which is
why he was able to anyways, fucking frustrating um and
it's also always extremely low. When people funk with children
or old people, it's like yeah, dude, yep, yep. As
I type this, the community is rapidly dying and being
turned into an industrial test site for experimental space rockets.

(01:22:43):
And I'm sure if you were to have an honest
conversation with him, Ellen would say that this was a
necessary sacrifice for humanities future. After all, what a few
old people's retirement houses really matter when measured against the
quest to help mankind escape the surly bonds of earth.
This is the line of logic that kind of follow
through all of Elon's bad deeds. Yes, it sucks for them,
but look at what he's trying to do. It's what

(01:23:05):
people think when Tesla pays out eighty six thar in
fines for polluting the environment with their toxic paint. It's
what people think when they read that he told this
to a worker who missed a crucial event to witness
the birth of his child. Quote that is no excuse.
I'm extremely disappointed. You need to figure out where your
priorities are. We're changing the world and changing history, and
you either commit or you don't. Ellen, and I saying this, Um, yeah,

(01:23:28):
it's what people think. Would they read articles like this
September two, nineteen Bloomberg piece about how Tesla repeatedly violated
the National Labor Relations Act by repeatedly threatening and retaliating
against employees for attempting to organize a union. Yeah, that's
the ship that really fucking pissed me off to He's
so much union busting, tons of union busting. Dude that

(01:23:50):
tries to claim he's a socialist to me makes me
laugh so hard. I'm like, bro, do you know what
socialism is? It would mean workers own the means of
production and also have the ability to say no to
you about some things, which, like Ellen, think about that.
That is not what you're fucking doing at all, you

(01:24:10):
weird dictator. Yep. It's also what people think when they
read articles like the one published in eight Pril of
two thousand eighteen in The Intelligencer. This revealed the fact
that quote company officials labeled toxic exposures, muscle strains, and
repetitive stress injuries as personal medical issues or minor accidents
requiring only first aid, lowering the official injury count at

(01:24:31):
the factory, which is again one of the most dangerous
factories in the country. But hey, it's okay because he's
trying to save the world. What's a few hundred thousand. However,
many people in pursuit of one man's probably with the
tiny dicks dreams. If I know one thing that's never
gone badly in history, Sophia, it's a man having a

(01:24:51):
dream about how to save the world that he's willing
to sacrifice other people for. That always works. Yeah, it
works great. But you know, I'm gonna retract my statement
about people with small dicks. You know, doesn't mean they're worse.
That's in fact, I don't care. Elon Musk has a
huge dick and he's an asshole. He's definitely as a

(01:25:12):
huge dick, and I don't care, and it doesn't matter.
And I don't know why I brought his dick into it.
I'm now disgusted just picturing it. I know we've all
become worse because of our exposure to Ellen. I'm blaming
him for that. Great I'll join you. Thank you. Yeah uh.

(01:25:32):
Some of those injuries and medical issues at the Tesla
factory were caused by the fact that Elon hates the
color yellow. The Intelligence who reports on claims made in
a Reveals News article quote. Among the more baffling the
tales in the report are several sections about how Elon
Musk's personal tastes superie to have affected the factory safety
for the worst. His preferences were well known and led
to cutting back on those standard safety signals. Musk apparently

(01:25:54):
really hates the color yellow, so instead of using the
aforementioned Hugh Lane, lines in the factory floor are painted
in shades of gray. Tesla denies this and sent reveal
photos of rails and posts painted yellow in the factory.
He also is not into having too many signs or
the beeping sound forklifts make in reverse, all things that
would seem important to keeping staff safe. It's just a
matter of time before someone gets killed. A former safety

(01:26:14):
lead set of the conditions in the factory. One employee
attempted to call attention to these problems before eventually resigning.
I could, and probably should go on, but this article
is too long already. We haven't even talked about the
time Ellen accused that heroic Cave diver of being a pedophile,
nor have we discussed the fact that, yeah, I know,
he's so shitty. We haven't also discussed the fact that,

(01:26:36):
once he got in trouble for slandering a hero he
hired a convicted felon to stock that heroic cave diver
and try to find dirt on him. That's another thing
that happens. But this article has to end at some
fucking point, and the real question here, the thing that
we have to ask, is whether or not anything Musk
has made himself a part of or started is nearly
as revolutionary or important as he claims it is. If

(01:26:58):
this guy is really saving the old and bringing humanity
into the future, uh, then you could say, or other
some people would argue that a lot of his bad
behavior is justified. At least that's the argument that could
be made. If he's not, then he's just a rich
asshole who got richer by pretending to save the world
so he could get jacked off by worshipful fanboys by
while participating in the plunder of our planets diminishing resources.

(01:27:19):
I cannot answer this question definitively, but derive it a
fool that I am. I can quote one of the
more self reflective chunks of Ashley Vance's book about Musk,
and I'm going to do that now. To close us out,
the economist Tyler Cohen, who has earned some measure of
fame in recent years for his insightful writings about the
state of the technology industry and ideas on where it
may go falls into that first camp and the great stagnation.
Cohen bemoaned the lack of big technological advances and argued

(01:27:43):
that the American economy has slowed and wages have been
depressed as a result. In a figurative since the American
economy has enjoyed lots of low hanging fruits since at
least the seventeenth century, whether it be free land, lots
of immigrant labor, or powerful new technologies, he wrote, Yet
during the last forty years that low hanging fruit started disappearing,
and we started pretend think it was still there. We
have failed to recognize that we already technological plateau, and

(01:28:04):
the trees are more bare than we would like to think.
That's it, That's what has gone wrong. And his next book,
Averages Over, Cohen predicted an unromantic future in which a
great divide had occurred between the halves and they have
nots and Cohen's future, huge gains and artificial intelligence will
lead to the elimination if many of today's high employment
lines of work. The people who thrive in this environment
will be very bright and able to complement the machines

(01:28:25):
and team effectively with them. As for the unemployed masses, well,
many of them will find jobs going to work for
the halves, who will employ teams of nanny's housekeepers and gardeners.
If anything Musk is doing might alter the course of
mankind towards a rosier future, Cohen can't find it. Coming
up with true breakthrough ideas as much harder today than
in the past, According to Cohen, because we've already mined
the bulk of the big discoveries. During a luncheon Virginia,

(01:28:46):
Cohen described Musk as not a genius inventor, but as
an attention seeker, and not a terribly good one at that.
I don't think a lot of people care about getting
into Mars, he said. And it seems like a very
expensive way to drive whatever breakthroughs you might get from it.
And then you hear about the hyperloop. I don't think
it is any intention of doing it. You have to
wonder if it's not meant to just be publicity for
his companies. As for Tesla, it might work, but you're

(01:29:07):
still just pushing the problems back somewhere else. You still
have to generate power. It could be that he is
challenging convention less than people think. That's where I want
to end. Wow, Wow, why when? Why you excited for
all the people who are gonna get piste off at us? Yeah?
I mean, I can't wait for people to to tell

(01:29:28):
me that I should probably die and that I'm a cunt.
I can't really wait. I'm excited for people to tell
me that they're so unhappy that I'm confident in that
I don't just giggle in the background anymore. I am
excited for people to be briefly angry at me and
then lose interest in being angry at me, because that's

(01:29:49):
what happens when people get angry at ment on the
Internet and instead focus their rage on Sophia. Because misogyny
is very deeply boiled into our culture, and that slame
and funk all of you for that. Sorry Sophia. Yeah,
I'm the one who wrote fourteen thousand words about how

(01:30:11):
I don't like Elon Musk, so please do come after me.
I will not respond to you, because I don't care
what weird Elon Musk nerds say on Twitter. Um, but
do mail us knives, either as threats or as a gift.
Either way, we get knives. I want a knife as
a gift. Again, include a happy face so I know

(01:30:33):
it's it's chill. Yeah, I'll take knives as gifts or threats. Uh,
all kinds of attention are equal to me. All right, Sophia,
you want to go out with a plug. Sure, I
am releasing my first stand up album, Father's Day on
Father's Day. Um, I don't have a father, so it's

(01:30:56):
gonna be really fun and you guys should listen. And
you should also listen to my podcast for Day Fiance
with Myles Gray and Private Parts on Known with Court
Kosak shout Out and yeah, follow me Twitter, Instagram, So

(01:31:16):
listen to Sophia's album so that you can understand what
it's like not to have a father and understand what
it's like to be Elon Musk's kids exactly. If that's
the last dick we're ending on Beautiful

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