If Cole Porter were alive, he might be tempted to celebrate Musk in such terms. Along with Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg, the Tesla CEO is a titan of the new economy — and probably the most high profile of them.
In recent weeks, Musk has publicly challenged Boeing to a race to Mars, admitted that Tesla is making its own AI chips for driverless cars, previewed a battery-powered truck and fuelled his rage against Los Angeles’ horrendous traffic congestion into a map of an underground transportation system. For most CEOs, that would be a big enough ‘to do’ list, but Musk is also, through his company Neuralink, exploring the opportunity to connect human brains to computers.
No business leader since Steve Jobs has captured the zeitgeist quite like Musk. His blunt, yet visionary pronouncements — such as his declaration that colonising Mars is the only way for us to avoid a “doomsday event” — have made him a cult hero. At one recent presentation of Tesla’s solar panels, a member of the audience shouted: “Save us, Elon.”
Yet Musk doesn’t seem such a swell CEO if you are a Tesla shareholder. Last month, he revealed that the company would not be manufacturing 5,000 Model 3 sedans a week until March 2018, three months later than he had previously forecast. “In the grand scheme of things,” he declared, “this is a relatively small shift.”
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