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"I'd Rather Be Optimistic and Wrong than Pessimistic and Right"



(p. A17) There is no question that Tesla's culture is different from that of conventional automakers or even other Silicon Valley companies -- . . . . That is largely by Mr. Musk's design, and certainly reflects his outsize presence. His web appearance late Thursday [Sept. 6, 2018] was the latest evidence.

He was the guest of the comedian Joe Rogan, an advocate for legalizing marijuana, and the repartee included an exchange over what Mr. Musk was smoking.

"Is that a joint, or is it a cigar?" Mr. Musk asked after his host took out a large joint and lit it up.

"It's marijuana inside of tobacco," Mr. Rogan replied, and he asked if Mr. Musk had ever had it.

"Yeah, I think I tried one once," he replied, laughing.

The comedian then asked if smoking on air would cause issues with stockholders, to which Mr. Musk responded, "It's legal, right?" He then proceeded to take a puff. Marijuana is legal for medical and recreational use in California, where the interview was recorded.

After Mr. Musk announced on Aug. 7 that he intended to take Tesla private at $420 a share, there was speculation that the figure was chosen because "420" is a code for marijuana in the drug subculture.

In an interview with The New York Times while the gambit was still in play, Mr. Musk didn't deny a connection. But he did try to clarify his state of mind in hatching the plan -- and the shortcomings of mind-altering.

"It seemed like better karma at $420 than at $419," he said. "But I was not on weed, to be clear. Weed is not helpful for productivity. There's a reason for the word 'stoned.' You just sit there like a stone on weed."


. . .


If he is feeling any insecurity, it was not reflected in his webcast with Mr. Rogan. He appeared at ease, sipping whiskey, and spoke, at one point, about artificial intelligence and how it could not be controlled.

"You kind of have to be optimistic about the future," Mr. Musk said. "There's no point in being pessimistic. I'd rather be optimistic and wrong than pessimistic and right."



For the full story, see:

Neal E. Boudette. "'Tesla Stock Dips As Musk Puffs On ... What?" The New York Times (Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018): A1 & A17.

(Note: ellipses in quotes, and bracketed date, added; ellipsis in title, in original.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Sept. 7, 2018, and has the title "'Tesla Shaken by a Departure and What Elon Musk Was Smoking.")






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