The New York Times has called him "arguably the most successful and important entrepreneur in the world." It's an easy case to make: He's probably the only person who has started four billion-dollar companies – Pay Pal, Tesla, Space X and Solar City.But at his core, Musk is not a businessman or entrepreneur."They're constantly trying to make up false rumors and amplify any negative rumors.
So far, Musk, 46, has accomplished none of these goals.
But 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 (Tesla) and rocketry (Space X) – and created the best products in those industries, as measured by just about any meaningful metric you can think of.
"It actually makes us less efficient to be a public company."What follows is ... Musk sits at his desk, looking at his phone, but not typing or reading anything.
He then lowers himself to the floor, and stretches his back on a foam roller.
He's an engineer, inventor and, as he puts it, "technologist." And as a naturally gifted engineer, he's able to find the design inefficiencies, flaws and complete oversights in the tools that power our civilization."He's able to see things more clearly in a way that no one else I know of can understand," says his brother, Kimbal.
He discusses his brother's love of chess in their earlier years, and adds, "There's a thing in chess where you can see 12 moves ahead if you're a grandmaster.When he finishes, I attempt to start the interview by asking about the Tesla Model 3 launch a week earlier, and what it felt like to stand onstage and tell the world he'd just pulled off a plan 14 years in the making: to bootstrap, with luxury electric cars, a mass-market electric car.The accomplishment, for Musk, is not just in making a ,000 electric car; it's in making a ,000 electric car that's so good, and so in-demand, that it forces other car manufacturers to phase out gas cars to compete."I've been in severe emotional pain for the last few weeks," Musk elaborates. It took every ounce of will to be able to do the Model 3 event and not look like the most depressed guy around. 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 depending on me. '"Minutes before the event, after meditating for pretty much the first time in his life to get centered, Musk chose a very telling song to drive onstage to: "R U Mine? Musk discusses the breakup for a few more minutes, then asks, earnestly, deadpan, "Is there anybody you think I should date? Going to sleep alone kills me." He hesitates, shakes his head, falters, 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.It's so hard for me to even meet people." He swallows and clarifies, stammering softly, "I'm looking for a long-term relationship. I'm looking for a serious companion or soulmate, that kind of thing."I eventually tell him that it may not be a good idea to jump right into another relationship. "It's not like I don't know what that 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. How do you make yourself happy in a situation like that? "' I never want to be alone.' That's what I would say." His voice drops to a whisper."I just broke up with my girlfriend," he says hesitantly.