Last night Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors joined me in conversation for the Revolutionaries Series at the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley. We explored his journey from South Africa to Silicon Valley and beyond and he was exceptionally candid about his entrepreneurial highs and lows. He also shared a fascinating glimpse into the future…flying cars, hyperloops and Mars, oh my! His eyes welled up as he spoke with deep emotion about Neil Armstrong, the need for space exploration and the impassioned vigils after the death of the EV1. But he also displayed a great sense of humor throughout the interview. Did you know he plans to die on Mars? Just not on impact.
Here is the transcript of our conversation:
Here’s the podcast from KQED:
On the chances of a SpaceX IPO this year
Not likely. Elon explained that he’s not in a hurry to make SpaceX a public company because the short term desires of shareholders would conflict with the company’s longer term goals (which included manned space flights to Mars).
On flying cars
He anticipates the production of flying cars in the near future (and he wasn’t talking about the acceleration of Tesla’s Model S). In response to my question: will it be an Elon Musk production? he demurred. But when I asked, is someone going to do it? He replied: someone *is* doing it.
On the inspiration for Tesla Motors
Musk had the audience roaring with laughter when we discussed the wailing and gnashing of teeth that occurred after the forced recall of the EV1. He said, “How often do customers have candlelight vigils for the end of life of a product? Especially a GM product?”
On being an entrepreneur @38.0 on video
Remember that failure is the most likely outcome. Only do it, if you’re compelled to do it and are willing to eat glass and stare into the abyss.
“If you don’t eat glass you are not going to be successful,” Elon Musk
On the importance of sleep
Musk recommends getting a good night’s sleep, as you’ll be more productive. Despite running two companies and having five children, he averages 6 hours a night. Less than that and he admits to getting grumpy and achieving much less.
On the environment @55.0-1.00.00 on video
He says putting hydrocarbons into the atmosphere is “the world’s dumbest experiment“…We’re playing a lethal game of Russian roulette with the atmosphere and every year, we’re adding another bullet.
The hour long interview will appear on the Computer History Museum YouTube channel next week and air on KQED TV in April. Check back soon for more photos and more details on inspiration, innovation and SolarCity. Check out
#CHMElonMusk on Twitter for more audience reaction.
Click here for transcript excerpt: On How Elon Musk became the Reluctant CEO of Tesla Motors
Check out transcript for Elon Musk on Obama, Climate Change and Government Regulation