I've always viewed Musk as a younger, tech-bro version of Trump (inherited wealth, underserved media darling, PR genius).

Musk always seemed to be running a con...make an outrageous promise, get wall-to-wall press coverage, do minimal work, quietly back away with vastly weaker results, rinse and repeat).

Other than hiring brilliant engineers and leveraging taxpayer subsidies, what has been Musk's actual contributions? Teslas are still wildly overpriced, other countries are developing superior batteries, superior electric cars that don't crash. SpaceX has accomplished the same thing that NASA did 50 years ago.

As with Trump, his real genius is self-promotion and media manipulation. What I've never understood are the media blindspot for both of these man-children (or for crypto, or Elizabeth Holmes). The media seems to fall for anything and everything.

Kudos for accurately characterizing Kara Swisher.

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Quite often Ed bends my mind with his deep sarcasm but the idea that the price of sycophancy is subject to inflationary pressures is a gem. My fav from the past.

“A billion dollars isn't what it used to be.”

- Nelson Bunker Hunt

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Society can't really be said to be "turning its back" on the ultra-rich until we start seeing heads on pikes for their numerous antisocial and often criminal or outright genocidal (e.g. the Sackler opioid epidemic) decisions. But this is certainly a step in the right direction.

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You are aware that there are credible allegations that Elon Musk never got an undergraduate degree in physics or any technical field, nor entered the Stanford PhD program, even for 2 days.

It appears that his only degree was purchased by his backers years after he was supposed to have the degree.


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Has Musk ever made a promise of things to come that actually came true? I see no self-driving cars, no solar shingles, no hyperloops, no colony on Mars, no human-like robots, no absolute free speech zones, nothing he has ever promised. The man has been a con artist his entire life. And as usual, the media is too star struck by getting to write down the holy words of a billionaire to do their actual jobs.

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At some point, I hope more people see Musk as a naked emperor. And Swisher, too, for that matter. I hope that is happening right now, but I fear having those hopes dashed. I appreciate the case you've made here.

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I would also note that Elon has always been an idiot.

In 2000, he was removed as CEO of Paypal.

Some of this was business stuff, he wanted to go with x.com instead of PayPal.

Some of this was a little bit stupid, he wanted to go full FDIC regulated bank/SEC regulated broker instead of regulation free online payments.

Some was completely idiotic. He wanted to make the back-end run on Windows instead of the existing *nix OS.

As an FYI, it took Microsoft to about 2006 to get HotMail completely on Windows, and email is far more fault tolerant than any payment system.

He's an idiot-savant, or you can use the German term Fachidiot, and his special skill is sales and promotion, with a special ability on self-promotion.

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Jeez, I signed up for the Post waitlist because some smart internet nerds said it was the next big thing. I had no idea it was an A16Z joint. Thanks for setting me straight again Ed, you're the first substack i'm going to subscribe to thanks to actually worthwhile articles. Let people like me know when you'd like our money as well, as I can't find anything on the tubes.

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Remember when the UN World Food Program told Musk he could save 42 million people from dying for the low price of $6b? Apparently he gave $5.7b instead.

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