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February 1, 2021

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Elon Musk talks memes, Mars and WallStreetBets

Elon Musk went on Clubhouse last night, joining the Good Time Show, and hosts Sriram Krishnan and Aarthi Ramamurthy, in what ended up being an often meandering/slightly bizarre discussion that extended into the early hours. 

The format of Clubhouse made things tricky. Designed for voice-only discussions in rooms, the app limited participants.

  • But the bigger problem was that (bad) questions about memes and slightly sycophantic questions and statements were part of the show, and there’s plenty of media talk about how the lack of a good moderator led to some extended boring moments.
  • And in what may have been a part-stunt that ended up being much more than most of what Musk was asked, he also interviewed Robinhood CEO Vladimir Tenev, who joined late, about the WallStreetBets debacle, and proved to be a better interviewer than anyone who’d interviewed Musk during the earlier session.

On the Clubhouse side, a limit of 5,000 people in a room meant many were locked out, leaving live session recordings to head out onto YouTube and Discord, which isn’t strictly allowed, but happened pretty widely.

It’s all significant for a few reasons

  • Clubhouse is the hype app at the moment and Musk getting involved showed some of the weaknesses of the current app and the approach.
  • (Sorry, no, I don’t have any Clubhouse invites because there’s not yet an Android app. Also, is Clubhouse FOMO working? Yes, yes it is.)
  • Twitter Musk and Clubhouse Musk are different people. While he seems to have fun on Twitter with followers, the voice-only approach in Clubhouse led to far more nuance when better questions were asked.

Catch up:

Some fun moments, other than the Robinhood interview: 

  • When humans will get to Mars? Musk: “Five and a half years.” 2026. Musk talked about establishing Mars as a self-sustaining civilization, and admitted his kids aren’t too interested.
  • Would he start another company? Musk said/joked he’s too busy with Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Company.
  • On Tesla: Musk mentioned making 20 million cars and trucks per year. (Up from 500,000 in 2020) 
  • On cryptocurrency: talked about Dogecoin — “Occasionally I make jokes about Dogecoin, but they are really meant to be jokes. Dogecoin was made as a joke to make fun of crypto, but fate loves irony. The most entertaining outcome would be if Dogecoin became the currency of Earth.”
  • He was very bullish on vaccines and vaccine tech, including mRNA, and made it clear “I am not an anti-vaxxer, I am a pro-vaxxer.”
  • On memes/Twitter: Elon: “My early tweets were pretty racy… and things went crazy from there. Some people said ‘he’s gone crazy on Twitter,’ no no, I started crazy on Twitter”
  • Musk admitted he doesn’t follow memes himself, but said, “I have some kickass meme dealers” helping him.

Does any of it matter? Sort of. Getting more serious answers to the memes Musk offers on Twitter is useful. But what do we make of thoughts like we’ll be on Mars in 2026? 

As this timely article details (Jalopnik), to put it nicely, Musk is eternally optimistic and makes bold claims.

  • Another read: he also doesn’t mind just saying stuff that isn’t true. 
  • The example from the Jalopnik piece is the Tesla Roadster. Announced November 2017, the latest info from Musk now says that it might be ready by 2022, with engineering finishing this year. 
  • Yet at the 2017 launch, Musk said: “We are making it now.” Ouch.
  • Also: no Semi, no Cybertruck yet — there aren’t enough batteries is thereason.
  • The point isn’t that production timelines can slip at Tesla. The point is the pattern from the guy at the top. 

🔎 Microsoft ‘is pretty confident’ it can replace Google with Bing in Australia, if threats from Google play out (Android Authority).

👉 “The Samsung Galaxy S21 might convince me to ditch OnePlus(Android Authority).

🤔 Leak: Mid-range Xiaomi with unannounced Snapdragon 700 series chip incoming (Android Authority).

📈 2020: The year of ChromeOS? More than 30.5 million Chromebooks were shipped last year, easily doubling 2019’s shipments, and quadrupling in the last quarter from 2019. Education is so big (Canalys).

🍎 Apple’s iCloud Passwords extension for Chrome on Windows is now available, providing passwords saved in Safari on iOS and macOS to Windows+Chrome users (9to5Google).

🍏 A working Apple-1 computer is on eBay, and can be yours if you have $1.5 million kicking around (Gizmodo).

👩‍🍳 Sick and tired of meal prep? Let a newsletter decide for you: a weekly email “telling me precisely what to buy and cook was the right move.” (Wired).

💉 Digital divide: Some elderly people in the US aren’t getting COVID-19 vaccination appointments, with internet and web-based signups unfamiliar for many (Bloomberg).

🎦 Apple just paid a record $25 million to buy a Sundance movie, beating Amazon and Netflix (Engadget).

🌓 NASA’s delayed Moon lander contracts cast doubt on Artemis timeline for 2024 return (The Verge).

😻 This guy used 3D printing to help his 18-year-old blind Pomeranian get around safely (Gizmodo).

🥚 “A chicken egg is 40% calcium. How do chickens source enough calcium to make 1-2 eggs per day?” (r/askscience).

Monday Meme

I’ve been impatiently waiting for Monday for this meme!

reddit gamestop


Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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