Tesla CEO Elon Musk sat down for a wide-ranging interview with CNBC anchor David Faber on Tuesday following Tesla’s 2023 annual shareholder meeting in Austin, Texas.

Over the course of their hour-long conversation, Musk reflected:

  • How he managed to take over Twitter so far and what lies ahead. Among other things, he said Twitter’s Community Notes feature has cost Twitter $40 million in business when two major clients cut spending after their ads received community notes accusing them of false advertising. He also claimed that when the acquisition closed, Twitter had negative $3 billion in annual cash flow and $1 billion in the bank. “The analogy I used was like being teleported into a plane that is in a nosedive heading for the ground with the engines on fire and the controls not working….”
  • Him too defended his own tweets who was widely criticized for giving credence to conspiracies about George Soros and a recent mass shooting in Allen, Texas, insisting “I’ll say what I want, and if the consequence of that is losing money, so be it.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk: I'll say what I want to say, and if we lose money, so be it
  • His personal opinions and habits when it comes to work and productivity. He said he only takes two or three days off a year, works seven days a week and gets six hours of sleep a night. He also said he believes so morally wrong for people in the “laptop class” to advocate for working from home when service workers, like people who work in factories, still have to show up in person.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk:
  • Tesla’s ability to weather rocky economic cycles. Musk said that the next 12 months will be difficult for Tesla from a macroeconomic perspective due to rising interest rates squeezing consumer budgets. But he also said Tesla could take advantage of Tesla’s “real-time demand information” for its cars to adjust pricing effectively.
  • He thinks The Fed will be too slow to cut rates when the economy slows down, and that will hurt consumer demand. “You can think of raising the Fed rate as somewhat of a brake pedal on the economy, frankly,” Musk said. “It makes many things more expensive. So if the car payment or your mortgage takes up more of your monthly budget, you have less money to buy other things.”
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  • What would happen to the global economy if China makes a move to control Taiwan. “The Chinese economy and the rest of the global economy are like conjoined twins. It would be like trying to separate conjoined twins. That’s the gravity of the situation. And it’s actually worse for a lot of other companies than for Tesla. I mean, I’m not sure where you’re going to get an iPhone, for example.”
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  • His involvement in the early days of ChatGPT developer OpenAIsays there is just because he wanted a non-commercial alternative to Google’s growing dominance in AI. He expressed disappointment that the company has abandoned its nonprofit roots. And he said he is no longer friends with Google founder Larry Page. “The final straw was Larry calling me a ‘species-ist’ for being pro-human consciousness instead of machine consciousness.”
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  • His political views, including his belief that Joe Biden won the 2020 election and that it wasn’t stolen, but that he believes there was at least some voter fraud. He also said he voted for Biden but hinted that he was not happy with his choice, saying “I wish we could just have a normal person for president.”
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