The lesson from Elon Musk’s ‘funding secured’ mess is to never tweet

Never tweet. It’s a simple rule that you, me, and everyone who uses the hellish but seemingly indispensable social media platform should follow — if …

Never tweet. It’s a simple rule that you, me, and everyone who uses the hellish but seemingly indispensable social media platform should follow — if not exactly by the letter, then certainly in spirit. And there’s perhaps no greater example of that truism than the tweet sent one year ago today by Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

“Am considering taking Tesla private at $420,” he tweeted on August 7th, 2018. “Funding secured.” Those few words — the last two specifically — created an entirely new fire for Musk to put out at a time when he was already mired in the self-described “hell” of Model 3 production. He did not, as it turned out, have any funding secured to do such a thing.

Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2018

Without rehashing the entire experience, which we documented in detailoverthelastyear, here are some of the direct consequences of that decision to answer Twitter’s eternal prompt of “What’s Happening?”

  • Forced out as Tesla chairman.
  • Paid a $20 million fine.
  • Tesla paid a $20 million fine.
  • Musk bought $20 million in Tesla stock to essentially make up for the fine.
  • Appointed two new independent directors to the company’s board.
  • Agreed to have his tweets reviewed by Tesla’s in-house counsel.

That last point is especially relevant because, in February, the SEC tried to hold Musk in contempt for violating that part of the settlement. This kicked off another stage of the battle, one that very publicly played out in court over the course of a few months. In the end, the two sides agreed to amend the settlement to be more specific about what Musk can and can’t tweet without approval — language he might have just violated again.

In this modern age, bad tweets abound. They’re met with ratios or reported to Twitter itself, and are often, ultimately, deleted. You don’t usually see such concrete evidence of how bad a tweet can break, though. Millions of dollars, months of headaches and distractions, and a proverbial door that the money cops can walk through every time they think Musk might have tweeted something that harms his company’s shareholders.

To be fair (I guess?) to Musk, these are the kinds of consequences he was trying to avoid by taking the company private! And for what it’s worth, the fact that he didn’t have “funding secured” from Saudi Arabia meant he ultimately avoided what certainly would have been immense scrutiny from… well, everyone, following the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (Saudi Arabia does still own about 5 percent of Tesla’s stock that it bought on public markets, though it hedged that position earlier this year.) But if you’re going to announce that you have lined up Saudi Arabian cash to take your multibillion-dollar company private in the middle of the trading day, you should probably resist the siren song of tweeting, put down the phone, and wait until that money actually exists.

Which brings me back to my original point: “never tweet.” Again, I believe fully in the spirit of this rule as opposed to the letter of it, and often use it as a mantra to back myself off of any Twitter ledge I find myself on. I still tweet (sometimes a lot!). But more often than not, I think of the proverbial bullet Musk took, and do a survey of the resulting damage, tap “Cancel” and then “Delete.” As much as I love Twitter, we’d all probably be better off putting a bit of distance between it and our synapses anyway. Or, at the very least, burying it in our drafts while we cool off. We all might not have the fate of a massive company riding on the things that we publish on the platform, but if Musk’s messy year is good for anything, it’s reminding us how quickly things can get out of hand.

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Elon Musk tries off-hand humour again, compares Queen Elizabeth II to Teletubbies

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Sunday sparked a controversy after he likened Queen Elizabeth II to the characters from famous kids television …

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Sunday sparked a controversy after he likened Queen Elizabeth II to the characters from famous British kids television programme ‘Teletubbies’.

In a tweet, Musk posted an image featuring the Teletubbies characters followed by another image wherein the Queen, clad in clothes similar to the colours of Teletubbies characters, was juxtaposed in the ‘Teletubbyland’.

Teletubbies, a British pre-school children’s television series, is still being watched in many countries across the world. The original series aired between the year 1997-2001 and was revived in the year 2015.

Musk’s tweet was met with varying responses by the Twitterati. While some asked him if it was finally the time for him to stop posting such posts, others cracked-up on his sense of humour and urged him to keep entertaining.

Queen 🐝 pic.twitter.com/InE4OIu9kL

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 4, 2019

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The past week, Musk made headlines as SpaceX was reported to have been expanding its facilities in Florida to make room for the space company’s forthcoming super heavy-lift launch vehicle dubbed Starship, news agency Reuters reported on Friday.

Starship, a 384-foot (117-meter) reusable two-stage rocket taller than the Statue of Liberty, is a central piece of Musk’s interplanetary space travel ambitions as well as US space agency NASA’s goal to send humans to the moon again by 2024.

The Starship rocket is expected to launch up to 24 times a year from SpaceX’s current flagship launchpad 39A, the draft of the company’s environmental assessment said. SpaceX did not specify in the report when it would reach that cadence, but Musk said in September 2018 he wanted to be conducting orbital flights with Starship in two to three years.

Last month, it was reported that Musk is aiming to connect the human brain with a machine interface. And through his start-up Neuralink, Musk aims to accomplish this “before the end of next year”.

Speaking at a conference in San Francisco last month, Musk presented “version one” of his neuron-sized threads and microprocessor chips that he claims will help people with severe brain injuries and eventually grow to allow humans to connect with advancing artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

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We are tiny: Elon Musk to NASA

Washington, Aug 4 Replying to NASA”s tweet about Jupiter”s massive size as compared to Earth, Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX which has partnered …
We are tiny: Elon Musk to NASA

Washington, Aug 4 Replying to NASA”s tweet about Jupiter”s massive size as compared to Earth, Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX which has partnered with the space agency for its Artemis mission, has said: “We are tiny”.

The US-based agency on Saturday tweeted: “Did you know that two Earths could fit inside Jupiter”s iconic Great Red Spot? The powerful storm is one of many colourful features we see in this image captured by our @NASAJuno spacecraft and processed by #CitizenScientist Kevin M. Gill.”

Aiming to land humans on the lunar surface by 2024, NASA has selected 13 firms — including Blue Origin of Jeff Bezos and SpaceX of Elon Musk — to develop space technologies for its Artemis mission.

To facilitate the mission, NASA centres would partner with the companies — ranging from small businesses with fewer than a dozen employees to large aero-space organisations — to provide expertise, facilities, hardware and software at no cost, the agency had earlier said in a statement.

“We”ve identified technology areas NASA needs for future missions, and these public-private partnerships will accelerate their development so we can implement them faster,” said Jim Reuter, Associate Administrator of NASA”s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD).

Musk”s SpaceX is readying up to work with NASA”s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to advance their technology to vertically land large rockets on the moon.

bu/pg/bc


Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds.


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SpaceX’s Elon Musk Plans To Launch Starship 24 Times a Year to Moon, Mars From Space Coast

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA (FOX BUSINESS) – Elon Musk’s SpaceX is spreading its wings in Florida so it can launch more space missions for its …

By Fox Business // August 4, 2019

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ABOVE VIDEO: SpaceX Starship in Florida.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA (FOX BUSINESS) – Elon Musk’s SpaceX is spreading its wings in Florida so it can launch more space missions for its reuseable Starship rocket. Reuters reported the details after viewing the plans.

The eccentric billionaire, who also runs Tesla and Solar City, plans to launch the Starship 24 times a year to Luna and Mars, according to the report. The launchpad 39A at Kennedy Space Center is also where the historic Apollo lunar missions originated from.

“They’re moving very fast,” Dale Ketcham, vice president of government relations at Space Florida, the state’s commercial space development agency told Reuters.

“This is actually getting closer to what Elon got into this business for to begin with. This is fundamental infrastructure to get to Mars, the early stages of it.”

Last month the nation celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo which has inspired a new generation of billionaires to compete in their own space race.

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Stay out of my head! Elon Musk is working on technology that may link your brain to a smartphone

Elon Musk is now planning to create chips that can link a smartphone to your brain. Technological advancement is moving at a rapid pace. We have …

Elon Musk is now planning to create chips that can link a smartphone to your brain.

Technological advancement is moving at a rapid pace. We have seemingly surpassed all other innovative opportunities, so the next possible room for advancement is what I call the ‘robot’ phase. We’ve seen them in movies, but brushing the idea aside we thought: ‘This will never actually happen’. Then came Sophia the robot. However, instead of trying to make machines human-like, it seems like the more plausible thing is to make humans more machine-like. This may not be Elon Musk’s intention, but I am worried that this might be the case.

It was on July 16 that the reveal was made by Musk. Neuralink, the name of his new startup that seeks to link brain and machine is set to start testing on humans next year in hopes of coming up with means of treating brain injuries. Neuralink has been one of Musk’s secret plans announced in 2017 and its advancement had seemingly halted until he made the reveal recently.

This is what Musk had to say: “Ultimately, we can do a full brain-machine interface…This is going to be important at a civilization-level scale. Even in a benign AI scenario, we will be left behind. With a high-bandwidth brain-machine interface, we can go along for the ride and have the option of merging with AI.”

Yup. The future is here guys. Many scientists hold the opinion that this is the next stage in the evolution of technology, where man’s intellect will ultimately lead him to try and create, or at least merge with his own makings. What’s strange for me is that while this project is said to be helpful to the medical industry, it was also clearly stated that a long term goal could also be to possibly merge humans with Artificial Intelligence (AI). It is therefore not far fetched that the aforementioned belief held by scientists is coming into fruition. But, what does this mean for mankind?

Will natural human interactions be a thing of the past? Will we become a society, half-man, half-machine where feelings are replaced by strings of binary? Will it even be safe to link the brain to a machine? Could the machine short circuit and you know… ‘boom!’? I have so many questions. The main one is, however, if this advancement is truly beneficial to mankind, or is it simply trying to remove mankind out of the picture. What is the ultimate goal of a project like this? Is every advancement equal or necessary to the plight of man? Couldn’t our energies be placed in solving some of the several other issues that lie, like fixing our environment instead of blasting off to Mars after ruining this planet? Only this time we may be blasting off to Mars as machine-minded sociopaths. Musk who owns SpaceX is also planning to terraform Mars so we can live there by the way. This isn’t just speculation anymore.

I am not against the advancement of society and technology, but I believe that at the heart of every advancement there should be a clear, safe goal ahead.

— Fabrizio Darby

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