Columns, Opinion

Max vs. Media: Elon Musk a reflection of Trump

Elon Musk is quite possibly the most interesting CEO in the world. Musk is quite outspoken on possibly everything technology related. His personal life, filled with turmoil, has most likely contributed to his egotism and rudeness, but there is no doubt he is quite an intelligent man. Musk enjoys his spouts on Twitter and his general failure to fit into the mold of a typical CEO. Sound like anyone familiar? Besides the intelligence and technological foresight, Musk is a spitting image of President Donald Trump.

While Trump is concerned with being a fixture of historical records, Musk is more concerned with his ideas being his legacy. This is similar to many other tech CEOs — the only difference is that Musk’s ideas are frequently unrealistic. Musk is a believer in the human colonization of other planets, especially Mars for now. He described the best way to warm up Mars would be to “drop thermonuclear weapons over the poles.” As a simple economics major, even I know how scientifically ridiculous this is. Even if the launch is successful, there is a high risk of a nuclear weapon exploding on Earth. The other issue would be the acquisition of a nuclear weapon. I doubt that a nuclear-powered state would be comfortable using several of its billion-dollar nuclear weapons.

When NASA released a study describing the lack of carbon dioxide necessary for life on Mars, Musk, of course, disagreed on Twitter. You can either trust what several NASA scientists determined after months or years of research, or just trust Musk’s tweets. And this was far from one of the wildest Musk tweets.

Just a couple of months ago, when a Thai youth soccer team was trapped in a complex cave system, Musk offered his assistance. Musk sent a mini-submarine, which I suppose he just has lying around, to aid the rescue divers. British diver Vern Unsworth, one of the rescuers, described the mini-submarine as  “a PR stunt.” A typical CEO would have either not responded or sent out some press release saying that the “utmost priority is the health and well-being of the children.”

Musk, in “Trumpian” fashion, sent out this tweet instead: “You know what, don’t bother showing the video. We will make one of the mini-sub/pod going all the way to Cave 5 no problemo. Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it.”

Another Trumpian aspect of Musk is his personal life. Both Musk and Trump have five children and have had multiple marriages. Musk has been divorced three times, but two of those divorces were with the same woman. However, differences lie in their relationships with their fathers. As best as I can tell, Trump fully respected his father. Musk, on the other hand, describes his father as a “terrible human being.”

Like Trump, Elon Musk is currently in hot water. After an earnings report that surprised investors, Tesla’s stock value jumped. Shortly thereafter, Musk tweeted, “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.” At the time, the stock was trading at around $350, but then it shot up to a high of about $387. That was a month ago. But as of Friday, the stock closed at $263. Why? For two reasons, mainly.

Musk was seemingly “exaggerating” about taking Tesla private. A little over two weeks after claiming that Tesla would go private, Musk backtracked. It’s hard to take a company private. Especially when the company isn’t profitable.

More recently, shares were sent downward because Musk smoked marijuana on a podcast. Not a typical CEO kind of thing. Even though it’s legal in California, a government contractor is still prohibited from partaking in pot. According to CNBC, the United States Air Force has begun looking into Elon Musk’s behavior.

Musk might be ousted from Tesla for all of this behavior, or he might hold his position despite all of the liabilities. Trump might not be impeached, even though he clearly doesn’t have the right temperament to manage an Arby’s, let alone the country. The only difference is that Musk has some intelligence that let him create Tesla in the first place. Trump just got a million dollar loan from daddy.

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