Elon Musk talks pot, the SEC, and Twitter flame wars

The Tesla CEO addressed a wide range of issues in an interview over the weekend.

Elon Musk talks pot, the SEC, and Twitter flame wars
[Photo: Flickr user JD Lasica]

This weekend CBS News aired a wide-ranging interview with Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk during which he reflected on his companies, his erratic behavior, his pot smoking, and even the SEC. Here are the top takeaways from that interview with CBS’s Lesley Stahl:


Musk on his leadership style:

Well, first of all, I, I am somewhat impulsive. And I didn’t really want to try to adhere to some CEO template . . . I’m just being me. I mean, I was certainly under insane stress and crazy, crazy hours [over the summer]. But the system would have failed if I was truly erratic . . .

I think there was like literally one week [during the Model 3 production push] where I actually worked 120 hours and just didn’t leave the factory. I didn’t even go outside. I wanted to make it clear to the team. They needed to see that however hard it was for them, I would make it worse for me.

Musk on pot:

I do not smoke pot, as anyone who watched that podcast could tell, I have no idea how to smoke pot. Or anything. I don’t know how to smoke anything, honestly.

Musk on his Twitter battles:

Twitter’s a war zone. If somebody’s gonna jump in the war zone, it’s, like, “Okay, you’re in the arena. Let’s go!”

Musk on the SEC:

I want to be clear. I do not respect the SEC. I do not respect them.

Musk on almost bankrupting Tesla to meet Model 3 production goals:

There’s been relentless criticism–relentless and outrageous and unfair. Because what actually happened here was an incredible American success story. All these people work their ass off day and night to make it happen. And they believe in the dream. And that’s the story that really should be told . . . If you’re trying to step up to something which is, you know, 1,000% more than any other program that you’ve ever done, it’s necessarily–you have to bet the company. There’s no option.

Musk on the charges of abusive conditions at Tesla factories:

Well, it’s important to emphasize that there’s been an aggressive campaign by the UAW to absolutely attack Tesla with a load of nonsense in–in order to try to unionize the company . . . [the charges] are utter nonsense.

Musk on being happy about competitor GM doubling its investment in developing electric cars:

The whole point of Tesla is to accelerate the advent of electric vehicles. And sustainable transport and trying to help the environment. We think it’s the most serious problem that humanity faces. I’m not sure if you know it, but we open-sourced our patents, so anyone who wants to use our patents can use ’em for free . . . If somebody comes and makes a better electric car than Tesla, and it’s so much better than ours that we can’t sell our cars and we go bankrupt, I still think that’s a good thing for the world.


About the author

Michael Grothaus is a novelist, journalist, and former screenwriter. His debut novel EPIPHANY JONES is out now from Orenda Books. You can read more about him at