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Elon Musk. The name alone inspires passion.
He’s either a generational genius or a misguided maniac. But there’s one thing just about everyone can agree on: he’s a workaholic. Maybe a borderline dangerous one.
It turns out even Musk himself agrees with that characterization. In an interview with Axios on HBO that aired Sunday night, Musk talks about his greatest fears (the “existential threat” of artificial intelligence), and why 2018 has been his hardest year.
It’s not the Securities and Exchange Commission settlement or his Twitter fight over the Thai cave rescue. Instead, despite his sanguine demeanor over Tesla this year, he now now admits that the company came within “single digit weeks” of death this year, during the ramp up to production of the Model 3.
And during that time, he says, he put in insane hours seven days a week, sleeping in the factory, because “if I didn’t do it, then [there was a] good chance Tesla would die.”
But he doesn’t recommend the experience.
“No one should put this many hours into your work,” Musk said in perhaps the most poignant part of a short but intense interview. “This is not good. People should not work this hard … It hurts my brain and my heart. … There were times when I was working literally 120 hours. This is not recommended for anyone.”
Of course, then he tweeted just 24 hours later: “There are way easier places to work, but nobody ever changed the world on 40 hours a week.”
Here’s what else I’m reading today:
As long as we’re talking about electric car companies…
An electric car startup with $500 million unveiled the first of two new vehicles Monday: a pickup truck that it says can get 400 miles on a single charge. If you haven’t heard of Rivian, of San Jose, California, that makes sense: it’s been in stealth mode for nine years. Today the company says it plans to unveil a second car: an SUV that will go into production in 2020.
—Kevin J. Ryan, Inc.
GM slashes jobs
The iconic American car company said Monday it’s going to cut 15,000 jobs, and potentially shut down five North American factories. Company shares jumped on the news, even as President Trump threatened that “they better” replace closed plants in Ohio, a key 2020 election battleground, with other factories in the state.
The Irish investigation of LinkedIn
An Irish government agency says it caught LinkedIn using 18 million email addresses that it wasn’t supposed to have access to, in order to target people with ads on Facebook. Lucky for LinkedIn: the offense allegedly took place before new GDPR rules that could have resulted in a hefty fine.
—Ingrid Lunden, TechCrunch
And the British investigation of Facebook
British MPs have tried without success to get Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Parliament, and so now they’ve played a high card. They seized internal Facebook documents allegedly contain “significant revelations” about how Facebook made its decisions about privacy and data controls before the Cambridge Analytica scandal. They way they got the documents is right out of a novel — it involved detaining the head of a small software firm, who had obtained the Facebook documents in the course of a lawsuit against the social media giant. Facebook’s immediate problem: trying to stop them from being released publicly.
—Carole Cadwalladr, The Guardian
Black Friday was good. Almost too good.
Online purchases were through the roof on Black Friday even though store traffic was down a bit, but the success caught retailers unprepared. Scores of high demand products, from the Instant Pot to the Nintendo Switch sold out quickly. And 3.26 percent of online product pages displayed out-of-stock messages, which likely cost companies $120 million in sales.
—Guadalupe Gonzalez, Inc. and Kate Taylor, Business Insider