If it's a day ending in "-y," then Elon Musk is probably saying something quotable.

I don't think he's the most successful entrepreneur of our time, but he's certainly the one who will leave the longest paper and digital trail of his words. So, future generations can judge him.

In honor of his latest quotable comment, here are 27 of the best Elon Musk quotes: the good, the bad and the ugly. Even if you heard these at the time, revisiting them all at once might change what you think about the supposed real-life Tony Stark.

On social media 

1. "Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it."

2. It shall be called "The Boring Company"

3. "Twitter is a war zone. If somebody's going to jump in the war zone, it's like, okay, you're in the arena. Let's go."

On social media specifically when you're leading a public company

5. "Oh and uh short burn of the century comin soon. Flamethrowers should arrive just in time."

6. "Despite intense efforts to raise money, including a last-ditch mass sale of Easter Eggs, we are sad to report that Tesla has gone completely and totally bankrupt. So bankrupt, you can't believe it." (April Fool's joke).

On simply leading a public company

7. "I want to be clear. I do not respect the SEC."

8. "I also want to emphasize that we are making this hard decision now [layoffs] so that we never have to do this again." https://www.inc.com/business-insider/elon-musk-personally-approves-every-new-tesla-hire.html

9. "Boring bonehead questions are not cool ... These questions are so dry. They're killing me."

10. "First of all, I'd like to apologize for being impolite on the prior call. Honestly, I think there's really no excuse for bad manners and I was violating my own rule in that regard. Certainly, I have some excuse. There are reasons for it and I'd gotten no sleep and been working sort of 110-hour, 120-hour weeks. But, nonetheless, there's still no excuse."

On leadership

11. "You're a horrible human being."

12. "If you have anyone who can do a better job, please let me know. They can have the job. Is there someone who can do the job better? They can have the reins right now."

13. 'Every person in your company is a vector. Your progress is determined by the sum of all vectors.'" 

14. "Wanted to say thanks to all that own or ordered a Tesla. It matters to us that you took a risk on a new car company. We won't forget."

On productivity

15. "Anyone at Tesla can and should email/talk to anyone else according to what they think is the fastest way to solve a problem for the benefit of the whole company. You can talk to your manager's manager without his permission, you can talk directly to a VP in another dept, you can talk to me, you can talk to anyone without anyone else's permission. Moreover, you should consider yourself obligated to do so until the right thing happens."

16. "Walk out of a meeting or drop off a call as soon as it is obvious you aren't adding value. It is not rude to leave, it is rude to make someone stay and waste their time."

17. "I think a lot of people don't realize I'm basically just in the factory in design or engineering meetings, or in production.... I think sometimes people think I spend a lot of time on Twitter. I don't know why they would think that."
https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/this-new-interview-with-elon-musk-may-completely-change-how-you-think-about-elon-musk.html

On work ethic

18. "If there was a way that I could not eat, so I could work more, I would not eat. I wish there was a way to get nutrients without sitting down for a meal."

19. "Attempting to build affordable clean energy products at scale necessarily requires extreme effort and relentless creativity, but succeeding in our mission is essential to ensure that the future is good, so we must do everything we can to advance the cause."

20. "There are way easier places to work, but nobody ever changed the world on 40 hours a week."

21. "I would like to allocate more time to dating, though. I need to find a girlfriend. That's why I need to carve out just a little more time. I think maybe even another five to 10 -- how much time does a woman want a week? Maybe 10 hours? That's kind of the minimum? I don't know."

22. "I would tell those people they will get to see their families a lot when we go bankrupt." (Former employee Ryan Popple recalling Musk's retort when an employee complained iabout working too hard.)

23. "That's my lesson for taking a vacation: vacation will kill you." (Musk nerly died in 2000 on trip to Brazil and South Africa.)

On seeing the world and being Elon Musk

24. I think generally, people underestimate the capability of AI. They sort of think like, it's a smart human. But it's, it's really much--it's going to be much more than that. It'll be much smarter than the smartest human. It'll be like, can a chimpanzee really understand humans? Not really, you know. We just seem like strange aliens. They mostly just care about other chimpanzees. And this will be how it is more or less in relativity.

25. "Nuke Mars!"

26. "I'm getting text messages from friends saying, 'What the hell are you doing smoking weed?'"

27. "I remember him saying, 'Being with me was choosing the hard path.' I didn't quite understand at the time, but I do now. It's quite hard, quite the crazy ride." (Quoted by Talulah Riley, who has twice married and divorced Musk.)

Bonus: "Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough."

Published on: Sep 8, 2019
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