On the eve of Tesla's next major release, Elon Musk gave a bizarre, long-winded interview about everything but the Cybertruck

On the eve of Tesla's next major release, Elon Musk gave a bizarre, long-winded interview about everything but the Cybertruck
Elon Musk sat down for a long-winded rollercoaster of an interview on Wednesday, during which he barely mentioned Tesla's Cybertruck.Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
  • Elon Musk didn't have much to say about the Cybertruck during an interview the day before its launch.
  • He did have words about pretty much everything else, including telling advertisers who fled X to "Go fuck yourself."

Tesla has its biggest product launch in four years on Thursday — the Cybertruck delivery event — and you'd never guess that if you listened to Elon Musk's hour-and-a-half-long interview at the DealBook Summit on Wednesday evening.

The interview, which was at times philosophical, confrontational, and political, barely touched on the new vehicle.

Musk has previously called Cybertruck Tesla's "best product ever," and millions of fans have been waiting for the launch since 2019.

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"It will be the biggest product launch of anything by far on Earth this year," the billionaire told the conference's host, journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin. (Musk has previously attempted to temper expectations, and a Tesla exec said the company will only release 10 Cybertrucks at the delivery event on Thursday.)

That was more or less it for his thoughts on the electric pickup truck — though he had plenty to say on everything else.


Musk's panel started nearly 15 minutes late, leaving the audience — including the likes of hedge fund titan Bill Ackman and X CEO Linda Yaccarino — waiting.

Even before he arrived, he was a topic of conversation, looming over the summit, which featured Vice President Kamala Harris, Disney CEO Bob Iger, and JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon as guests.

"I'm not here to talk about people," Harris quipped when Sorkin mentioned Musk.

"He's obviously a brilliant human being and making unbelievable contributions to mankind. But he, you know, comes with pluses and minuses," Dimon responded when Sorkin asked his thoughts.

When the man of the hour did arrive, the mood on stage quickly turned tense.


Sorkin — whom Musk called both "a friend" and the misnomer "Jonathan" in the same sentence — brought up X's recent advertiser exodus, which followed Musk's post that seemed to endorse antisemitism on X.

Musk immediately got confrontational and hot-headed — a version of the billionaire that is all too familiar to the readers of his recent biography.

"Go fuck yourself," he said to the advertisers, including Disney, IBM, and Apple, who have fled the platform, adding that he did not care if the advertisers withheld their dollars and "killed" the company he bought for $44 billion only one year ago.

"Is that clear?" Musk asked. "I hope it is. Hey, Bob," he added, singling out Disney CEO Iger, who had been asked about pulling advertising from X earlier in the day.

Musk later apologized for his tweet, calling it "foolish," but he never backtracked on his feelings toward advertisers — nor did he say sorry to Yaccarino, who has to clean up the mess.


But after more than 20 minutes of defensive posturing, his mood shifted when Sorkin brought up Musk previously calling his mind "a storm."

Thoughtful and somber, the 52-year-old paused before pointing to his "difficult childhood" and a lifelong struggle to find happiness.

"I did have this existential crisis when I was around 12 about: 'What's the meaning of life? Isn't it all pointless? Why not just commit suicide? Why exist?'" said Musk, who has previously commented on the tenuous relationship he has with his father, Errol Musk, and being the victim of bullying.

The introspection made way for a discussion about the foundations of his philosophy — "one should not read Nietzsche as a teenager" — before he turned to a couple of his greatest hits, like extending life beyond Earth, figuring out the meaning of the universe, and opining about the dangers of technology.

One of those technologies is artificial intelligence, about which Musk, a cofounder of OpenAI, has previously expressed worry. While Musk said he doesn't know why Sam Altman was ousted as CEO of the firm, he's "concerned" that the company discovered "some dangerous element of AI."


"I have mixed feelings about Sam. The ring of power can corrupt," Musk — who had avoided questions about his own accumulation of power just minutes before — said.

The CEO and richest man in the world ended the talk with some politics — he's still bitter about not being invited to the White House for the electric vehicle summit and is against unions — and a sidebar about how neuralink, his mad-scientist brain chip company that has faced criticism from an animal rights group, has built a "monkey paradise."

Elon the fighter, philosopher, and questionable friend may have showed up on stage Wednesday. But Elon the Cybertruck hypeman seems to have been MIA. Maybe that's what X is for.