Elon Musk welcomed Twitter’s new CEO into the fold as he held court at Tesla’s annual meeting in Austin today, sounding genuinely relieved to offload some of the burden of running the beleaguered social media company he reluctantly acquired last fall.
“I’m excited to have Linda Yaccarino. I think Linda is going to do a great job running Twitter,” he said of the former NBC Universal advertising chief who joined several days ago. He was responding to a question by a shareholder who asked, “Human to human, how are you?”
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“Sometimes the work pain level is quite excruciating, and on top of that I get dumped on by the press, so it’s not exactly super,” Musk responded. “There was a short-term distraction because I had to do some major open-heart surgery on Twitter to save the patient. I think Twitter is in a stable place.”
He added, “I think Twitter has released more new features in the last six months than it has in last six years.”
“Obviously, this is not not a Twitter meeting,” Musk said. There won’t be one since Twitter isn’t a public-traded company anymore. “I feel at this point I don’t need to devote incremental time” there — “the time I will devote to it is relatively small compared to the last six months.”
Tesla shareholders were pretty thrilled to hear it, they’d been growing extremely restless at the Twitter distraction — and taken it out on Tesla shares. The meeting today was a lovefest with fans of the founder who were cheering and clapping, often out of their seats as Musk showcased the new Cybertruck and the “Optimus” humanoid robots that he thinks might represent the future of the company.
“I think basically everyone would want one. And maybe people would want more than one, which means the actual demand for something like Optimus, if it works, which it will, is – 10 billion units? It’s some crazy number. It might be 20 billion units. It’s some very big number, is what I am saying, and a number vastly in excess of the number of cars. My prediction is that Tesla’s long-term value will be Optimus.”
But “we want to make sure we don’t have a Terminator situation. It’s all fun and games until Terminator shows up,” he joked, referring to the legendary film franchise.
He said the robots use some of the same real-world AI as Tesla’s self-driving cars. Asked about rumors that he’d be stepping down as Tesla CEO, he said no, in part because of the complexities of AI as it rolls out out, to make sure it’s done right.
“AI – that’s a thorny problem if there ever was one,” Musk said.
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