Elon Musk Breaks Down During Interview

Reuters

"But from a personal pain standpoint, the worst is yet to come", Musk told The New York Times. It's all making the CEO of one of the world's most innovative auto companies more of a liability than an asset.

"It's not been great, actually", he said.

The Tesla boss told the New York Times that the year "has been the most hard and painful year of my career".

Musk told the newspaper that sometimes he did not leave the Tesla factory for three or four days straight, and that he had not taken off more than a week at a time since he was sick with malaria in 2001. "It is often a choice of no sleep or Ambien", he told the Times.

Whether it is his dreams on sending reusable rockets in Space or plans for building new electric vehicles, Musk's endeavours attract a huge fan following, and reporters all over the globe are always on their toes ready to write about him and his companies.

Tesla shares fell by more than eight per cent on Friday as worries about an SEC investigation increased and CEO Elon Musk gave The New York Times an interview in which he discussed his mounting problems at the company.

Musk, though, pointed to a single source of all his suffering: it's the short sellers.

"You can double the number of modules inside and it will still be about an 80% increase in the volume of the pack or 4-5 inches higher with current technology", he said.

But the one that's caused a recent firestorm among investors - about taking Tesla private, was posted in the middle of the day. It only works when a company's stock falls, though.

The link between public perceptions of the tech billionaire's mental state and the financial state of his publicly traded company was evident today, in the wake of a New York Times interview that quoted Musk as acknowledging he was fraying. Formalities exist for good reason, but articles like today's Times piece bolster Musk's case that he erred on the side of disclosure. An interview that, among other things, reveals the once high-flying businessman has taken to calling this year "the most hard and painful" of his career and that "the worst is yet to come".

On short-sellers, he said: "They're not dumb guys, but they're not supersmart".

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Musk isn't taking their attacks sitting down, though.

His comments confirmed what many in and out of the company had suspected as Musk conceded that exhaustion was affecting his personal health and that friends have come by "who are really concerned".

When asked about the significance of $420 in his tweet, Musk said, "It seemed like better karma at $420 than at $419".

One way to pull it off?

The analyst noted that "there isn't anyone now who can pick up the slack for him (as a number two)". During the interview, journalists said Musk alternated between laughter and tears as he opened up about his busy work routine and recent controversies.

It helps to explain a trend with Musk over the past year.

Musk also said he had no plans to relinquish his dual role as chairman and CEO.

Mr Musk said: "If you have anyone who can do a better job, please let me know. They can have the job", Musk was quoted as saying. Is there someone who can do the job better?

Again, this could have been avoided if Musk was willing to delegate, or at least deliberate with other members of his team on important moves. He could care less about those pesky short-sellers.

Tesla's board has since clarified that it hasn't received a formal proposal from Mr Musk, nor has it concluded whether going private would be advisable or feasible.

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