Back in 2009, a 37-year-old Elon Musk was busy forging Tesla’s new electric car technology into a profitable company, but he also had to defend his company from naysayers and critical reporters.
In a throwback video interview with Sarah Lacy, the founder of Pando, Elon Musk defended Tesla from a scathing article by New York Times reporter Randall Stross titled, “Should Taxpayers Back a High-End Electric Carmaker?” The article said that Tesla, which required government loans to get off the ground, was a huge waste of time and money for taxpayers because the technology was new and expensive.
Musk eloquently responded with, “Randy Stross is a huge douchebag and an idiot,” cand claimed that Stross was picking on the “little guy” when tens of billions are wasted on the automotive industry in Detroit. Musk explained why Stross and other Tesla haters were so wrong for hating expensive new tech:
“He should understand, this is the idiot part, he should understand that when you have new technology, it takes time to optimize that new technology. New technology starts out at a high price point until you can get to economies of scale and design optimization.”
Musk went on to say that the criticism is the same as saying, “If you can’t immediately make some new technology mass marketable or affordable by anyone, you shouldn’t do it, and it shouldn’t be supported. That’s ridiculous, and how can anyone from Silicon Valley say that?”
As we all know, Elon Musk settled his nearly $500 million loan from the Department of Energy plus interest, and Tesla became the successful electric car company we know today and see everywhere on the streets.
Haters never stop, but neither do ambitious entrepreneurs who want to change the world with new technology.