Elon Musk captivates Sun Valley moguls

“The past two years have been an absolute nightmare of supply chain disruptions, one thing after another, and we’re not out of it yet,” said Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Patrick T. Fallon | Reuters Elon

“The past two years have been an absolute nightmare of supply chain disruptions, one thing after another, and we’re not out of it yet,” said Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Patrick T. Fallon | Reuters

Elon Musk avoided discussing the collapsed Twitter deal as he addressed an audience of moguls in Sun Valley on Saturday, two sources who attended the conference told Reuters.

In a wide-ranging interview, Musk spent most of his time talking about colonizing Mars and extolling the virtues of increasing the birth rate on Earth, the sources said. Musk, chief executive of Tesla and rocket company Space X, has long advocated establishing civilization on the Red Planet.

Earlier this week, Musk said he would do his best to help what he called “the underpopulation crisis”, following a news report that he had twins with a senior executive at his brain chip start-up Neuralink.

He spoke about falling birth rates in wealthy countries, a topic he explored extensively on Twitter.

The billionaire entrepreneur spoke at the Allen & Co. Sun Valley Conference, an annual gathering of media and technology executives in Idaho, less than 24 hours after announcing he was ending his deal $44 billion to buy Twitter.

The interview was conducted by Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, an artificial intelligence research company founded by Musk and several others.

Musk’s arrival at the Allen & Co. Sun Valley conference has given a boost to the unofficial event this week, where the headlines usually happen beyond the prying eyes of the media.

“It looks like an absolute mess,” said a senior media official, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the interview. “The guy makes his own rules…I would hate to be on Twitter, where you have to take this guy seriously.”

Sun Valley is usually covered like an athleisure version of the Met Gala, with photographers capturing the arrivals of fleece media moguls and reporters taking note of energizing lunches at the Konditorei cafe on the property.

On Friday, a Hollywood power broker expressed hope that Musk’s interview would liven up the stuffy, cerebral atmosphere at the conference this year.

Hours later, Musk’s lawyers sent an eight-page letter to Twitter saying he planned to cancel the deal to acquire the social network. The document, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, alleged that Twitter failed to respond to repeated requests for information over the past two months or obtain consent before taking actions that would impact its business. such as the dismissal of two key executives.

Until then, conversations in media circles focused on Wall Street’s reassessment of the streaming business following Netflix Inc.’s subscriber losses.

A digital media executive said Hollywood, which has generally been recession-proof, was suddenly concerned about how a declining economy would affect its multi-billion dollar investments in streaming services.

“For the first time people are aware that the economy is impacting the entertainment industry as inflation is impacting churn,” the digital media manager said, referring to subscribers who leave a service. “People are now saying, ‘Wow, are people really going to pay for three of these things?'”

Following Musk’s announcement, a chief executive noted the elephant in the room, Saturday’s remarks may well be uncomfortable for two conference attendees: Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal and CFO Ned Segal.

One of Musk’s last public messages to Agrawal came in the form of a poop emoji tweet in response to the Twitter CEO’s defense of how the company counts spambots.