- Elon Musk shared his views on the role of government, the best way to lead a company, and the state of candy-bar innovation in a virtual interview at the WSJ CEO Council Summit.
- The Tesla and SpaceX CEO also discussed the dangers of memes, the outlook for artificial intelligence, and the need for tunnels in cities.
- Here are Musk’s 12 best quotes from the interview.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Elon Musk warned against excessive regulations, called on executives to focus on their products and customers, and bemoaned candy companies’ lack of innovation at the WSJ CEO Council Summit this week.
The Tesla and SpaceX CEO also highlighted memes as a worrying source of misinformation, argued machines will eventually surpass humans in every aspect, and touted tunnels as an effective way to reduce urban traffic during the virtual discussion.
Here are Musk’s 12 best quotes from the interview, lightly edited and condensed for clarity:
1. “A lot of the time, the best thing that government can do is just get out of the way.”
2. “Rules and regulations are immortal and if we keep making more every year and do not do something about removing them, then eventually we’ll be able to do nothing.”
3. “It’s government’s responsibility to establish the rules of the game and ensure that those rules are properly enforced. Where I think government does not do a great job is when they want to not just be a referee on the field, they want to be a player on the field.”
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4. “The reason that government is often the worst at responding to the customers — being the people — is that they are a monopoly that can’t go bankrupt or usually cannot go bankrupt.”
5. “Big Candy has consolidated into like three companies and they also own all the dog food and the baby food. When’s the last time there was some good candy? What’s the forcing function for a new candy bar? I haven’t seen one in ages.”
6. “Spend less time in meeting rooms, less time on PowerPoint presentations, less time on a spreadsheet, and more time on the factory floor, more time with the customers. Step back and say, ‘Is your product as awesome as it could be?’ Probably not. What could you do to make it great?”
7. “Just be an absolute perfectionist about the product that you make, the service that’s provided. Seek negative feedback from all quarters, from customers, from people who aren’t customers. Ask them, ‘Hey, how can we make this better?'”
8. “There might too many MBAs running companies. There’s the MBA-ization of America, which I think is maybe not that great.”
9. “The troops are gonna fight a lot harder if they see the general on the front lines than if they think the general’s in some cushy situation. Nobody bleeds if the prince is in the palace. Get out there on the goddamn front lines and show them that you care and you’re not just in some plush office somewhere.”
10. “We need to go 3D in cities in order to alleviate traffic congestion, and probably the best way to do that is with tunnels.”
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11. “I think we need to be concerned about mind viruses. Memes that travel very quickly through social media that may, or may not, be correct.”
12. “AI will be able to do everything better than human over time. Everything.”