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Bill Gates vs Elon Musk | Battle Royale 2022 🏹
Wisdom Letter #138
Musk vs Gates
So Elon Musk tweeted this yesterday 😆
Within 24 hours, this has become Elon Musk’s best-performing tweet.
Now that you’ve had quite a laugh, let me give you some context.
So Bill Gates reached out to Elon Musk to discuss “philanthropic possibilities” around climate change.
But Musk had a suspicion that Gates has a short position against Tesla.
Holding a “short position” here means betting(and hoping) that a stock will go down in value.
So Bill Gates would make money if Tesla lost money.
Musk confirmed this suspicion and told Gates that he can’t take Gates’ philanthropy seriously when he’s shorting Tesla, the “company doing the most to solve climate change”.
These are the leaked screenshots of the conversation:
Elon Musk and Bill Gates are 2 of the greatest minds of our times.
Masters in science, technology, business. And yet they are at odds with each other.
So who is right and who is wrong?
If I were Elon, I wouldn’t work with someone betting against my company. And so I think he’s right in denying the offer.
But Gates has his reasons as well.
“Electric Passenger cars” are not the most important problem to solve in terms of climate change.
As Gates says in this CNBV interview from last year, “we need more Elons, one for each industry. Industries like cement, steel, and meat.”
Billionaires can bicker amongst themselves, it’s good for gossip and Twitter chatter, but it doesn’t help us learn much about anything at all.
This is a good moment to learn actually which industries contribute the most to climate change.
This graph from “Our World In Data” is illuminating:
Energy and Industry - 24.2%
Agriculture, Forestry, and Land Use - 18.4%
Energy in buildings - 17.5%
Road transport - 11.9%
This interactive report from the UN Environment Programme is about the top 6 sectors contributing to greenhouse gasses. And the numbers are quite similar.
Road transport - 11.9% - This is what Tesla is focused on right now.
But every industry will eventually need Lithium-Ion batteries.
And tons of them.
That’s what Tesla’s Gigafactories are working on. Watch Elon’s Ted interview from his latest project - Tesla Texas Gigafactory.
His vision for a sustainable energy economy.
Solving for transportation and then batteries and then eventually building solutions for every other industry is a smart way to approach the climate crisis.
Especially for private players. You can take on too many problems, you run the risk of spreading yourself too thin.
Elon is on the right track.
But this is not a one-man job.
Bill is right as well, we need many more Elons. Innovating across industries.
We need visionaries, scientists, engineers, and inventors like Musk to focus their energies on solving climate issues across the board.
And we need investors like Gates backing them with their immense wealth.
Nuclear Energy | The common ground
In this interview, Elon mentions that he’s not against nuclear energy.
Most people are too afraid to talk about nuclear energy. It’s dangerous and can be easily misused. It’s a political topic.
But nuclear energy may be our best bet for a long-term sustainable source of energy.
Apart from wind and solar.
Even Bill Gates has hope in Nuclear Energy.
This is one thing that both great men agree on.
Watch the Netflix documentary about Bill Gates, where he goes deeper into his vision for a sustainable future: Inside Bill’s Brain.
This Friday was Earth Day. This is a good long read about Earth day:
We’ve written about climate change before:
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Quick update on last week’s post:
Elon is well on his way to buying Twitter. Apparently, he has secured the funding to make the transaction.
We will share more details as things become clearer.
In case you missed it, check out last week’s post for the whole story: Will Elon really buy Twitter?
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