Elon Musk Would Like to Avoid the Steve Jobs Comparisons

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Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images

In a wide-ranging story in this month’s Rolling Stone that covers Elon Musk’s many, let’s say, eccentricities, the Tesla inventor and PayPal co-founder has a message for the rest of the tech industry’s leaders. The message appears to be that they suck. The rest of the tech industry, predicated on making products and services as addictive or “sticky” as possible doesn’t jell for him.

“It’s really inconsistent to not be the way you want the world to be and then through some means of trickery, operate according to one moral code while the rest of the world operates according to a different one,” he told the magazine. “This is obviously not something that works. If everyone’s trying to trick everyone all the time, it’s a lot of noise and confusion. It’s better just to be straightforward and try to do useful things.”

His disenchantment has gone so far that he would like to cast off any comparisons to innovators like Steve Jobs, an aversion that has caused Musk to develop an allergic reaction to black turtlenecks. The magazine recalls:

One of the misunderstandings that rankles Musk most is being pigeonholed and narrowcast, whether as the real-life Tony Stark or the second coming of Steve Jobs. When, at a photo shoot, he was asked to wear a black turtleneck, the trademark garb of Jobs, he bristled. “If I was dying and I had a turtleneck on,” he tells me, “with my last dying breath, I would take the turtleneck off and try to throw it as far away from my body as possible.”

Turtlenecks, you’re on notice. Elsewhere in the piece, Musk asks the Rolling Stone reporter if he knows anyone that Musk could date. The lonely burden of genius!

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Elon Musk Would Like to Avoid the Steve Jobs Comparisons