SAN FRANCISCO — Elon Musk spoke at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference on Tuesday, March 7. He talked about the future of SpaceX, Tesla and Twitter.
In the beginning, Musk was asked about the mission of Twitter under his new leadership.
“The goal is to have put or be the best source of truth, the most timely and accurate source of truth,” he answered. “Even if the truth is someone we don’t want to hear or unpleasant or whatever. Really just where you can really understand what’s going on and not just is something true or not but what is the narrative so the thing that I think most people don’t quite appreciate is that the media controls the narrative. So there are many things that could be talked about in the world but only a few things could fit on the front page. Twitter doesn’t have a limitation like that so the public can control the narrative and the public can inform themselves as to what the narrative should be. That’s a really big deal. It’s a forum for citizen journalism or for the public to get together and communicate in a way that was never possible before. I think that…that’s really going to be essential for a functioning democracy. It has to be free speech and a level playing field. That’s why it’s the First Amendment.”
Q: Let’s close on Twitter before we get to another couple companies that I’ve heard you run. The vision you’re buildings towards, I think you’ve called it the ‘X’ or the ‘Everything App’, tell us about it.
“I think it’s possible to create a very powerful finance experience basically,” the CEO explained. “Like PayPal is kind of a halfway version of what I think could be done in payments and finance. You want to be able to send money easily from one account on Xbox Twitter to another account effortlessly with one click. You want to be able to, I think, earn interest on the money. You want to be able to have debt so you can set your interest can go negative. Basically, I think it’s possible to become the biggest financial institution in the world just by providing people with convenience of payment options. If we just make the app more and more useful, people will use it more and it will be great.”
During the last 10 minutes of his speech, Musk discussed Tesla’s future and the new smaller electric vehicle that might cost around $25,000.
“There’s a clear path to making a vehicle, a smaller vehicle that is roughly half the production cost and difficulty of our Model 3. That vehicle will be…really used almost entirely in autonomous mode. The thing that is really gigantic for Tesla is autonomy. If people have used Tesla full self-driving and have seen how rapidly the full self-driving capability has been evolving. It should be obvious that… that this is by far the most profound thing. Passenger vehicles right now only about 10 to 12 hours of use per week. There’s 168 hours in a week. If those vehicles are autonomous, they’re probably going to get used for 50 or 60 hours a week. That’s a 5x increase in the value of a car and it costs the same to make the car. At that point, you basically have software margins and a hardware product. That’s insane. Total addressable market is everyone: all humans.”
Then, the CEO was asked about SpaceX and the Starlink broadband internet system. It will provide fast internet service to those who live in remote areas.
“The Starlink team is doing an amazing job. More than half of all satellites in orbit right now are Starlink satellites. If you add up all of the satellites launched cumulatively, they are less than Starlink. Starlink is currently providing global connectivity. You can get connected anywhere on Earth from the most remote part of Antarctica to San Francisco anywhere. That’s full global connectivity, high bandwidth and low latency. The latency is important because unless you’re in low earth orbit, you can’t get low latency. The geostationary satellites are very, very high sometimes up to a second of latency from a geostationary satellite.”