Elon Musk spoke at the uber-exclusive Sun Valley conference this weekend about a range of topics, but his Twitter deal wasn’t one of them.
The billionaire entrepreneur and chief executive of Tesla Inc and SpaceX took the stage at the Allen & Co Sun Valley Conference, an annual gathering of media and technology executives in Idaho, less than 24 hours after he announced he was terminating his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter Inc.
Musk’s arrival at the Allen & Co Sun Valley Conference delivered a jolt to the off-record event this week, where the headline-making typically happens beyond the prying eyes of the media.
The interview was conducted by Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, an artificial intelligence research company, founded by Musk and several others.
“It just seems like an absolute mess,” said one senior media executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the interview. “The guy makes his own rules … I’d hate to be Twitter, where you have to take this guy seriously.”
He declined to answer questions on the deal, though he did reiterate gripes over the company’s treatment of former President Donald Trump and how it shares user data. For many of those who had extended their stays in Sun Valley, Idaho, to listen to Musk, it was probably a disappointment, according to people at the closed-door session.
In a wide-reaching interview, Musk spent most of his time talking about colonizing Mars and extolling the virtues of boosting birth rates on Earth, said the sources. Musk, chief executive of Tesla and rocket company Space X, has long advocated establishing a civilization on the red planet.
Musk earlier this week said he will do his best to help what he called “the underpopulation crisis,” following a media report that said he had twins with a top executive at his brain-chip start-up Neuralink.
He spoke about how birth rates are declining in wealthy countries, a subject he has explored extensively on Twitter.
At least one attendee present sympathized with Musk’s decision to avoid discussing the deal, citing the pending litigation. A few attendees said they had mulled investing in Twitter’s stock in anticipation of the deal, however, they hesitated due to the volatile nature of Musk and the reality that he may pull out of an agreement.
Musk did speak about the need for Twitter to share its algorithms and be more transparent on user data. He reiterated that he believed Trump needed a “time out” from the platform rather than the lifetime ban imposed after the former president encouraged supporters to march on the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
During his appearance, Musk also spoke about his unhappiness at President Joe Biden’s administration for snubbing him and Tesla Inc. with its electric-vehicle push. The billionaire, who tweeted in May that he is no longer supporting the Democrats and will instead vote Republican, has been ratcheting up criticisms of the current White House.