Mars, birthrates, but not on Twitter: Elon Musk captivates Sun Valley emperors

SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks at the E3 Games Conference in Los Angeles, California, US, June 13, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake/

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(Reuters) – Two sources who attended the conference told Reuters that Elon Musk avoided discussing the collapsed Twitter deal while addressing an audience of Emperors on Saturday in Sun Valley.

The sources said that Musk spent most of his time in a wide-ranging interview talking about colonizing Mars and extolling the advantages of increasing birth rates on Earth. Musk, CEO of Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) The rocket company Space X has long advocated the creation of a civilization on the Red Planet.

Musk said earlier this week that he would do everything in his power to help in what he called the “underpopulation crisis,” following a media report that said he had twins with a senior CEO at his startup Neuralink. Read more

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He spoke about low birth rates in rich countries, a topic he has explored extensively on Twitter.

The billionaire entrepreneur 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 announcing the termination of his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter Inc. (TWTR.N).

The interview was conducted by Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, an artificial intelligence research firm founded by Musk and several other companies.

Musk’s arrival at the Allen & Co Sun Valley conference sent a jolt into this week’s unrecorded event, with headlines usually happening outside the prying eyes of the media.

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“It feels like absolute chaos,” said a senior media official, who spoke on condition of anonymity before the interview. “Man makes his own rules…I hate being Twitter, where you have to take this guy seriously.”

Sun Valley is usually covered as a sports version of the Met Gala, with incoming paparazzi capturing fleece-clad media tycoons and journalists serving energy lunches at the property’s Konditorei Café.

A prominent Hollywood mediator on Friday hoped that Musk’s interview would revive the well-established and cerebral atmosphere of the convention this year.

Hours later, Musk’s lawyers delivered an eight-page letter to Twitter, saying he intended to scrap the deal to acquire the social network. The document, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, alleges that Twitter has failed to respond to repeated requests for information over the past two months, or to obtain its consent before taking actions that would affect its business, such as firing two key executives. Read more

Until that point, conversations in media circles had focused on Wall Street’s reassessment of the streaming business in the wake of Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) Subscriber losses.

One digital media executive said Hollywood, which is usually insulated from recessions, has suddenly become concerned about how the slumping economy will affect its multi-billion dollar investment in streaming services.

“For the first time, people are realizing that the economy is really affecting the entertainment business, because inflation affects disruption,” said the digital media executive, noting that subscribers are leaving the service. “People are now saying, ‘Wow, are people really going to pay for three of these things?'” “

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Following Musk’s announcement, one of the CEOs pointed to the elephant in the room, and Saturday’s comments could be uncomfortable for two conference attendees: Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal and chief financial officer Ned Segal.

One of Musk’s recent public messages to Agrawal came in the form of a bubble emoji tweet in response to the Twitter CEO’s defense of how the company accounts for spam bots. Read more

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(Don Chmelevsky reports from Los Angeles); Editing by Kenneth Lee, Franklin Paul and Chris Reese

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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