Musk Told Gates To Get Lost On Climate Change Philanthropy Due To Massive Tesla Short
Elon Musk and Bill Gates take different approaches with their philanthropy. Gates has been very vocal about investing in technology and research to combat climate change, among other things. But when it comes to investing immense wealth into Musk's Tesla company, Gates seems to be coming up "short".
Shorting a stock, also known as "short selling", is popular among experienced investors. It is when an investor effectively bets a particular stock is going to decrease in value and they plan to take advantage of the decrease when it does. So, when Musk accuses Gates of shorting Tesla stock, he is saying Gates is effectively betting against the company.
Gates stated in an interview last year with CNBC, "We need more Elon Musks'." However, in the same interview when Gates was asked to clarify if he was short on Tesla stock, the billionaire stated, "I don't talk about my investments, but I think he should be very proud of what he's done."
Musk replied to a follow-up tweet from Whole Mars Catalog asking if the text exchange was true, "Yeah, but I didn't leak it to NYT. They must have got it through friends of friends."
Elon Musk does have a foundation he founded in 2002 that is set up to donate part of his wealth. The website for the Musk Foundation is quite simple, comprising only 33 words on a plain-text Yahoo page with no links, company information, or contact information. Up until 2016 Musk donated little money to the foundation relative to his wealth. Then in 2016, he donated $250 million in Tesla stock to the foundation. Of that money, it is reported that as of mid-2018 only about $25 million had gone directly to nonprofit groups, with $10 million of that going to OpenAI, a nonprofit founded by Musk and entrepreneur Sam Altman.
When it comes to the alleged text conversation, no one from the New York Times has confirmed they ever received the exchange between the billionaires. It should be noted that Whole Mars Catalog describes itself on its Twitter home page as "part 24 hour EV news channel / part shi**y stand up comedy routine". The alleged text conversation could have been made up by Whole Mars Catalog as part of a "comedy routine", and Musk simply played into the "joke" with his reply. Until either the NYT confirms they received the conversation, or another source can provide proof of its authenticity, we will all just have to take it with a grain of salt.
Top Image Credit Daniel Oberhaus (2018)