Whether the topic is transforming the automobile or conquering the next frontier of space, Elon Musk has shown a knack for captivating an audience beyond investors and science geeks.
The brash Tesla CEO, now the world’s wealthiest person following the electric automaker’s meteoric rise, was the quintessential Silicon Valley disruptor — except he no longer lives in California.
The norm-shattering entrepreneur, who has more than 41 million followers on Twitter and a fortune now estimated at more than $180 billion, announced last month he had relocated to Texas and could not resist one last dig at the West Coast state.
“If a team has been winning for too long, they do tend to get a little complacent, a little entitled, and then they don’t win the championship anymore,” Musk said at a conference hosted by the Wall Street Journal.
“California has been winning for a long time… and they are taking it for granted.”
On Thursday, Musk surpassed Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos as the world’s wealthiest person.
“How strange,” Musk said on Twitter when informed of the distinction. “Well, back to work…”
Musk, 49, was born in South Africa and holds passports from the US and Canada after completing his studies in Ontario and the state of Pennsylvania.
By 25, he had created Zip2, an online advertising platform, and was a millionaire by age 30 after selling the company to Compaq Computer in 1999.
He followed that success with the creation of the online bank, X.com, which was later merged into PayPal which eBay bought in 2002 for $1.5 billion.