Elon Musk bemoaned a missed opportunity and said he wanted to meet Warren Buffett in a 2008 profile.
The Tesla, SpaceX, and Twitter CEO said he hated firing people and struggled to move to Los Angeles.
Musk also underscored his deep passion for his work and showcased his sense of humor.
Elon Musk revealed his biggest missed opportunity, voiced his desire to meet two legendary investors, and foreshadowed some of his recent moves in a San Francisco Business Times profile in 2008, which the newspaper republished this week.
The solar-energy company's valuation has since grown by more than 120-fold to a $1.9 billion market capitalization. However, its stock price has basically flatlined over the past 15 years, meaning Musk hasn't missed out on much since his interview.
The electric-vehicle and space-transportation pioneer also disclosed the people he was most interested in meeting at the time: Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger. The Berkshire Hathaway CEO and his business partner recently praised Musk for dreaming big and tackling impossible challenges, and Musk thanked them for their kind words.
The tech billionaire made several other notable comments. "I hate firing people," he said, which is striking given he acquired Twitter last year and promptly cut thousands of roles.
Musk said the most important lesson he'd learned is that he should fire people sooner, and he interviewed everyone at SpaceX to ensure he didn't want to fire them later. He still gets heavily involved in personnel decisions today — he recently told Tesla staff that he has to personally approve all Tesla hires, including contractors.
He also said in 2008 that moving to Los Angeles was the toughest business decision he'd made to that point. That may have made it easier for him to migrate to Texas in 2020.
Musk also showcased his sense of humor in the profile. When asked about his mentors, he replied: "Who are these mentors people talk about, and how do I get one?"
Finally, Musk underscored his deep passion for what he does. "I really like design and I like engineering," he said. "I can't think of anything that would be a second choice to designing rockets and electric cars."
The world's richest man struck a similar note in October, when he described himself as an engineer, manufacturer, and technologists who designs and develops products — not an investor like Buffett who manages a portfolio.
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