Like all great captains of industry, even more so those who succeed, Elon Musk is building his legend at the same time as he is building his empire.
In this mythology that he draws line after line, one element has been coming back regularly for some time: having sold most of his physical possessions, Musk lives in Spartan conditions in order to concentrate on his multiple tasks, and on them only.
In June, he tweeted like this that he lived in a modest prefab house in Boca Chica, a stone’s throw from the SpaceX facilities. As for the portrait that Time, which made him its personality of the year, recently devoted to him, it begins with these words: “The richest man in the world owns no house.”
“The richest man in the world does not own a house,”
My primary home is literally a ~$50k house in Boca Chica / Starbase that I rent from SpaceX. It’s kinda awesome though.
Only house I own is the events house in the Bay Area. If I sold it, the house would see less use, unless bought by a big family, which might happen some day.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 9, 2021
However, there is a catch: as the Wall Street Journal explains, all of this certainly makes for a nice portrait and crisp anecdotes, but all of this omits a few details that tell a whole different story.
According to the American daily, the prefab mentioned by Musk has little to do with the palace in which he has been discreetly residing for a year.
Although he has since denied the WSJ claims outright, it would not be in an ascetic mobile home that the serial entrepreneur would spend most of his days, but in one of the ultra-luxurious mansions of his old comrade Ken Howery, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal.
Located on the edge of the water in the vicinity of Austin, in this Texas where Tesla has now taken up residence for mainly tax reasons, the residence is valued at 12 million dollars, the most expensive in the entire state when it was first built. previous sale.
This property is not unknown to Musk: in 2017, he explained that he went to his old friend from the “PayPal Mafia” for a party where he notably met Leonardo DiCaprio or Orlando Bloom. Also according to the Wall Street Journal, Musk would occupy the premises very discreetly, some friends of Howery declaring that they were not aware of their arrangement.
Without the presence of the Tesla boss, whom Howery said was only very punctual in reaction to the WSJ article, the mansion would be left vacant due to the distant activities of Musk’s comrade. The latter was US ambassador to Sweden under Trump and, since the change of administration, spends his free time passionately chasing hurricanes and extreme weather events.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Elon Musk would be actively looking for his own home in Texas – a priori not an anonymous shack lost in some dormitory suburb. Appealing to the real estate elite of the region, he would have already visited some luxurious properties himself but would not have made his choice.
Nothing wrong with that, or even with living in a certain luxury, but all this paints a legend much less legendary than Elon Musk, a past expert in the storytelling of his own life, would probably like.
In 2019, an extraordinary article from the Washington Post already called into question some of Musk’s most dramatic assertions by finely analyzing the 240,000 kilometers flown by private jet by the entrepreneur. An inveterate worker, no doubt. But Spartan? Certainly not.