Elon Musk: A Memorable Moscow Meeting
In the pages of Walter Isaacson’s new biography on Elon Musk, an unforgettable incident unfolds during a business meeting in Moscow. Let’s delve into this captivating story, but with a different perspective, while preserving the same narrative and logic.
Elon Musk was a man with a mission – to inspire the world’s imagination about space exploration. Long before he founded SpaceX in 2002, Musk’s ambitious plan involved sending a greenhouse to Mars, known as “Mars Oasis.” However, realizing this goal required negotiations and the purchase of rockets. To aid him in this endeavor, Musk enlisted the help of rocket engineer Jim Cantrell and Adeo Ressi, his former college housemate and CEO of the Founder Institute.
Their journey began with a stopover in Paris, where Musk indulged in a night of revelry which left him feeling drained upon his arrival in Moscow, the Russian capital. Undeterred, Musk and his companions pressed on, heading to a meeting with a group of unnamed Russian businesspeople to negotiate the purchase of rockets. Little did Musk know that this encounter would be etched into his memory forever.
Isaacson’s biography unveils a scene set in the back room of a Moscow restaurant, where the meeting took place during lunchtime. The air was thick with anticipation as plates of food accompanied by shots of vodka made their way to the table. Small bites of food were interspersed with large shots of this potent drink, a testament to the Russian culture.
In an unexpected twist, the Russian hosts surprised Musk, Cantrell, and Ressi with personalized vodka bottles adorned with custom labels depicting each recipient on Mars. The weight of the food and the weight of the vodka appeared to be evenly matched, leading Musk to make a lighthearted calculation.
As the lunch progressed, Musk’s fatigue caught up with him. Holding his head up with his hand, exhaustion overwhelmed him, causing his head to slump forward, crashing into the table before him. Musk had momentarily passed out, leaving his companions shocked and concerned.
This incident sheds light on Musk’s relationship with alcohol. In previous statements, he admitted to not enjoying the taste or effects of most alcoholic beverages, but he did express a preference for red wine. This preference was evident when he was photographed with a wine glass at the FIFA World Cup final in Qatar in 2020. Furthermore, a 2017 tweet from Musk hinted at indulging in a combination of red wine, vintage records, and Ambien.
Regrettably, the Moscow meeting did not go as planned. Another subsequent business meeting led to further disappointment. Musk had believed he had secured a deal to purchase two Dnepr rockets for $18 million, only to discover that the sellers actually intended to charge $18 million for each rocket. When Musk contested this sudden price hike, the Russian businesspeople cynically taunted him, questioning his financial capabilities.
Despite the setbacks faced during his Moscow trip, Elon Musk’s determination remained unwavering. His aspiration to revolutionize space exploration drove him forward. These challenging experiences laid the foundation for his future successes, as he continued to pursue his dreams with unwavering resolve.