Elon Musk Denies Giving Assistant 2-Week Test: 'Total Nonsense'

Alain Brian
Août 11, 2017

"It is total nonsense", Musk tweeted Thursday night.

In the 2015 book "Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future", tech journalist Ashlee Vance wrote about an anecdote that supposedly took place in 2014.

Vance wrote that when Musk's assistant of 12 years, Mary Beth Brown, asked for a raise, Musk told her to take two weeks off. Musk took on Brown's duties, so the story goes, and when she returned from vacation, Musk let her go because he realized he didn't need her.

The story resurfaced on Wednesday, when Business Insider described it in a report as "an important career lesson". Ashlee never actually ran this story by me or my assistant.

However, Musk conceded that the biography overall was not entirely flawed, calling it "mostly correct", but saying that the story was "rife with errors and never independently fact-checked" despite his request for that.

Naming his former assistant, Musk went on: "Mary Beth was an unbelievable assistant for over 10 years, but as company complexity grew, the role required several specialists vs one generalist.MB was given 52 weeks of salary and stock in appreciation for her great contribution and left to join a small firm, once again as a generalist".

Returning to some of the more damning anecdotes covered by the biography, Musk said: "There are dozens of bogus or half-true anecdotes [that] don't really matter and maybe five to 10 that do". "MB was given 52 weeks of salary and stock in appreciation for her great contribution and left to join a small firm, once again as a generalist". Musk said in a later tweet: "Just because I have the outfit and the awesome weapons doesn't make me a ninja". Didn't say that either. Said I was ninja. "That requires years of training".

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