Elon Musk earns $5 million from a joke he made on Instagram
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and Space X, is on the cutting edge of technology in many ways. Sometimes that means creating vast underground transport tunnels and sometimes it means warning us of the dangers of artificial intelligence, but sometimes it's just about having a laugh, like his recent decision to sell flamethrowers to the public.
Musk had recently pledged that if he managed to sell 50,000 baseball caps at $20 each he would start selling flamethrowers, and it looks like he's followed through on that promise. He initially posted a video of himself using the device on Instagram, joking in the caption: "Don't do this. Also, I want to be clear that a flamethrower is a super terrible idea. Definitely don't buy one. Unless you like fun".
It seems like those final four words were enough to tempt buyers in, as in less than 24 hours his company, The Boring Company, had already sold $3.5 million worth of these devices. He created the $500 creations for his own amusement, but has now reportedly sold 10,000 of the 20,000 stock already, meaning he has likely amassed $5 million from the enterprise.
The Boring Company was set up a year ago by Musk, after he tweeted: "Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging". The website explains that it plans to connect cities with underground tunnels and superfast electric "skates" that can carry cars and people. They have plans to construct a tunnel parallel to LA's congested I-405, a route that Musk uses regularly.
While Californian officials are behind these developments, some are not so keen on this latest idea, with one assembly member promising to introduce legislation to outlaw the flamethrowers in the name of public safety.
According to a story in the San Jose Mercury News this weekend, Miguel Santiago said:
"I honestly thought it was a joke when the article was read to me - while I was sitting in Los Angeles traffic. The State of California and the County and the City of Los Angeles have entrusted Mr. Musk to help alleviate a real public policy problem here by executing a tunnel under the City to help alleviate traffic. This deviation feels like a complete slap in the face.
Like most Americans, I am in awe of Mr. Musk's genius - the brains behind Tesla, PayPal, Solar City, and Space X. But as President Truman and Stan Lee have taught us all, 'With great power comes great responsibility'.
There are many times in which technology and inventions benefit society, but are not made available to the public. We don't allow people to walk in off the street and purchase military grade tanks or armor-piercing ammunition.. I cannot even begin to imagine the problems a flamethrower would cause firefighters and police officers alike."
Regardless of Santiago's protests, it seems that plenty of the public are lining up to grab one of these devices, with orders due to ship in the spring. The initial Instagram post has received over 500,000 likes and nearly 15,000 comments in the two days since he posted it, as well as nearly 3 million views.
Musk described the device as providing "max fun for least danger" and said he'd "be way more scared of a steak knife," but either way - this man just keeps finding new ways to get rich.