Tesla CEO Elon Musk ignored warnings from confidantes that he was driving advertisers away with his erratic behavior, according to a new biography.
The billionaire owner of X, formerly known as Twitter, has a long list of wealthy, powerful advisers he habitually ignores, according to Walter Isaacson's new book, Elon Musk.
In the months surrounding Musk's chaotic takeover of Twitter — when he was sending out provocative tweets — Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav cautioned about "self-destructive" behaviors that were spooking advertisers.
Musk should instead focus on improving video and making better ads, the executive counseled, according to the book.
Tesla's board, Chairman Robyn Denholm and Musk's brother Kimbal Musk also warned the mercurial businessman that controversies at X were hurting the electric vehicle maker's brand.
But the billionaire did not seem to think his behavior was a problem and pushed back.
Musk's $44 billion takeover of the social media platform has drawn criticism from users, advertisers and interest groups for degrading the experience and allowing hate speech to flourish.
One piece of advice he did heed was from Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, who told him to avoid getting into a fight with Apple.
Musk had called out the iPhone maker for pausing advertising on his platform last November. But Ellison cautioned him against damaging that relationship since Apple was a major marketer and X needed to stay on the iPhone's App Store.
Musk then reached out to Apple's Tim Cook to make amends.
The billionaire's other influential advisers include venture capitalists David Sacks and Marc Andreessen.
Isaacson's book paints Musk as a largely impulsive decision-maker who oscillates between listening to his advisers and ignoring them.
At times, he even seemed to derive pleasure from going against their advice, Isaacson wrote. The consistent theme was that when Musk has his mind set, not even those closest to him can change it.