by Will Schreiber

Charlie Munger is slowly warming up to Elon Musk

2016 Berkshire Shareholder Meeting:

Audience: “Charlie, one of my favorite quotes by you, is you want to hire the guy with an IQ of 130 who thinks it’s 120, and the guy with an IQ of 150 who thinks it’s 170 will just kill you.”

Charlie, without pause: “You must be thinking of Elon Musk.”

2020 Daily Journal Annual Meeting:

On $TSLA: “I have two thoughts on Tesla. I wouldn’t buy it. And I wouldn’t sell it short.”

2020 Daily Journal Annual Meeting:

On Elon Musk: “There’s a man I’ve known in Los Angeles for years named Howard Ahmanson. He once said something that I’ve taken to my heart. He said, ‘Never underestimate the man who overestimates himself.’ I think Elon Musk is peculiar and he may overestimate himself, but he may not be wrong all the time.”

You can see Munger slowly warming to Musk. From his long-held “beware he could fail” position, to his newfound “beware he could succeed” position.

His comments on Musk used to be incendiary. It led Musk to joking about launching a See’s Candy competitor to “take on Berkshire.” The fact Tesla is succeeding relative to BYD in China could be part of the newfound civility.

It’s interesting hearing how, as a longtime BYD investor, Munger believes electric cars are the obvious future and that we’ll most likely power them with solar energy.1

  1. Munger discusses solar, electric cars, Tesla, BYD, and Musk during the 2020 Daily Journal Annual Meeting: