From Twitter to Neuralink and Solar City: A Rundown of Elon Musk's Many Businesses

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

​Elon Musk
Image by Maryna Linchevska/ Shutterstock

Even as Elon Musk’s attention seems to be drawn more towards his latest pet project, Twitter, his various other companies continue to charge full steam ahead, and some – like Hawthorne-based hyperloop tunnel startup Boring Co. – have had major developments in recent weeks.

There’s a lot to keep track of in the Musk-iverse, so here’s a rundown of all the magnate’s current ventures and most recent updates.


Twitter

Starting with the big bird, briefly: The billionaire’s $44 billion-buyout of the social network hasn't gone exactly seamlessly since he took the reins Oct. 28.

So far Musk has reportedly asked Twitter staff to work 12-hour days and initiated mass layoffs, including firing the C-Suite and sacking 15% of Twitter’s Trust & Safety team, which handles content moderation. Some disgruntled ex-Twitter employees have sued Musk for not providing proper notice to state regulators about layoffs.

The new “Chief Twit” has also proposed allowing users to pay for verification, with an $8/month subscription tier of Twitter Blue expected to launch after the midterm elections this week.

SpaceX

Hawthorne-based SpaceX continues to chug along, delivering both private and public government mission payloads to orbit at a pace that dwarfs all competitors.

SpaceX’s crafts have completed over 50 launches for commercial operators so far this year – averaging about one launch per week – and has several more scheduled before the end of the year. But this week, a Falcon 9 launch for telecommunications firm Intelsat was postponed because of subtropical storms.

Looking forward: Starship, the company’s forthcoming reusable rocket for crew and cargo, is undergoing tests and could launch shortly after NASA’s upcoming Artemis mission. SpaceX is already selling seats on Starship for wealthy space tourists, and one mission, nicknamed “#dearmoon,” will see Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and up to eight others fly around the moon by 2023. In addition, SpaceX hopes to use the Starship to land NASA astronauts on the moon.

SpaceX Rocket Photo by ANIRUDH on Unsplash

Starlink

The broadband internet service that’s a division of SpaceX, is rapidly expanding across the globe. Starlink expanded to Australia Nov. 6. Currently, SpaceX launches Starlink’s satellites on its Falcon 9 rockets and completed a launch of 43 more spacecraft – part of Musk’s larger plan to create a network of some 42,000 Starlink satellites – on Oct. 28.

But it’s not all smooth sailing for Starlink’s early adopters. Starlink added a new policy this week that will put data caps on users to throttle speeds. From now on, people who use one terabyte or more of Starlink’s unlimited data per month will experience “slower speeds” during “peak hours,” which is curently between 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Starlink’s also accelerating adoption in other non-residential markets, including internet for cellular, moving vehicles and airplanes. In September we covered Starlink’s expansion into in-flight internet. On the ground, the company launched an internet for stationary RVs service in May and is now accepting orders for moving vehicle internet.

Tesla

The EV car company continues to produce its vehicles at a rapid clip to meet surging demand.

As it noted in this year’s third quarter earnings report, Tesla delivered 343,830 vehicles and reported its revenue grew 56% annually to $21.5 billion. This was a bit shy of analyst estimates of 371,000 cars. But still far more than any of its local electric vehicle competitors like Lucid, Fisker (which begins deliveries this month), or Amazon-backed Rivian. With over 908,000 cars delivered this year, it’s possible Tesla could hit 1 million before 2023.

There’s also legal proceedings to watch: Tesla is facing a suit from state regulators over its alleged racist treatment of employees and discriminatory policies. That lawsuit, filed in February by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, is still pending after Tesla lost a petition to have the suit dismissed.

And a lawsuit about Musk’s pay package at Tesla is set to begin trial on Nov. 14. It was filed by Tesla shareholder Richard Tornetta in 2019, who alleged that Musk’s 2018 payout worth $56 billion was excessive and undeserved.

In addition to EVs, Tesla is also trying to develop a robot. This September, the company showed off Optimus, a humanoid bot that was y capable of stiffly walking and waving at a crowd and seemed to be far behind other robotics competitors like Boston Dynamics’ back-flipping bots. Tesla is far from mass production. But Musk claimed that the robots could one day sell to consumers for “probably” less than $20,000.

SolarCity

One of Musk’s less-discussed ventures, SolarCity is a Fremont-based renewable energy firm that Tesla bought in 2016 for $2.6 billion.

SolarCity installs solar panels on residential and commercial properties and Musk was keen to acquire it because of his ambitions to sell Tesla-branded solar panels. In March 2021, Tesla sharply hiked up the price of its Solar Roof tiles by more than 50%, a decision that led some angry customers to sue. Though by September of last year, Tesla decided to honor some buyers’ original pricing to appease them.

To that end, GM is looking to compete with SolarCity directly; last month it launched a division called GM Energy focused specifically on selling batteries, charging equipment, and solar panels to consumers and businesses.

The boring companyAutomative luxury freeway cars in tunnel Boring Company 3d rendering. Image by Volodimir Zozulinskyi/ Shutterstock

The Boring Company

It seems Musk is getting bored of Boring Co. After all, he hasn’t tweeted about it since April.

The ambitious project, which would have seen the company build lengthy underground hyperloop transportation tunnels in an attempt to beat traffic, seems to be winding down operations in LA.

Boring Co. was founded in 2016. In 2018, Musk unveiled a Boring Co. test tunnel in Hawthorne to much fanfare. But by November of that same year, a proposed tunnel under the 405 freeway on Los Angeles’ Westside was out of the question, and so was a planned tunnel network connecting the Vermont Ave. metro station and Dodger Stadium.

In recent weeks, more signs have emerged that Boring Co. might not be around for long. Last month, Musk abandoned plans for a tunnel at California’s Ontario Airport. The company’s first test tunnel, which sat above ground adjacent to SpaceX’s Hawthorne headquarters, was dismantled and the site was turned into a parking lot last week. In Kyle, Texas, a plan for a Boring Co. pedestrian tunnel was scrapped this week.

For the record, Musk once admitted that Boring Co. was just an expensive, glitzy ruse to disrupt California’s attempt at building a functional high-speed rail system, which he felt was “outdated and expensive.” So perhaps his full passion isn’t behind this particular piece of his portfolio.

Still, several projects in Nevada are listed as under construction on Boring Co.’s website. These include a hyperloop tunnel at the Las Vegas Convention Center and a loop underneath Las Vegas that will connect to the existing LVCC loop completed in 2021. Nonetheless, according to Boring Co.’s website, it’s still “working with various local governments and private stakeholders to consult, advise, and perform research, development, and testing on the viability in their cities for Hyperloop, the high speed transportation of passengers and goods in tubes.”

In August, Boring Co. tweeted that “full-scale testing” of the Hyperloop will begin “later this year,” but it didn’t clarify where, or when that might occur.

Neuralink

One of Musk’s more controversial projects, Neuralink, is working to realize the billionaire’s vision of implanting chips directly into human brains to allow us to interact directly with computers via thought. In the past, Musk has referred to the concept as a “Fitbit in your skull.”

Neuralink was launched in 2018 and unveiled its brain-chip technology in 2020. In July 2021, Neuralink raised a $205 million Series C round led by Vy Capital and including Google Ventures.

A demonstration event was originally planned for Oct. 31, but Musk recently tweeted that it was rescheduled for Nov. 30.

As of this writing, it’s unclear what we’ll see at this upcoming “show and tell” event. Back in July 2020 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted Neuralink approval for “breakthrough testing” which made the company eligible to begin trials on animals. As a result, last April the company made headlines after showcasing a nine year-old monkey with a Neuralink chip playing the game “Pong” with its brain. Though we're still far from human trials and the technology has been called “outdated” by experts, in January however, reporters noticed job postings for a clinical trials director at Neuralink. The implication? Musk is looking for human volunteers sooner than expected.

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🚁 One Step Closer to Air Taxis in LA
Image Source: Joby Aviation

🔦 Spotlight

Joby Aviation, a pioneering electric air taxi company, has achieved a significant milestone by successfully flying a hydrogen-electric aircraft demonstrator for 523 miles with only water as a byproduct. This groundbreaking flight showcases the potential for emissions-free regional travel using vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, eliminating the need for traditional runways. The company's innovative approach combines its existing battery-electric air taxi technology with hydrogen fuel cells, paving the way for longer-range, environmentally friendly air travel.

For LA residents, this development holds exciting implications for future transportation options. Joby's technology could potentially enable direct flights from LA to destinations like San Francisco or San Diego without the need to visit conventional airports, offering a cleaner and more convenient alternative to current travel methods. The company's progress in both battery-electric and hydrogen-electric aircraft positions it at the forefront of next-generation aviation, promising to revolutionize urban and regional mobility.

Notably, Joby Aviation has already made strides in Southern California by securing an agreement with John Wayne Airport earlier this year to install the region's first electric air taxi charger. This strategic move sets the stage for LA to be among the initial markets where Joby will launch its electric air taxi service. With plans to commence commercial operations as early as 2025 using its battery-electric air taxi, LA residents may soon have access to a fast, quiet, and environmentally friendly mode of transportation that could significantly reduce travel times and traffic congestion in the region. In the not too distant future, LA might find itself in an identity crisis without traffic and excess smog 🤞🤞.


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Fuel Innovation: 7 Unforgettable Team Building Experiences in LA
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In today's competitive business landscape, team building activities have emerged as a crucial tool for fostering a positive work environment, enhancing productivity, and crucially, improving employee retention. Studies have shown that such activities help employees feel valued, with one report indicating that 93% of those who felt appreciated were more motivated at work. Importantly, team building events may improve retention rates, as employees who feel connected to their colleagues and company culture are more likely to stay long-term. With these benefits in mind, let's explore some of the most engaging and effective team building activities available in Los Angeles.

Pickleball

Image Source: Modern Luxury Angelino

Pickleball is a fantastic team bonding activity because of the easy-to-grasp rules and gentle pace make it perfect for everyone, regardless of age or fitness level. The game thrives on communication and teamwork, as players must collaborate and strategize to outplay their opponents, boosting team cohesion. Plus, the lively, fast-paced action sparks friendly competition and laughter, creating a fun and spirited atmosphere that brings everyone closer together. Los Angeles boasts numerous pickleball courts that are easy to rent if you have your own equipment. If you need additional assistance organizing your pickleball outing, there are plenty of full-service companies ready to handle every detail for you.

Resources: Pickle Pop, Corporate Pickle


Escape Room

Image Source: The Escape Game

Escape rooms are a great way to build camaraderie. They require participants to work together, combining their problem-solving skills and creativity to overcome challenges and puzzles. The immersive and time-sensitive nature of escape rooms fosters collaboration and communication. Additionally, the shared experience of tackling complex tasks and reaching a common goal helps build trust and foster positive emotions among colleagues.

Resources: The Escape Game, 60Out


Day Trip to Catalina Island

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Catalina Island is a perfect day trip for a team because it provides a break from the usual work environment, allowing team members to relax and connect in a new setting. Shared experiences during the trip, such as exploring new places and participating in fun activities, help build stronger relationships and foster a sense of camaraderie. There are numerous team-building activities such as an arboreal obstacle course, an island tour, scavenger hunts and more.

Resources: Catalina Island Group Activities


Top Golf

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Topgolf is an excellent team building event because it provides an inclusive, relaxed atmosphere that accommodates players of all skill levels, fostering personal connections and improving team morale. The unique blend of competition and entertainment creates an ideal setting for building trust, enhancing communication, and revealing hidden skills among team members. Additionally, Topgolf offers structured team building packages with guided activities, discussion prompts, and lessons on culture, change, collaboration, and strategy, making it a versatile and effective platform for strengthening relationships and boosting overall team performance.

Resources: Topgolf El Segundo


SoFi Stadium Tour

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A SoFi Stadium tour offers a unique, behind-the-scenes experience of one of the world's most advanced sports venues, allowing team members to explore exclusive areas like premium suites, team locker rooms, and the player tunnel together. The tour provides a shared, memorable experience that can foster camaraderie and spark conversations among team members, regardless of their interest in sports. Additionally, the stadium's state-of-the-art features and impressive architecture can inspire creativity and innovation, while the group setting encourages interaction and collaboration, making it an engaging and enjoyable activity for teams of various sizes and backgrounds

Resources: SoFi Stadium Group Tours


Corporate Volunteering

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Volunteer work serves as an excellent team building activity by uniting employees around a shared, meaningful cause, fostering a sense of purpose and collective accomplishment. It provides opportunities for team members to collaborate in new ways, often revealing hidden strengths and leadership qualities that may not be apparent in the regular work environment. Additionally, engaging in community service can boost morale, enhance the company's reputation, and instill a sense of pride among employees, leading to improved workplace relationships and increased job satisfaction.

Resources: Habitat for Humanity, L.A. Works, VolunteerMatch


Corporate Improv Sessions

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A corporate improv class encourages spontaneity, creativity, and quick thinking, skills that are valuable in the workplace. It promotes active listening and collaboration, as participants must work together to create scenes and respond to unexpected situations, fostering better communication and trust among team members. Additionally, the playful and often humorous nature of improv helps break down barriers, reduces stress, and creates a shared positive experience that can improve team morale and cohesion long after the event.

Resources: Improv-LA, Groundlings, Improv for the People

🎬 Paramount and Skydance Are Back On
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Happy Friday Los Angeles! Hope you all had a fantastic Fourth!!

🔦 Spotlight

Paramount and Skydance Media have rekindled talks to merge after negotiations abruptly halted in June. The proposed deal, contingent on approval from Paramount’s board, aims to combine Paramount’s extensive media holdings—including CBS, MTV, and Nickelodeon—with Skydance’s film expertise showcased in hits like "Top Gun: Maverick." This merger signals a potential transformation in the media landscape, positioning the new entity to compete more effectively amid challenges from streaming services and the decline of traditional cable TV.

Led by Shari Redstone, Paramount’s controlling shareholder via National Amusements, the deal represents a pivot towards revitalizing Paramount’s strategic direction amidst financial struggles and shareholder concerns. The involvement of major investors like RedBird Capital Partners and David Ellison underscores the financial backing aimed at stabilizing Paramount’s operations and addressing its $14 billion debt burden. Importantly, the agreement includes provisions to protect National Amusements from potential legal challenges, addressing previous hurdles that stalled earlier negotiations.

The deal also includes a 45-day period for Paramount to explore alternative offers, highlighting continued interest from other potential buyers like Barry Diller’s IAC and media executive Edgar Bronfman Jr. This flurry of activity underscores the significant stakeholders’ interest in Paramount’s future and its potential as a key player in a rapidly evolving media industry.


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  • Sidecar Health, a startup that offers personalized health insurance plans to businesses that allow members to see any doctor and pay directly at the time of service, raised a $165M Series D led by Koch Disruptive Technologies. - learn more

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