- SpaceX’s 7th hire told Insider that the public sees Elon Musk differently to how employees see him.
- Hans Koenigsmann said Musk jokes at work but it’s harder for the public to know when he’s joking.
- Musk regularly tweets to his 61.5 million followers and hosted the SNL comedy show in May.
A former SpaceX executive, who worked at the aerospace company for 19 years, said the public has a different perception of CEO Elon Musk.
“We see him differently during work and I think the public has a different perception,” Hans Koenigsmann, a SpaceX vice president, told Insider.
As the richest man in the world, with a fortune of $292 billion, Musk is constantly in the public eye.
The Tesla and SpaceX CEO has a big presence on Twitter with 61.5 million followers. His tweets have rocked the stock market and caused a stir among high-profile figures, including fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos, rapper Azealia Banks, and Roberto Escobar, brother of the late Pablo Escobar.
In May, Musk hosted the comedy show, “Saturday Night Live” (SNL), on which he performed sketches and made jokes about the cryptocurrency Dogecoin. Koenigsmann said he did a good job at presenting.
“He jokes around in meetings too, but it’s pretty clear those are jokes,” Koenigsmann said. “I think maybe in the public it’s harder for the public to figure out ‘is he joking or does he mean this?'”
In the past, Musk has tweeted misinformation about COVID-19, including saying that children are “essentially immune” to the virus and that state lockdowns are “fascist.”
“There’s tweets I agree with, and there’s tweets I don’t agree with,” Koenigsmann said.
“In many cases, I feel like people don’t understand [Musk],” said Koenigsmann, who has worked on SpaceX’s satellite internet service, Starlink, and the company’s first all-civilian mission to space.
There’s this “billionaire thing” around Musk, but people forget that if you just have stock, it’s not money, according to Koenigsmann. “It means nothing to own that much stock, from a cash perspective,” he said.
In the workplace, Koenigsmann said that Musk “expects a lot” from his employees and provides a “unique perspective” on situations involving physics. The billionaire, who knew little about rockets before SpaceX, quickly learnt a lot over time, Koenigsmann added.