Elon Musk Touts His Newest Venture: Perfume That Smells Like Burnt Hair | Kanebridge News
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Elon Musk Touts His Newest Venture: Perfume That Smells Like Burnt Hair

The world’s richest person is selling the ‘finest fragrance on Earth’ on Boring Co.’s website for $100 a bottle

Thu, Oct 13, 2022 9:08amGrey Clock 2 min

Elon Musk is giving himself a new title: perfume pusher.

The Tesla Inc. chief executive announced on Twitter Tuesday night that he’s selling a $100 perfume that smells like burnt hair. Hours later, he tweeted that he sold 10,000 bottles, which would add up to $1 million in revenue.

The fragrance is currently being sold on Mr. Musk’s Boring Co.’s website, which describes the scent as, “The Essence of Repugnant Desire.” It shows a picture of a smoking red perfume bottle. The product isn’t expected to ship until early next year.

“With a name like mine, getting into the fragrance business was inevitable—why did I even fight it for so long!?,” Mr. Musk tweeted Tuesday night. He later added: “Can’t wait for media stories tomorrow about $1M of Burnt Hair sold,” a tweet which included a sideways laughing emoji.

He also changed his Twitter bio to “Perfume Salesman.”

Mr. Musk didn’t say how or where the perfume will be manufactured. Representatives for the Boring Co. and Tesla didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on Mr. Musk’s endeavour.

Mr. Musk is the world’s wealthiest person and one of Twitter’s most prominent users with more than 100 million followers. He has been in a prolonged back-and-forth to potentially take over the platform, one that he has often used to make big pronouncements—some serious, some not. He once tweeted he was buying English soccer team Manchester United only to say hours later it was a joke.

In addition to Tesla, he runs rocket company SpaceX, formally known as Space Exploration Technologies Corp., and founded Boring Co., an underground tunnel business, and neuroscience startup Neuralink Corp.

Mr. Musk’s newest venture comes as he’s tackling several high-profile business and geopolitical issues. SpaceX ferried astronauts to the International Space Station last week just as Tesla’s stock price slumped sharply following the car company’s disappointing delivery figures.

He also stirred a political dust-up when he suggested that Crimea, an area previously part of Ukraine that Moscow annexed in 2014, rightfully is part of Russia. The comment drew pushback from Kyiv, including Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.

And in the same week, he also disclosed that he planned to go forward with his $44 billion takeover of Twitter, a surprise about-face after almost three months of trying to abandon the deal.

“Please buy my perfume, so I can buy Twitter,” Mr. Musk said in a tweet Wednesday.

Mr. Musk’s companies have sold unrelated things before, including a Tesla tequila and a Boring Co. flamethrower.

Jonathan Preston said he bought two bottles of Burnt Hair Tuesday night, one to save and the other to sniff. He received an email after the purchase with the subject line, “You’re on fire!”

“Hey, hot stuff!,” the message said. “This email confirms your purchase of Burnt Hair by Singed. It’s going to be lit. We’ll let you know when it ships, expected Q1 2023.”

Mr. Preston, 41 years old, is used to waiting for Elon Musk-related goods. It took seven months for the Tesla electric car he ordered to arrive, and even longer to get home internet service from Mr. Musk’s satellite-internet business, Starlink.

Mr. Preston, who is semiretired and lives in Phillipsburg, Mo., said he bought the perfume as a gag and that it won’t replace his usual scent, a peppery Axe body spray.

“It better smell like burnt hair,” Mr. Preston said about Burnt Hair. “If it doesn’t, I may try to return it, just out of disappointment.”

Mr. Preston said he thinks the perfume will be made, and if not, he assumes he’ll get a refund.

Mr. Musk teased the perfume in September.

“‘Burnt Hair’—Scent for Men by Singed,” he tweeted. “Stand out in a crowd! Get noticed as you walk through the airport!”


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China’s EV Juggernaut Is a Warning for the West

Competitive pressure and creativity have made Chinese-designed and -built electric cars formidable competitors

Thu, Jun 8, 2023 4 min

China rocked the auto world twice this year. First, its electric vehicles stunned Western rivals at the Shanghai auto show with their quality, features and price. Then came reports that in the first quarter of 2023 it dethroned Japan as the world’s largest auto exporter.

How is China in contention to lead the world’s most lucrative and prestigious consumer goods market, one long dominated by American, European, Japanese and South Korean nameplates? The answer is a unique combination of industrial policy, protectionism and homegrown competitive dynamism. Western policy makers and business leaders are better prepared for the first two than the third.

Start with industrial policy—the use of government resources to help favoured sectors. China has practiced industrial policy for decades. While it’s finding increased favour even in the U.S., the concept remains controversial. Governments have a poor record of identifying winning technologies and often end up subsidising inferior and wasteful capacity, including in China.

But in the case of EVs, Chinese industrial policy had a couple of things going for it. First, governments around the world saw climate change as an enduring threat that would require decade-long interventions to transition away from fossil fuels. China bet correctly that in transportation, the transition would favour electric vehicles.

In 2009, China started handing out generous subsidies to buyers of EVs. Public procurement of taxis and buses was targeted to electric vehicles, rechargers were subsidised, and provincial governments stumped up capital for lithium mining and refining for EV batteries. In 2020 NIO, at the time an aspiring challenger to Tesla, avoided bankruptcy thanks to a government-led bailout.

While industrial policy guaranteed a demand for EVs, protectionism ensured those EVs would be made in China, by Chinese companies. To qualify for subsidies, cars had to be domestically made, although foreign brands did qualify. They also had to have batteries made by Chinese companies, giving Chinese national champions like Contemporary Amperex Technology and BYD an advantage over then-market leaders from Japan and South Korea.

To sell in China, foreign automakers had to abide by conditions intended to upgrade the local industry’s skills. State-owned Guangzhou Automobile Group developed the manufacturing know-how necessary to become a player in EVs thanks to joint ventures with Toyota and Honda, said Gregor Sebastian, an analyst at Germany’s Mercator Institute for China Studies.

Despite all that government support, sales of EVs remained weak until 2019, when China let Tesla open a wholly owned factory in Shanghai. “It took this catalyst…to boost interest and increase the level of competitiveness of the local Chinese makers,” said Tu Le, managing director of Sino Auto Insights, a research service specialising in the Chinese auto industry.

Back in 2011 Pony Ma, the founder of Tencent, explained what set Chinese capitalism apart from its American counterpart. “In America, when you bring an idea to market you usually have several months before competition pops up, allowing you to capture significant market share,” he said, according to Fast Company, a technology magazine. “In China, you can have hundreds of competitors within the first hours of going live. Ideas are not important in China—execution is.”

Thanks to that competition and focus on execution, the EV industry went from a niche industrial-policy project to a sprawling ecosystem of predominantly private companies. Much of this happened below the Western radar while China was cut off from the world because of Covid-19 restrictions.

When Western auto executives flew in for April’s Shanghai auto show, “they saw a sea of green plates, a sea of Chinese brands,” said Le, referring to the green license plates assigned to clean-energy vehicles in China. “They hear the sounds of the door closing, sit inside and look at the quality of the materials, the fabric or the plastic on the console, that’s the other holy s— moment—they’ve caught up to us.”

Manufacturers of gasoline cars are product-oriented, whereas EV manufacturers, like tech companies, are user-oriented, Le said. Chinese EVs feature at least two, often three, display screens, one suitable for watching movies from the back seat, multiple lidars (laser-based sensors) for driver assistance, and even a microphone for karaoke (quickly copied by Tesla). Meanwhile, Chinese suppliers such as CATL have gone from laggard to leader.

Chinese dominance of EVs isn’t preordained. The low barriers to entry exploited by Chinese brands also open the door to future non-Chinese competitors. Nor does China’s success in EVs necessarily translate to other sectors where industrial policy matters less and creativity, privacy and deeply woven technological capability—such as software, cloud computing and semiconductors—matter more.

Still, the threat to Western auto market share posed by Chinese EVs is one for which Western policy makers have no obvious answer. “You can shut off your own market and to a certain extent that will shield production for your domestic needs,” said Sebastian. “The question really is, what are you going to do for the global south, countries that are still very happily trading with China?”

Western companies themselves are likely to respond by deepening their presence in China—not to sell cars, but for proximity to the most sophisticated customers and suppliers. Jörg Wuttke, the past president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, calls China a “fitness centre.” Even as conditions there become steadily more difficult, Western multinationals “have to be there. It keeps you fit.”


Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Americans now think they need at least $1.25 million for retirement, a 20% increase from a year ago, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual

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