Pranay Pathole is one of the few people who gets consistent responses from Elon Musk on Twitter . She met him on his first trip out of India.
Few people can boast of having candid conversations with Elon Musk about conquering planets, but Indian computer engineer Pranay Pathhole regularly chats on Twitter with the world’s richest man.
Their rare virtual friendship has grown since Pathole was a teenager, with the temperamental billionaire responding in hundreds of tweets and private messages with company updates and even life advice.
This week, the two finally met face-to-face when Pathole traveled to the United States , his first trip abroad, for a master’s degree in business analytics.
“He is super genuine, down to earth. He is humble,” the 23-year-old told AFP before the match. “The way he takes the time to respond to me…it shows.”
Elon Musk is a prolific Twitter user , sometimes posting more than 30 messages a day for his 103 million followers.
But it’s a mystery why the SpaceX and Tesla boss , with a net worth of $266 billion, is in regular contact with the young Indian.
“To be honest, I have no idea. I think he must have been really intrigued by my questions,” Pathole told AFP at his parents’ home in the western Indian city of Pune.
Pathole’s account is one of the few the billionaire responds to, on average once every two days, according to Musk ‘s public tweets since 2020.
Musk first responded to him in 2018, when Pathole, then 19, pointed out a defect in the automatic wiper blades on Teslas .
“It will be fixed in the next versions,” Elon Musk replied . Tesla solved it in his next software update.
To celebrate, his parents took him out to dinner that night.
“I was blown away, to be honest,” Pathole says. “I took several screenshots and I didn’t want the day to end,” she adds.
Their subsequent private talks included “mythbusting” about Musk ‘s past and discussions of why it’s “essential” to colonize other planets, Pathole recalls.
“I asked him silly, absurd questions, and he took the time to answer me.”
The time difference between the United States and India did not affect the virtual friendship of four years.
“I think he doesn’t get much sleep because he’s on Twitter most of the time,” says Pathole.
Elon Musk… unpredictable
Pathole says his interactions with Musk have become “much more casual” over the years and he no longer rushes to share them with his friends and family.
“Elon is the same as a public person as he is in private,” he says.
Elon Musk ‘s candid, irreverent and sometimes cryptic tweets are sending stocks and cryptocurrencies tumbling, prompting scrutiny from US regulators.
The billionaire is embroiled in a legal battle with Twitter over his attempt to get out of a deal to buy the company. The trial is scheduled to begin in October.