Elon Musk may be one of the busiest businessmen in the world, but there are benefits to being busy, says a former PayPal employee.
Jason Portnoy, a former vice president of finance at PayPal that Musk became CEO in 2000, said last week on the Tim Ferriss Show podcast that one of his greatest observations came from working with Musk, Peter Thiel and Reed Hoffman’s collaboration — known as the PayPal Mafia — was “they never do one thing at a time.”
Portnoy said he finds it interesting because, logically, it’s the only thing people care about when they’re doing something. Musk, Thiel, and Hoffman were involved in various companies and ventures during and after their tenure at PayPal.
“I think they benefit a lot because they’ll be exposed to different ideas, solve different problems, or meet different people,” he said. “All they interact with is all this stuff. Then they take it back to the PayPal office.”
Portnoy, an entrepreneur and venture capitalist who is also the CFO of Palantir, the data company founded by Thiel, appeared on the podcast to talk about his book Silicon Valley Pornstar, which details his Silicon Valley career, Among them he was PayPal’s 34th employee, along with his origins and recovery from porn addiction.
Portnoy’s first contact with Musk was in 2000, when he joined Confinity, a payments startup founded by Thiel that later became PayPal. At the time, Musk was working at a startup, payments platform X.com, across University Avenue in Palo Alto, California.
X.com merged with Confinity to form PayPal, and Musk was briefly CEO before being ousted in 2000. He then founded Tesla, SpaceX, and The Boring Company, of which he is still involved.
He was one step closer to owning social media platform Twitter this week when the company’s board tentatively approved his proposed $44 billion acquisition. In a proxy filing with the SEC, they recommended that shareholders support the deal. Twitter did not set a date for the vote.
Portnoy said he believes Musk is learning from one company what he is applying to another. “So I think there might be some benefit there,” he added.
Estimate net worth according to Forbes, Musk is the richest person in the world, worth about $219 billion. He talks about working more than 100 hours a week, but admits it sometimes interferes with his family life and sleep.
Musk has recently been criticized for claiming that workers who don’t “burn 3 o’clock gas” are somehow trying to avoid work.