NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Earlier this year, I attended South by Southwest excited to see Tesla Motors ( TSLA) Founder and CEO Elon Musk speak.
Before his talk even ended, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth. I latched on to some comments Musk made about parenting and wrote Will Musk Get a Free Pass After His Parenting Comments? I continued to harp on the point. Eventually, he called me out on Twitter. In these types of situations -- no matter who I'm dealing with -- I tend to stand my ground. I've prepared my case and I'm confident. That doesn't mean I am right in each case; it's just that I have constructed a plausible, well-thought out and well-researched thesis informed not only by my own conclusions, but by the information obtained from others, particularly those in the know. Whether I was right or wrong about Musk (or neither), I was out of line. I took one comment Musk made in front of a sell-out crowd at SXSW and ignored everything else he said. The thing he said about parenting his kids rubbed me the wrong way and I ran with it. That's the type of thing so many members of the media do to people on a daily basis. I did it. And I am angry with myself for falling victim. There's good journalism -- constructing the bear case against Netflix, calling out the music industrial complex for its stance on royalties or (non)approach to local music promotion -- and then there's what I did to Musk.
I take what I do seriously. I don't mind being wrong, but this is different. So, without any pressure from Musk, I decided to do the right thing, admit I was wrong and apologize. Thursday, Musk gave me the opportunity to do that during what turned into a 45-minute phone conversation. Short story even shorter: he graciously accepted my apology. And then we talked about a lot more, particularly pertaining to Tesla and the Model S. Musk said something that surprised me. I told him I didn't understand why he decided to introduce a special financing program last month. It seemed to me that, if demand among the affluent was high, why bother making the Model S more "affordable?"