May 6, 2018

Elon Musk and Warren Buffett in a candy clash

In Walnut Creek, Ca. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty

Elon Musk says he's starting a candy company, a direct challenge to Warren Buffett's most trumpeted moat of all — the market power enjoyed by iconic See's Candies, which the investment titan has owned for four decades.

What's going on: In a to-and-fro in recent days, Musk has scorned one of Buffett's primary investment principles — to buy companies enjoying a type of monopolistic power that he calls a "moat," reports Fortune's Jen Wieczner. And Buffett has defended his theory. “Elon may turn things upside down in some areas," Buffett said, "[but] I don’t think he’d want to take us on in candy. There are some pretty good moats around,” report Bloomberg's Katherine Chiglinsky, Noah Buhayar and Sonali Basak.

  • This was a red cape for the super-competitive Musk, who fired off successive tweets yesterday evening:
  • Notwithstanding his assertion, no one knows if we are going to see Musk candy any time soon. But he seemed to be enjoying himself. After a few hours of more tweets, he ended with this:

Go deeper

The downsides of remote work

Data: Reproduced from Prudential/Morning Consult "Pulse of the American Worker Survey"; Chart: Axios Visuals

The coronavirus pandemic has forced a large-scale experiment in working from home. It has gone well enough that many companies are expanding their remote work expectations for the foreseeable future, and remote employees want to continue to work that way.

Yes, but: The downsides of remote work — less casual interaction with colleagues, an over-reliance on Zoom, lack of in-person collaboration and longer hours — could over time diminish the short-term gains.

Hong Kong's economic future hangs in the balance

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As Beijing forces a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong, the once semi-autonomous city's status as one of Asia's largest financial hubs is at risk.

Why it matters: Political freedoms and strong rule of law helped make Hong Kong a thriving center for international banking and finance. But China's leaders may be betting that top firms in Hong Kong will trade some political freedoms for the economic prosperity Beijing can offer.

Why space is good politics for Trump

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's exuberance around today's scheduled SpaceX launch — including his decision to travel to Florida to watch — goes beyond a personal fascination with astronauts, rockets, and how to make money and wield power in the next frontier.

The bottom line: There's a presidential election in November, and the U.S. space program enjoys wide support across party lines. It's good politics for Trump, at least for now.