When bad-ass billionaire Musk met Boy Wonder Enda

  Taoiseach Enda Kenny at a panel discussion at the web summit with Elon Musk, CEO and CTO of SpaceX and CEO and chief product architect of Tesla Motors with one of Tesla Motors' electric cars. Picture: Conor McCabe

A bad-ass billionaire with a cool, gadget-laden car in need of a new sidekick — it looked like Enda Kenny’s lucky day.

Super-rich PayPal tycoon Elon Musk certainly knew how to make an entrance as he beckoned An Taoiseach into the passenger seat of his electric sports car. The peculiar pair burst into the web summit at the RDS to the sound of the James Bond theme.

Mr Kenny seemed so giddy with happiness at the experience, it was not so much Batman and Robin, more App-Man and Throbbin’ (with excitement).

It can be quite disconcerting when you walk into a conversation halfway through, so who knows how Elon and Enda got to the point in their chit-chat when waiting backstage to get into the electric Tesla-mobile when Mr Musk said to the Taoiseach: “If there was intelligent life in our region of the galaxy we would have seen it by now.”

By “our region of the galaxy”, was the SpaceX boss referring to the Ballsbridge area of Dublin where the wavering wifi comes and goes at the web summit and the water taps get turned off in the hotels at 8pm?

Whatever the truth, Mr Musk — whom the MC for the event branded a “bad-ass” version of the internet greats all rolled into one — had more shocks in store for the Taoiseach when the pair took part in a question and answer session on stage in which the technology titan was asked what he would do to boost the Irish economy if he was Taoiseach.

Mr Musk mused: “I’m trying to say something that isn’t just a bland platitude,” as Mr Kenny — whose middle names are “Bland” and “Platitude” — looked on bemused as if wondering why anyone would actually try and answer a question with something of substance.

Mr Kenny was made even more uncomfortable when one of the internet’s most successful brains decided that the key to Ireland’s bounce back was free university tuition.

As the crowd roared its approval, Mr Kenny put on a weak smile and made a hand gesture mimicking signing a cheque as if to say he did not have the cash to invest in the future with such a radical notion.

But then what does Mr Musk know about making money — well, apart from the $8.9bn (€6.55bn) he has made for himself?

Drooling over those billions, Mr Kenny spent most of the rest of the session shamelessly trying to get Mr Musk to invest in Ireland by reminding him that his Tesla car firm could follow in the footsteps of Henry Ford in Cork, and trying to pitch Shannon as a launch pad for his SpaceX rocket system.

He then tried to off-load some of his enemies on Mr Musk, stating: “If you send that space craft all the way to Mars I could suggest a few people to put on it.”

Bad Ass and Enda Boy Wonder, they certainly made a distracting dotcom duo.

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