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Elon Musk’s favorite riddle

Almost every living engineer dreams of working for Tesla or Space X. And no wonder. It’s safe to say that most people never really know what to expect from Elon Musk, whether he’s planning to build tunnels under Los Angeles, or selling 500$ of flamethrowers to his Boring Company followers. In the last week alone, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO dropped a surprise EDM track titled “Don’t Doubt Ur Vibe.” Check it out in the video below.

So it might come as no surprise that interviewing the Tesla and SpaceX CEO for a job may involve a few surprises. According to the 2017 Musk-authorized biography Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, there is at least one question that Musk allegedly puts to prospective employees to catch them off guard. As writer Ashlee Vance puts it: “He might ask one question, or he might ask several. You can be sure, though, that he will roll out the riddle: You’re standing on the surface of the Earth. You walk one mile south, one mile west and one mile north. You end up exactly where you started. Where are you?”

When SpaceX first hired, Vance writes, Musk would interview each employee personally — and later, each engineer grew larger as the company grew. Most of them would generally guess the right answer to their credit: The North Pole. That’s when Musk hit them with another follow-up surprise question: “Where else could you be?”

The irony is that there are two correct answers to the riddle. “The other answer is somewhere close to the South Pole where, if you walk one mile south, the circumference of the Earth becomes one mile. Fewer engineers get this answer, and Musk will happily walk them through that riddle and others and cite any relevant equations during his explanations,” Vance writes.

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