Meet the Pune youngster who is Elon Musk’s ‘Twitter friend’

Updated on Mar 15, 2022 01:28 AM IST

An engineer from Pune commands a massive following on Twitter, thanks to his interactions with Elon Musk.

Pranay Pathole.
Pranay Pathole.
ByNamya Sinha, New Delhi

In 2018, a second-year engineering student in Pune, Maharashtra, decided to tweet to Elon Musk, about Tesla’s automatic windscreen wipers, and the issue with it during the rain. He got an instant reply from Musk, who wrote, “Fixed in next release”. Fast forward to the year 2022, Pranay Pathole, a software developer for Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), has become a popular name on Twitter with whom, Musk the co-founder and chief of Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink and The Boring Company, engages and interacts on Twitter.

“A Reddit user had posted a query and I was intrigued. It was related to automatic wipers. I found that very interesting. I thought I could tweet it to Elon. And if he replies, then maybe he could consider that feature for Tesla. And, within a couple of minutes of tweeting, he had responded! I was just blown away by seeing him respond to me,” said Pathole.

The 23-year-old has a massive following on the microblogging platform that includes some of the most influential names from around the world. His pinned tweet about Mars, to which Musk had responded, has received 28K retweets and some 138K likes and counting. His GitHub profile describes him as “Machine learning engineer”, “Nerding out about Space and Rockets on Twitter.”

“When Elon responded to me for the first time, that was the highlight of my life. But now my interactions with him have become very casual. We talk back and forth through Direct Messages (DMs) on Twitter.”

So what does it feel like to have conversations over DMs with the most influential and wealthiest man in the world? “He is super friendly. It doesn’t feel like you are interacting with the world’s richest person. To me, it feels like you are just hanging out with another buddy of yours. That’s what it feels like, honestly. He is very frank and straightforward. And he is very active on Twitter apparently because whenever I DM him, I get a reply within a couple of minutes,” said Pathole. “Our DM conversations range from topics like making life multi planetary, why going to Mars is very essential for the core survival of humanity. We have also spoken about his past, his upbringing. He told me about how he flew from South Africa to Canada with just 2,000 dollars, and a suitcase full of books.”

It was in 2015 that Pathole had come across a video of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket land. It was this moment that made him a huge fan and supporter of Musk. “When I saw it land, I was just blown away. I was like can you do that? It was so insane! Elon Musk, is the guy who made this possible! I also read his book by Ashlee Vance. And, you know he shares these cool funny memes, right? It’s just so cool because it feels like he is just a regular guy out there,” said Pathole. “The biggest reason that I am such a huge fan of Elon Musk is because he trusts and believes in his own reasoning over conventional wisdom.”

With most of his tweets addressed to Musk, Pathole’s wall regularly has replies from Musk, which has added to his ever increasing following, with many contacting him as help to get them in touch with the tech tycoon. “I have people messaging me that how do you get in touch with Elon. Please convey our message to him,” said Pathole.

Pathole has been applying to Masters programs in the United States with aspirations to someday work with Musk. “I want to work for him and with him. He is super intelligent and his heart is very much at the right place. I really believe that. And a lot of people can sense that. He is trying to do these big, crazy, ambitious things for the right reasons. It would definitely be an amazing learning opportunity for a young guy like me. That’s what I aspire and think of doing in future,” he said.

Author tweets @Namyasinha

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