Musk tested Davis' engineering skills by challenging him to make a $120,000 part with a budget of $5,000. After months of work, Davis emailed Musk that he did so with just $3,900 and Musk responded with one word: "Ok."
The Boring Company
The anecdote was reported in Ashlee Vance's book, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future.
Davis was living in D.C. working for SpaceX and missed California-style Frozen Yogurt, so he taught himself to make it "via trial and error" and opened his own yogurt shop, "Mr. Yogato."
Mr. Yogato offered discounts to customers who could answer trivia questions, or ask "Seinfeld" trivia questions that Davis couldn't answer. Customers also got a discount for dressing as tennis player Bjorn Borg.
The "Rules of Yogato" are detailed on Mr. Yogato's website.
Davis ultimately held a Willy Wonka-style contest to select the new owner of Mr. Yogato and sold it for $1 to the new owner.
Allison Shelley/Getty Images
Source: The Washingtonian
Davis founded and ran Mr. Yogato while simultaneously earning his Ph.D. in economics at George Mason University. The focus of his dissertation was US currency debasement.
Robyn Beck/Pool via REUTERS
After getting his Ph.D., Davis opened a bar in D.C. called Thomas Foolery, which was one the city's first establishments to accept Bitcoin payments.
Source: Washington City Paper
Thomas Foolery offered "gimmick upon gimmick," according to the Washington Post. The bar offered "angry hour," when patrons could receive a discount for shouting their drink order. Visitors to the bar could also get discounts for things like dancing "the Carlton," a move from "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."
Davis is reportedly a devoted fan of Ayn Rand and has quoted "Atlas Shrugged" during public events. He was also an extra in a 2012 "Atlas Shrugged" movie.
Source: Mother Jones
Musk hand-picked Davis to lead Boring Company. At an event announcing the company's tunnel plans, Davis joked that they would use bricks made from excavated dirt to build a pyramid in Musk's honor.
Robyn Beck/Pool via REUTERS
- Elon Musk's Boring Company is one of the most talked-up transportation companies of the moment, with an ambitious goal of drilling a network of tunnels meant for cars under major cities.
- The company's president, Steve Davis, has a fittingly whimsical background, laid out in a new profile from Bloomberg.
- Davis taught himself how to make frozen yogurt while earning his Ph.D. and opened his own yogurt shop, which he later sold for $1.
- He also used to own a Washington bar called Thomas Foolery that accepted Bitcoin payments.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Elon Musk's Boring Company has built a reputation for offbeat stunts — while its primary business is focused on digging a network of tunnels for Tesla cars under major US cities, the company has drawn attention for selling flamethrowers and building a Monty Python-style watchtower.
As it turns out, Boring Company president Steve Davis has a history of wacky gimmicks throughout his career, detailed in a new profile from Bloomberg reporter Sarah McBride (the profile builds on reporting from Ashlee Vance's book on Elon Musk).
Davis was hand-picked by Musk to lead Boring Company, perhaps in part because of his colorful background. Before working for Musk, Davis founded a frozen yogurt shop and a bar that accepts bitcoin, among other ventures.
Boring Company now faces scrutiny, especially in Chicago and Las Vegas, where it plans to build its first tunnels. It still hasn't constructed any commercial tunnels, though the Las Vegas project is under construction. The company is now weathering pushback from skeptical lawmakers — Davis will have to navigate those concerns in order for the company to follow through on its vision.
Here are some of the most striking details from Davis' life before Boring Company.