Calkins: Elon Musk is great news for Memphis. (Don’t believe what you read on Nextdoor.)

By , Daily Memphian Published: June 10, 2024 4:00 AM CT

Ted Townsend spent Sunday the way he spends every Sunday. Visiting his 86-year-old mother in Bartlett, helping with the potted plants.

Townsend — the president and CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber — spent the previous Sunday helping his mother, too. That was the day after he had joined Elon Musk to tour the facility where Musk’s artificial intelligence startup — xAI — plans to build the largest, most powerful computer the world has ever seen.

“I couldn’t mention it to her,” Townsend said. “She’s my mom, but we take confidentiality very seriously.”

But this Sunday, the news was out. So Townsend could finally open up.

“She asked me all about it,” Townsend said. “She had a lot of questions about what was going to happen.”

And what did he tell her?


Elon Musk xAI gigafactory of compute Subscriber Only Ted Townsend Greater Memphis Chamber

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Geoff Calkins

Geoff Calkins

Geoff Calkins has been chronicling Memphis and Memphis sports for more than two decades. He is host of "The Geoff Calkins Show" from 9-11 a.m. M-F on 92.9 FM. Calkins has been named the best sports columnist in the country five times by the Associated Press sports editors, but still figures his best columns are about the people who make Memphis what it is.


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