In a recent open letter to “everybody”, famous visionary entrepreneur Elon Musk uses the closing statement “Thanks for being awesome” (emphasis mine):

From: Elon Musk To: Everybody

Subj. Staying Public

After giving this a lot of thought, I have come to the conclusion that the best path for the foreseeable future is for Tesla to remain a public company. There are certainly a number of very compelling reasons to go private, so this is far from an obvious decision, but, on balance, being public appears to best serve the interests of the people of Tesla and those who have invested in our future.

Thanks for being awesome,


I’m not familiar with this expression in business letters, so I guess it is sort of informal, “friendly” expression he, for some reason, used on such a delicate occasion.

Searching in google it appears it is a sort of meme that has catched on in recent times.

To my ears the expression sounds a bit disrespectful, considering all the fuss he created around the “go private” issue for Tesla so I wonder if

  • “thanks for being awesome” is just a jocular expression or if its usage has become so common that above usage looks apporopriate or

  • if it is just an original usage of an original entrepreneur or

  • am I missing something here?

  • 1
    It's in the form of an email, not some overly formal legal document. Note how he signs with his first name only, indicating a certain level of informality. I don't really understand your issue with the closing salutation, if I'm honest. Is the problem the use of thanks or the use of awesome?
    – oerkelens
    Aug 25, 2018 at 11:25
  • 3
    "Awesome" for "great, admirable, wonderful", etc, is distinctly casual, Millennial, and American. When you are as rich as Elon Musk, you can sign emails however you like. Aug 25, 2018 at 11:28
  • @oerkelens - whatever the form, he is saying “sorry guys, I changed my mind”. He is talking to “everyone”, that is the people who work for him as well as domestic and international, private and institutional investors and since he is referring to a 72 billion deal he announced a few of weeks ago, closing the letter with “thanks for being awesome” sounds “disrespectful” to say the least. So my question is: what does the expression convey? Is it just jocular or is it now more commonly used also in less informal contexts.
    – user 66974
    Aug 25, 2018 at 15:53
  • 1
    "It", being the exact phrase, is not a set phrase or common form to finish any letter or email, so "it" has not "now" become more commonly used. This is a pretty informal writing from a pretty eccentric rich guy, indeed to his investors. It's up to them how to take it, but at least some of them are going to appreciate that the cool Elon Musk calls them awesome. I am afraid I am still missing the actual question...
    – oerkelens
    Aug 25, 2018 at 16:12
  • 1
    The only way I could possibly interpret this as disrespectful would be if the previous content were critical—turning the statement into something sarcastic rather than sincere. But there is nothing to indicate this at all. It (the closing line anyway) reads to me as nothing more than praise and support. Aug 25, 2018 at 16:45

2 Answers 2


A closing remark is called a valediction.

"Thanks for being awesome" is certainly informal, but not irreverent. He probably closed the letter in this way to establish that his decision was reached with a certain element of goodwill, especially considering the previous sentence (Telsa is staying public because it's probably in the best interests of its investors --- and it was awesome of them to choose to invest in Telsa, so thanks).


This is AmE and it's culture personified. First recent comments on the use of awesome:

Neil deGrasse Tyson Complains About The Word 'Awesome' And Twitter Lets Him Have It


In the original tweet, Tyson decried the use of the word awesome. He said that people didn't use it for trivial things such as food or television shows, instead, he said that people used the word awesome for those who walked on the moon or cured Polio. Once he uttered those words, Twitter freaked out.

One of the more surprising responses to Tyson's small rant was Merriam-Webster's Twitter account. Instead of a diatribe explaining how the usage of the word awesome has evolved over the years, the account just answered back with one simple word: "Neil." The account seemed to be urging him to lighten up about it.

And Elon Musk's middle name, some say is 'awesome'. His flame thrower is awesome. Space X is awsome. He tweets: media is awesome.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary say this of awesome:

The change in meaning that awesome is undergoing may be more recent than that of awful, but both words are treading the same path. For evidence that such change is normal, we need look no further than awe, which originally meant “terror” and now carries the weaker sense "wonder".

IMHO Musk's sense of awesome: you are inspiring, magnanimous, terrific and awesome for task ahead of us!


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