Today marks the day of Elon Musk’s solar glass roof tiles finally go on sale. Musk will be rolling out to major styles “black glass smooth and textured will be first. Tuscan and French Slate in about six months”. This technology has captured the imagination of the world and seeks to reconfigure how the world is powered. This disruptive technology will revolutionize how energy is collected and stored forever! This is just one of a long list of innovations Musk has introduced to the world. I chose to take a look at the life of Elon Musk for my second last blog post as he is a huge inspiration to me. And what better day to talk about him than on the day he launches one of his most innovative products to date!
Born in South-Africa in 1971, Musk was destined for great things. Founder and CEO of SpaceX, Neuralink and Tesla, Co-founding OpenAI, PayPal and SolarCity, Musk has achieved more in the last twenty years than a thousand people could in a lifetime. As of May 2017, his net worth stands at $15.2 billion. Elon Musk is beyond inspirational, not because he taught himself computer programming at the age of 12, or dropped out of grad school or even because his official salary for Tesla Motors is just $1 a year, I am inspired by his values. I write another eight week blog on his accomplishments and accolades but I would rather take a closer look at his problem solving abilities.
In an interview in 2015, Musk expressed his respect for the “First Principles Thinking” and advocated for people to move away from “reason by analogy”. He suggests we should boil things down to their simplest form…then work from there. This critical way of thinking dates back as far as Aristotle. Musk argues it “takes a lot more mental energy”, but the results can be groundbreaking!
Musk suggests that people focus too much on their experience and fail to build their reasoning from the ground up. He suggests;
“You look at the fundamentals and construct your reasoning from that and then see if you have a conclusion that works or doesn’t work. And it may or may not be different from what people have done in the past. It’s harder to think that way, though.”
Musk seeks to establish what is fundamentally true and then works on from that point. This is how he has managed to develop solutions for some of the most complex issues of the last twenty years. Vision and adaptability are key competencies to entrepreneurship and these are possessed in great quantities by Musk. The final competency which I believe is integral to entrepreneurship is perseverance. Musk believes in long hours and hard work. He suggests
“Work like hell. I mean you just have to put in 80 to 100 hour weeks every week. [This] improves the odds of success. If other people are putting in 40 hour work weeks and you’re putting in 100 hour work weeks, then even if you’re doing the same thing you know that….you will achieve in 4 months what it takes them a year to achieve.”
While this may be hard to hear, there is undoubtedly no substitute for hard work.