Musk Inc. – SpaceX, Tesla and Solarcity

Why does it make sense to invest in either Tesla or Solarcity? Answer: Elon Musk

Elon Musk is a rare individual with all of the traits that epitomises a visionary entrepreneur. I have outlined some of the qualities that makes him eligible to become one of the greatest leaders of our time.

Grit – Never give up

Elon Musk suffered pain and was bullied and beaten during his school days. He went through a very painful childhood and loss of his first son.

Outlined below is an account of what his friends, family and colleagues say about him.

'He has a level of stamina and an ability to deal with levels of stress that I’ve never seen in anyone else.'

'As I watched him climb that final hundred feet with suffering all over his face, I thought, That’s Elon. Do or die but don’t give up.' – On a bicycle climb for which he was ill-prepared.

'When Elong first arrived in Canada, he got himself a gig cleaning the boiler room of a lumber mill for eighteen dollars an hour. Thirty people started out at the beginning of the week. By the third day, five people were left. At the end of the week, it was just Musk and two other men doing the work.'

'The harder/stressful the situation gets, the better he gets The kind of situation he faced when trying to save Tesla from going bankrupt, others would have given up.'

'You always knew it was Elon because the phone would never stop ringing. The man does not take no for an answer. You can’t blow him off. I do think of him as the Terminator. He locks his gaze on to something and says, ‘It shall be mine.’ Bit by bit, he won me over -  His first wife

For Elon, the word no does not exist, and he expects that attitude from everyone around him. In his own words, ‘My mentality is that of a samurai. I would rather commit seppuku than fail.’

“He has the ability to work harder and endure more stress than anyone I’ve ever met,” Gracias said. “What he went through in 2008 would have broken anyone else. He didn’t just survive. He kept working and stayed focused.”

“Most people who are under that sort of pressure fray,” Gracias said. 'Their decisions go bad. Elon gets hyper-rational. He’s still able to make very clear, long-term decisions. The harder it gets, the better he gets.'

He started selling off prized possessions like the McLaren to generate extra cash. He sent impassioned pleas to anyone he could think of who might be able to spare some money.

I don’t want to be the person who ever has to compete with Elon. You might as well leave the business and find something else fun to do. He will outmaneuver you, outthink you, and out-execute you

Drive

Outside of his studies, Elon would read the newspaper alongside Kimbal, and the two of them would identify interesting people they would like to meet. They then took turns cold-calling these people to ask if they were available to have lunch.

Amazing negotiator
When his professor awarded 98/100 - “He went back to the professor, and talked his way into the two points he lost and got a hundred,”

Visionary
He demonstrated an innate ability to read people and technology trends at the inception of the consumer Web. He founded zip2 and PayPal.

Brilliant – Prodigy
People who have spent significant time with Musk will attest to his abilities to absorb incredible quantities of information with near-flawless recall.

Among other things, he is self taught rocket expert. And he did that by reading books.

“Elon is one of the few people that I feel is more accomplished than I am,” said Craig Venter, the man who decoded the human genome and went on to create synthetic lifeforms.

Musk’s behavior matches up much more closely with someone who is described by neuropsychologists as profoundly gifted. These are people who in childhood exhibit exceptional intellectual depth and max out IQ tests. It’s not uncommon for these children to look out into the world and find flaws—glitches in the system—and construct logical paths in their minds to fix them.

Creating a team of A++ players
Musk has an innate ability to find bright, ambitious people and lure them to his companies.

He interviewed almost every one of SpaceX’s first one thousand hires, including the janitors and technicians, and has continued to interview the engineers as the company’s workforce swelled.

Musk was always looking for brainy engineers who had not just done well at school but had done something exceptional with their talents by Dolly Singh SpaceX recruiter

The guiding principle at SpaceX is to embrace your work and get stuff done. People who await guidance or detailed instructions languish. The same goes for workers who crave feedback.

Musk could be equally brisk with employees who were not hitting his standards. “He would often say, ‘The longer you wait to fire someone the longer it has been since you should have fired them"

It’s almost a binary experience experience for him. Either you’re trying to make something spectacular with no compromises or you’re not. And if you’re not, Musk considers you a failure.

Everyone could see it, and people lost their jobs when they didn’t deliver.

Employees fear Musk. They adore Musk. The give up their lives for Musk, and they usually do all of this simultaneously.

Lean and Fast
He has build an empire which is vertically integrated with a very high performance team

Tesla sent its engineers along with the Roadsters being tested and had them analyze the data on the spot. When something needed to be tweaked, the engineers would rewrite some code and send the car back on the ice. In contrast, BMW would need to have a confab between three or four companies that would all blame each other for the problem

All of the three organisations are run like a start-up

Competitive Advantages
SpaceX and Tesla are miles ahead of traditional aerospace companies and auto makers

There exists enormous synergy between the three companies – SpaceX, Tesla and Solarcity.

The incumbents are filled with buerocracy and will find huge challenges to catch up.

SpaceX can undercut its U.S. competitors—Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital Sciences—on price by a ridiculous margin.

SpaceX boasts that the Falcon Heavy can take up twice the payload of the nearest competitor—the Delta IV Heavy from Boeing/ ULA—at one-third the cost.

The Road Ahead
Elon Musk is very good at raising money. He puts his money where his mouth is. These days taking a company public is more about cashing out the venture capital as opposed to borrowing money to expand further. Musk, on the other hand, is not fond to taking companies public due to the nuisance of shareholders coming in the way of the accomplishing the vision.

Musk Inc. have a long way to go and there is plenty that can go wrong. I strongly feel that Elon Musk will be counted among the greatest with the likes of Hnrey Ford, Sam Watson, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. It’s going to be a hell of a ride, though

4 comments :

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  2. Agreed. Very rare for large listed companies to have their founder / CEO play such an active role in the company. Not sure if you read the book about him, but it really shows how crazy and fanatical he is about the vision he is pursuing with his company. Well worth a read - http://www.amazon.com/Elon-Musk-SpaceX-Fantastic-Future/dp/0062301233

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  3. Could agree more. It is a beautiful read :-)

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