ELON MUSKACHIEVING IMPACT AND HARMONY WHILE ADDRESSINGTHE WORLD’S MOST CHALLENGING PROBLEMSBY ALEX THALERMarch 28, 2013
Brief timeline of Elon’s lifeBorn in 1971(He‟s 41now)At age 12createscomputergame andsells for $500Completes dualdegree at Penn forundergrad: Business(Wharton) andphysics majorsFirstcompany, Zip2, acquiredfor >$300Mby AltavistaCreates X.com,which was laterrenamed Paypaland bought byeBay for $1.5BFoundedSpaceX in „02He iscurrentlyCEO andCTOCo-foundedTesla Motors.He is currentlyCEO andproductarchitect. Alsocreated conceptforSolarCity, wherehe is currentlyChairman of theBoard.
Professional accomplishments:revolutionizing industriesInspiration for IronMan – JonFavreau, moviedirector
Integrating the four domains• Veryfocusedvision• Musk Foundation• On multipleboards• Joined GivingPledge• Fivechildren• Tesla• SpaceX• SolarCityWork HomeSelfCommunityStrategies for integratingthe domains“I do love email. Whereverpossible I try to communicateasynchronously. Im reallygood at email.”Typical week:• Monday: He‟s at SpaceXin Los Angeles• Tuesday and Wednesday:Tesla in Palo Alto, Calif.• Thursday and half ofFriday: Back at SpaceX• Remaining half of Friday:At Tesla DesignStudio, which is adjacentto SpaceX• Weekends: With family
Lessons from Elon’s story1. Have a strong vision and don’t let anything get in your way of pursuing it• Elon has focused on three goals: advancing the internet, space travel, and energyefficiency.2. Know the level of interaction necessary to make an impact.• With SolarCity, Elon helped with the initial idea and found strong managers to grow thecompany. As chairman, he only spends ~2 hours a month on calls and one board meetinga quarter. The company CEO had this to say:“Elon is a phenomenal genius,” says Rive. “So when he gives you the time and you layout the plan, he can quickly identify the hole in the plan… this is the true definition ofquality vs quantity. .. you can fix whatever potential pot-hole you might run into, just in aten minute discussion with Elon.”• With SpaceX, he is the CEO and CTO, with large day to day responsibilities• With Tesla, he at first hired another CEO, and stepped in when the company was in troublein „083. Use different forms of communication to optimize your time• Elon uses e-mail as one of his preferred forms of communication123