Elon Musk is primarily known as the CEO and founder of Tesla and SpaceX. However, he is different from others. He is one of the most brilliant, dynamic, and charismatic people.
Elon Musk is different from others because he is a billionaire, but he doesn’t own any homes, yachts, or private planes. His approach to invention, business principles, work ethic, and education are unconventional. Above all, he doesn’t act like other CEOs or founders.
Elon Musk’s thinking is different from other innovators and CEOs of our modern times. Here are a few things that show how he is different,
- At the age of 12, he created a video game named “Blaster” and sold it for $500.
- He left South Africa at the age of 17 to avoid conscription and mandatory service in the apartheid SA military.
- He came to the USA and completed a bachelor’s degree in Physics and Economics.
- He made $180 million from the sale of X.com. He invested $100 million into SpaceX, $70 million in Tesla, and $10 million in the solar city. He had to borrow money for rent.
No one who gets a windfall of $180 million in their early 30s will invest all of his money in companies that had no prospect of success. Elon Musk could have taken all the money and bought luxury homes, islands, and yachts and lived a happy life. But he chose not to do it.
He decided to invest all of his money to form companies that could change the humanities future. In the process, he went almost bankrupt. Analyzing these proves that Elon Musk is different from other billionaires, politicians, CEOs, and successful people.
Elon Musk owns no Possessions
Elon Musk is different from other billionaires because he doesn’t own any homes, yachts, luxury cars, or private planes. He lives in a $50,000 home that SpaceX owns. Jeff Bezos owns several luxury yachts, but Elon Musk never had any.
Elon lives a simple life. In an interview Grimes — his girlfriend — said that he doesn’t even care to change the battered mattress in the house. He cuts his hair and eats the same food almost daily. He also loves to do all of his work at home. It’s unconventional; it’s different.
Read More: Why Elon Musk doesn’t like Mark Zuckerberg
Unconventional Approach to Education
Elon Musk has a double bachelor’s degree. One is in physics and one in Economics. He also went to Stanford for Ph.D. (even though he didn’t complete it.) However, he has a very unique opinion toward education.
Elon Musk believes that education is necessary as long as it serves its purpose. However, formal education isn’t the only way to gather knowledge. According to Elon Musk, “you can have Ph.D. but still be an idiot.”
Education is nothing but training that teaches people to do a job to earn money. If someone can teach themselves by watching YouTube videos, reading books, or other means and can make money, then education becomes irrelevant. It’s why Elon Musk doesn’t care whether someone has higher education for a potential job in Tesla, SpaceX, or Neuralink. He only looks for extraordinary achievement records even if someone has no formal education.
Elon Musk created his first internet company Zip2 and sold it to Compaq for millions of dollars even though he isn’t a software engineer. He then created X.com, which is now known as Paypal.
Elon Musk created the car company Tesla, even though he isn’t a mechanical, electrical, or auto engineer. He created SpaceX even though he isn’t an aerospace engineer. He formed Neuralink even though he isn’t a biologist, doctor, or surgeon.
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Each of these companies is not only successful, but Elon also has profound knowledge in each of his companies. In an interview, Elon Musk said that he could name every part of a Tesla vehicle, and he can tell how much time and money it requires to manufacture those parts.
It shows Elon Musk’s profound knowledge in unrelated fields where he doesn’t have a formal education. It’s why Elon Musk thinks education is necessary, but the way people emphasize it is unnecessary. Elon Musk is different from others who think education is everything. His habit of learning new things in unconventional ways is different.
Elon Musk loves to speak his mind. When most CEOs never talk openly and publicly except in official settings, Elon engages with almost everyone on Twitter. He expresses his political opinion openly.
Most founders never engage in a public fight with other celebrities, politicians, or government agencies. However, Elon is different. He doesn’t shy away from expressing his rash opinion toward anyone he disagrees with.
Many criticize Elon by saying, “you are a CEO, and you should act like one.” It shows Elon Musk is different from others.
Read More: Why Elon Musk tweets so much
He is known as Iron Man
Elon Musk is frequently compared to the famous comic book character Iron Man.
Iron Man is known for achieving technological progress and success that many think and believe is impossible. But Iron Man invents impossible things.
Similarly, Elon Musk has delivered many products that many believed were impossible. For example, SpaceX’s reusable rocket. Not only did Elon create reusable rockets, but he also did it at a lower cost than competitors’ expendable rockets.
No other billionaire in the world is praised and revered as Elon Musk.
He works like crazy
Elon Musk believes that hard work can overcome talent. If someone works 80 hours and another person works 40 hours, then the first person would achieve 2x output in one week than the other person even if their IQ is the same.
Elon Musk believes in hard work. He reads voraciously. He learns constantly.
At SpaceX, it’s expected that everyone would leave work until late at night. It’s also expected that everyone would come on Saturday to continue work. He believes if everyone goes early, then either the workload is less, or SpaceX hired too many employees. It’s why he praises Chinese Tesla factory workers because those Chinese employees sometimes work 12 hours shifts 6 days a week.
Every company Elon Musk formed has an excruciating work culture where employees work nonstop. It’s why the executive turnover rate at Tesla is very high. Because most executives that come from other companies have never faced a work culture that Elon pushes, it’s why Elon Musk is different from entrepreneurs.
SpaceX doesn’t file Patents
SpaceX is one of the most influential space launch vehicle companies. They have made many technological breakthroughs that many other companies can’t even comprehend. However, SpaceX never files patents to protect their tech, unlike ULA or Blue Origin. Elon Musk chose a different and unique approach in this regard.
Elon Musk knows that many companies are actively trying to get SpaceX’s design blueprint. Filing a patent is nothing but openly declaring the secret tech to the world. Many hostile nations, such as China, who actively engage in IP theft, will benefit from this.
If SpaceX files patents, China will copy them. Thus, SpaceX does all the innovation, design, and work, and China reaps the benefit of the research without spending a dollar. To protect this IP theft by other nations and companies, SpaceX doesn’t file any patents. In this way, Elon Musk’s thinking is different from other space companies’ CEOs.
Read More: Why Tesla will not fail
Tesla Patents are Free
SpaceX doesn’t file patents to protect its intellectual property. In contrast, Tesla files patents for every innovation it does. Moreover, Elon Musk openly announced that all Tesla patents are open to everyone.
Companies can use the Tesla patents, copy the design, and don’t have to pay a dollar to Tesla. It’s 100% free. No other company has this approach. It shows how Elon Musk’s thinking and business idea is different.
In an interview, Elon was asked why Tesla files patents if it is free for others to use. He said it is to protect themselves so that other companies don’t sue them for their innovation.
Elon Musk wants to help others achieve a sustainable future where everything will be powered by renewable energy. His company — Tesla — is doing a tremendous job toward this goal. His approach to helping other companies achieve this goal by opening up patents is unconventional. It’s why Elon Musk is different from other innovators.