Why is Elon Musk So Intelligent?

Elon Musk is one of the most successful entrepreneurs globally, which made him the wealthiest man on earth. It is no luck or hard work alone. Hard work is essential, but achieving success is tough without intelligence and prudent judgment.

People are divided into two groups. One group believes Elon Musk is brilliant and clever. Another group, however, believes Elon Musk is a liar and fraud. 

Every successful person and company would have followers and haters. Elon Musk is no different. 

Paypal, Tesla, SpaceX, Starlink, and OpenAI all are successful with actual products that people love and use. Rarely do these successes come out of the blue without proper planning, execution, and direction.

A human can’t learn everything. It’s why we have specialization. Even in the field of Engineering, we have software engineers, electrical engineers, civil engineers, mechanical engineers, aerospace engineers, etc. And Tesla SpaceX hires all types of engineers. 

If Elon Musk proposes something ridiculous according to software engineers’ perspectives during a meeting, it doesn’t make him ignorant. Nor does it make those software engineers more talented than Elon Musk. 

No one can master knowledge on every issue. It’s why entrepreneurs hire employees based on various skill sets. But whom these entrepreneurs hire and how they are led is crucial. Furthermore, how the final decision is made in the company is vital. Elon Musk is intelligent and clever because not only does he hire the right people, but he also inspires and leads them to success.

Elon Musk has degrees in physics and economics. Elon Musk applies the first principle thinking to all of his problems. It’s why most of the solutions Elon Musk proposes come out as successful. 

According to various Andrej Carpathy interviews — Tesla’s AI director — Elon Musk, has a better sense of judgment than others. 

The following 3 examples will prove why Elon Musk is talented, intelligent, and a genius which many people fail or willingly ignore to see.

However, if we ascribe all the success of Elon Musk to his intelligence, it would be misleading. Elon is successful because of his focus, work ethic, first principle reasoning, decision-making process, mentality, hard work, and tenaciousness. 

Rivian vs. Tesla Success:

Tesla was founded in 2003, and Elon Musk became chair of Tesla in 2004 and CEO in 2008. Original Roadster was Tesla’s first production car and came out in 2009. Therefore, within 5 years, Elon Musk steered Tesla to its first production supercar.

On the contrary, Rivian was founded by Robert RJ Scaringe in 2009, and this company delivered its first production vehicle in 2021 — after 12 years. In these 12 years, Rivian came out with 1 product — the R1T truck.

However, since becoming CEO in 2008, in 12 years from 2008 to 2020, Tesla started producing Model S, Model X, Model 3, Model Y. They also unveiled Roadster 2020, CyberTruck, and Tesla Semi. Moreover, Tesla created a massive electric charging network — Supercharger; started Tesla Insurance, Powerwall, and Solar business. They are also developing Full Self-driving software. Tesla also opened 3 factories during those 12 years. At the same time, Elon Musk is the CEO of SpaceX.

Stacking up the success in the first 12 Years between RJ Scaringe and Elon Musk clearly shows how insane Elon’s achievements are. 

SpaceX vs. Blue Origin Success:

Blue Origin is a rocket company founded and owned by Jeff Bezos (the founder of Amazon) in 2000. On the other hand, SpaceX was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk. 

Since its founding, Blue Origin only came out with a sub-orbital New Shepard rocket. In 22 years, Blue Origin never reached or delivered anything to space.  

On the contrary, SpaceX reached orbit in 2008 with their Falcon 1 rocket. Since then, SpaceX has developed reusable Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets. These rockets have not only launched but landed hundreds of times. SpaceX is currently working on the next-generation Mars rocket, Starship.

Comparing Blue Origin and SpaceX, it’s remarkable how much SpaceX has achieved even though SpaceX is a younger company.

Many argue that success will come if someone throws too much money at anything. If that’s the case, why could Blue Origin not achieve a fraction of what SpaceX achieved even though Jeff Bezos spent billions of dollars on his rocket company?

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon vs. Boeing’s Starliner:

In 2014, NASA chose Boeing and SpaceX to develop two rocket vehicles that will carry astronauts to the International Space Station. NASA gave $4.2 billion to Boeing and $2.6 billion to SpaceX.

In 2019, SpaceX completed its first demo mission to ISS with the crew dragon; in 2020, SpaceX sent two astronauts. 

On the contrary, Boeing couldn’t even complete its first uncrewed test during this period.

Boeing has been in the business of making rockets and airplanes for decades and is considered to have the best engineers in the industry. Still, they failed to achieve their goals.

It clearly shows how Elon Musk leads SpaceX.   

Some critics try to undermine Elon Musk and his achievements because it gives them mental pleasure. People can ridicule Elon all day, but they can’t deny that he made and led to creating successful products in human history, such as Paypal, Tesla, Starlink, and SpaceX. 

Running a company is no easy task. It’s not uncommon that the HR department is the most hated. It’s because they are the police and judges of a company. There’s a question: Why is there no good landlord? There’s no good landlord because all the good ones have gone bankrupt. 

Similarly, being a company CEO is no easy feat. Politicians try to please everyone. Whereas a company CEO tries to maximize the profitability of their company. They are not in the business of pleasing people except for the entertainment industry.

Elon Musk follows the principle, where he hires slow but fires fast. He doesn’t sugarcoat his opinion, or he doesn’t hesitate to criticize his employees harshly. He even fires employees if they don’t meet his expectations. From a non-business perspective, this behavior is rash and harsh, but those in managerial positions know it is required to lead thousands of employees.

Sometimes a person has to be crazy enough to take considerable risks to become successful. The project could fail, but a person has already failed if he doesn’t start the project. 

Many people worry too much about what others will think if s/he fails. Many people and companies don’t even try to achieve bigger things because of this anxiousness. According to them, it’s better to do nothing than fail at something. They play it safe.

There are a lot of insecure engineers who love to diminish Elon Musk and his achievement to make them feel better. 

But Elon Musk’s achievements show that he is not only clever and intelligent, he is also a hard-working, well-reasoned engineer and businessman that brought success.