Currently, Elon Musk is known as one of the wealthiest men on earth. However, he is primarily prominent for SpaceX and Tesla. From a business standpoint, Elon Musk is a good role model.
He is a good role model because he is successful in every business endeavor compared to others. He never gives up, uses the first principle thinking to guide his thinking, and endures criticism without losing focus on his goal.
There are many successful businesses and entrepreneurs in America. Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Jack Dorsey, Larry Ellison, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, and many others played a significant role in the modern world.
However, only Elon Musk created multiple successful businesses in different fields. For example, Steve Jobs is primarily known for Apple, Jack Dorsey for Twitter, Jeff Bezos for Amazon, and Sergey Brin for Google. None of them, however, went outside of their field to create businesses. Here are several examples.
Jeff Bezos is primarily known for Amazon. He also has a rocket company called Blue Origin, which he created even before SpaceX. SpaceX has an impressive list of achievements over Blue Origin throughout both companies’ existence. In fact, Blue Origin hasn’t made a rocket that can reach earth’s orbit. All the rockets they launched were only suborbital.
Therefore, under the leadership of Elon Musk, SpaceX achieved more than Blue Origin, which is under the leadership of Jeff Bezos.
In the same period when Blue Origin failed to reach orbit, SpaceX made Falcon 1, Falcon 9, and Falcon Heavy. They also sent astronauts and cargo to international times more than 30 times. They also launched hundreds of satellites for customers and government agencies. They are currently working on a Mars rocket known as Starship.
Moreover, SpaceX is creating a global satellite internet service called Starlink. So far, SpaceX has launched thousands of satellites for this Starlink project. Therefore, the track record of SpaceX is impressive compared to Blue Origin.
It can be argued that Jeff Bezos was busy with Amazon. Thus he couldn’t concentrate on Blue Origin. However, it’s a flawed argument.
When Jeff Bezos started Amazon, Elon Musk started the Zip2. During the entire time when Jeff was at Amazon, Elon moved from one successful business to another. For example, From Zip2 to X.com, Paypal, SpaceX, Tesla, Solar City, Open AI, HyperLoop, Boring Company, Neuralink, etc. And all of them are financially successful.
Therefore, Elon Musk is a better business role model than Jeff Bezos. In fact, when compared to other business entrepreneurs, Elon Musk is the most influential role model.
Never Give Up
One Of Elon Musk’s key characteristics is that he never gives up. He relentlessly pursues what he envisions. To succeed in life, this mentality of never giving up is essential.
Success never comes overnight. Most of the successful business entrepreneurs we see today had many failures. However, most of those failures never come to the press.
Even though Elon Musk is famous for his SpaceX and Tesla’s success, these companies almost went bankrupt several times throughout their existence. However, he never gave up on his dream to create a successful rocket company that would one day reach Mars, or his car company would play a significant role in helping the environment.
Elon started SpaceX with only a few hundred million dollars. His first three Falcon 1 rockets failed to reach orbit. He only had enough money to launch another Falcon 1 rocket. They tried the last time and successfully reached orbit.
In 2008 during the economic recession, Tesla was on the verge of bankruptcy. Moreover, during the Model 3 ramp-up in 2018, he went through production issues that made Tesla almost bankrupt again. However, he insisted, persisted, and never gave up on his dream.
According to Elon Musk, when something is important, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor. This mantra is very important for anyone who wants to become successful in life.
The First Principle Thinking
Elon Musk’s other business characteristic that made him successful is the “First Principle Thinking.” In this thought process, he breaks down any problem into fundamental parts and tries to solve the problem from the ground up. Here are a few examples that show that this first principle thinking is a good role model for achieving success.
A typical car company outsources many of its business aspects to third-party companies. These are vendors that work for the Main car company. For example, Ford makes an electric vehicle Mach-e. But many parts of the car, such as seats, electronic chips, high voltage batteries, safety software, etc., are made by third parties. Moreover, they don’t sell or service their vehicles. An independent network of dealers purchases those vehicles from Ford and sells them to customers. Ford also doesn’t service their vehicle; third-party dealers and repair shops perform these.
For safety hardware and software for their car, they rely on Bosch and other companies. Ford also doesn’t have its own electric charging network. They rely on either electrify America or other networks.
When Elon started Tesla, he knew all the pain points and roadblocks that an electric vehicle would face. No one will buy an electric vehicle if there are not enough charging stations throughout the county. Therefore, he created the Tesla Supercharger network. Third-party dealers have a bad reputation for car sales. Thus, he implemented the direct-to-consumer sales model. To service its cars, he established Tesla Service Centers throughout the country.
Moreover, Tesla designs its chips and develops its software. They also have their own facilities to manufacture seats, batteries, unified chassis, and vehicle safety electronics.
Therefore, to make Tesla successful, Elon Musk identified all the roadblocks and solved them from the ground up.
Similarly, Elon Musk made SpaceX successful by dissecting the rocket business, finding all the pain points, and solving them one by one.
ULA is one of the most successful rocket companies in the US. It’s a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin. But most of their successful rockets use various parts from various subcontractors that are situated in multiple states. Moreover, ULA’s flagship rockets depend on Russian rocket engines. The same goes for NASA.
However, SpaceX makes everything for their rockets. Everything is designed and made by SpaceX, from rocket engines to communication electronics. It’s why they can provide launch services at such a low price. Because for other companies, many third-party subcontractors are involved, making it impossible to make the rocket launch price cheaper. However, for SpaceX, there are almost no other subcontractors.
Therefore, Dissecting a problem into many pieces, finding the roadblocks, and solving them from the ground up is critical to making any business successful. One also has to be persistent and never give up during this process. Elon Musk has both of these qualities, and it’s why his businesses are thriving. That’s why Elon Musk is a good role model for anyone who wants to become successful.
Many in the industry don’t agree with Elon Musk on many things. He gets constantly criticized by the public media and his peers from other business entrepreneurs. However, Elon endures every criticism and keeps focus on his company’s goal.
Similarly, anyone who wants to become successful will face severe criticism and competition from others. However, like Elon Musk, one can’t allow these criticisms to create a roadblock to success.
Different people will have different opinions. It’s normal and expected. However, whenever Elon Musk disagrees with someone, he presents his facts. For example, Tesla is trying to develop full self-driving software. They solely rely on cameras, computer vision, and a powerful computer. They don’t use LiDAR, RADAR, GPS, or high precision Maps.
However, many in the industry believe that achieving full self-driving for cars without LiDAR is impossible. But Elon disagrees.
He personally worked on the LiDAR project for SpaceX, where he was the lead designer. SpaceX Dragons use LiDAR, and he understands its cost and limitations. For Dragons to reach the international space station, LiDAR is absolutely necessary, and cameras aren’t suitable here. However, for cars, LiDAR is unnecessary, costly, and bulky. Moreover, it has many limitations that make it ineffective in many weather scenarios.
Many in the space industry laughed at Elon Musk when he announced that he would make reusable rockets. They argued that it’s impossible to design a reusable rocket. However, he successfully demonstrated that it’s not only possible but also profitable.
When SpaceX announced that they would send humans to the international space station, Neil Armstrong talked against it. According to Neil Armstrong, a private company will never be able to launch humans into space safely. However, Elon Musk proved him wrong too.
Therefore, criticism from other successful people in the industry is expected. However, if anyone wants to become successful, they have to endure it and try to find whether their criticism has any substance. The criticism has to be dissected using the first principle thinking and if it has merits, learn from it. If it doesn’t have any merit, reject the criticism, endure it, but never give up.
Elon has repeatedly created successful businesses. Elon Musk has a unique characteristic that makes him successful. It’s why he is a good role model.