Although the headline might conjure the impression of someone “not caring” in an elitist sense. It’s not the case at all.
[Editorial Note: This article was written when Mr. Musk’s brash abandonment for business norms and more were of noteworthy praise, and I still stand by it. However, since this time, Mr. Musk has shown to be (my words) nothing more than a P.T. Barnum-esque circus styled businessman than anything resembling a competent, responsible CEO. And have written so.]
What I do want to express is this: Mr. Musk doesn’t care that nearly everyone thinks or thought he couldn’t do, or get done, the things he has. By his own actions and track record he has proven the only thing that matters is whether he thinks it can be done. And that my friends is a point far too many miss. More people place too much time and energy on what they believe can’t be done, which in turn produces that exact result.
As of this writing Mr. Musk’s newest endeavor has been making headlines. What was once thought decades away seems to be within arms reach. Not only are there now Tesla® charging stations for owners to replenish on their sojourn. It can rapidly charge giving owners virtually the same full tank refill in the span of a lunch break. (As opposed to overnight)
This not only makes driving a fully electric car feasible in today’s world. It takes it to another level. People who currently drive Tesla’s are creating, by virtue of their purchases, the framework and blueprint for what $Billions upon $Billions of both dollars and corporate bureaucracy have failed to do. i.e., Make totally electric ownership and drive-ability in real life both feasible and enjoyable.
Vision and determination produces a Tesla Model S.
Billions and Billions of dollars, subsidized incentives, corporate management focus group think produces, “The Volt®.” Need I say more?
Here’s an intricate part of the current Tesla story that, in my view, is quite salient.
If you want to be part of a movement that doesn’t care what others think, but rather, one which allows you to participate in the both the dream or vision of the founder because, you feel the same way? You buy a Tesla.
You want to drive a car that only you seem to be on road with? You buy a Volt.
It would appear Tesla drivers are in the same developmental stage as early Mac® users were. Tesla seems to be emulating the same aura of culture Apple™ instilled in its users. Today’s Prius®, Volt and others, in my view, represent the tech ghosts of IBM® and HP® of the early tech revolution days. I don’t think this dynamic can be downplayed. I believe this is the same phenom that took place with Steve Jobs and Apple users.
People who aspire to create and bring their visions to light as entrepreneurs should pay very, very, very, (did I say very?) close attention to what is transpiring both within, as well as the increasingly expanding parameters under the Tesla umbrella.
If you think it’s just a car story? You’re missing the big picture, in my view. This my fellow entrepreneurs is entrepreneurship 101 through 101.to infinity, in real-time. (Yes, I truly believe it’s that important)
OK, so you’ve read this far thinking, “Blah, blah, blah, electric car. Who cares.” Well, let’s look at another instance where Mr. Musk didn’t care what others thought and went ahead bringing into fruition what many of us now take for granted. (Along with the countless other new start-ups that owe their opportunities to one of his creative visions.) PayPal®.
Is Ebay® worth using without PayPal? Of course we know how important it was to their success because, they purchased it outright making Mr. Musk wealthy from its proceeds. I also believe PayPal is the most profitable side of the whole Ebay – PayPal mix. Without PayPal, Ebay is near useless is it not?
How many people do you think told or implied to Mr. Musk every time he mentioned he was trying to create this PayPal service, that it wouldn’t work? How many times do you think he heard: “You’ll never compete with Mastercard®, or Visa®.” “The banks will never allow it,” and more?
However, it seems we are the benefactors of him not listening. Do the countless new credit card alternative acceptance companies such as Square® and more see rapid industry and user adoption without the ground breaking success of PayPal? (Again, I believe these questions are very important to ponder if you’re an entrepreneur of any stripe.)
So, again, you’ve read this far thinking. blah, blah, blah, credit cards, electric cars. So what.” Fair enough. So how about we shoot for the moon in what it means to be true to your own thoughts and, not care what others think, both literally and figuratively? Another Musk vision: SpaceX®.
As one of my favorite comedians Joan Rivers would say, “Can we talk?”
Is there anything more awe-inspiring than the visions we hold in our minds as humans than our longing for space exploration? After all, it has yet to be expressed more nobly than by Captain James Tiberius Kirk – “Space. The final frontier…”
It boggles our minds because of what risks both financially, as well as the human costs entailed. This is territory not for the faint of heart. Instinctively we know this, along with, that we have come to “think” it can only be achieved through the government apparatus. i.e., Only the government has the financial funds, manpower, training, infrastructure, and more to contemplate such things.
It seems, once again, that’s not what Elon Musk thinks.
Many, including myself, were heart-broken when it was decided NASA was shuttering the space program. No longer would it seem that we, the United States, would be at the forefront of space exploration. Now, in order to get to the International Space Station, the US needs to hitch a ride or else – we can’t go. (deplorable in my opinion)
For someone who still vividly remembers playing outside in a park with his friends then, out of the blue, one of our mothers calling and rushing us into their living room (there were 8 to 10 of us if I remember) to watch Neil and Buzz touchdown? This (ending space exploration) was tragic news.
I myself thought: Without NASA, how or if ever will it happen again? Again, Mr. Musk didn’t care what even people like myself thought. Enter SpaceX.
SpaceX: A space exploration and technological company founded in May of 2012 SpaceX made history as the world’s first privately held company to send cargo to the International Space Station. (The day this happened I myself wrote and cheered its accomplishment)
Forget the electric car. Disregard all the alternative banking, credit payment system doom and gloom professors. What do you think the conversations were like when he first began discussing things such as, “I think I want to start a space company now that NASA thinks it’s too expensive.”
I’d wager dollars to doughnuts the first responses were not, “Great..Lets go! How much do you need?”
I’ll contend, at first, it was much like all the others. “It’ll never work,” “Too expensive,” “Hey, maybe you better stick with that car thing first.” However, like the title to this column. He didn’t care what others thought. And, I thank him personally for it. Even though I could have easily been one of the doubters myself.
This is the true entrepreneur in action. Action almost larger than life.
We have been the recipients of people with this type of vision before. Remembering Steve Jobs, and others before him is one thing. Watching it transpire once again, in real-time, across multiple platforms or venues differing in their markets at such extremes, is only rivaled in the chutzpah of the person needed to carry them into fruition.
Honestly, I am dazzled with his current accomplishments. Not to mention, he only turns 42 this June. What other things are left on his “To do list?” The possibilities and the surprises seem worthy of anticipation, in my opinion.
It’s been rumored that the screen portrayal of Tony Stark in the current Iron Man® (Marvel Studios) incarnations is a reflection or adaptation of Elon Musk. Whether true or not, doesn’t really matter. What really takes the cake, in my book, is the implications of something happening like this:
If a man encased in a metal suit was flying overhead on his own power, then landed in Times Square in front of thousands, lifted his face mask to reveal it was Elon Musk? There would be a great many of us impressed, however, we would not be surprised.
And that is something remarkable in itself indeed.
We often say, “The sky’s the limit” when expressing what’s possible. However, for Elon Musk, it seems he thinks even bigger.
Why don’t you?
© 2013 Mark St.Cyr