Back in October 2016, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance was recommended to me by my mentor. As I read it, not only did I learn how wildly smart Elon Musk is, but I learned that you can do absolutely anything that you put your mind to. Why? After Elon Musk built Zip2 (literally, replacing the yellow pages with the internet) and PayPal, he decided that he would learn how to build reusable rockets and started SpaceX.
While Elon Musk is a gifted guy with an extreme work ethic, what set him apart from anyone else was the fact that he was so hungry to learn and was always challenging the status quo.
For example, if an employee were to tell Elon Musk that a deadline or cost requirement is not possible, he would often kick them off their job on the spot and do it himself, while managing Tesla AND SpaceX!
“Elon will say, ‘Fine. You’re off the project, and I am now the CEO of the project. I will do your job and be CEO of two companies at the same time. I will deliver it,'” says a former employee of SpaceX. In this example, Elon Musk had asked an employee to build the computing system for SpaceX’s rocket with a budget of $10,000, where the standard spend was $10,000,000! (As a note, Elon Musk delivered on this…)
While this could be perceived as a form of arrogance, what I learned from Elon Musk and his book is: to always challenge the way things have been done and that nothing is impossible.
“The first step is to establish that something is possible–then probability will occur” – Elon Musk