Elon Musk’s Ultimate Advice For Students And College Grads | Top 10 Lessons

Elon Musk’s Ultimate Advice For Students And College Grads | Top 10 Lessons

August 26, 2019 2 By Stanley Isaacs


that third failure in a row did you think I need to pack this in never why not I don’t ever give up I mean I’d have to be dead or completely incapacitated eight weeks later musk bet the company on another flight we have liftoff and this time around everything worked perfect if that fourth launch hadn’t worked that would have been it we would have not had the resources to mount a fifth some of them again are gonna sound like well you’ve heard it before but you know it’s well worth emphasizing I think the first is you need to work depending on how well you want to do in particularly if you’re starting a company you need to work super hard so what is super hard mean well when my brother and I was starting our first company instead of getting an apartment we just rented a small office and we slept on the couch and we showered at the YMCA and we’re so hot up we had just one computer so the website was up during the day and I was coding at night seven days a week all the time and I sort of briefly had a girlfriend that period and in order to be with me she had to sleep in the office so I work hard like it mean every waking hour that’s that’s the thing I would I would say if you’re particularly if you’re starting a company
and I mean if you do simple math to say like okay if somebody else is working 50 hours when you’re working 100 you’ll get twice as done as much done in the course of a year as the other company the other thing I’d say is that if you’re creating company or if you’re joining a company the most important thing is to is to attract great people so either be would join a group that’s amazing that you’ve really respect or if you’ve building a company you’ve got to gather great people I mean all the company is is a group of people that have gathered together to create a product or service and so depending upon how talented and hardworking that group is and the greater which they are focused cohesively in a good direction that will determine the success of the company so do everything you can to to gather great people if you’re creating a company then I’d say focus on on signal over noise a lot of companies get confused that they spend money on things that don’t actually make the product better so for example at Tesla we’ve we’ve never spent any money on advertising we put all of the money into R&D; and manufacturing and design to try to make the car as good as possible and I think that’s that’s the way to go so for for any given company just keep thinking about are these efforts
02:31 that people are spending are they resulting in a better product or service and if they’re not stop those efforts and then the final thing is is to sort of is don’t don’t just follow the trend so you may have heard me say that is good to think in terms of the physics approach of first principles which is rather than reasoning by analogy you boil things down to the most fundamental truths you can imagine and you reason up from there and this is a good way to figure out if if something really makes sense or if it’s just what everybody else is doing it’s hard to think that way you can’t think think that way about everything takes a lot of effort but if you’re trying to do something new it’s the best way to think and that framework was developed by by physicists to figure out counterintuitive things like quantum mechanics so it’s really a powerful powerful method and anyway so that’s and then I think that the final thing I would encourage you to do is now is the time to take risk you don’t have yeah you know you don’t have you don’t have kids your obligations probably not have kids the the the but but as you as you get older your obligations increase so your and once you have a family you start taking risk not just for yourself but for your family as well it gets much harder to do things that might not work out so now is the time to do that before you before you have those obligations so I would encourage you to take risks now do something bold you won’t regret it thank you I think successful entrepreneurs probably come in all sizes shapes and flavors i’m not sure if any one one particular thing for me you know some of the things I’ve described already I think are very important I think really an obsessive nature with respect to the quality of the product it is very important so you know being obsessive-compulsive is a good thing and this context really really liking what you do whatever area that you get into given that you know even if you if you’re the best the best there’s always a chance of failure so I think it’s important that you really like whatever you’re doing if you don’t like it life is too short you know I’d say if and also if you if you like what you’re doing you think about it even when you’re not working I mean it’ll just it’s something that your mind is drawn to and and if you don’t like it you just really can’t make it work I think first of all I’d say starting a business is not for everyone yeah you know so generally starting a business I’d say number one is have a high pain threshold that’s a friend of mine who’s got a good saying which is that signing a company is like eating glasses staring into the abyss okay that’s that’s generally what happens because when you first start a company there’s lots of optimism and things that things are great and then so happiness at first is high then you encounter all sorts of issues and Happiness will steadily decline and then you’ll go through a whole world of hurt hurts and then eventually you’ll if you succeed and in most cases you will not succeed and and Tesla almost didn’t succeed came very close to failure then if you succeed then after a long time you will finally get back to happiness I think two is you’ve got to make sure that that you that whatever you’re doing is a great product or service it has to be really great and I go back to what I was saying earlier where if you’re a new company I mean this it’s like some new industry or new market that if it’s an untapped market or then then you have more ability to give is this the standard is lower for your product or service but if you’re entering anything where there’s an existing marketplace against large entrenched competitors then your product or service needs to be much better than theirs it can’t be a little bit better because then you put yourself in the shoes of the consumer and they say why would you buy it as a consumer you’re always going to buy the trusted brand unless there’s a big difference so a lot of times you know entrepreneur will come up with something which is only slightly better and it’s it’s not you can’t just be slightly better it’s got to be a lot better number three I’d say it constantly seek criticism a a well a well thought-out critique of whatever you’re doing is as valuable as gold and you should seek that from everyone you can but particularly your friends usually your friends know what’s wrong but they don’t want to tell you because they don’t want to hurt you so let you also know your yeah so that you know that I would encourage my friends so I’m not going to tell him what I think is wrong with this product yeah it doesn’t mean your friends are right
11:23 but very often they are right and you at least want to listen very carefully to what they say and to everyone you’re looking for basically you should take the approach that that you’re wrong you know that hope that you the entrepreneur are wrong your goal is to be less wrong and then I think it’s also important to reason from first principles rather than by analogy so the normal way that we conduct our lives is we we we reason by analogy it’s we’re doing this because it’s like something else that was done or it’s like what other people are doing me to type ideas yeah it’s like yeah slight iteration yeah on a theme and and and it’s because it’s it’s it’s kind of mentally easier to reason by analogy rather than from first principles but by first principles is kind of a physics way of looking at the world and what that really means is you kind of boil things down to the most fundamental truths and and say okay what are we sure is true or a sure as possible is true and then reason up from there that takes a lot more mental energy give me an example that like what’s one thing that you’ve done that on that you feels work for you sure so somebody could say in fact people do that battery packs are really expensive and that’s just the way they’ll always be because that’s the way they’ve been in the past you’re like well no that’s that’s pretty dumb you know because if if you apply that reasoning to anything new that then you wouldn’t be able to ever get to that new thing right so you know it’s like you can’t say oh you know horses nobody wants a car because horses are great and we’re used to them and they can eat grass there’s lots of grass all over the place and you know there’s not like there’s no gasoline if you’re looking buy so people are going to never get ever going to get parts right that people did say that and for batteries they would say oh it’s going to cost you know the historically its cost six six hundred dollars for $600 per kilowatt hour and so it’s not going to be much better than that in the future and you say no okay what what are the batteries made of so the first principles would be say okay what are the material constituents of the batteries what is the spot market value of the material constituents so you can say okay it’s got cobalt nickel aluminum carbon and some polymers for separation and a steel can so break that down in on a material basis and say okay what if we bought that in london metal exchange what would each of those things cost like oh geez it’s like $80 a per kilowatt hour so clearly you just need to think of clever ways to take those materials and combine them into the shape of a battery cell and you can have batteries that are much much cheaper than anyone realizes I think certainly being focused on something that you’re confident will have high value to someone else and just being really rigorous in making that assessment because people are attend tend to natural human tendencies wishful thinking so a challenge for entrepreneurs is to say well what’s the difference between really believing in new ideals and sticking sticking to them versus pursuing some unrealistic dream that doesn’t actually have merit and it’s it’s that is it that is a really difficult thing to to tell you can you tell the difference between those two things I know so you need to be sort of very rigorous in your self self analysis I think certainly extremely tenacious and and then just work like hell I mean you just have to put in you know 80 hour 80 to 100 hour weeks every week and then that’s a lot of work all those things improve the odds of success okay I mean if other people are putting in 40 hour work weeks and you’re putting in 100 hour work weeks then even if you’re doing the same thing you know that in one year you will achieve what that you will achieve in four months what it takes them a year to achieve