Google “real-life Tony Stark” and the only name you’ll see is ELON MUSK.
Somehow, I think Elon is still under the radar. My wife doesn’t know him. The man on the street won’t know him. He doesn’t have Jobs’s brand.
Yet, I think he’s a much more fascinating entrepreneur than Jobs ever was. (with all the Apple in my house, this is a pretty loaded statement)
Also, I think Elon wins the badass entrepreneurial name battle.
“Elon Musk” > “Steve Jobs”
He DOES sound like someone who would be captain of a martian spacecraft!
If you’re wondering what the fuss is all about, watch the fascinating video below from the recent D11 Conference.
(I’m serious, watch it! Don’t skip over to this part until you do!)
So here’s why I love this guy:
1) Not about the money – its about the impact
You know what I find most amazing in this interview? He’s able to talk about “inter-planetary life” in a business conference with a straight face. While Zuckerberg busies himself trying to find new ways to bill us for talking to people already in our network, Musk is not only trying to get rid of our dependence on fossil fuel, but he’s also saving the human race from extinction via the development of interplanetary travel.
With a straight face.
As noted entrepreneur/VC Mark Suster says, “Elon puts all other entrepreneurs to shame.”
2) He doesn’t go after the easy thing
Attend ANY entrepreneurial event and what you’ll inevitably find is an avalanche of internet ideas. Musk advises us of the opposite thing: get out of the internet, there are too many people there.
After doing Paypal, what ANYONE would have done (in fact, what most of the “Paypal Mafia” did) is to do even more internet startups.
Instead, Musk went after bigger, more difficult fish.
3) The man has balls
Ok, tell me would you create a startup which would threaten to disrupt the main source of wealth of a plethora of Middle Eastern countries?
Disruption typically makes you enemies – those who want to hold on to the status quo. Musk isn’t afraid of disrupting some of the oldest, most entrenched, wealthiest industries.
That takes chutzpah.
4) Atypical heroes
You can tell a lot about a person by asking who his heroes are. When asked of who his heroes are, we were probably expecting one of the great IT guys, perhaps Jobs or Gates (You could tell the interviewers wanted him to reply this way) Instead, Musk quickly went with Tesla (oh gosh if you haven’t read this yet, please do. Tesla rules!), Einstein, Edison, and Newton.
5) Sheer Diversity
Let’s chronologically talk about the technology Musk tackled: the first truly universal online payment gateway, electric cars, a space exploration/rockets(it still feels weird to type that), and “a cross between a Concorde, a rail gun, and an hockey table.”
How many CEO’s do you see tackle that range of technology?
The truly impressive thing? You just KNOW he immerses himself in the technology and just MAKES himself an expert. We all know LEARNING is a key trait for entrepreneurs , but this is ridiculous.
I want to be an expert in internet payments. Done. Hmmm…electric cars seem really important – I want to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. I need to be an expert in electric automobiles (which look really good) Done. Space?…
Elon is amazing – the spiritual successor to Steve Jobs and for me, the undisputed occupant of the entrepreneurial Iron Throne. If you are an entrepreneur, you HAVE to follow, learn, and get inspiration from him.
Can’t wait to see what he has for us next.