Image Credit: Marvel Studios
Do you know the character-on-screen played by Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man aka Tony Start is inspired by a real-life entrepreneur and you probably already know him? He found Paypal, SpaceX, Tesla & SolarCity and he’s at the origin of Hyperloop. If you don’t know who I’m talking about, where have you been this last 10 years? Everyone knows Elon Musk, the real Iron Man.
Some love him, some hate him but everyone is according to say he’s a real entrepreneur and already a true legend in entrepreneurship and business. The world is and will be different from and after Elon Musk. I encourage you to read the Ashlee Vance’s book about Elon Musk: “Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future” and the book of Ryan McIntire “Elon Musk: Renaissance Man“
With his experiences, Elon is a great entrepreneur but also a not-so-bad CEO. So what if you hire Elon Musk to run your company?
Here are four things Musk would probably do if he were to run your business:
1. He would be more approachable
He stays approachable and close to his community (and also haters). If you ask him a question on Twitter he’ll answer you most of the time and many times with fun. He’s like a friend you have on Twitter. For one thing, when one of his Twitter followers asked him whether he is bipolar, he responded “yeah” and then explained “Maybe not medically tho”, a level of humbleness you wouldn’t expect from the CEO of two million-dollar companies.
“Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.” – Elon Musk
2. He would be more authentic
Elon is who he is. When he has a public speech he’s nervous like most of the people and he does weird moves and tells jokes. Being himself is a reason why he’s some much known now. You have probably heard the “little” story about this hot tweet he did early August 2018. This is an act of authenticity, he didn’t hide behind a mask. He posted this tweet and didn’t erase it even if it was a mistake. He assumed it.
“When you truly believe in an idea, and you focus on sharing that passion with others, you tend to forget about the mechanics of speaking and presenting. Instead of focusing on being nervous, you become focused on your belief. This leads you to speak more naturally, and makes it difficult for listeners to turn away.”
Whereas most entrepreneurs tend to see their work as revolutionary and disruptive, Elon actually moves away from such bold claims and replaces them with the question “How can we make things better?”
In an interview with the Telegraph, he explains that “a lot of my motivation comes from me personally looking at things that don’t work well and feeling a bit sad about how it would manifest in the future. And if that would result in an unhappy future, then it makes me unhappy. And so I want to fix it. That really is the motivation for me. I certainly don’t believe in disrupting things for the sake of it.”
3. He would be a tougher business rival
The fact that 8 out of 10 businesses fail might be a good reason to believe that the remaining 2 should really be tough. Elon’s businesses were never exceptional. Although he had netted $180 million from selling his online payments startup (later PayPal) to eBay, he invested much of that money in Tesla and SpaceX, and he was constantly faced with financial issues to keep his companies up and running. In one case, when the news leaked that Tesla was left with its last $9 million, Musk promised to personally refund Tesla’s customers if the company couldn’t deliver the promised cars.
Even in SpaceX, things were not in full control. In August 2008, the third launch of SpaceX’s rocket, Falcon 1, failed and along with it three government satellites and the ashes of 208 people it carried were destroyed. This was already super costly for a privately held company.
But, even if common people saw that as a failure. Elon didn’t stop to pursue his dream and he goes on. Now SpaceX launches many rockets per year with success and secured billions of dollars of the contract with NASA.
“Persistence is very important. You should not give up unless you are forced to give up.” – Elon Musk
4. He would spend more on innovation
Stopping investment when you are in financially good shape is a shame. Elon knows that.
In late 2016 he acquired SolarCity for $2.6 billion. Just when Tesla was beginning to gain some serious traction among people and when many CEOs would have decided to focus on their current products, Elon Musk decided to move forward and offer a big upgrade to his products. Merge the two companies are “logical” and “quite obvious” from Elon’s point of view.
There is never a better way to learn effective leadership than by looking at successful examples. Elon Musk is such an example. His approachability, authenticity, toughness, and geekiness make him an iconic figure in the business world.