The Startup
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The Startup

How Elon Musk Does It.

The Secret Ingredient Behind all of Musk’s Success.

Elon is a salesman. He might as well be one of the greatest salesman of our era. He sells brilliant people on moonshot visions to join his companies, root for him and buy from him on a day to day basis.

It’s not free massages and unlimited snacks that ultimately inspires people, but meaning. and purpose. and being part of something bigger than themselves.

Success of any company, especially in tech, depends on the quality of talent you attract. Google’s people analytics team has found that top performing technologists have a 300% performance differential from average technologists.

No brilliant aerospace graduate wants to work for a satellite launch and International Space Station Resupply company, which end of the day is just glorified, extra-terrestrial FedEx when SpaceX gives them an option to work launching satellites and resupplying International Space Station, but with the dream of colonizing mars and making humans an interplanetary species, some day. The difference a vision makes.

People join SpaceX with a dream to save the humanity and to have a shot at making humans an interplanetary species. These super brilliant people come together to create the world’s most profitable satellite launch company. Not too bad, huh?

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. — Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Elon Musk, might be serious about this, it’s hard to tell. But stories and dreams do sell, and he knows it too well. There is no doubt about it.

When Elon Musk founded, a financial platform which later evolved to be PayPal, the goal was to create a virtual bank that would make physical banking a thing of the past. The goal was super-flashy and it attracted a ton of smart people who eventually made the company worth billions and the north star that kept them up working 7 days a week — A new world order.

Did X or later PayPal end up making physical banking obsolete? No, but they did make it easier for people to buy and sell artifacts on the internet and Elon Musk unbelievably rich.

Is Elon a con? may not be. Maybe it is these moonshot goals that keeps him going too. Maybe it’s the goal of ridding the world of it’s dependence on oil that gets him to work on Tesla as the CEO (a massively demanding job) and not his stock value.

People buy Tesla, with the same dream. They get billion dollar loans and tax cuts because no one wants to be on the wrong side of history. Vision sells.

The only way to tell if he was lying is to look back a few decades from now and see what these companies achieved (or how close they got).

Will SpaceX end up colonizing mars or end up being a space tourism co (To the moon and back — honeymoon packages?) and a cargo delivery company ? Will Tesla just become another Toyota, but electric? It all depends on how well Musk has brought into the dreams he himself sell and whether they are willing to put money where their mouths are.

Don’t know. Can’t tell. But dreams do sell, and that am sold on.

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Tijo Philip

Tijo Philip

Growth Obsessed Fractional CMO.

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