Elon Musk: Starting a Company


Attract Great People

If you’re creating company or if you’re joining a company the most important thing is to attract great people. So either join a group that’s amazing and that you really respect or if you’re building a company you’ve got to gather great people. I mean all a company is is a group of people that have gathered together to create a product or service. And depending upon how talented and hardworking that group is and the degree to which they’re focused cohesively in a good direction that will determine the success of the company. Do everything you can to gather great people if you’re creating a company.

Focus On Signal Over Noise

Focus on signal over noise. A lot of companies get confused. They spend money on things that don’t actually make the product better. For example, at Tesla we’ve never spent any money on advertising. We put all the money into R&D and manufacturing and design to try to make the car as good as possible. And I think that’s the way to go. For any given company, just keep thinking about are these efforts that people are expending, are they resulting in a better product or service. If they’re not stop those efforts.

Work Super Hard

Depending on how well you want to do, particularly if you’re starting a company, you need to work super hard. So what does super hard mean. When my brother and I were starting our first company, instead of getting an apartment we just rented us a small office and we slept on the couch. We showered at the YMCA and we had one computer, so the website was up during the day and I was coding at night, seven days a week all the time. I briefly had a girlfriend that period and in order to be with me she had to sleep in the office.

“Work hard, like every waking hour” -Elon Musk

So work hard like every waking hour. That’s the thing I would say if you’re particularly starting a company. If you do the simple math say like: “okay if somebody else is working 50 hours and you’re working 100, you’ll get twice as much done in the course of the year as the other company.

Like What You Do

Really liking what you do, whatever area that you get into. Even if you’re the best of the best, there’s always a chance of failure. I think it’s important that you really like whatever you’re doing. If you don’t like it, life is too short. If you like what you’re doing you think about it even when you’re not working. It’s just something that your mind is drawn to and if you don’t like it you just really can’t make it work. We’re doing these things that seem unlikely to succeed and we’ve been fortunate and, at least thus far, they have succeeded.

TLP Magazinetlp magazine
"Stop chasing your dreams. Start building them." Don't worry about what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do that. Because what the worlds needs is people who have come alive. Can't wait to drive my own Model S P100D.