His success in creating and leading innovative organizations with daring missions has led him to lead, along with Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon and Blue Origin), in the 2019 Forbes ranking of the most innovative leaders in the United States.
Now… who is Elon Musk? In this article, we are going to see who this businessman is who has become one of the most sought-after personalities in Silicon Valley.
Who is Elon Musk?
At this point, it is almost impossible not to have heard the name Elon Musk. Crazy or genius! But if one thing is clear, it is that he is a visionary who has revolutionized the areas that he identifies as crucial for the future of humanity: the internet, the transition to renewable energy sources, and space colonization. But… who is Elon Musk?
In 1971, the physicist and businessman who today is among the top richest men in the world were born in South Africa. At just 28 years old, he and his brother sold Zip2, the website company for media companies they founded together, for more than $300 million.
His desire to be an entrepreneur did not end there and he later ventured to create X.com, which would later become PayPal, an online money transfer service company. He later made $1.5 billion by selling it to eBay.
What did Musk do with all that money? Logically, found another company. That same year he launched Space Exploration Technologies (Space X): an aerospace transportation company.
The company pioneers new technology to launch reusable rockets, perform resupply missions to the International Space Station, and establish contracts with NASA and the Air Force. It is currently a strong contender for a manned mission to Mars.
Who would bet on an electric car company in a nation addicted to gasoline? Elon Musk yes. And so, a year later, he co-founded the company of which he is now CEO: Tesla, the most valuable automaker in the world.
Another of Musk’s great innovations is:
- The solar energy company: SolarCity, of which he is co-founder and CEO.
- Halcyon Molecular biotech company.
- Hyperloop: a collective transport system.
- Neuralink: dedicated to neurotechnology.
50 Elon Musk phrases that demonstrate the character of this entrepreneur
And to get a better idea of what goes through the mind of this entrepreneur, we propose 50 quotes by Elon Musk that show his most interesting and accurate thoughts. Look at them!
1. “I think it is possible for normal people to choose to be extraordinary”
Excellent quote to head this list of Elon Musk phrases! Surely when you hear the word “extraordinary” famous people, gurus, or geniuses of the world come to mind. But how did they get to that position? Extraordinary people are not created out of nothing, but “do things” to make their lives more valuable and different from the rest. It’s about going out on the field and playing the game.
2. “I am always optimistic, but I am realistic. It’s not with the expectation of great success that I started Tesla or Space X. I just thought they were important enough to do it anyway.”
When it comes to business, you will constantly run into successes and failures. But the only thing capable of empowering some and circumventing others is facing them with great determination and a realistic perspective. However, remember that being realistic does not mean throwing in the towel.
3. “When something is important enough, you do what it takes even when the odds are not in your favor.”
This is possibly one of the most inspiring quotes from Elon Musk. How likely are you to succeed with a startup in a sector as inaccessible as aerospace transportation? And in one as competitive as the automobile industry? Well, imagine yourself in both at the same time!
When Musk launched these projects, many people told him that he was wrong and that there was little to scratch in these sectors. Years later, we already see what happened.
4. “You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great, and that’s what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It is about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past. And I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars.”
Do you ever stop to think about where you will be in 20 years? This does not depend on anyone but you, the decisions you make today, and what you decide to do with your life.
Elon Musk claims that human being has to become multi-planetary animals to survive longer. Advancing based on that idea is his purpose and this is shown by the line of work of his successful companies: Space X, Tesla, and SolarCity.
5. “Failure is an option here. If things don’t fail, it’s because you’re not innovating enough.”
Failure is almost a phobia for startups and entrepreneurs, but it shouldn’t be that way because, although it may seem like a cliché, you learn from mistakes! Successful entrepreneurs use failure to their advantage, examine problems, and collect new data to help them make decisions.
On the other hand, if everything goes well, it is most likely that you have not left your comfort zone and are not risking enough. Failure is just a small obstacle in a long road that should not stop you. This is demonstrated by the story of Elon Musk and other great successful entrepreneurs who suffered it but returned to the battlefield.
6. “Being an entrepreneur is like eating glass and standing in the abyss of death”
This is a phrase that goes along the lines of its predecessor. It shows us that deciding to undertake is to take a path full of risks, obstacles, doubts, and criticism, where at times you will think of desert. The key is to turn disappointments into lessons.
7. “I am not in the business of being a guru about broad concepts. My tasks are focused on research to improve our technology»
Although some call him a multifaceted entrepreneur, Musk is not characterized by defending global thinking. As he has been notable, his endeavors are concentrated on the advancement of technology. In your case, he defines what you want to do and focuses your efforts on it.
8. “To start a business you need two things: to innovate in a great product and to have a team behind you full of determination and enthusiasm”
From the collection of Elon Musk phrases, this one can be of great help to you. Innovation is a term that characterizes his work, therefore, in his companies, he highlights the creative capacity of his employees. As he has said, “a company is a group organized to create a product or service, and it is only as good as its people and how much passion they have to create”.
There cannot be a successful company where there is not a trained, united human team that believes in what it does. As he has recognized on many occasions, Elon Musk is only the visible face of the companies.
9. “I don’t believe in gimmicks to have an innovative mindset. I think it is a style of thinking together with the daring to make decisions»
Elon Musk is a man whose passion is to take risks in his businesses and create new things that others may see as impossible. But making decisions requires courage and determination: key aspects in the success of any entrepreneur.
10. “When Henry Ford made cheap, reliable cars, people said, ‘What’s wrong with horses?’ He made a big bet and it paid off.”
This is one of the famous phrases of Elon Musk, who since his inception has always been questioned for his “too innovative” ideas. These ideas are the most susceptible to failure, but they are also the ones that mark people the most when they succeed.
11. “The brand is only a perception and the perception will coincide with reality over time. Sometimes it will be earlier, others later, but the brand is nothing more than a collective impression we have about a product»
Steve Jobs became one of the most charismatic CEOs thanks in part to his oratory and knowing how to find the right vision in the most “marketing” aspect of his products.
Elon Musk is not far behind, he has deep knowledge of marketing and knows how to sell his companies and products to make them attractive. He is a great strategist and that has allowed him to open a gap in sectors as competitive as those mentioned.
12. “If you are trying to create a company, it is important to know that it is like baking a cake: you have to have all the ingredients in the right proportion”
To create a business and make it successful, there must be a balance between several elements such as creativity, the determination of the team that supports your product, and the quality of the latter. The result cannot be good if one of the components of the recipe is affected.
13. “I always invest my own money in the companies I create. I don’t buy into that whole idea of just using other people’s money. I do not think it’s fair. I’m not going to ask other people to invest in something if I’m not prepared to do it myself.”
Elon Musk defends the philosophy that the founder must be the first to bet on the project, precisely because he has to be the person who most believes in his business idea. Hence, he is the largest shareholder of its three crown jewels: Space X, Tesla, and SolarCity. He remains to see what happens with Hyperloop.
Many people, having received a fortune like the one Elon made from the sale of Zip2 or PayPal, would have walked away without a care in the world. But that is not Elon’s style, he has not stopped reusing his money and investing it in other big companies in the technological sphere.
14. “I think that’s the best advice: constantly think about how you could do things better and question yourself.”
This is one of Elon Musk’s phrases that you must surely apply in your life. When you start a business, the finish line is not clear. When you think you’ve arrived, you can’t just keep doing the same thing because it worked.
If you don’t improve yourself, your competitors will and your customers will be taken away. No matter how successful you are, there is always something to improve or something new to do.
15. “I think it is important to give feedback space, this way you can always think about how you can improve things”
Feedback is a way of continuously generating knowledge. Whether with your customers, employees, or between the processes involved in the company, feedback is an opportunity to transform the information collected into actions that will make your company grow.
16. “Any product that needs a manual to work is broken”
This quote refers to the importance of having a good product. Today, to provide the best shopping experience for a customer, you have to design products that can be used intuitively.
Indeed, if the person needs to resort to a user manual to get what he bought to work, then those who designed the product did not do their job well.
17. “Some people don’t like change, but you have to accept change if the alternative is disaster.”
Why an electric car if we already have a gasoline one? Conforming to this philosophy means ignoring the environmental impact of our current economy that represents a danger to humanity.
For Musk, colonizing another planet is a priority if we do not want to disappear as a civilization in the long term. This is betting on change rather than going to disaster! Everything in life is subject to change. Learn to adapt.
18. “People work better when they know what the goal is and why. It is important that people know where they come to work each morning and that they enjoy the work”
If you lead a workgroup, this is one of the Elon Musk quotes that you should pay serious attention to. When employees do not know or do not identify with the vision of the company, all their work potential is focused solely on personal fulfillment.
Therefore, it is the company’s task to make the workers feel identified and motivated with what they do so that together they can look towards the same goal. Enthusiasm and passion for developing unique projects is the key to success.
19. “When you enter to compete in a market that is already being exploited, you must make sure that your product is not only a little better than the competition, but much better”
To launch a new product, a step that cannot be missing from your business plan is to carry out a market study. Knowing what your potential customers want and the level of competition will allow you to assess the effectiveness of what you are trying to sell. This is the opportunity to reinvent yourself and launch something that exceeds what already exists on the market today.
20. “Your day will be good if you wake up knowing that you will build a better future. If not, you’ll have a bad day.”
Having a passion for your idea of entrepreneurship is vital, if you do not trust your business what you are doing is a bad idea. Every day is a new beginning that you should face with optimism, therefore, nourish yourself with positive and motivating phrases. Visualize your projects and believe in your ability to consolidate them.
21. “I learned what I needed to be able to achieve what I wanted, and I think that everyone can do it, but they limit themselves”
Sometimes it is difficult for us to distinguish between our needs and those of the people around us. Recognizing the needs of others and respecting them is important, but it does not mean that we have to make them our own.
Defining what you want or don’t want in your life is an important step in your personal and professional growth.
22. “Persistence is very important. You should not resign unless you are forced to do so.”
One quality that every entrepreneur must have to achieve their goals is perseverance. What have you already heard? this is not a secret to anyone. But it is one thing to know it and another to put it into practice.
In this process, it is normal to experience frustrating and unrewarding situations. Do not give up, if you are persistent you can succeed.
23. “Work hard every hour while you are awake, it is what it takes to be successful if you are starting a new company”
Elon Musk is a tireless entrepreneur and his phrases show it. He rarely takes vacations and his workday extends to weekends, so much so that it has cost him several divorces.
According to Musk, while others work 40 hours a week, you should do 80 to 100 hours. In this way, reaching your goal will take you 4 months, instead of 1 year like them.
24. “What does it mean to work hard? In my case, when my brother and I started our first company, instead of renting an office, we rented a small apartment and slept on the sofa»
Very much in line with Elon Musk’s phrase above. If you want to meet your goals, you must be willing to make certain sacrifices. This does not have to be a problem if you are clear about your priorities.
25. “The path to the CEO’s office shouldn’t be through the CFO’s office, and it shouldn’t be through the marketing department. It needs to be through engineering and design»
This is an ideology that few CEOs apply but that defines very well the trajectory of Elon Musk. Proof of this is that the successful businessman is the CEO of Tesla and SolarCity, two recently merged companies and leaders in the industry.
26. “It is a mistake to hire a large number of people to solve a complex job. Quantity will never make up for talent when it comes to getting the right answer (two people who don’t know something are no better than one), they will only tend to slow down the process and make the task incredibly expensive.”
Elon Musk is a demanding leader and practices the philosophy that it is better to pay a few geniuses very well, than hundreds of domestics poorly.
On one occasion, referring to Apple’s hiring of ex-Tesla workers, he replied: “Important engineers? They have hired people that we have fired. We always joke around calling Apple The Tesla Graveyard.”
27. “My biggest mistake is probably prioritizing talent over personality. I think it matters whether or not someone has a good heart.”
In interviews with the media, Musk has acknowledged that he gives so much importance to people’s talent that he forgets other qualities. Head and blood! Two virtues are inherent in productive workers.
28. “I wish I could die on Mars. And I don’t mean landing.
This is one of the Elon Musk phrases that has covered the most newspaper covers. Elon Musk considers the colonization of other planets as a vital process for the survival of human beings. This is a goal of Space X and he would like to spend his last days there and know that he has achieved his goal.
29. “Life is too short for long-term grudges.”
To advance on the path to success, we must leave behind those burdens that weigh us down so much. Get rid of grudges and absurd hatred, and focus on yourself and your projects. You can put this Elon Musk phrase into practice in any sphere of your personal life, from professional to sentimental.
30. “The first step is to establish that something is possible, then it is likely to happen”
If the greatest innovator of all time tells us something like this, it is because it is necessary to question the prevailing reality. Don’t stop just because you think it’s all been made up. There will always be new things to show the world and new markets to conquer.
Who would have thought a while ago that we would have electric cars? Will it be possible to fulfill the fantasy of traveling to Mars? The advancement of technology is an undeniable event and much of it we owe to Elon Musk.
31. “None of our goals should be considered unattainable, with work, effort and passion we can achieve what we want”
Here is one of Elon Musk’s phrases that represent an injection of motivation. Don’t give up on an idea just because you think you can’t do it. Analyze the situation and look for alternatives. Dedicate time and effort to what you want to achieve. Add a little passion to your project and you will see how things will go.
32. “I think we have a duty to keep a light of conscience to ensure that it continues in the future”
Regardless of what you do, maintaining an equanimous and lofty state of consciousness is essential to achieving success. Control your emotions, learn to make decisions for yourself, accept the inevitable and transform what you can. Here are some tips that will help you in your personal development.
33. “Don’t get distracted thinking something might work when it isn’t, or you’ll be permanently stuck with the wrong solution.”
Don’t confuse being persistent with being stubborn. It is important to examine your projects and if something is not working, find out why and make decisions. But staying stagnant is not an alternative.
As Albert Einstein said, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again hoping to get different results” Remember, if you have to start from scratch, you start!
34. “There is a tremendous bias against taking risks. Everybody seems to be trying to optimize their way of saving their butt.”
Elon Musk has always been considered a reckless entrepreneur, including by his investors who on many occasions have raised their hands to their heads with the ideas he proposes. But the truth is that he is not the only one, because, although he is already well seen, to win you have to take risks!
A phrase by Mark Zuckerberg accompanies us in this thought: “In a world that changes really fast, the only strategy in which failure is guaranteed is not to take risks.”
35. “You want to be more rigorous to do the best you can. Find everything that’s wrong with it and fix it. Look for negative comments especially from friends»
Has it not happened to you that others saw a deficiency in your idea where you did not see it and they turned out to be right? You should not be afraid of negative comments, especially if they are from your friends or family. This feedback will help you grow. Request it!
36. “It’s okay to have your eggs in one basket as long as you control what happens to that basket.”
If you are going to invest in a business or take on a responsibility, you should always be aware of what is happening. Being aware of the environment will make you less vulnerable.
37. “Things are not done following different paths so that they are not the same, but to be better”
If you decide to take a different path, it is to avoid making the same mistakes as the previous path. Therefore, the decisions you make must be based on data analysis that allows you to know how to obtain better results.
38. “Listening to the opinion of others is essential, but you also need to discard it to focus on yourself and how to improve as a genius”
Although it is important to nourish ourselves with the opinions of others, those ideas are not always beneficial. It is your task to value them and take the positive from each of them, but do not make your projects dependent on what others transmit to you, much less the limits. If you trust yourself, go ahead!
39. “It is very important that you like the people you work with, otherwise you will be miserable during your work hours”
Working in a hostile climate is fatal for your performance and that of the company. Work occupies a large part of our daily lives and for many, it is summed up in their lives.
Therefore, being emotionally connected to your work, establishing relationships of complicity and harmony with your colleagues, and feeling useful in your job will make you a more efficient person in what you do and happy in general.
40. “Patience is a virtue and I am learning patience. It’s a hard lesson.”
Is patience important in the act of undertaking? You can not imagine how much! On this path, waiting can be eternal, but this capacity must be developed. Look for alternatives, be positive and face challenges with courage so that you can achieve your goals.
41. “I came to the conclusion that we should aim to increase the scope and scale of human consciousness to better understand what questions to ask. In reality, the only thing that makes sense is to fight for collective enlightenment»
Once again Elon Musk’s phrases show how brilliant his mind is. Humanity has a serious problem: the right questions are not asked. In the same way, this can happen to you in your personal life: you allocate your efforts to things that you do not need or are not the most important.
42. “Anyone who has truly fought against adversity never forgets it”
The truly successful men are the ones who face obstacles and overcome them. What went wrong and why? is what you should ask yourself and then not repeat. Although adversities mark us, they make us better. However, try to leave behind what hurt you, but never forget what it taught you.
43. “Many things are unlikely, only a few are impossible”
Do not think that something is impossible just because you have never seen it, history has proven it! People like Elon Musk who innovate and try to do things that nobody does are always criticized and often called crazy. Do not give up! Look in the mirror of successful entrepreneurs who changed the world.
44. “Good ideas are always crazy, until they are not”
Following the course of Elon Musk’s previous sentence, complex, innovative, revolutionary ideas are always eccentric ideas. Turn proposals into facts and they will stop being crazy.
45. “A piece of advice: it is important to see knowledge as a kind of semantic tree; make sure you understand the fundamental principles, i.e. the trunk and branches, before you get into the leaves or the details, or there will be nothing for them to grab on to.”
This was the advice Musk gave when asked in an interview how he learned so much and so quickly. It is vital to know the essence of the elements, start from there and then be able to move forward to more and more particular issues.
46. “People should pursue what they are passionate about. That will make them happier than almost anything else.”
Of the phrases that we propose from Elon Musk, pay special attention to this one. Are you passionate about your work? Not everyone can answer with a smile. However, the perception you have of what you do is essential for your well-being and your quality of life. Plant it! Getting out of your comfort zone and starting your project to do what you are passionate about is a challenge, but it is worth it.
47. “For me it was never about money, but about solving problems for the future of humanity”
Musk said in an interview, “Starting from PayPal, I thought, Well, what are some of the other issues that may affect the future of humanity? Not from the point of view, what is the best way to make money?”
Beyond the monetary reward you seek with your business, you must have conviction in what you do. Whether it is solving a need, creating something new, or simply fulfilling your passion, your venture must have another reward other than money.
48. “If you’re a co-founder or CEO, you have to do all kinds of tasks you don’t want to do. If you don’t do your homework, the company won’t be successful. No task is too low”
Holding an important position does not mean that at a certain moment you cannot do an activity, however basic it may be. If it is a necessary task for the sustainability or success of your company, you must do it.
49. “You don’t have to change the world, if you are doing something that is good for society, that has great value, fight for it!”
To be successful in your business you do not necessarily have to revolutionize the world. Do something useful that you like, the rest is a plus. The important thing is that whatever you decide to work on, you do it well and go far.
50. “Either you join a group of people you admire and really think are great, or you recruit brilliant minds.”
Being surrounded by talented people is key to the success of your work, but it is also your choice. Once again, the importance of having a talented work team is shown in the phrases of Elon Musk.
Elon Musk is one of the leading technological revolutionaries of our time. He is a man with a complex mind who is making reality what until recently was nothing more than science fiction.
If something has led Musk to become one of the most important and intellectually capable people on the planet, it is his curiosity, his thirst for knowledge, and his way of approaching learning.
Therefore, delving into the brilliant mind of a man like this is an injection of energy and knowledge that will help you forge your projects and your personality.