My takeaway from a recent book on Elon Musk

July 1, 2015 OpenSystems Media

I recently read the book, Elon Musk, Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, by Ashlee Vance and found it quite interesting. Confession: I’m a fan of Elon Musk.

Looking at it from a big picture point of view, there are a number of items I took away. Three are listed below. You could look at this for embedded-computing designs or any other endeavor for that matter.

1. Don’t strive for average
If you look at the business challenges Musk has faced, each one is progressively bolder in what he is trying to achieve. He is 100 percent committed to achieving his goals. There certainly have been bumps along the way – bailouts in some people’s minds – but at the end of the day, he worked incredibly hard and has stayed committed to his vision.

2. Pick a goal that makes a difference
Musk has focused on making a difference to change human life. Clearly, he looks at the big picture and tries to determine what will make an impact on society. To achieve only one of his goals would be remarkable. Here are several of his key triumphs:

  • Attempting to restructure the world’s payment system with PayPal.
  • Jumping on board Tesla and driving electric vehicles to mainstream acceptance.
  • Leveraging battery economies of scale/efficiencies making inroads in the power grid.
  • Founding SolarCity to promote solar electricity generation.
  • Private satellite launch, ISS replenishment, and space exploration through SpaceX.
  • Hyperloop vision for fast, modern transport between cities.

3. What if more people had this attitude?
According to estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau and the United Nations, there are more than seven billion people on the planet. Not everyone has the access to resources, but many have the ability to change their focus and help themselves and those around them.

What if more people took on the Musk “attitude” in their current and perhaps new endeavors?

In conclusion (at least for me), it’s a good time to rededicate myself to set above average goals that make a difference, commit 100 percent to their achievement, and not waiver from the path. I hope more people will join me.

Steve Larrivee is VP Sales & Marketing for Cactus Technologies Limited and has over 30 years’ experience in the data storage market, including 10 years with SanDisk and 5 years at Seagate Technology.

Steve Larrivee, Cactus Technologies Limited
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