You watch these videos because you know there’s, something more inside. You too, you’ve got michael jordan level genius at something. So today let’s, live your best believe life and get the best. Video for elon musk motivation enjoy young people globally, who want to be like elon musk.
What’s? Your advice to them? I think that probably they shouldn’t want to be you. I think it sounds better than it is: okay, um yeah it’s, uh, not as much fun. Being me as you’d. Think i don’t know you don’t think so there’s.
Definitely it could be worse for sure, but it’s um. I i i’m, not sure i would i’m, not sure i want to be me, okay, but if you know i think advice i mean if you want to make progress in things. I think that um, but the best analytical framework for understanding the future is physics i’d, recommend studying the uh the thinking process around physics like not just not not the equations, i mean equations.
Certainly they’re helpful, but the the the way of thinking in physics is the it’s, the best framework for understanding things that are counterintuitive, and you know always taking the position that you are some degree wrong and your goal is To be less wrong over time, one of the biggest mistakes people generally make – and i’m guilty of it too, is wishful thinking.
You know like you, want something to be true, even if it isn’t true um, and so you ignore the things that uh, you ignore the real truth because of what you want to be true um. This is a very difficult trap to avoid and like i said, certainly one that i find myself in having problems with.
But if you just take that approach of you’re, always to some degree wrong and your goal is to be less wrong and and solicit critical feedback, particularly from friends like friends, particularly friends.
If somebody loves you, they want the best for you. They don’t want to tell you the bad things, so you have to ask them, you know and said really. I really do want to know and then they’ll. Tell you you don’t need college learning, learn stuff.
Okay, everything is available. Basically for free. You can learn anything you want for free. It is not a question of learning um there. There is a value that colleges have which is like you know. Seeing whether somebody’s is, can somebody work hard at something, including a bunch of sort of annoying homework assignments and still do their homework assignments, uh and and kind of soldier through and and get it done? You know that’s.
That’s like the main value of college, and then also you know, if you, you probably want to hang around with a bunch of people, your own age, for a while, instead of going right into the workforce um.
So i think colleges are basically for fun and to prove you can do your chores, but they’re, not for learning. I think failure is bad um. I don’t think it’s, good um. But if, if, if something’s important enough, then you you do it, even though the risk of failure is high, um and – and so i think, my advice.
If somebody wants to start a company, is they should bear in mind that the most likely outcome is? Is that it’s not going to work, and they should reconcile themselves to that past strong possibility and they should only do it if they feel that they they’re.
They’re, really compelled to do it. You know um because it’s. It’s. It’s gonna the way starting company works is like, usually in the beginning, it’s, the very beginning. It’s kind of fun um and then it’s really hellish.
For a number of years you talked about chewing glass yeah. There’s. There’s, a friend of mine who’s, a successful entrepreneur and started actually his career around the same time as i did, and he has a good good good phrase.
His name’s, bully uh um. He said yeah, you’re starting companies like eating glass and staring into the abyss, and you agree with that. Generally true, um, yeah and and and if you don’t eat the glass you’re, not going to be successful.
Also, if you want to have more self belief and more self confidence, i’ve created a special free program where, every day for the next 254 days, i will send you an unlisted video to help you boost your self-belief and self-confidence.
The link to join for free is in the description below there are just times when something is important enough. You believe in it enough that you you do it in spite of fear when you want to do something new you you have to.
You have to apply the the physics approach. Well, we have a lot of good good people at spacex that um a lot of really talented people uh. In fact, i wonder like sometimes how we can make use of their talents in the best way, because you know i think we’re, often not using their talents in the best way um yeah.
But you know to the point of the question i was just asked. I want to make sure tesla recruiting does not have anything that says requires university, because that’s absurd. But there is a requirement of evidence of exceptional ability, like you just can’t.
If you’re trying to do something exceptional, they must have evidence of exceptional ability. I don’t, consider going to college evidence of exceptional ability. In fact, ideally, you dropped out and did something i mean.
Obviously you know we just look at like you know, gates is a pretty smart guy. He dropped down. John was pretty smart. He dropped out, you know larry ellison, a smart guy. He dropped out. I’m, like obviously not needed, so did shakespeare even go to college, probably not, but one of the fun things for me is watching the the cargo go into the crew vessel.
You know all of a sudden we had dragon one. Now we have crew dragon and it’s substantially different, but familiar so tell us like what’s been some of the hardest parts to transition from cargo into crew, because crew is a little more important than than cargo.
Yes, i mean cargo can be replaced, crew cannot um and so the the level of scrutiny the level of attention is, i mean i don’t know order of magnitude greater it was it was. It was already high for cargo, i mean and and uh, but it’s.
It’s, just a whole nother level for for a crew um. So you know. After and after i told the spacex team that you know the uh this mission, reliability is not really the top priority. It is the only priority right now um.
So we’re just doing continuous uh engineering reviews uh from now non-stop uh 24 hours. A day until launch just gone over everything again and again and again – and i was out at the pad just recently just walking down the rocket um – we’ve – got a team that’s just crawling over the rocket in the horizontal.
Then we’re gonna rotate it vertical. Then we’re gonna crawl all over in the vertical, and we’re just looking for any any possible action that can improve the probability of success, no matter how small, whether that comes from an intern or me or anyone it Doesn’t matter.
What sort of things do you look for in people or in processes that make the workforce better sure? Well, i think the massive thing that can be done is to make sure your incentive structure is such that innovation is rewarded and lack of innovation is punished.
They ‘ Ve got to be a characteristic so uh. If somebody is innovating um and doing making good progress, then they should be promoted sooner and if somebody is completely failing to innovate, not every role requires innovation, but if they’re in a role where innovation is should be happening and it’s not happening, then they should either not be promoted or exited, and let me tell you you’ll, get promoted you.
Could you’ll? You’ll, get innovation real fast. So now your actual total mass of a steel uh of a reusable steel spacecraft is less than that of the most advanced carbon fiber vehicle. You could possibly imagine yeah wow, but this happened by accident by the way.
This may sound like some great insight, but it actually happened because we were moving too slowly on composite um and i was like we cannot move this slowly or we’ll. Go bankrupt so just do this with steel, so yeah i mean the design has to be focused on problem solving.
Otherwise you’re, going to spend too much time trying to figure you don’t start with a yeah yeah. I’m like sort of taken to management management by rhyming. If the schedule is your schedule is long, your design is wrong right.
This is very true that’s. Good good point, yes, advice. I’d. Give to people starting company to entrepreneurs in general. Is um really focus on making a product that your customers love um and it’s, so rare that you can buy a product and – and you love the product when you bought it? This is this.
Is there are very few uh things that fit into that category and if you can come up with something like that, your business will be successful for sure tesla really faced the severe uh threat of death due to the model 3 production ramp.
Essentially, the company was bleeding money like crazy and and just if, if we didn’t solve these problems in a very short period of time, we would die and it was extremely difficult to solve them. How close to death did you come? We were within single-digit weeks 22 hours a day like what how many hours working yeah seven days a week sleeping in the factory uh.
I worked away from the i worked in the paint shop, general assembly body shop. You ever worry about yourself, imploding like it’s just too much. Absolutely no one should put this many hours into work.
This is not good and people should not work this hard, i’m. Not they should not do this. This is very painful, painful in what sense it’s, because my ears, my brain and my heart, so it’s. This is not recommended for anyone.
I just did it because if i didn’t, do it then tesla good chance as it would die the real way. I think you you actually achieve intellectual property protection is by innovating fast enough. If your rate of innovation is high, then you don ‘
T need to worry about protecting vip, because other companies will be copying, something that you did years ago and that’s. Fine, you know just make sure your rate of innovation is fast. Um speed is really the speed of innovation is.
What is what matters um, and i do i do say this to my teams like quite a lot that innovation per unit time as i go. Innovation per year, if you’re, what i say like is is what matters not innovation, absent time, because if you wanted to make say um 100 improvement in something, and that took 100 years or one year that’s radically different.
So it’s like what is your rate of innovation, that that matters and is the rate of innovation? Is that accelerating or decelerating um and a weird thing happens when companies get big? Is that most companies or organizations the bigger they get? They tend to get less innovative, not just less innovative on a per person basis, but less innovative in the absolute, and i think this is probably because the incentive structure is not uh is not there for innovation.
Um it’s, not enough to use words to encourage innovation. The incentive structure must be aligned with that. That’s fundamental. You need to work if, depending on how well you want to do, and particularly if you’re starting a company, you need to work super hard.
So what what does super hard mean? Well, when my brother and i were starting our first company instead of getting an apartment, we just rented a small office and we slept on the couch and we we showered at the the ymca and uh.
We’re. So hot up we had just one computer, so the the the website was up during the day and i was coding at night seven days a week all the time and i i sort of briefly had a girlfriend in that period and in order to be with Me she had to sleep in the office, so i work hard like it.
I mean every waking hour that’s, that’s, the the thing i would i would say if, if you’re, particularly if you’re starting a company um – and i mean, if you do simple math – Say like okay, if somebody else is working 50 hours and you’re working 100, you’ll, get twice as done as much done in the course of a year as the other company.
I think of the these things is just there’s, a certain amount of time, and within that time you want the the best net outcome. So, for you know all the set of actions that you can do there’s, going to be uh and some of which will fail, some which will succeed, and you want the the net useful output of your set of actions to be the highest.
So um i’m, going to like use like a baseball analogy like you know, baseball they don’t. Let you just sit there and wait for the perfect pitch until that you get a real easy one. They didn’t, give you three shots and the third one they say: okay, they get off the go back to the put somebody else up there um.
So these your three strikes on on baseball um, not you know not only bad anymore. So so you’re. What you’re, really looking for is like what’s, the batting average. You know how. How are you doing on uh on score um, and just there’s, going to be some amount of failure, but you want your net output um that useful output to be maximized.
Failure is essentially irrelevant unless it is catastrophic. Don’t. Just follow the trend so um you may have heard me say that it’s, good, to think in terms of the physics approach of first principles, which is rather than reasoning.
By analogy, you boil things down to the most fundamental truths you can imagine, and you reason up from there, and this is a good way to figure out if, if something really makes sense or if it’s, just what everybody else is doing it’s hard to think that way you can ‘
T think think that way about everything. It takes a lot of effort uh. But if you’re trying to do something new, it’s, the best way to think um, and that framework was developed by by physicists to figure out counterintuitive things like quantum mechanics.
So it’s, really a powerful, powerful method. We need to push for radical breakthroughs, um and if you don’t push for radical breakthroughs. You’re, not going to get radical outcomes um and that that does mean taking risks, um and yeah common sense that the the, if you take a big risk in order to have a big reward.
There must be a big risk. It’s most the time. You cannot find a big reward for small risk, that’s, why? Those are rare, so you’re, going to have some proportionality with the risk and reward. I simplify your product as much as possible um, you know and then like.
If i think of some of the ways which how does a smart engineer make dumb mistakes, including you know, is optimize something that shouldn’t exist. Don’t optimize, something that shouldn ‘ T exist um, but people are trained to do this in college.
You can’t say no to the professor. You know the professor’s, going to give you the exam and you ‘ Ve got to answer all the questions or they ‘ Ll, get angry so and give you a bad grade. So then you you always optimize the you always answer the question a lot of the times you should say this is the wrong question right.
In fact, the question is definitely wrong to some degree just how wrong and i think, just generally taking the approach that your design is some degree wrong. Probably a lot more than you think your goal is to make it less wrong over time.
Zip2 started off as basically like say: we’re, trying to figure out how to how to make enough money to exist as a company and the so so, since there wasn’t really any advertising money being made, we thought we could Um help existing companies get online, bring their stuff online, so we developed software that helped bring um love in newspapers and media companies online because they alone just didn’t.
They also didn’t know what the internet was. They were big customers, didn’t, you yeah, and even the ones that were aware of the internet. Didn’t have a software team, so they could. They weren’t very good at developing functionality, um and uh.
So we had as um investors and customers uh the new york times company night reader host, and and so we were able to get them to pay us to develop software for them to bring them online. So online publishing stuff we did maps and directions and yellow pages and white pages and various other things 2008 in particular was was was awful because we had the third launch failure in a row of of our falcon 1 vehicle at spacex, um and um.
We, the tesla financing round that we were raising, fell apart um because the economy is going to tailspin um and it’s pretty hard to raise money for a startup car company uh. You know late 2008 when gm and chrysler are busy going bankrupt.
Um, that was that was tough and then solar city had to deal with uh morgan stanley and morgan stanley had to renege on the deal because they themselves were running out of money um. So it looked like all.
Three companies were gonna die and i was also going through divorce, so that was definitely a low point, so it’s. 2008. You’re, going through a divorce which, like some to borrow your word douchebag vloggers, are writing about to make even worse right.
Yes, that’s, true um, in addition to all that stuff happening, i was getting dumped on massively in the press. Right yeah, you’re. You know it looks like all three companies yeah are going to file. I mean.
Why do you keep going with all three like, i feel, like even a lot of great entrepreneurs in that situation would have been like. I’ve, already sunk, everything i have in these companies and i got ta pick one, but you didn’t.
I mean you kept doing all three why um yeah? That was, that was a very tough call um at the end of 2008. That was that was probably the top. You know one of the toughest goals i’ve had to make, because i could either um reserve capital for one company or the other.
I mean before solar city, didn’t need a ton of capital, so they were okay um, but between spacex and and and tesla um. You know it’s, sort of like, like you ‘ Ve got two kids, and what do you do? Do you spend all your money to to maximize probably the success of of one or do you do you try to keep both left? Unfortunately, it worked.
How, aside from making great products, how do you get people excited about tesla there’s, a lot of people i know, and that i talk to who are just intrigued and interested and excited about tesla as a company.
The thing i really focus on at tesla is like we really put all of our money into an attention to trying to make the product as compelling as possible, so um, because i think that really the way to um sell any product is through word of mouth.
So if, if one somebody gets the car, they really like it, they and and actually the key, is like to have a product that people love, um and and general people um. You know if that a party or tour friends or whatever um you’ll talk about the things that you love, but you know if you just like something it’s.
Okay, you’re, not going to care that much. But if you look at the reactions from the highs and the lows you’re gonna yeah, you’re gonna talk, you know and and then that’ll generate work, turns word of mouth.
That’s, basically how how our sales have have grown like we don’t, we’re, not spending money on advertising or endorsements or uh and um. So anyone like buys our car. They just water because they they like the car zip2 happened, you sold it and it and bought the mclaren.
And if i’m, not mistaken, you, you invested most of that money into your next uh. Your next venture uh x.com, that’s right um, so uh yeah, most of most of the funds, went into x.com, which was later renamed paypal that worked out pretty well [, Music ].
It worked out pretty well, but looking looking back on it um would because you put a lot of your eggs in in that basket. Would you would you advise entrepreneurs to roll the bones quite the way you did yeah, absolutely, i think so um.
I think i think i think it’s worth investing your own capital in what you do. I don’t believe in the sort of other people’s, money thing um. You know, i think, if you’re, not willing to put your own assets at stake, then you shouldn’t.
Ask other people to do that. To do that. We don’t think too much about what competitors are doing. Yeah um, just because i think it’s, important to um, be just focused on making the best possible uh products um.
You know it’s, sort of maybe analogous to what they say about. You know if you’re in a in a if you’re. If you’re in a in a race, um don’t worry about what how the what the other runners are doing just run.
What is the likelihood that you personally will go to mars 70? We’ve recently made a number of breakthroughs that i that i’m, just really fired up about, and when does that happen in our lifetimes yeah yeah, i’m talking about moving there, so it’s, Like so, if it can get the price per ticket, maybe around a couple hundred thousand dollars, this could be an escape hatch for rich people.
No, if your probability of dying on mars is much higher than earth, really the app would go to mars would be like shackleton’s. After going to the antarctic, it’s, going to be hard. There’s, a good chance of death going in a little can through deep space.
You might land successfully. Once you land successfully, there will be a map. You’ll, be working non-stop to build the base. Uh series you’re, not not much time for leisure and once you get there. Even after doing all this there’s.
A very harsh environment to use a good chance to die there. We think you can come back, but we’re. Not sure now does that sound like an escape patch for rich people, and yet you would unhesitate and wake up.
You know there’s, lots of people like climb mountains. You know why they climb mountains, because people die on endeavors all the time they’re like doing it for the challenge. It’s very important to to seek out to actively seek out and listen very carefully to negative feedback, and this is something that people tend to avoid because it’s.
It’s, painful yeah um, but but i think this is a very common mistake – is to to not actively seek out and listen to uh negative feedback. What do you do that you go into forums? Do you go into twitter like what are your areas where you go to look for feedback on, let’s, say the tesla? Well, it’s like everyone.
I talk to is um. In fact, when um, when friends get a product, i say: look, i don’t. Tell me what you like. Tell me what you don’t like right, um and and because otherwise, your friend is not going to tell you what he doesn’t like right.
This girl’s going to say: oh, i love this and that and and then and leave out the this is the stuff i don’t like list, because too much of your friend want. You know it. Doesn’t want to offend you so um, so you really need to [ Music ] to to to to sort of coax negative feedback um, and you should you know that if somebody is your, is your friend or at least not your enemy and They’re, giving you negative feedback um.
Then they may be wrong, but it’s coming from a good place, and sometimes even your enemies, give you good negative feedback. When i started the first internet companies of two with my brother and another person, um a great curry, the uh it wasn’t really with the thought of being wealthy.
You know nothing against being wealthy, but um. We’ll, get back to that later, but it’s. Just it was just from the standpoint i’ve been wanting to be part of the internet and uh. I i figured if we could make enough money to just get by.
It would be that’ll, be okay, um, and when we started off uh we we literally only had like one computer, and so it would be our web server during the day, and i’d code at night um and we we Just got a a a small office um in palo alto back when rent was not insane um and uh.
It cost us like 450 a month it was cheaper than an apartment, so we actually just slept in the office and then and then showered the ymca. At page mill, el camino, so we’d, walk over there and and shower and uh, and that was um.
Actually, i think uh that was when i we first. I first met you by the way um and uh. So i don’t know how many people probably know many people know this, but uh uh. We actually pitched uh steve in like january 96 on uh the zip2 business plan, uh and actually i thought um.
She was actually one of the most up to speed on on what actually was in our business plan. Most most people we met did not actually read our business plan, um. In fact, a lot of people a lot of venture capitalists who met at the time didn’t even know what the internet was or they’ve, never used.
They’ve, never used that they’re. Sure of them right yeah, i’m. Talking, like you, know, sort of well-known people in town. Here i was like wow, okay um, but at the time nobody made any any money on the internet.
So i guess that’s um. You know it, then it wasn’t, really clear evidence that there was was a business. I mean. I should say that you know when i was a kid i didn’t really have any grand designs. I mean the reason i started.
Programming, computers is because i like computer games um, and i play lots of computer games and um. I learned that if i wrote software and sold it, then i could get more money and buy better computers, so it wasn’t really.
You know with some grand vision or anything when i was growing up. I’d, read lots of books and they were very often set in the united states and it seemed like a lot of new technology was being developed in the united states.
So i i thought: okay, i really want to work on new technology, so i want to get to silicon valley. Um. You know which, when i was growing up silicon valley, seemed like some sort of mythical place. Uh.
You know like mount olympus or something. I came conclusion that um my initial premise was was wrong: uh, that in fact the um there’s there’s, a great deal of will uh. You know that there there’s there’s, not such a shortage um, but people don’t think there’s a way um and and that if people thought there was, there was a way or do Something that wouldn’t break the federal budget um.
Then then people would support it, um, which in retrospect, i think, is actually kind of obvious, because um the the united states is a distillation of the human spirit of exploration. People came here from other places.
Um i mean it’s. You know there’s, no nation there’s. No, i mean there’s, no nation, that that’s more a nation of explorers than united united states. But but people need to believe that it’s possible and it’s that it’s.
Not you know it’s. They’re, not going to give up like healthcare or something important. You know it’s, just it’s got to be that that that’s important. So so i thought: okay! Well, then it’s, not a question of.
Will it’s, a question of showing that there’s a way in the beginning? Nobody wanted a tesla. I can tell you that the the the when we made the original sort of roads to the sports car uh people were like.
Why would i want an electric car that’s? My gasoline car works. Fine. I’m, like no electric cars, better, try it um and it was. You know hard to get people to do a test drive first one. Nobody knew who we were, and then we heard this company and like yeah, we’re named after nikola tesla.
You know that guy nope um so for sure we were doing push in the beginning, because people said there was no one telling us that they wanted an electric car. So it was not. It was not out of, like you know it’s like lots of people coming up to me, saying hey.
I really want electric car. I heard that zero times um some people like it’s like man, we’re gonna make an electric car and show that these things can be good um and then people want them um. You know it’s like i think it was like henry ford said that, like the you know, we’re talking about the model t it’s like if you ask the public what they wanted.
They’d, say a faster horse. So if you did like a big survey and say well, hey public before automobiles, what would you like it’s like well? I’d, like my horse to go three miles an hour faster and eat less food, and you know be stronger and live longer and, like i think, um, there will be basically a bunch of incremental improvements on horse um, because people when you say Like what about an automobile that car that drives itself like? What are you talking about that’s, that sounds crazy um, but when you actually make an automobile and give it to people and say okay now this is a horse where you can keep it in the barn and if you leave for a month It’s still alive, yeah, so carry more more weight than a horse and go further, and that kind of thing so yeah it’s like when, when it’s, a radically new product people, don’t Know that they want it because it’s, just not in their in their scope.
I think when they first started making tvs, they did a nationwide survey. I think this might have been like 46 or 48. It’s, like famous nationwide survey, will you ever buy a tv now? It was like 96 percent of respondents said no, some crazy number, like basically everyone’s like would you buy a tv and maybe they put a price in there or something i don’t know, but it was famously almost everyone said They would not buy tv, but they didn’t know what they’re talking about so the big game-changing stuff at the beginning is a company push kind of a thing most of the time, but then changes to the product over time Can be a lot more customer pull kind of a focus, yeah changes the product over time can be incremental changes.
Then the customers can certainly tell you it’s, good, to get customer feedback to say how can we improve the product um and once they’re using it, they can say. Okay, i like this thing about it. I don’t like this other thing, and then we can improve the product over time.
Customer feedback after they they have. The fundamental thing is, is great. When trying different things you you got to have some acceptance of failure. As you’re, alluding to earlier failure must be an option if failure is not an option.
It’s, going to result in extremely conservative choices, and you may not may get something even worse than lack of innovation. Things may go backwards, so if what you really want is uh risk risk to you, you want reward and punishment to be proportionate to the actions that you seek.
So if uh, if what you’re seeking is innovation, then you should reward success and innovation um and only [ Applause ]. There should be minor consequences for lack of minor consequences for for trying and failing should that should be minor.
Um significant rewards for trying and succeeding minor consequences for trying and not succeeding and big and major negative consequences for not trying or maybe i just blank out the word doubt so uh.
You know i mean i totally frank. I doubted us too, so i i thought we you know had maybe when starting spacex maybe had a 10 chance of reaching orbit. So so you know to those who who doubted us i was like.
Well, i think you’re. Probably right. You know um, i mean there were times uh that i was told like uh, because i was taking the money that i learned from from paypal and enrolling into to create spacex and tesla and and they ended up spending it all it.
Wasn’t. The intention, but um and and and uh almost both companies went bankrupt. Frankly, 2008 was a tough year. Um you know took us, took us four attempts just to get to orbit with falcon one um and uh.
So but a lot of times i was you know. I people would tell me this joke, like how do you make a small fortune in the rocket industry? You start with a large one, is the punch line and i was like okay. I already heard that joke 12 000 times.
You know so anyway, um and it was it almost came. True, [, Music ]. You know we just barely made it there that fourth launch of falcon one that’s, all the money we had for that fourth launch and then uh, and that wasn’t even enough to save the company.
We also, then had to win the nasa cargo resupply contract um so that that came a little after you know a little bit later or towards the end of 2008 uh. Those are the two key things that that saved spacex.
Otherwise we would have. We would have, you know not made it so um. So hey. I think those those doubters were their probability. Assessment was correct, um, but fortunately uh veda smiled upon us and brought us to this day.
As you look back on your career in the space industry, what has been the most surprising or unexpected challenge that you faced and along those lines? If you were to go back in time and talk to your 20 year old self, would you do anything differently? Go back in time to your 20 year old self, i mean, i think i’d.
If i could, i think it would make far fewer mistakes. Obviously, if i could go like here’s, a list of all the dumb things you’re about to do, please do not do them. Yeah, wouldn’t. We all be a very long list and, like you know here, let me write it down or something you know.
Um i mean it’s, hindsight’s 2020.. So it’s, hard to say um. I mean a number of i’ve made so many foolish mistakes. I had a lot count honestly um, i mean some of these things. I just wish. I like, like that’s, simple sort of mantra management.
By rhyming i mean it worked for homer. Okay, um management by rhyming is the thing i’m, saying like if, but if the schedule’s long, the design is wrong. We’ve overcomplicated the design many times, and i think we should have just gone with a simpler design with the acid test being.
How long will it take to for this to fly and if it’s going to take a long time, don’t? Do it do something else? I think one thing that’s. Important is if you have a choice of a lower evaluation with someone you really like, or a higher evaluation with someone you have a question mark about.
Take the lower valuation um it’s better to have a higher quality venture capitalist, who you think is. It would be great to work with than to um. You know get a higher evaluation with someone where there’s.
Even a question. Mark really, you know, i think, that’s, that’s, important it’s, sort of like getting married. You know i mean the way i tend to view problems is from a from a physics standpoint, and i think i think physics is a good analytical framework um, and one of the key things in in physics is to reason from first principles um.
This is contrary to the way most human reasoning takes place, which is by analogy um reason for first principles. Just means that you, you figure out what are the fundamental, what are the fundamental truths or or things that are pretty people are pretty sure, are fundamental truths, and, and can you build up to a conclusion from from that uh or you know, perform those principles and Um and then certainly if you come up with some idea and it appears to violate one of those fundamental truths, then you’re, probably wrong um or you should get a really big prize or something like that um so uh.
This may seem like. I don’t know it. Maybe it may seem sort of obvious when it’s explained, but it’s. Actually not what people do reasoning. My analogies is helpful because it’s, a shortcut yeah um and it’s and it’s mostly correct, but but uh it tends to be most incorrect.
When you’re dealing with new things, because it’s hard to analyze, to something really new, it doesn’t really face to severe uh threat of death due to the model 3 production ram. Essentially, the company was bleeding money like crazy and and just if, if we didn’t solve these problems in a very short period of time, we would die and it was extremely difficult to solve them.
How close to death did you come? We were within single digit weeks 22 hours a day like what how many hours working yeah so seven days a week sleeping in the factory uh i worked everywhere from i worked in the paint shop general assembly body shop.
You ever worry about yourself, imploding like it’s just too much. Absolutely no one should put this many hours into work. This is not good and people should not work this hard, i’m. Not they should not do this.
This is very painful, painful in what sense it’s, because my ears, my brain and my heart, and you started with a much smaller rocket of talking one and was your goal at that point. When you started with falcon 1 to get to the point where we had nine inches for falcon 9 was that your goal at that time? When i started spacex, i i only thought there was maybe a ten percent chance of getting felt from one to august.
I did not at all think that this would happen uh. So let’s just make sure our dream come true. Um uh, but i i literally at the time i didn’t, know anything about rockets. Uh, and i was you know. I’ve, been the chief engineer of spacex since day one and i don’t, really hear anything about rockets, which is why the first three rockets failed right, um and then so.
The first three falcon ones for space. Section failures, yes, and then tell me about uh, the fourth one, so i had actually only had enough money for three of three clients um. So i had no more money that would manage to a team sort of rally and we managed to put together enough spare prices to pay them to do a fourth launch and that both was successful, um and uh.
So what would happen if it wasn’t successful? Oh, we would spacex for tonight. So we would not be here right now, uh at this moment getting ready to launch crew dragon to the internet. We ‘ Ve got a lot of work to do because we ‘
Ve got a lot of service centers and charge stations to construct. So mostly it’s like we’re, trying to build our service and charge infrastructure as fast as possible, um and uh. I know this like some of the customers who have ordered a car.
They’re, not in the major cities, so they’re all unhappy with us, because we are delaying delivery of their car, um and uh. In fact, i’m, going to apologize to some of them personally to explain the reason we are delaying deliveries, because we really want them to have a good experience.
But if they’re too far from a service center and and the charging is not sorted out, then they will not have a good experience um. So we’re, going to delay their cars just for a few months to make sure that they have a good experience.
I think it’s also important to reason from first principles rather than by analogy, so the normal way that we conduct our lives. Is we we? We reason by analogy it’s. We’re doing this because it’s like something else that was done or it’s like what um other people are doing me too type ideas yeah it’s like yeah slide, iterations yeah on on A theme and and uh, and it’s because it’s.
It’s kind of mentally easier to reason, by analogy, rather than from first principles, but by first principles is kind of a physics way of looking at the world, and what that really means is you kind of boil things down to the most fundamental Truths and and say, okay, what are we sure is true or sure as possible is true and then reason up from there that takes a lot more mental energy.
Um. Give me an example that, like what’s, one thing that you’ve, you’ve done that on that, you feel has worked for you sure so um somebody could say um. In fact, people do uh that battery packs are really expensive and that’s just the way they’ll always be because that’s.
The way they’ve, been in the past um you’re like well. No, that’s, that’s, pretty dumb. You know because if, if you apply that reasoning to anything new that, then you wouldn’t be able to ever get to that new thing right.
You are unusually fearless and willing to go in the face of other people telling you something is crazy and i know a lot of pretty crazy people. You still stand out uh. Where does that come from, or how do you think about making a decision when everyone tells you this is a crazy idea, or where do you get the internal strength to do that? Well, first of all, i’d say i actually think i i think i feel feel fear quite strongly um, so it’s.
Not as though i just have the absence of fear. I’ve. I feel it quite strongly. Um, but there are just times when something is important enough. You believe in it enough that you you do it in spite of fear.
So speaking of important things like people, shouldn’t think i i i i should if people should think well, i feel fear about this and therefore i shouldn’t. Do it um it’s normal to be to feel fear like you’d, have to definitely something mentally wrong.
If you didn’t feel fear um, so you just feel it and let the importance of it drive you to do it anyway. Yeah, you know, actually something that can be helpful. Is fatalism uh to some degree um? If you just if just accept the probabilities um, then that diminishes fear so um starting spacex? I thought the odds of success were less than ten percent um and i just accepted that.
Actually, probably i would just lose lose everything. Um, but that maybe would make some progress if we could just move the ball forward. Even if we died. Maybe some other company could pick up the baton and move and keep moving it forward.
So we still do some good yeah same with tesla. I thought the odds of a car company succeeding were extremely low. This is widely regarded as one of the most robotics driven auto assembly lines on the planet.
Elon part of the thing i heard about the model 3 is that there’s too many robots that made it. I agree you do you think so too, that maybe you need more people in here working we do in some cases the robots actually slowed the production.
Yes, they did. We had this crazy, complex network of conveyor belts and it was not working. So we got rid of that whole thing. This is cool elon, realizing it needed an overhaul. Musk personally took over the model 3 production line.
At the beginning of april, we’re, aiming for really extreme levels of precision more than any other vehicle. In the world he says he has resorted to pulling all-nighters at the plant when things get really intense.
I don’t have time to go home and shower and change. So i’d sleep here i want to see. Where is that? Oh yeah um, i mean it’s, pretty boring overall, really um. It’s actually cold in here too yeah. I, like it cool, so you have a you like it cold.
I sleep on the couch over there, so you’re, just laying here on the couch yeah last time this year i actually slept literally on the floor because the couch was too narrow, yeah i was gonna, say and elon.
I have to say it’s, not even a comfortable couch either. No, it’s terrible. This is not a good couch. Musk feels like all the overtime is paying off and now he says the model 3 line is back on track and we’re able to un unlock some of the critical things that are holding us back from reaching 2000 cars a week.
But since then we’ve continued to do 2000 cars a week. Do you think that this is sustainable? This pace is sustainable yeah. I remember when you first told me that you were thinking about tunnels. What did i first tell you about that years ago? Okay, it’s like a long time ago, like i thought you were joking yeah, it was.
I was joking, but it’s, not because of some epiphany that i had one day driving down the 405., that’s, how it gets translated. Somehow i was talking about tunnels for years and years, um for probably five years or four years.
At least whenever i’d, give a talk and people would ask me about what opportunities do you see in the world? I’d, say tunnels. Can someone please build tunnels, so after four or five years of begging people to build tunnels and still no tunnels? I was like okay, i want to build a tunnel like.
Maybe i’m missing something here, um, so um. Yes, i was like basically talking people’s, ears or tunnels for for several years and then said well, let’s find out what it takes to build a tunnel and um yeah.
So i started doing a tunnel. I wanted to start the tunnel uh from where i could see it from my office at spacex. So i said well let’s, just carve off a part of the parking lot across the road, so i can see if it’s.
If anything’s happening or not, and then we named our first boring machine, uh godot, because i kept waiting for it, it never came. Finally, it um and – and we got it going and um now we’re, making a good progress.
I really take some thought to like how can i provide advice that would be most helpful and i’m, not sure i’ve, given enough thought to to that. To give you the best possible answer, but i think um. I think certainly uh being focused on something that you’re, confident will have high value to someone else and just being really rigorous in making that assessment, because people are tend to natural human tendency is wishful thinking.
So a challenge for entrepreneurs is to say well what’s, the difference between really believing in your ideals and sticking sticking to them versus pursuing some unrealistic dream that doesn’t actually have merit and it’s.
It’s. That is a that is a really difficult thing to to tell you. Can you tell the difference between those two things, so you need to be sort of very rigorous in your self self analysis um.