I saw you don’t, think I can do anything or or I do most things that people think are impossible, because I think a lot of people of what people think where it is impossible, is actually impossible. So, but if occasionally it’s not and yeah, every minute right, you know, I guess it’s.
I don’t. Think I’ve, said less. Those performing is helpful to have kind of a physics framework full for looking at things. You know fish principles, analysis, look for negative feedback and and like really believe in what you’re doing, but but not just from a blind faith.
Standpoint like to have really thought about it and say: okay, this! This is true. I’m, convinced it’s. True and I ‘ Ve tried him every angle to figure out if it’s untrue and it’s, sort of negative feedback to figure out.
Maybe if I may be wrong, but then, after all that it okay, it still seems like this. This is the right way to go that that I think, gives one fundamental conviction and an ability to convey that conviction to others and to convince them to join, and that’s.
What a company is it’s, a group of people who come together to create a product of some kind, and so, if you can convey that in and answer the concerns that people have convinced them, this is something that needs to be done.
It’s important, and here is a path to do it, even if that path has a lot of danger associated with in risk and and maybe it won & – # 39 t succeed, but people can understand okay. This is why it’s important and even if the odds are that it won’t succeed, it’s worth trying to do it, and I think you can create a great company and just being really rigorous in making That assessment, because people are they tend to 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 new ideals and sticking sticking to them versus pursuing some unrealistic dream that doesn’t actually have merit and it’s.
It’s; that is it. That is a really difficult thing to to tell you. Can you tell the difference between those two things I know, so you need to be sort of very rigorous in your self self analysis. I think certainly extremely tenacious and and then just work like how I mean you just have to put in you know 80 hour 80 100 hour weeks every week and their matter like that.
But all those things improve the odds of success. Okay, I mean, if other people are putting in 40-hour work weeks and you’re, putting in 100 hour work weeks, then, even if you’re doing the same thing.
You know that in in one year you will achieve what they achieve. You you will achieve in four months what it takes them a year to achieve, and then 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 other people are doing me to type ideas. Yeah it’s like yeah, a slight iteration yeah on a theme and and and and it’s because it’s.
It’s. It’s kind of mentally easier to reason by analogy, rather than from first principles, but but 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 do we sure is true or sure as possible is true and then reason up from there that takes a lot more mental energy.
You an example that, like what’s, one thing that you’ve done that on that you feels worked for you sure, so somebody could say. In fact people do 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.
You’re like well. No, that’s, that’s, pretty dumb. You know because if, if you applied that reasoning to anything new that, then you wouldn’t be able to ever get to that new thing right, so you know it’s like you can’t say: oh, you know, Horses, nobody wants a car because horses are great and we’re used to them and they can eat grass.
There’s, lots of grass all over the place, and you know there’s not like there’s, no gasoline that people can buy so people are never going to never get ever gonna get parts right. People did say that, and in for batteries they would say: oh it’s, gonna cost.
You know the historically its cost, six $ 600 $ 600 per kilowatt hour, and so it’s, not gonna be much better than that. In the future – and you say no okay – well, what what are the batteries made of so the first principles would be to say: okay, what are the material constituents to the batteries? What is the spot market value of the material constituents? So you can say? Okay, it’s, got cobalt, nickel, aluminum carbon and some polymers for separation and a steel can’t so break that down on a material basis and say: okay.
What if we bought that in london metal exchange? What would each of those things cost like? Oh jeez, it’s like $ 80 per kilowatt hour. So clearly, you just need to think of clever ways to take those materials and combine them into the shape of a battery cell, and you can have batteries that are much much cheaper than anyone realizes.
Do you think about making a decision when everyone tells you this is a crazy idea? Where do you get the internal strength to do that? Well, first of all, I’d say I actually think I feel feel fear quite strongly, so it’s.
Not as though I just have the absence of fear. I’ve. I feel it quite strongly, but there were times when something is important enough. You believe it enough that you do you do it in spite of fear. So speaking of important things like people, shouldn’t, think III, I should, if you should think well.
I feel fear about this and therefore I shouldn’t. Do it it’s normal to be to feel fear like you’d, have to definitely something mentally wrong. You shouldn’t feel fear, so you just feel it and let the importance of it drive you to do it anyway.
Yeah. You know I actually wear something that can be helpful as fatalism. Some degree. If you just think, if just accept the probabilities, then that diminishes fear. So we’re starting SpaceX. I thought the odds of success were less than 10 % and I just accepted that actually, probably I would just lose lose everything, 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 that we still do some good yeah same with Tesla. I thought your odds of a car company succeeding were extremely low.
I would definitely advise people there’s, not any company to expect a long period of quite high difficulty yeah. But let me song is people. Stay super focused on creating an absolute best product or service that really delights their end.
Customer like if they stay focused on that, then it should. Basically, if you get a such that your customers want you to succeed, then then you probably will all right. You have to focus on the customer, delivering for them.
Yeah make sure. If customers W you will your odds of success are dramatically higher. First of all, I’d, say starting a business is not for everyone, yeah yeah, so generally starting a business. I’d, say number, one is have a high pain threshold, but that’s.
The friend of mine, who’s, got a good saying, which is that Sounion company is like eating. Glass is staring into the abyss. Okay, that’s, that’s generally. What happens? Because when you first start a company there’s, lots of optimism and things with things are great and then so happiness at first is high.
Then you encounter all sorts of issues and Happiness will steadily decline and then you ‘ Ll, go through a whole world of hurt and those have to be focused on the short-term and money coming in when creating company, because otherwise the company will fall die.
So that I think that a lot of times, people think like creating company is gonna be fun. I would say it’s. Not it’s. Really not that fun. I mean their periods of fun and their their periods of where it’s just awful, and particularly, if you, a CEO of the company, you actually have a distillation of all the worst problems in a company there’s, no point in Spending your time on things that are going right, so you only spend on things on your time on things that are going wrong and – and there are things that are going wrong – that other people can’t can’t take care of.
So you’re like the worst. You have a filter for the crappiest problems in the company, the most pernicious and painful problem. So I wouldn’t say it’s. It’s. I think you have to feel quite compelled to do it and have a fairly high pain threshold and there’s, a friend of mine who says like starting companies like staring at the abyss and eating glass, and there’s.
Some truth to that we’re staring into the abyss. Part is that you’re, going to be constantly facing the extermination of the company, because most startups fail like 90 % ugly 99 % of Starks fail. So I so you that that’s, the staring into the abyss part you can’t so constantly saying.
Okay, if I don’t get this right, the company will die, it should be quite stressful, quite stressful and and then the eating glass part. Is you’ve got you’ve got to do you ‘ Ve got to do the problems you’re gonna start.
You’re gonna work in the problem that the company needs you to work on that promise. You want to work on and so that the that’s. You’re, not working on problems that you really wish you weren’t working on, and so that’s.
The eating glass part, then that goes on for a long time. So how do you keep your focus on the big picture when you’re constantly faced with, we could be out of business in a month? Well, it’s, just a very small percentage of mental energies.
On the on the big picture, like you know, you know, you know where you generally heading for and and the actual path is gonna, be some sort of zigzagging thing in that direction and try not to deviate too far from the path that that you want To be on, but you’re gonna, have to do that some degree, but I don’t want to I don’t want to diminish the I mean I think the product the profit motive is, it is a Is a good one if the rules of an industry are properly set up, so there’s, something fundamentally wrong with profit.
In fact, profit just means that people are paying you more for whatever you’re doing, then you’re spending to create it that’s, a good thing and if you’re, not if that’s not the case, then you’ll, be out of business and rightfully so sure you’re, not adding enough value.
[, Music ]. We have the same fun from innovation as from business running a business. Well, I don’t know that you’d, be just an innovator engineer. Instead of a business owner or runner, I mean I’d love to just do innovation, work and just do engineering, but you raise a good point because you know a lot of life in general in any job there’s like you Have to do your chores, you know there’s.
No, nobody can do that for you. Well, it’s, yet I think to be successful at almost anything. You can’t if you have to do the tough stuff and as well as the enjoyable stuff you have to do the boring stuff, as well as the non boring stuff, and if you don’t, do your chores, then bad things Will happen, but if they don’t do the things that they don’t like to do then the company will be in trouble.
Yeah, like you, have to basically be like it’s more fun to cook the meal than to clean the dishes. Okay, but you need to clean the dishes. Yes, your boss, exactly but Tesla your goal has been to make a better car and you’ve done that with an electric vehicle that people covet.
That has quite a cult following that’s upgradable, but you also want to achieve, and your turn of phrase is very nice or try to achieve this Platonic ideal of a car right to reach your affection. So what does the perfect car look like? Well, I’m gonna do I do use that phrase with our assuring sign team that aspirationally we’re in pursuit of like ideal of the perfect car and here’s.
What that looks like actually, but it’s. I want to try to make every element of the car as as flawless as possible and they’ll always be. You know some degree of imperfection, but try to minimize that and create a car.
That is just a line, fill in every way, and I think if you do that, then the rest kind of takes care of itself. [, Music ], whatever you’re doing, is a great product or service. It has to be really great, and I go back to what I said earlier, where, if you’re a new company, I mean this.
It’s like some new industry or new market, that if it’s an untapped market or then then you have more ability to give. Is this? The standard is lower for your product service, but if you’re entering anything where there’s, an existing market place against Lodge entrenched competitors, then your product or service needs to be much better than theirs.
It can’t, be a little bit better because then you put yourself in the shoes of the consumer and they say why would you buy it as a consumer? You’re, always gonna bribe the trusted brand. Unless there’s, a big difference so a lot of times, you know entrepreneur will come up with something which is only slightly better and it’s.
It’s. Not you can’t just be slightly better. It & # 39; s got to be a lot better number three, I’d, says it constantly seek criticism, a a wealth, a well-thought-out critique of whatever you’re doing, is as valuable as gold, and you should seek that from everyone.
You can, but particularly your friends. Usually your friends know what’s wrong, but they don ‘ T want to tell you, because they don’t want to hurt you yeah, so they’re. You know that’s. I would encourage my friends, so I’m, not gonna tell him what I think is wrong.
With this product. Yeah it doesn’t mean your friends are right, but very often they are right and you at least want to listen very carefully to what they say and everyone you’re. Looking for. Basically, you should take the approach that that you’re wrong.
You know that book that that you, the entrepreneur, are wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong. We’ve also said in terms of where you want to go that that developing a high-performance sports car is not what this is about.
Absolutely. Is it’s, not something else, and you want to develop a sedan yeah. The whole purpose behind has the reason I put so much of my time and money is helping create the the business is. Is we want to serve as a catalyst for accelerating the electric car revolution? The the price of gas at the pump does not reflect the true cost of gasoline because you have a consumption of a public good.
It’s, one of the most it’s, really a common problem in e-commerce. You have the same thing and fishing where, because there’s, no cost to fishing stocks, people just over fish, and then you have disaster that that ensues and – and here we’re, not paying for the cost of the co2 concentration in The oceans and atmospheres we’re, not paying for all these, the ancillary, offense, the wars and all the other things at epic at the gas pump.
So you effectively have a subsidy taking place at the gas pump, because of that, so the only way to bridge that is with innovation is to try to try to make electric cars better sooner than they would otherwise be successful.
Entrepreneurs, probably coming all the size of shapes and flavors. How much does any one one particular thing for me. You know some of the things I’ve described already, I think, are very important. I think really an obsessive nature with respect to the quality of the product.
It is very important, so you know, being obsessive-compulsive is a good thing and this context really really liking what you do, whatever area that you get into, given that you know, even if you, if you’re the best the best there’S always a chance of failure, so I think it’s, important that you really like whatever you’re doing.
If you don’t like it, life is too short. You know I’d, say if and and also if you, if you like what you’re, doing you think about it. Even when you’re, not working, I mean it’ll, just it’s, it’s, something that your mind is drawn to and and if you don’t like it, you just really can’t make it work, I think, and if you asked me yes, I was gonna have to PayPal and I thought well.
You know I was wondering, like I’d like to get involved in space, but I just didn’t. Think there’s, a thank you as an individual, and but I was curious as to when we, when we NASA would be sending a team to Mars, because that was always gonna be the thing to do.
After the moon. I figured that there’d, be some plan and I just go websites and I could read the you know the schedule then Mars. Oh yeah, it’s like okay, 2017, good okay, but actually there wasn’t anything on on the website and or at least I thought like am.
I can – and I’ll – find it like what’s. Gon na on here and it’s, a secret, I don’t know I so, but it turned out that that NASA had done a study on what it would cost to send did to do a manned Mars mission, and I this Was under Bush the first and I suppose he asked for a 90-day study – short laughed at taking office and NASA came back with a 500 billion dollar price tag, and he said: okay, maybe not billion of me – that’s, been five hundred billion dollars.
Was serious money you’re for the government, so I so then that got totally shelf and it was like. You were not allowed to talk about any kind of crude mission to Mars at NASA anyway. So I thought well, if I can do something that would galvanize public interest, that and and then that public interest would translate to additional appropriations for NASA increased their budget.
Then then maybe they could do it so the foot, so actually what I sort of thinking I would do is send out a small greenhouse the surface of Mars versed’s and dehydrated gel and then upon landing, hydrate, the jelly roll ants and the Public has to respond to presidents and superlatives, so this would be the furthest that life’s ever traveled the first life on Mars.
I try to try to figure out how to do this with the proceeds that I had from from PayPal, and I was able to figure out how to get the cost of the spacecraft down and the communications and the little greenhouse and everything.
But the one thing I couldn’t compress was the cost launch, because there only a few options and the u.s. options were way too expensive, and I ended up going to Russia three times to try to buy the biggest ICBM and the Russian nuclear Fleet that’s, where I’d, start yeah yeah go back yeah, I mean okay, but they it was so there were some strange trips that’s for sure, but you know it’s like virtually like You can buy any it’s, a very capitalist society, some ways, so I actually didn’t, go.
She had a deal to buy two of the ICBMs, the nukes and but I can’t. Think inclusion after that. Third trip that it wouldn’t really matter like I actually came to occlusion. That my initial premise was was was wrong because I actually think there’s.
There’s, torrents about a will in American population, particularly to to explore the United States. You know, maybe more than any other country is a distillation of the human spirit of exploration and it’s really fundamental to psyche.
So if people think there’s a way, I think it would actually get a lot of support. You know, but but then it can’t be just banging your head against the wall. I got ta believe that this can be done without breaking the federal budget, so that’s.
When I said okay well, is there some way to affect the cost of space, transport and, and is very, and so I got together with a group of people over a series of Saturdays. Just to just try it out said: is there something super expand’mentally super expensive about rockets, or can the cost be substantially improved and act? Had we had a bunch of those kind of brainstorming sessions and I couldn’t, see I couldn’t, see any fundamental obstacle to improving the cost of rockets so and that’s.
When I started SpaceX it’s like I’ll, just build myself yeah and then, but I said at that point I would say the probability of success was definitely less than 50 %. I thought it would most likely not succeed, but was worth a try.
My time is mostly split. What’s between SpaceX and Tesla, and of course I I try to spend it’s a part of every week at open AI. So I spend most, I spend basically half a day at opening I in most weeks and then and then I have some opening I stuff that happens during the week but other than that it’s really interesting.
So Tesla like what is your time? Look like there yeah, so that’s, a good question. I think a lot of people think I must spend a lot of time with media or on business, see things, but actually almost almost all my time, like 80 % of it, is spent on engineering design, engineering and design.
So it’s. Developing the next generation product at that’s, 80 % of it. You probably know I remember this a very long time ago, many many years you took me on a tour of SpaceX and the most impressive thing was that you knew every detail of the rocket and every piece of engineering that went into it.
I don’t. Think many people get that about you yeah. I think a lot of people think I’m kind of a business person or something it’s. Just fine like business is fine, but that guy it really it’s. You know it was like it SpaceX Gwynne Shotwell was chief operating officer.
She kind of manages legal finance, sales and kind of general business activity and then my time is almost entirely with the engineering team working on improving that the Falcon 9 and the Dragon spacecraft and developing the most colonial architecture and that Tesla it’s.
Working on the model 3 and yes, I’m in the design. Studio, took very up half a day a week, dealing with the aesthetics and and look and feel things, and then most of our week is just going through engineering of the car itself.
As well as the engineering of I’ve heard your response to the question, but these guys need to hear it. Why is Mars important? Why does Mars matter sure? Well, I think the it’s, really a fundamental citizen.
We need to make as a civilization. You know what kind of future do we want? Do we want a future where we are forever confined to one planet until some eventual extinction event? However, far in the future that might occur or do we want to become a multi-planet species and and then ultimately be out there among the stars being among many planets? Many star systems – and I think the latter is a far more exciting and inspiring future than the former and and Mars is the next natural step.
In fact, it’s, the only planet. We really have a shot at at establishing a self-sustaining city on and – and I think, once we do establish such a city, there will be a strong, forcing function for the improvement of spaceflight technology.
That will then enable us to establish colonies elsewhere in the solar system and ultimately extend beyond the beyond our solar system and and so there’s, the defensive reason of protecting the future of humanity, ensuring that the light of consciousness is not extinguished.
Should some calamity before Earth, but also and that that’s, the defensive reason, but personally I find the more the word. What it gets me more excited is is the fact that this would be an incredible adventure.
Mmm, maybe like the greatest adventure ever mm-hmm, and it will be exciting and inspiring, and they need to be things that excite and inspire people yeah. You have to be. You know, reasons why you get up in the morning.
It can’t just be solving problems, it ‘ S got to be yeah, something something great is gonna happen in the future yeah. We talked about this at length. Yesterday it’s, it’s, not an exit strategy or a back-up plan for humankind.
Earth fails right. It’s, also to inspire people on earth right and to transcend, and just to go beyond our mental limits of what we think we can achieve right I mean, I think it helps sort of how incredible the Apollo program was, and just I mean, If, if you ask anyone and to name names of humanity’s greatest achievements in the 20th century, the Apollo program landing on the moon would wouldn’t it in many of my most places, we never warned.
Do we be considering one trips one way, only trips to Mars? What’s, the best approach to colonize the planet? Is it? But what is your review? It’s, not socially acceptable. You think people will sign up to do it.
I think it’s. Plenty of people are signed up for a warrior to Mars, but maybe if I could just have a show of hands who wouldn’t see there such an option. I see some, not Mariel, perhaps enough for a couple of missions.
You know and I think it’s sort of like. Is it a one-way mission and then you die or is it a one-way mission and you get resupplied that’s? A big difference: we’re for the second option, yeah exactly, but I think it’s.
So it is a big moot point because you want to bring the spaceship back like these. Spaceships are expensive. Okay, if they’re hard to bulls and just leave them there, so whether or not people want to come back or not, is kind of like they can jump on if they want, but they need the spaceship back.
Thank you. I mean kind of weird like it was like huge collection of spaceships on Mars over time. Really, if it’s like we were just in the back and of course, we’re just in the back