Who doesn’t love Elon Musk?
Business people admire his success. Geeks geek out over his innovation. Environmentalists love his solutions to help the planet. Comic book readers love how his name looks lifted from their favorite graphic novel.
The man has brains but a big heart. He has ambition, but it’s always grounded. He has more money than God but doesn’t seem out of touch.
Basically, Elon Musk is a badass.
We have collected 20 of the best Elon Musk quotes that you can apply to your life. Whether you have world-changing ambitions or are just looking to work and live better, you will find something to take away from his wit and wisdom.
Take it away, Elon!
“If other people are putting in 40 hours in a week, and you’re putting in 100, you will achieve in four months, what it takes them a year to achieve. […] That’s the type of work ethic an entrepreneur needs to have.”
100? Is that all? I routinely work at least 240 minutes a week.
What’s that? He said hours?
Yeah, that’s a lot.
“Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time. Sometimes it will be ahead, other times it will be behind. But brand is simply a collective impression some have about a product.”
So you’re saying that one day people will realize Beats by Dre headphones are actually well packaged junk?
I’ll believe it when I see it.
“There’s a tremendous bias against taking risks. Everyone is trying to optimize their ass-covering.”
As a creative, I can vouch for that. Even companies that talk about wanting to shake things up, when it comes time to make a real decision they’ll usually go for the safest option. They love referencing risk-taking, but it’s only because in hindsight we know the risk was a success.
“Talent is extremely important. It’s like a sports team, the team that has the best individual player will often win, but then there’s a multiplier from how those players work together and the strategy they employ.”
I don’t know about you, but I’d love to see Elon running a sports team. The Miami Martians would be unstoppable.
“I’ve actually not read any books on time management.”
Is that because spending time focusing on time management is bad time management?
Or because Elon hasn’t read any books at all due to his secret illiteracy shame?
I’ll let you be the judge.
“We have a strict ‘no-assholes policy’ at SpaceX.”
I didn’t want to work there anyway.
“You want to have a future where you’re expecting things to be better, not one where you’re expecting things to be worse.”
I would imagine this is a defining characteristic of successful entrepreneurs. At least the ones we admire.
In their heart they are optimists. They believe in themselves and a better world.
“If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”
Wow, I must be innovating my ass off.
“I always invest my own money in the companies that I create. I don’t believe in the whole thing of just using other people’s money. I don’t think that’s right. I’m not going to ask other people to invest in something if I’m not prepared to do so myself.”
Okay, sure, it helps that he’s one of the richest people in the world, but that doesn’t stop other billionaires and millionaires.
Having skin in the game is a great incentive. It also means that when the truckloads of cash roll up, they’re only making one stop: to you.
“I don’t believe in process. In fact, when I interview a potential employee and he or she says that ‘it’s all about the process,’ I see that as a bad sign. The problem is that at a lot of big companies, process becomes a substitute for thinking. You’re encouraged to behave like a little gear in a complex machine. Frankly, it allows you to keep people who aren’t that smart, who aren’t that creative.”
The best organizations are ones that encourage its employees to think out of the box and voice their opinions. There are now platforms and apps to help companies to achieve this, and the value is incredible.
If an employee submits an idea up the chain and nothing comes of it, will they ever present an idea again? Creating a transparent system for encouraging thought is
“Being an entrepreneur is like eating glass and staring into the abyss of death.”
Stop sugarcoating it, Elon. Tell us what you really think.
“It’s very important to like the people you work with, otherwise life [and] your job is gonna be quite miserable.”
Like “eating glass” miserable or just the regular kind?
“Really pay attention to negative feedback and solicit it, particularly from friends. … Hardly anyone does that, and it’s incredibly helpful.”
I don’t have to solicit negative feedback; it just comes to me naturally.
“It is a mistake to hire huge numbers of people to get a complicated job done. Numbers will never compensate for talent in getting the right answer (two people who don’t know something are no better than one), will tend to slow down progress, and will make the task incredibly expensive.”
It’s a good point but remember that by heaping all the work on your one talented employee, you’re going to break the poor guy and woman. As with anything, it’s important to find the right balance of efficiency and productivity for your business.
Part of that is systems, but they other part is people.
A talented worker will do more than you thought possible and a poor employee will do less than you deem necessary.
“When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.”
And that’s when I gambled away my house on 13 black. Thanks, Elon.
Don’t Leave Us. We Need You.
Elon Musk has already said that he wouldn’t mind dying on Mars one day. Provided it’s not during the landing.
While he dreams about the stars, for the time being I hope that he continues to innovate here on earth. There are so many problems that hold our civilization back and Elon is one of the few with the talent and resources to make real change.
I’m inspired by Elon every day and hope that you were also able to find some inspiration from his words*.
Now go out there and change the world!
*Not the glass eating. Leave that to the Elon.