Elon Musk is the smartest person on the planet

Op-Ed: To tweet or not to tweet, now that Elon’s the boss

When Elon Musk got the opportunity to lead Tesla — a company he helped found, an automaker he helped bring to fruition, a business he’s built to be more than a $40 billion company — he took that chance with the quiet, unassuming resolve of a man who has nothing to lose.

“Everything is possible if you believe that you can make it happen. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will believe in you,” Musk told a reporter from the New Yorker last week, after two days of a public grilling at the company’s headquarters — and another in the company’s Los Angeles headquarters this week — about his vision for the future. “Don’t have the ego to think that you’re the only one who can turn it into a reality.”

Musk is not just a young billionaire whose ideas are more radical than they seemed at first glance. He’s also one of the smartest people on the planet. Tesla, which has been going for months without a full-time chief executive, is a place where employees have put Musk in the top three people in the company, with the second being SpaceX CEO Elon Reeve. The CEO of Google, Larry Page, once told the same reporter last week that he was thinking of naming his son after Musk. More recently, Musk’s vision has inspired a wave of people, many of whom have grown up in the same kind of hyper-connected culture that has defined Silicon Valley. They’ve followed the CEO’s vision — and they aren’t the only customers who’ve been rethinking their lives, starting new lives, or seeking another way of being.

“We live in a social media, connected world. Our entire lives are being reshaped by it. People are building businesses with it,” Musk told the New Yorker.

Musk is no revolutionary — at least not in terms of his ideas about innovation. There’s still a long way to go before anyone gets a driverless car. But he’s figured out how to use technology to transform an entire industry. He’s built a company to be more than a company. And his example has inspired someone else to take the bold step of leading a company.

Leave a Comment