-- A blog maintained by a pessimistic over-confident High-School kid.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Elon Musk - My Admiration is now to The Next Level

"Ah ha ha" in a monotone delivery is this most depressing reaction you can get from Elon Musk. This reaction of his means that he disagrees heavily on you, and it is probably accurate as this evaluation is given by a practicalist founder of multiple companies. In the past, I did not know the extent to which Elon Musk is successful. When you look at the billionaires today, most of them have some common traits. And whether they come from a humble background or not, they are mostly businessmen by trade. They might have a significant hand in the early days and the making of the company, but the multi-billion-dollar company's labour force would not contain them as a member. Elon Musk is multiple of magnitudes different from other CEOs and founders of companies. Studying a dual major of physics and business in college and dropping out mid-way when getting a PhD easily introduces Elon Musk quite accurately. He combines his knowledge about the feasibility of ideas along with business 101, and he is able to do the impossible. I have been hooked on Elon Musk for almost 2 weeks now, and I cannot stop watching his interviews. In my imaginary mind, I thought that I could somehow strike some mystical gem to his successful attitude or knowledge, but the conclusion is still that there are no shortcuts.

What strikes me the most about Elon Musk is how involved he is in his companies. Although I am not as familiar with other CEOs, former or not, such as Steve Jobs, Jeff Besos, Bill Gates, my surface-level assessment of them is that they are about the management, but not as the chief engineer. To my knowledge, I would not classify them as anything of a genius in their industry's skill. Steve Jobs is a master in envisioning the software possibilities to a solution, Jeff Besos understands the needs of the public, and other founders of companies are idealists that could manage human resources well. But ask them to have a competition in coding with their skilled employees, they would lose by a big margin. Elon Musk on the other hand, in my point of view, understands the public's need, envisions the right future, contains the skill, and has the business knowledge to find funding for his projects. Even Jeff Besos that understands mass economics failed at finding a way to fund his own rocket company, and he was left with funding by himself (almost) entirely. While Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Ma, Robert Kiyosaki, etc. relied on a financial consultant that literally wholly defined their success. Meaning that they would 100% fail, and I can guarantee, without one person guiding them through the financial market and helping them get funding. Jack Ma stressed that he worked hard, but in reality, he was successful because he can talk and luckily has a very competent financial advisor. Yes, these visionaries' initial efforts attract competent financial advisors in the first place, but it does not change the fact that they are reliant upon them. Rolling back to Elon Musk, he himself is the financial advisor. And of course, collective knowledge is better than a dictator, and so he has advisors himself. But the major difference is that he is able to devise a competent plan by himself. His description 7 years ago of Paypal that he co-founded really just illustrates this clearly. He said, "If you look at [paypal's] product plan I wrote in 2000, there's hardly any difference, in fact, it's slightly worse than that." While this alone does not justify his acquisition of business knowledge, with some estimates and predictions, you can tell that he knows his stuff. While other founders and CEOs just gather the right people, Elon Musk is part of the talent, and he is open to assistance.

Leave me alone, I will draw
when I draw, thank you

Elon Musk knows how to run a business, duh, he founded, co-founded, 6 very successful companies out of 6 attempts, a 100% success rate, and he is not in it for the money either. The part that makes him overwhelmingly great is his involvement in the making of the products. While wealthy people (Manny Khoshbin, Robert Kiyosaki) work 2 hours a day, scrolling through amazon for lands and houses, Elon Musk is being the chief engineer for SpaceX rockets, dealing with problems that scientists have a hard time with and taking them upon himself to solve it. While Steve Jobs criticizes the work of his employees, judging them against the idealistic possibility1, Elon Musk takes the idealistic possibility2 and does it himself along with his employees. He does not do this because he doesn't have the resource to hire a talented engineer, scientist, his budget is literally multiple billions, he can afford anyone. He leads the team and solves the problem himself as a self-taught engineer because no one else can. No one dares to dream nor knows how to conceptualize rockets' reusability. He knows his product in-and-out and would do the crazy, such as manufacturing AI chips in-house in his Gigafactory. He understands everything there is to the modern way world of economics and innovation. In the investor conference for Tesla a year ago, his attitude when compared with the chief engineer for the AI chip says a lot. While Elon Musk understands the importance of satisfied investors, answers questions dedicatedly, the chief engineer dismisses the absurd uneducated questions of tech-lame people with one-liners, thinking that "these questions are not worthwhile, my stats explains it quite simply". Elon Musk learns anything, meaning anything, needed that are needed to overcome his obstacles, and he strives to better humanity.

A couple of months ago, I admired Meursault's ability to be in a higher plane of existence, being aware of his surroundings and uncaring towards the wounds inflicted by others. I alluded to that the role models that I have and the ideal person that I want to be are all fictional. While I had always admire Bill Gates, I cannot relate to his desire to end human suffering. I had not gone through the trauma that puts me in that position, and that is entirely on me. But now, I see Elon Musk's action to the cause. He both provide solutions to the problems of Earth such as greenhouse gas and human congestion and provide solutions to problems of humanity such as making human multi-planetary. He did all this by learning everything necessary to get money and make stuff. He knows rocket science, he knows the silicon valley, he knows public desires. He empowers himself for his goals by learning things one by one, and this is reflected in his conclusion that human learns very slow. He, by experiencing the need to learn all these stuff, have a personal understanding of the process of learning. Although he did drop out of college, his assessment of learning makes it evident that he had learned a lot. In his interviews, he still illustrates the importance of education, and that in today's world, while college is not perfect, it is necessary unless there is a better conventialized way.

While getting to where Elon Musk is now for me is to just keep learning as he did, I think I will end this post with some of Elon Musk's quotes. I don't know why the quality ones all escape my head at the moment, but I still remember the ones that are aside his jokes, so here goes:

"Try to learn as much as possible that allows you to predict the future or make the future. The best saying is that the best way to predict the future is to make it. And then assess what you are learning is enabling you to predict the future with less error or be less wrong. We are always wrong to some degree. But you can reduce the error on your future predictions"

"Well, I do think there's a good framework for thinking. It is physics. You know, the sort of first principles reasoning. Generally I think there are -- what I mean by that is, boil things down to their fundamental truths and reason up from there, as opposed to reasoning by analogy. Through most of our life, we get through life by reasoning by analogy, which essentially means copying what other people do with slight variations. And you have to do that. Otherwise, mentally, you wouldn't be able to get through the day. But when you want to do something new, you have to apply the physics approach. Physics is really figuring out how to discover new things that are counterintuitive, like quantum mechanics. It's really counterintuitive. So I think that's an important thing to do, and then also to really pay attention to negative feedback, and solicit it, particularly from friends."

"People worry a lot about these days are the people that called college-smarteness. People like us street smart, we are never scared of that... I do not know man, it sounds like famous last words"

1: iPad, iMac, iPhone, IOS, Pixar. Steve Jobs envisions the idealistic possibilities for Apple and Pixar
2: reusable rocket, electric car, mass solar arrays, hyperloop. Elon Musk is directly involved in making the idealistic possibilities into reality

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