Who exactly is Elon M. Musk?
Recent book gives a very well written answer to this question.
Elon MuskWalter Isaacson has written a book that is both enlightening and revealing. It’s brilliant. It came out on September 12, and I’m already about halfway into the book, which clocks in at a hefty 688 pages.
I won’t spoil any revelations from the book if you plan to read it, especially the parts about his family dynamics or the early chapters about his life before becoming the richest person in the world. Any biography which dwells too heavily on the early years of a family’s life tends to bore me. You want to read about “the good stuff” that made someone famous. With this book, from the opening chapter onward, you get an inside peek into Musk’s formative years.
The book is incredibly detailed when it comes to his inner world — you start to understand what makes him tick. The book is sprinkled with quotes from friends, his family, and Musk, which add authenticity to the events described. But what keeps you reading the entire time is the fascinating psychology of this world-famous entrepreneur. He’s a genius. Isaacson said that he was a very random person.
In the book, there is a story about the beginnings of SpaceX. It tells how they began testing their rockets. It used launchpads in California initially, but then Musk suddenly decided he didn’t want to wait for the federal government to finish its own launches. Musk shipped rockets from California to Kwaj, but this was a bad idea due to its remoteness and other factors.
For a second, I had to pause and reflect on that. Isaacson describes how you start an enormous company, SpaceX. impatienceYou decide, instead of launching rockets half way across the world. Musk and his entourage questioned this decision at the time.
It was a short jump from the past to now. According to Wall Street JournalMusk took several unplanned decisions in relation to Twitter. Musk fired people, changed the company name and now might charge a subscription fee. Isaacson paints a picture of someone who is incredibly random, and how that’s frustrating to everyone around him. He’s abrupt and makes rash decisions on a dime, like moving those rockets.
Isaacson describes the successful first SpaceX launch as well and suggests that there will be more to come. I haven’t read far enough to know this from the book, but obviously Musk also turned Tesla into a dynamo.
All of this has caused me to rethink Musk’s master plan for X. The company that was formerly known as Twitter. Musk, like the other tech geniuses who came before him in the field of technology, is always stirring up the pot. It seems he likes it this way. When there’s a smart decision to be made about retaining brand integrity with Twitter, he does the opposite and randomly decides to dump the brand. He suddenly decides to charge for an app that most people would not pay to download. He isn’t going to wait to build X into something worth a subscription.
I honestly don’t think any of this will work. X is ripping off users from left to right. It’s almost like Musk prefers to fail as much as possible and then see what happens.
Many of these early rockets were destroyed. Twitter’s own implosion is happening. Could it be that this was always the intention? At this scale of disruption, innovation always involves drama.
I’m rethinking everything about his strategy. He is purposefully blowing up Twitter, maybe as a way to see what’s left and who is still interested. As I discovered in the book, he’s someone who likes to create chaos and confusion and then see what’s still standing, and he always has.
Before, it worked. It worked before. Let’s wait and see.