I never could manage to find myself an idol, not now and not even as a child. I guess I just find the concept a bit too over the top and limiting – there are so many remarkable people out there, why settle? :) Instead, I did find over time many sources of inspiration. I am always on the lookout for a game changer, an individual that has a strong lesson to teach. I found in Elon Musk a true source of inspiration and a living example that outstanding qualities can be found all together in the same person: modesty, fame & fortune through hard work and humbleness, true passion for innovation and considerable technical advancement, being in the game to help and make the planet a better place.
If you look at his life & work so far, you’d say it’s taken out of the script for a movie. Oh, wait… he actually was the inspiration behind the Iron Man movie :) Elon is a self-made billionaire, having built his empire from scratch through hard work. He actually is the definition of a hardcore working schedule, making on average 100 h per week in a crazy combination of industries – automotive, solar energy & energy storage, aerospace, high-speed ground transportation(!!!), expansion to other planets (yup, you read it correctly!), satellites, artificial intelligence. He’s the one that will prove that things can be done even when you least expect. He has one of the most awesome list of current projects any technology fan could imagine – it basically addresses a subset of problems mankind will have to consider in the next decades. Here is a quick recap of what he’s currently busy with:
- Tesla Motors – if you put beauty, sustainability and excellence together, this is pretty much what you get. Elon’s outstanding car & home batteries manufacturing company is fighting for a better environment & self-sufficient households. The electric cars produced here have shaken the way the industry perceived such vehicles and qualifies as probably world’s best car-related startup. On top of that, the launch of the Powerwall is bringing a fresh new vision to having a sustainable and independent household.
- Space X – reaching Mars any time soon? Elon’s on it! This initiative has reopened space for exploration and has made the idea of reaching and populating Mars a tad more common and at revolutionary prices. The company is designing and building rockets and has as end-goal finding ways for humankind to populate other planets. Its customer base is wide and even contains NASA.
- Solar City – fighting global warming through solar power. The company has become the 2nd largest solar energy provider in the US and fights against producing common fuels and polluting the planet.
- the Hyperloop – sci-fi transportation? Yup, that’s also covered. Musk’s remarkable initiative is aiming to revolutionize transportation by offering the option to travel 600 km in about 35 minutes on land.
I also thought it would be good to justify why you’re reading this post and, most of all, why write about Elon and not some other public figure. Well, for a good number of reasons:
- he’s a game changer – he brought to light ideas that actually could change the world we live in
- he cares – charity does not always come as easily as we think from billionaires of such magnitude
- he’s consistent in what he preaches and has been from the beginning of his career
- he is one of our best shots we’ve got for populating other planets
- he inspired the freakin’ Iron Man movie
- he also wants to build submarine cars
- he is shy but has learned to overcome this and become a great public speaker
- he’s modest
- he’s been doing for humanity more than all humans on the planet combined by this time :)
It’s been a challenge trying to squeeze into a tiny post the most important things of the Musk revolution. There are so many incredibly interesting speeches and (TED) talks of his out there that it would be a shame for you guys not to look further into his life & work. The best blog post/interview I found so far would be on waitbutwhy.com, highly recommend it! There are a lot of movement leaders out there in technology, there are a lot of billionaires and influencers… but somehow, this particular one is different and plays in a different league. It must be either his way of reasoning, his ambition or the way he tackles issues he is faced with. Regardless of the recipe of his success, we’ll probably be hearing a lot more from him during the next decades. I’m more than excited to see what else he has to offer… as if what he offered so far is not enough already :))
“I think it is possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary.” Elon Musk