Skip to main content

Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance

Related image

The book:
Ashlee Vance takes an in-depth look at Elon Musk's life and events that shaped his personality and goals. There's information about how Musk sees life, work, and relationships.

In the first chapters, the author talks about Elon's family and childhood, which was influenced by his grandfather and a bad relationship with his dad. Later, Vance tells stories about Musk's college life and first businesses.

Despite his initial reluctance, Elon Musk participated in the creation of this book, that is what makes it so real and special. 

Takeaways and Paths of Action:

1. Create the right environment:
While Elon Musk refuses to spend a couple thousand of dollars in electronics that he thought could be developed for less, he spends hundreds of thousands in factory floors, work areas, and inclusive-workspaces.

Look for things that improve productivity, like high-speed internet, close or shared desks, available printers, and so on. Ans why not a coffee machine and snacks (adequately located)? So that people do not have to go too far to get all these things.

Pay "maniacal attention to detail."

Take a look at Space X's offices:

2. Make communication easy:
This actually comes together with the right environment. Elon Musk placed senior engineers and executives' desks on the factory floor, surrounded by manufacturing facilities. The purpose was to facilitate communication between different teams and in some sense force them to interact every time they walk into their offices.

Elon Musk also placed his desk in this area and made himself available to as many employees as he could.

Use jargon, acronyms, and abbreviations but not too many as it may make it harder for new hires to get used to them.

Bring different teams working in the same or related projects to work (physically) close to each other.

3. Aim for the shortest:
When setting deadlines, don't be too realistic. Always aim for the most ideal and assume everyone is going to work as hard, smart, and fast as they can. In this way, even if you miss the deadline by some hours or days, you will still be on time, and the team would have improved as a result of the high demand.

4. Swear:
Yes, that's right. Ben Horowitz, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Ray Dalio, and other excellent managers were known for swearing energetically at their employees.

I do not know why they did it nor if swearing really contributed to effectively managing their teams, but they did. Now, none of them meant to offend people on a personal level. They focused on the job people did rather than their personal attributes.

Like, imagine Steve Jobs:

"What the f*ck do you mean by "we did not have enough time to finish"! or 
"I don't want you to come back until you make the client sign the f*cking contract!"
I am guessing that swearing is the result of being both direct and passionate.

Favourite quote:

"That's Elon, do or die but don't give up" -Amber


Popular posts from this blog

Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull

The book: This full-of-detail book uses the story of Pixar to illustrate managerial principles and important aspects of a company's culture. The book reveals challenges that the company faced during the creation of movies such as The Incredibles, Toy Story, and so on. So, if you are a big fan of Pixar like I am, you'll understand and remember what the author wants to say, with ease. The audio version of the book also includes a very particular chapter dedicated to Steve Jobs. Takeaways and Paths of Action: 1. Encourage candor and be candid yourself: Not only every person on your team must be honest with each other, but they must voice their opinion without fear of being punished. Create meetings with the sole purpose of giving feedback and let each person express their ideas and concerns. If the criticism is towards ideas and problems, not people, participants will feel more comfortable. 2. Empower people to solve problems: This is completely opposite to the idea of

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

The book: The hard thing is that hard things have no universal solution. This book teaches management principles not from standard definitions but from real insightful experiences narrated from a CEO's point of view. The author talks about several challenges he had to face (in specific situations) when running Opsware. Hiring an executive against the advice of the board of directors or rejecting acquisition offers that exceeded everyone else's expectations are two examples of the hard decisions Ben Horowitz made. Takeaways and Paths of Action: The following apply to individuals in a leadership position: 1. Give feedback, constantly: If you are giving feedback all the time to everybody, it is more likely that they will take it as a regular practice rather than a personal attack. Keep in mind that your goal is to help the other person's job improve, not to prove your point. You can also use the "shit sandwich" technique. Give a compliment on the g

Made to Stick by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

The book: This book is a very practical guide to transforming ideas into messages that your audience will care about, understand, and remember. The authors, Chip and Dan, are professors at Stanford and Duke University, respectively, and work with students and entrepreneurs applying their research every day. (They know what they are talking about.) Every one of the 6 principles of sticky ideas is explained through several examples. At the end of each chapter, there is an "idea clinic" where the authors show a real message and improve it using one of the six principles. Takeaways and Paths of Action: At Stanford University, 10 students were asked to present to their classmates about the importance of hat non-violent crime in the U.S. The speeches were evaluated by their peers and ranked from "best" to "poorest". As one may expect, the students with more public speaking experience, who were more eloquent, delivered the "best" speeches.