“The reasonable man adapt himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
-George Bernard Shaw, Maxims for Revolutionists
“If you listen to people, it’s really tough to actually be revolutionary…because the majority of people will take you back to the mean.”
“Man’s brain lives in the 20th century; the heart of most men lives still in the Stone Age. The majority of men have not yet acquired the maturity to be independent, to be rational, to be objective. They need myths and idols to endure the fact that man is all by himself, that there is no authority which gives meaning to life except man himself. … modern man is still anxious and tempted to surrender his freedom to dictators of all kinds, or to lose it by transforming himself into a small cog in the machine, well fed, and well clothed, yet not a free man but an automaton.”
I’m embarrassed to admit that I knew very little about Elon Musk prior to catching this Stanford eCorner chat last week. His association with Tesla, SpaceX, and more recently the Hyperloop project was essentially where my knowledge began and ended.
After attending the LAUNCH Festival earlier this month, it was clear that I had to quickly get up to speed. Why? During each of the Calacanis hosted “Fireside Chats” he asked his keynote guests roughly the same question: “Who is the entrepreneur you are most impressed by?” Unanimously, the answer was Mr. Musk.
Trending entrepreneurs, CEO’s, angels, VC’s, his holiness Peter Thiel — they all had the same answer. Thiel expanded on his answer by explaining that what makes Musk most impressive — beyond the impeccable track record and his ability to jump between industries with nary a pause — is his success in building companies that operate in the world of atoms, rather than in the world of bits (more here). Innovation in atoms is certainly a more significant challenge, but Thiel argues it is also the solution to many of our most pressing issues. Musk is one of few who is successfully “achieving in atoms.”
While it was recorded in 2003, the takeaways are no less relevant. GET YOUR LEARN ON!
This Stanford eCorner offering is Mark Pincus in free flow. He’s winging it…and is faced with the additional challenge of constant interruption by his co-speaker Bing Gordon. Despite these facts, there are kernels of knowledge from both gentlemen on goal setting, playing to win (rather than playing to keep playing), and the entrepreneurial immortality afforded to those who successfully build our “internet treasures.”
Feel free to skip the lecture and just grab my notes below the video embed.
“I have had a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”