By Sakshi Upadhyay
What do you think when you hear the term ‘visionary’? Personally, I think about someone who challenges the status quo and can rally everyone to walk the tough path with them, particularly when change isn’t easy. History has given us many visionaries in the form of warriors, scientists, and architects.
My all-time favorite used to be the illustrious artist and scientist Leonardo Da Vinci but that changed when I discovered Elon Musk. I became a fan when I saw him talk about the launch of the Tesla Model S Sedan and I’ve been following him on every social media platform since then. His words of wisdom extend into any business.
“People work better when they know what the goal is and why. It is important that people look forward to coming to work in the morning and enjoy working.”
I really admire his courage to question the workings of the world and the hard work he puts into making it a little better. In their unique ways, all of his companies are dedicated to making the world a better place.
- Tesla Motors was founded to prove that electric vehicles can be better, quicker, and more fun to drive than gasoline cars. And, they can help the world stop relying on environmentally damaging fossil fuels.
- The Boring Company plans to solve the problem of “soul-destroying traffic” by creating a large network of underground tunnels that enable rapid transit.
- SpaceX will greatly reduce the costs and environmental impact of space travel, including cross-country travel on earth.
These extraordinary endeavors are forcing industry giants to take notice and take action. Electric cars that were once perceived to be non-functional and unappealing to the masses are now the talk of the town, with everyone from governments to industry leaders like General Motors supporting the electric movement.
Perhaps what brings Elon to life and makes a billionaire relatable to regular people is that he is the perfect package of amazing engineering and business acumen combined with a wacky sense of humour.
- Taking advantage of a play on words, Elon named his tunnel excavation company ‘The Boring Company,’ even though the boring work is far from boring.
- In an attempt to raise money for The Boring Company, Elon sparked controversy by following through on a silly promise to sell flamethrowers (along with a fire extinguisher!) branded with The Boring Company.
- On April Fool’s day in 2018, Elon posted a photo of himself with a sign saying Tesla had gone bankrupt. This stunt actually caused shares of Tesla to plummet!
- In an effort to demonstrate its payload potential, Elon launched an actual car into space on the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.
- And, with perfect comedic timing, he fully realizes the dangers of his inventions: “I would like to die on Mars. Just not on impact.”
In addition to his forward thinking projects aimed at improving transportation for the global community, Elon has also engages in philanthropic efforts closer to home. Taking advantage of Tesla’s solar energy work, he continues to help Puerto Rico rebuild its energy infrastructure after last year’s hurricane season via 11,000 projects. He’s donated $10M to the Future of Life Institute to run a global research program aimed at keeping AI beneficial to humanity. And, he has signed on to The Giving Pledge, a concept created by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates, to give at least 50% of his wealth to charity.
Elon has taught me that any storm can be weathered if you have strong beliefs, undying dedication, and a dash of humor. From putting his own money into companies to celebrating the highs and taking the lows with a stride, he has done it all making him the most followed, admired, and relatable CEO of all time.
With the advancement of technology, everything has become convenient. It takes someone like Elon Musk to shake things up a little and inspire people to think differently, to rise above the complacency in order to bring true change in the world. I am sure there are more wacky yet inspiring ideas swirling in his head right now and I cannot wait to see them become real in my lifetime.