Elon Musk is a successful businessman who has founded numerous companies in the tech world. He is one of the co-founders of PayPal, managing director of Space X and, last but not least, he heads Tesla Motors, which now want to conquer the mass market with the Model 3. You’d think that Musk knows about startups and can motivate young people to start such a company.
He knows the ups and downs that catch up with every manager over time and so one suspects that advice from Musk should have something encouraging. When a student at Draper University asked Musk for his most important piece of advice, which could help young founders, the Tesla boss surprised with an unusual answer.
“Do not do it”
Musk is actually a man of few words. As a rule, he lets his products speak for themselves and only briefly comments on certain topics on Twitter. When Musk was asked about his most important tip for founders, he replied briefly: “Don’t do it.” His answer amazed the student, but on closer inspection it makes sense.
“I think it’s very difficult to start a business and it’s painful. A friend of mine describes how it is to found a startup: It’s like eating a glass and staring into the abyss. If you’re really attached to it, then just do that, but for no other reason. So if you want to hear inspirational words, they are, ‘Don’t do it,’ ”Musk said.
If you look closely at the answer, you notice that Elon Musk has found a motivating phrase that irritates at first glance, but gets to the heart of the matter quite well.
Films and series have distorted the image of the founder
Being a founder means one thing above all else: working hard. Many founders love the idea of being self-employed, but then can’t bring themselves to do all the work to really pull it off.
With a start-up comes not only success, money and comfort, but also failures, risks, unsuccessful attempts and it takes an iron will to be able to put it all away for years. That’s a difficult mentality that not everyone has. Anyone who dares to do so could be disappointed and become unhappy for years, until it might be successful. But nobody can guarantee that. You have to be made for a possible dry spell.
But if you take the stony path and follow your clear goal, you can make it. Thomas Brag, one of Elon Musk’s students, called Musk’s response a kind of Poser filter. Anyone who is quickly discouraged when told not to do it was simply not meant for the task. A founder with an iron will doesn’t let anyone or anything stop him or even discourage him from doing his thing.
Spurred on by Musk’s provocation
Anyone who feels called to become a founder is only spurred on by Musk’s statement to really carry out their project. Because the right founders want to prove to people who don’t believe in the idea that they were right.
Also read: Futurologist contradicts Elon Musk’s gloomy vision
Musk also knows the stumbling blocks on the way to success. His sentence can also be seen as a warning, because as a founder you have to be prepared for the failures that lie ahead. If that is the case, the negative events no longer come as a surprise and also hurt less than if you blindly and blue-eyed just look at the supposed fame that may never come.
This article was published by NewsABC.net in September 2019. It has now been reviewed and updated.