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  • - People should think, well, "I feel fear about this,

  • "and therefore I shouldn't do it."

  • It's normal to feel fear.

  • Like, there'd have to be definitely something

  • mentally wrong if you didn't feel fear.

  • And there's a friend of mine who says, like,

  • "Starting a company is like staring

  • "into the abyss and eating glass,"

  • and there's some truth to that.

  • And a successful company is very much more about,

  • "How quick are you to fix the mistakes?"

  • Not, "Will you make mistakes?"

  • The one thing I couldn't compress was the cost of launch

  • 'cause there were only a few options,

  • and the US options were way too expensive,

  • so I ended up going to Russia three times

  • to try to buy the biggest ICBM in the Russian nuclear fleet.

  • - He's the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors,

  • and the chairman of Solar City.

  • His goals of starting these businesses

  • always revolve around changing the world and humanity.

  • He has an estimated net worth of 11.5 billion dollars.

  • He's Elon Musk, and here's my take on his

  • top 10 rules to success, part two.

  • Rule number one is my personal favorite,

  • and make sure to stick around all the way

  • to the end for some special bonus clips.

  • Also, as Elon's talking, if he says something

  • that really resonates with you,

  • please leave it in the comments below.

  • Put quotes around it so other people

  • can be inspired as well.

  • Enjoy.

  • (dramatic music)

  • - You are unusually fearless and willing to go

  • in the face of other people telling you something is crazy,

  • and I know a lot of pretty crazy people.

  • You still stand out.

  • Where does that come from, or how do you think about

  • making a decision when everyone tells you,

  • "This is a crazy idea," or where do you

  • get the internal strength to do that?

  • - Well, first of all, I'd say I actually think

  • I feel fear quite strongly, so it's not as though

  • I just have the absence of fear.

  • I feel it quite strongly.

  • But there are just times when something is

  • important enough, that you believe in it enough,

  • that you do it in spite of fear.

  • - So, speaking of important things--

  • - Like, people shouldn't think,

  • "Well, I feel fear about this,

  • "and therefore I shouldn't do it."

  • It's normal to feel fear.

  • Like, you'd have to definitely have something

  • mentally wrong with you if you didn't feel fear.

  • - So, you just feel it, and let the importance

  • of it drive you to do it anyway?

  • - Yeah.

  • You know, actually, something that

  • can be helpful is fatalism, at some degree.

  • If you just accept the probabilities,

  • then that diminishes fear, so when starting SpaceX,

  • I thought the odds of success were less than 10%,

  • and I just accepted that actually, probably,

  • I would just lose everything,

  • but that maybe, we would make some progress

  • if we could just move the ball forward.

  • Even if we died, maybe some other company

  • could pick up the baton and keep moving it forward,

  • so that would still do some good.

  • Yeah, same with Tesla.

  • I thought, you know, odds of a car company

  • succeeding were extremely low.

  • I would definitely advise people who are starting a company

  • to expect a long period of quite high difficulty.

  • - Yeah.

  • - But, I mean, as long as people stay super-focused

  • on creating the absolute best product to service

  • that really delights their end customer.

  • If they stay focused on that, then basically,

  • if you get it such that your customers want you to succeed,

  • then you probably will.

  • - All right.

  • You have to focus on the customer and delivering for them.

  • - Yeah.

  • Make sure, if your customers love you,

  • your odds of success of are dramatically higher.

  • One does have to be focused on the short-term

  • and money coming in when creating a company,

  • because otherwise, the company will die,

  • so a lot of the times, people will think,

  • like, creating a company is going to be fun.

  • I would say it's really not that fun.

  • I mean, there are periods of fun,

  • and there are periods where it's just awful.

  • And particularly, if you're CEO of the company,

  • you actually have a distillation

  • of all the worst problems in a company.

  • See, there's no point in spending your time

  • on things that are going right, so you're only

  • spending your time on things that are going wrong,

  • and there are things that are going wrong

  • that other people can't take care of,

  • so you have, like, the worst.

  • You have a filter for the crappest problems in the company.

  • (laughs)

  • The most pernicious and painful problems.

  • So I wouldn't say it's, I think you have to feel

  • quite compelled to do it and have a fairly high

  • pain threshold, and there's a friend of mine

  • who says, like, "Starting a company is like

  • "staring into the abyss and eating glass."

  • And there's some truth to that.

  • (audience laughing)

  • The staring into the abyss part is that you're going to be

  • constantly facing the extermination of the company,

  • 'cause most start-ups fail.

  • Like, 99% of start-ups fail.

  • So, that's the staring into the abyss part.

  • You're constantly saying, "Okay,

  • "if I don't get this right, the company will die."

  • Should be quite stressful.

  • And then, the eating glass part is,

  • you've got to work on the problems that the company

  • needs you to work on, not the problems you want to work on,

  • and so you end up working on problems

  • that you'll really wish you weren't working on,

  • and so that's the eating glass part.

  • And that goes on for a long time.

  • - [Audience Member] So, how do you keep your focus

  • on the big picture when you're constantly faced with,

  • "We could be out of business in a month?"

  • - Well, it's just a very small percentage

  • of mental energy that's on the big picture.

  • Like, you know where you're generally heading for,

  • and the actual path is going to be some sort of

  • zig-zaggy thing in that direction.

  • You're trying not to deviate too far from the path

  • that you want to be on, but you're going to

  • have to do that to some degree.

  • But I don't want to diminish the,

  • I mean, I think the profit motive is a good one

  • if the rules of an industry are properly set up.

  • So there's nothing fundamentally wrong with profit.

  • In fact, profit just means that people are paying you more

  • for whatever you're doing than you're spending to create it.

  • That's a good thing.

  • (laughs)

  • And if that's the not the case,

  • then you'll be out of business, and rightfully so.

  • 'Cause you're not adding enough value.

  • First of all, I really need to give some thought to, like,

  • how can I provide advice that would be most helpful,

  • and I'm not sure I've given enough thought to that

  • to give you the best possible answer,

  • but I think, certainly, being focused on something

  • that you're confident will have high value to someone else,

  • and just being really rigorous in making that assessment,

  • because people tend to, a natural human tendency

  • is wishful thinking, so a challenge for entrepreneurs

  • is to say, "Well, what's the difference between

  • "really believing in your ideals and sticking to them

  • "versus pursuing some unrealistic dream

  • "that doesn't actually have merit?"

  • And that is a really difficult thing to,

  • can you tell the difference between those two things.

  • So, you need to be sort of

  • very rigorous in your self-analysis.

  • Certainly extremely tenacious,

  • and then just work like hell.

  • I mean, you just have to put in, you know,

  • 80 to 100 hour weeks every week.

  • - That is a lot of work.

  • - All those things improve the odds of success.

  • If other people are putting in 40 hour work weeks

  • and you're putting in 100 hour work weeks,

  • then even if you're doing the same thing,

  • you know that in one year, you will achieve in

  • four months what it takes them a year to achieve.

  • - So failures are not the most terrible things.

  • You have to learn from it and react to it.

  • - Yeah, exactly.

  • When you're building something new,

  • there's going to be mistakes, and it's important to

  • recognize those mistakes, acknowledge them,

  • and take corrective action.

  • And the success of a company is very much more about

  • "How quick are you to fix the mistakes?"

  • Not, "Will you make mistakes?"

  • - Or admit the mistakes.

  • - Yeah, absolutely.

  • And if you see the difference between

  • a start-up that is successful and one that is not,

  • it is because the successful one,

  • they're both made of mistakes,

  • but the successful one recognized the mistakes,

  • fixed them very quickly, and the unsuccessful one

  • tries to deny that the mistakes exist.

  • - You know, extremely smart people

  • are sometimes quite arrogant, because they believe in

  • what they believe in, right,

  • and so when they face criticism,

  • it's less likely to admit they can make mistakes.

  • Was that in your case?

  • - I learnt it when I was studying physics.

  • In physics, you're taught to always question yourself,

  • you're taught to always assume that you're wrong,

  • not to assume that you're right, and you have to prove

  • yourself not wrong, and so I think that physics framework

  • is really where I learnt it, and it's very effective

  • for learning counter-intuitive things that aren't obvious.

  • - Mm.

  • So, you are very famous in saying that failure

  • is actually an option, and if you're not failing

  • that means you're not innovative enough.

  • - Yeah.

  • I mean, it's not like I like failure.

  • I mean, who likes failure?

  • But if you only do things that are certain to succeed,

  • then you're only going to be doing very obvious things.

  • - A question that has been discussed

  • over the past couple of days.

  • Should we be considering one-way only trips to Mars?

  • What's the best approach to colonize the planet?

  • Is it, well, what's your view?

  • Is that socially acceptable?

  • You think people will sign up to do it?

  • - I think there's plenty of people

  • that would sign up for a one-way trip to Mars.

  • (audience laughing)

  • - Maybe if I could have a show of hands.

  • Who would consider such an option?

  • (audience chattering and laughing)

  • I see some.

  • Not many, but perhaps enough for a couple of missions.

  • (audience laughing)

  • - Certainly be enough.

  • I think it's sort of, like, is it a

  • one-way mission and then you die,

  • or is it a one-way mission and you get resupplied?

  • There's a big difference.

  • (laughs)

  • - We're for the second option.

  • - Yeah, exactly.

  • But I think it ends up being a moot point,

  • because you want to bring the spaceship back.

  • Like, these spaceships are expensive, okay?