Elon Musk Spends 80 Percent Of His Time Doing This

Elon Musk


Elon Musk

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is a brilliant leader with a hand ons focus on design and innovation, yet he still woos the masses with his down-to-earth personality.

According to Inc., Elon Musk’s recent interview on Y Combinator (one of the world’s most successful startup accelerators) further solidified what most of us already know regarding one of the world’s most popular and respected CEOs. Musk claims to spend 80 percent of his time with his hands personally involved in engineering and design, as his primary goal is to develop innovative and life-changing products, which possess his own vision.


Elon Musk comes across as laid back, genuine, charming, and funny. Although he’s a workaholic, and highly intellectual, he appeals to people on a level that’s not found in most other CEOs.

Musk’s style of design focuses on revolutionary products that will help people, the environment, and the future, all while being aesthetically pleasing. Added to this, Musk’s product ideas are the type that beat the odds, by coming to fruition despite adversity and doubt.

Inc. pointed to some examples like the beautiful rooftop solar tiles, Model X falcon wing doors, and reusable rockets. Musk’s future plans for travel to Mars, a boring machine that works faster than a snail (which is extremely fast), underground tunnels with vehicle elevators and electric car skates, a vacuum tube “hyperloop” mass transport system, and even full self-driving cars are all a really big deal, and absolutely viable according to his forecasts.

Very rarely does a CEO spend half a day every week sitting right next to his/her company’s chief designer and additional time aside working engineers and line workers. However, Musk chooses to sit with Franz von Holzhausen and be a part of the design process. Somehow he finds time to run two major companies and a handful of others, engage the public via social media, take care of his five boys, sleep enough, and even date.

Musk is known for his keen eye and attention to detail. He basically learned to build rockets from scratch when starting SpaceX. Not only does he have a mental image of what he wants, but he’s also very successful at conveying it to his team.

Many compare Elon Musk to Steve Jobs. He’s one of a handful of CEOs with a future vision and no fear of making it happen. He takes huge risks that seem destined to fail, but it doesn’t matter to him, because he leads with his beliefs and opinions above all else, and he accepts failure as a means to success. Inc. also compares Musk to mid-century designer and author, George Nelson. Nelson wrote the following for the Herman Miller catalog (via Inc. from Ralph Caplan’s book, ‘The Design of Herman Miller’):

“You decide what you will make. Herman Miller has never done any market research or any pretesting of its products to determine what the market ‘will accept.’ If designer and management like a solution to a particular furniture problem, it is put into production. There is no attempt to conform to the so-called norms of ‘public taste,’ nor any special faith in the methods used to evaluate the ‘buying public’.”

Regardless of Musk’s extraordinary work ethic, in the end, Musk is a people person. He comes across as real and genuine, full of kindness and compassion. Though some claim he’s a genius and an intellectual, the average person can easily relate to him. People seem to get the feeling that Musk has their best interests at heart, as well as that of our civilization in general. He reaches out to the younger generation through social media, and even goes so far as to share his personal life and stories. This speaks volumes to people across the globe.

Ideally, Musk is paving the way for a new generation of future business leaders, and how they can better approach their roles in our ever-changing planet. Out with the old … in with the new.

Source: Inc.

Categories: Tesla

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41 Comments on "Elon Musk Spends 80 Percent Of His Time Doing This"

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My hero!


he deserves all the praise and support until he screws up LOL hopefully he won’t screw up

I’m curious when an announcement will be made for a Tesla factory in China. I wouldn’t be surprised that if a factory is built the tariffs will be eliminated to for Tesla vehicles to China until the factory begins production.

And what reason would China have to do such a thing?

“I wouldn’t be surprised that if a factory is built the tariffs will be eliminated to for Tesla vehicles to China until the factory begins production.”

And I would be happy if unicorns printed money out of rainbows to pay for Tesla’s tariffs… but that is almost as unlikely as your scenario. 😉

China has been actively hostile to foreign imports ever since the days of Imperial China; that’s why the Opium Wars happened. It has been pretty thoroughly ingrained in their culture for centuries. Expecting China to suddenly welcome imports, especially expensive luxury imports, after all that time…

Well, that’s a pretty extreme case of hope triumphing over experience!

Yet you believe that somehow 12k (~55%) of Q2 (not July) were sold Intl. I guess you dont have to make sense when blinidng Pushing TSLA stock.
Remember than Tencent half-saved tesla by buying 5% recently despite the 1st mostly-ignored by Musk and others fatal autopilot crash 18 months ago. The only way Tesla will succeed in China is to learn and respect the culture like Zuck speaking Mandarin to their leaders, and invest in a majority-owned China joint venture partner there. And avoid comments and biased attitudes like yours. even DJT has learned tohis if almost nothing else

Non US sales have exceeded US sales multiple times in the past. If you are so smart, you should be able to name those quarters….

Myss — Here is the results of the Mark Spiegel anti-Tesla presentation at the Robin Hood Investor’s conference, where he advised shorting TSLA:

Still stings, doesn’t it.

Sorry, but if I could understand half of what you are trying to say, I might agree with you. As it is your comment is utter mumbo-jumbo. Why not proof-read before hitting the ‘Post Comment’ button? And how do you know Mr Musk *can’t* speak Mandarin?

Many troll posts, like this one, are not even worthy of the time it would take to refute them. Especially one that’s only semi-coherent.

When you don’t answer for yourself, that’s the pompous self-anointed route. The British pride themselves on their prim and proper English, but they wallowed in slavery of African-americans and They Spread their Imperialism and Brexit hatred and pure fear of Muslim intolerance.
That’s perfect English, without name-calling. It’s not so great to write perfect English, when it’s all nonsense in Mandarin or other languages.

I love his quote at the end of this excellent TED interview:

“I’m not trying to be anyone’s savior. I’m just trying to think about the future and not be sad.”

When you have $billions you can make things happen, others not so much.

Trying to be everyone’s hero. Halfway succeeding too.

This is why he’s successful. He’s got a good science & engineering grasp on reality such that he knows what can and cannot be done. So he outlines good products that can be done and gets his teams to do it.

Many companies are run by executives that do not understand the science & technology and thus either push for products that cannot actually be built because they violate physics or engineering practicalities; or they push for products that fall far short of what the technology really can deliver upon.

Science/Engineering really matter. Technology companies run by accountants, marketers, MBAs, etc. often can’t compete.

And one other thing is age & familiarity with the latest tech. As a person getting older, I am loathe to say this but companies run by much older people that don’t keep up with the latest technology may not due well because of stubbornness & unfamiliarity with the latest technology. I think a lot of older automaker CEOs have fallen behind because they are wedded to old technologies. (Sergio, VW’s dieselgate, etc.)

Why do people compare him to Steve Jobs all the time? Steve had one very very successful company, where Elon has had three. Is it because they were both innovators? There are a lot of very smart innovators, why not Bill Gates, Carlos Slim, Larry Ellison, etc?

The later ones, really, were not obsessed w product quality.

Because he charged ahead and implemented his vision without regard to all the bean counters telling him no, no, and succeeded wildly because of it.

The technology sector is full of innovative companies, but most of the CEOs play it safe after building the company up. Elon is different.

That’s a good point.

Actually, Steve Jobs had 2 very successful companies….you are forgetting Pixar.

Good call on Pixar, totally forgot about that.

Steve was the founder and/or CEO of at least 2 other quite successful companies: NeXT and Pixar.

NeXT was ahead of its time and could not build computers like Steve required for a price that the masses could afford. The technology was just not affordable at that time (similar to Tesla building cars that had to be expensive to have the features that Elon required). But in the end, failing Apple bought NeXT and eventually got Steve as its new CEO. NeXT’s technology was and remains key to Apple’s recent success.

So I see similarities between Elon and Steve, but Elon has the science and engineering smarts that Steve did not have.

NeXT was not successful. It went nowhere and Apple bought it & folded it as merciful gesture & part of Jobs rejoining Apple.

That is crap about Apple/Next relationship. As someone who worked for the company (Apple) at the time of the folding in… Apple was internally struggling to build a new clean sheet OS and was having some difficulty. Steve found this out and offered NEXT os and NEXTStep dev environs and after some interface adaptation… this is what every Apple desktop user calls… OSX. So… NeXT was never a failure… not a success on its own… but beautifully blended back into the mothership and working well to this day.

If you worked at Apple at the time perhaps that gives you a better perspective, but watching from the outside, NeXT was and is perceived as a failure. So citing that as an example of a Steve Jobs “success” isn’t going to persuade people.

Quite often perception is more important than reality.

And, Jeff, if you know so much about it, then you should know it’s spelled “NeXT”.

I agree. Elon Musk is often compared to Steve Jobs, but Howard Hughes is a closer comparison. Fortunately Elon is “less crazy” and more capable than HH.

“Elon Musk comes across as laid back, genuine, charming, and funny.”

No, he is a crappy public speaker (and no, I am not an Elon basher, far from it). He needs to take basic presentation lessons, but I suspect that now nobody dares tell Iron Man that he sucks at public speaking.

Oh, yea, and most of the damage done to Tesla’s stock was because he says STUPID things without thinking about the consequences. His offhand comment about being “in production hell” beat the stock down for a day.

Imho he feels much more real and honest than any well choreographed presentation from Jobs or others. Sure, sometimes you have the impression you can hear him think, and he tends to rephrase half spoken sentences – but then he throws out the most basic and fundamental explanation to the subject, that everyone can understand.

I wish politicians would talk that way instead of giving an answer to a question they wheren’t asked…

He does suck at public speaking. And that’s fine. He doesn’t have to do it that much. He comes off as a stuttering hesitant scientist/engineer…and that is what he is.

What he’s doing has worked very well…he should keep doing it.

I’d rather he continue focusing on developing world changing technologies than take some lame Toastmasters course.

Yes, leave the speaking accolades, and lecture achievement awards, to those oratory masters circling the stylisticly polished drain of self promotion.

Keep me informed on any new future thinking, with whatever clunky delivery mechanism your able to muster, at any given moment.

“No, he is a crappy public speaker (and no, I am not an Elon basher, far from it). He needs to take basic presentation lessons…”

Elon clearly has some sort of speech impediment; some call it a “stutter”. Taking lessons in “basic presentation” wouldn’t help that; he needs a speech therapist, and neither you nor I know if he’s already had one.

While I personally find his speeches to be maddeningly slow in delivery, at the same time he does an excellent job of conveying enthusiasm and explaining things clearly. That puts him rather far ahead of a large percentage of the population as far as public speaking goes.

Still, I do wish Elon would hire a spokesman to deliver speeches at Tesla media events. Clearly, from various posts on the subject to InsideEVs, his speech impediment is even more irritating to some people than it is to me, altho it also clearly doesn’t bother some at all.

Meh. I’d far rather hear from the stuttering engineer than some slick salesman.

Eventually they can put salesmen in commercials and whatnot. But for these events, people want to hear from Elon. And I think they are wise to keep them simple & short. They dump the detailed specs to the press in other channels.

I’d hate to hear your opinion of Stephen Hawking…

I find I prefer to listen to Elon speak on Tesla’s youtube site, where I can goto settings and set the replay speed to 1.25. Technology is your friend to solve your impatience problem.


I like the way Elon speaks very much and I appreciate his way of rephrasing whenever he suddenly finds a better way to explain something. I also appreciate being of the same generation and sharing the same Science Fiction culture he often use as example or reference.

“Whatever you do, do it with caution,
and think about the end”
When Musk is compared to Jobs,
I think about the untimely end of Jobs.
When I look at Musk’s CV and his obviously difficult relation to his mother (he chose to live with his father) and many other hints to an early childhood trauma, it’s not unlikely that Musk will share that, too.
I wish him all the best, but some things in our live are not ours to choose:
“Mitsugo no tamashii hyaku made.
The soul of a three year old stays with him a hundred years”

“Elon Musk Spends 80 Percent Of His Time Doing This”


*childish snicker*


Well, I rather suspect the “80%” is much more subjective than real. Even if we only consider the number of hours Mr. Musk actually spends at work, not not various other activities such as eating, sleeping, family time, and perhaps even a few minutes now and then on a date 😉 , I rather doubt an objective observer would agree that any CEO of a company of any real size spends 80% of his time doing “hands-on” engineering and design.

If Mr. Musk has figured out a way to avoid having a great deal of his work time sucked away by paperwork and meetings… well, revealing that secret would alone would be a far more valuable contribution to humanity than both Tesla Motors and SpaceX! 😛

Elon has the temerity to stand up and speak his mind, to many important topics that have real world business and environmental outcomes. His style is rough around the edges, but the message is on point, while conveying our species transformative uncertain future, and its global impact and resulting consequences.

His delivery is at times awkward yet personal, unapologetic yet substantive, transformative and always evolving.

There are many who would like to help take his preformance to the next level of speaking. However, his abrupt individuality, and soft spoken nature, are a welcome breath of fresh air, to those who are patient enough to stop and hear his “outside the box” thinking. Some leaders can’t be molded, to follow in the footsteps of those leaders who preceded them. This is what makes history, and those that shape its eventual outcome, so curious to those looking in the rear view mirror.

Driven Yes, Risk ? Maybe the risk is other peoples minds. In Elon’s I believe he is using calculated realistic risk on things that are should be achievable. Pity more business leaders do not have the insight and manner of Elon. The world would be a much better place for all.