Watson Names Elon Musk World’s Most Cautious CEO

Elon Musk


Elon Musk

Tesla CEO Elon Musk

Job search service, Paysa, utilized IBM’s supercomputer Watson and IBM data to determine the most cautious CEO, and the results are quite a surprise.

Caution is considered a top personality trait among leaders in the tech segment, and that may come as a shock to many people. Added to this, many in our space probably don’t think of Elon Musk holding a spot in the Silicon Valley caution club, due to his sometimes “crazy” ideas, substantial borrowing and spending, and willingness to lose lots of money now, in hopes to make it up later.

Tesla Model 3

SpaceX has enjoyed nothing but success as of late, and the upcoming Tesla Model 3 aims to be real proof of Tesla’s positive future.

Sometimes norms and expectations paint a different picture than reality.

Job search firm Paysa used IBM data in determining the fact that caution is an essential quality for the world’s top CEOs. The job search company then put IBM’s Watson to the task of figuring out which Silicon Valley CEOs exercise the most caution. The scoring system was setup up on a scale of 0-1 (from least cautious to most most cautious), and ranked 11 top tech leaders.

Not a single CEO received a perfect score, but Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk took home an impressive .96.

Cisco’s Chuck Robbins was close behind with a .95, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Alphabet’s Larry Page finished the list, tied with a .73. Other notable names on the list include Bill Gates, Tim Cook, and Jeff Bezos.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the study is the way in which Watson Personality Insights API was able to make these determinations.

“Personality Insights extracts personality characteristics based on how a person writes. You can use the service to match individuals to other individuals, opportunities, and products, or tailor their experience with personalized messaging and recommendations.”

So, it has nothing to do with specific company successes, money spent, borrowing history, etc. Instead, the data is based specifically on each CEO’s personality traits, which are obtained through 2,500 words of the candidate’s writing, speeches, interviews, books, transcripts, and various forms of compiled communication.

Like renowned billionaire, Richard Branson, Elon Musk is considered to take carefully calculated risks, for the benefit of all involved.

Source: CNBC

Categories: Tesla

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24 Comments on "Watson Names Elon Musk World’s Most Cautious CEO"

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Richard Bronson can’t be that renowned if I’ve never heard of him. I have heard of Richard Branson, though.


He’s Chuck Bronsons alter business ego.


Are there only 11 CEOs in the World? Why not just limit it to 2 CEOs for this “study”. Even still no way this is actually the case.


I like tha fact, that the one CEO who is very cautious of AI is named the worlds most cautious CEO by an AI… makes me think…

Chris O

If caution is defined as taking on ventures that all experts agree will almost certainly end in tears than Elon Musk is definitely the most cautious guy on the planet.


So far, Elon Musk has had a pretty good track record of proving the “experts” wrong.

I think doing so brings him joy, that’s why he’s usually smiling.

Chris O

Well he does see opportunities where others only see problems, so maybe what others see as very risky he sees as an almost sure thing.

So I guess he is a very cautious person after all if what he does is perfectly safe in his own mind even if others think it’s madness.




Cautious is not a word I would have associated with Elon Musk. He has taken many great risks, and won most of them, but not all. Clearly he takes those risks because he believes he has the right answer, but I don’t think that makes him cautious.

I guess I am inclined to believe the study is flawed. 2,500 words of Elon’s public speeches and writings would be less than 1%


You don’t need pop out door handles, falcon wing doors nor putting all battery production in Reno. Those risks did not reduce chance of failure.

Ocean Railroader

I think Elon Musk has done a great job with his company in that his company’s theme is to deal with trouble created by Car overpopulation and resource over use.

In that electric cars clean pollution and resource use from to many cars and people driving.

Solar city to many people using coal and gas so Elon taps into solar which cleans up the strain of over population.

Tunnel digging machines to dig new roads and highways in area with overloaded over crowded streets and highways. Triple the highway volume for the same number of cars on the same street by going under and the river of metal can drain away.

As far as space travel is concerned Elon Musk is the only show in town. NASA still living under the shadow of their 1960’s glory.



Apparently we have a long way to go with AI!

EVs are a graveyard biz.

Damocles Axe

I bet that an AI can even Troll better too…

sven ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Telsa’s share price so high, because it’s a growth stock. Obviously, Watson is shorting Tesla stock by spreading FUD. 😉

J. Owjak

That’s why you’re only a glorified liberal arts grad. No sense nor vision.


My AI suggests you have to word your posts a bit more, ahum, “cautious”. It got misinterpreted a bit.

Michael A. Spoden

For anyone to be able to make companies likely to fail succeed and flourish; caution included in every facet of his obsessions could very well be the reason why he was able to succeed even through the many times of doubt and skepticism he played the cards right and I can very well see that the opposite of recklessness could make such dangerous business ventures succeed where no one else could ever approach a problem with such surmountable odds; maybe because they were not so incredibly cautious along a very precise path that needed to be followed, and would not succeed without an exacting path of caution.

Empire State

Careful speech, twitter aside, would probably be a key driver of a high score on such an analysis. This may or may not actually reveal personality traits. Gigo, etc…


Yup. I don’t even think we should blame Watson or its programmers for this ridiculous result. The premises used for the analysis are fundamentally flawed. GIGO definitely applies here.


Their methodology mostly just showed that he talks like an engineer. That’s not really a surprise.


Yet another example of how a really top-notch “expert systems” computer system can excel at one task — in this case, finding the correct answer to “Jeopardy” questions — but be completely hopeless at other tasks, such as forming human-like judgements about people.

Any business entrepreneur who would bet his entire personal fortune on a startup as risky as Tesla Motors was a few years ago… well, that’s about as far away from “cautious” as you can get! The very rapid pace of putting the Tesla Model 3 into production, skipping validation steps which more established (and more cautious) auto makers use, is also very far from the mark of a “cautious” business leader.

Chris O

It’s subjective. As long as everything Elon Musk does has a high chance of succeeding in his own mind he is a careful person, even if everybody else thinks it’s high risk madness.

Martin Tesar

Elon Musk is doing great, pity we don’t have more leaders like him in this crazy world. Very interesting that the so called risk by experts when calculated by maths = caution. Well he has been proving everyone wrong and we know he is on the correct path 🙂 Cool !


Amazing what this guy has accomplished in his life. He has probably worked harder and longer than some people do their whole life. It’s taken him pretty far. As much as I am a Tesla follower, I sure have been impressed with how SpaceX has been doing the last couple months. For a venture that came close to going under, it’s amazing how far it’s come. http://www.spacex.com/elon-musk