No matter you consider him, there’s no denying that Elon Musk is an enchanting individual. At at this time’s date he’s the richest individual on the earth, along with his web value estimated at $222bn, and he has cofounded corporations together with electrical automotive maker Tesla, rocket producer SpaceX and tunnelling startup Boring Firm. His success charge is extremely excessive.
Contrasting Musk to Jeff Bezos, the second richest individual on the earth who has received huge however famously failed at 57 completely different tasks (and fortunately admits to his, “cascade of experiments and errors and failures”), Musk’s strategy seems to be rifle shot fairly than scattergun. Musk and Bezos are the 2 richest folks on the earth, so there have to be benefit in each strategies. However how does Musk proceed to construct corporations that by no means fail in a giant method?
When you may chalk these constant successes as much as his IQ, reported to be 155, there are many folks with simply as excessive an IQ who aren’t billionaires. What makes Musk completely different is he’s pondering otherwise, being restricted solely by the legal guidelines of physics, after which, he stated, “every thing else is a suggestion.”
On high of this, Musk makes use of particular psychological fashions to resolve actual world issues. Fairly than being anecdotal enterprise principle, they’ve confirmed to work in observe throughout his numerous enterprises. 4 of those fashions are first ideas pondering, imagining issues within the restrict, the platonic splendid and his optimization framework. Right here they’re in additional element.
1. Apply first ideas pondering
A primary precept is a foundational reality that’s “recognized by nature.” First ideas pondering is the place you take away subjective assumptions, bias and conjecture from issues and concentrate on solely what’s true. The objective, subsequently, is to search out the best reality that exists throughout the legal guidelines of physics, freed from your private limitations and beliefs. As soon as this absolute reality is outlined you motive up from there. Slicing away, stripping again, then constructing.
In observe, seize any reply you’ve got arrived at after which take away all assumptions. Musk thinks you’ll both discover a higher reply or the identical one as everybody else. He admits, “I do zero market analysis, in anyway” as a result of it’s not useful and everyone seems to be incorrect. “Regardless of who you might be, everyone seems to be incorrect a few of the time. All designs are incorrect, it is only a matter of how incorrect.”
Musk utilized first ideas pondering to battery packs, for instance. You would possibly hear folks say, “battery packs are costly and that’s the best way they’ll at all times be.” However batteries are product of cobalt, nickel, aluminium, and polymers, supplies which are pretty cheap. What’s costly is the manufacturing of these supplies, how they’re mixed right into a battery. First ideas pondering leads you to grasp that batteries aren’t costly, the manufacturing of them is, which implies the issue to resolve is the manufacturing.
2. Take into consideration issues within the restrict
Fascinated about issues within the restrict is a thought experiment by which any downside is scaled proper up and scaled proper right down to assess the modifications that occur at each magnitudes. A current instance issues Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, after which he signalled that the 280-character restrict could be edited, tweeting that the “capacity to do lengthy tweets [is] coming quickly.” Considering of Twitter’s character allowance within the restrict means imagining what the platform would appear to be with tweet size scaled proper right down to, say, 50 characters, and proper as much as, say, 1000. Each limits would have completely different repercussions for the social community.
Whether or not an issue along with your product, service, group or outcomes, give it some thought scaled up and down and mess around with the solutions. For instance, take a pricing downside the place you’re making an attempt to work out why one thing is pricey, then think about your quantity was one million items. Would the product nonetheless be costly? In that case, there’s maybe an economies of scale downside to resolve.
Preserve going with limits, each colossal and miniscule. In the event you managed only one individual, would you continue to have your HR downside? What about ten thousand? In the event you supplied your service to 5 purchasers in comparison with one million, what would change? Incorporate the concept of tiny and big scale into each downside you need to give it some thought like Musk would. Make choices with out being restricted by legacy, guidelines, cash or assets and see what’s potential.
3. Think about the platonic splendid of the right product
Imagining the platonic splendid means visualizing your answer in its most excellent type earlier than making an attempt to create it in actuality. This implies the main target is on the right product fairly than the right software of what occurs to be your current skillset.
When designing a product or beginning a enterprise, most individuals begin from the idea of their instruments, expertise and data, then take into consideration what they will construct with that. Musk says, as a substitute, you must work backwards from the right product. Conceptualize it, and solely then search for the instruments, expertise and data that it’s good to convey that product to life. Based on Musk, you must attempt to think about “the platonic splendid of, say, the right rocket or automotive.” Take into consideration the traits it could have, “after which make that. After which, I discover that should you try this, folks will wish to purchase it” he stated.
Considering on this method means you create what is definitely required fairly than merely what matches inside your skillset. It stops you being restricted by your life decisions and data. It stops you being biased or clouded by your expertise, which could not be related in any respect. Inside your profession and enterprise, what’s the splendid answer? The proper workplace, the right service, the right product. Visualise that, get aware of each half after which work backwards from there. This would possibly lead you to rethink processes, restructure your group or rework your providing, all based mostly on the platonic splendid.
4. Take these 5 steps when optimizing
Musk believes that the one largest mistake made by good engineers is optimizing one thing that shouldn’t exist in any respect. Subsequently, you must first work out if optimization is even needed. To use this technique, earlier than making an attempt to optimize something, observe these 5 steps. The first step is “query”, or in Musk’s phrases, “make your necessities much less dumb.” Right here’s the place you query whether or not or not your answer to the issue is the appropriate one. Zoom out and take a look at the issue with perspective. Does it matter?
Step two is “delete”. Musk believes that when designing an answer, folks have a tendency so as to add issues “simply in case.” Falling for addition bias, the place our tendency is so as to add fairly than subtract, results in a bloated consequence. Musk says you must delete every thing that’s pointless, even going so far as to say, “should you’re not including again at the very least 10% of the belongings you’re deleting, you’re not deleting sufficient.” Take away, scale back, take away some extra.
Step three is solely, “optimize”. Now you’ve got the perfect try on the proper answer, optimize and simplify from there, whereas persevering with to note the place there is likely to be errors. After that there’s step 4, speed up the cycle time and step 5, automate.
Though Musk and SpaceX have used this technique to rethink rocket design (and create “minimal viable rocket”) it may be utilized to enterprise, manufacturing and all fields of product design. In the event you simplified your necessities and reduce every thing away earlier than optimizing, quickening and automating, how completely different would possibly what you are promoting look?
Give your self a shot at success on an Elon Musk scale by fixing issues in an analogous method. Suppose how Elon thinks, learn what Elon reads and strategy challenges from first ideas, the idea of limits, the platonic splendid and his five-step optimization framework.