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The Musk Algorithm

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses Walter Isaacson's new biography on Elon Musk, highlighting it as a fine biography and an even better business book. It explores Musk's entrepreneurial achievements, his intense work ethic, and his unique "algorithm" for shipping products, which is described in detail. The article also discusses the polarized views on Musk and how one can learn from his success without necessarily becoming his disciple.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] Elon Musk's Biography and Business Insights

1. What are the key insights about Elon Musk's biography and business approach highlighted in the article?

  • The article states that Isaacson's biography on Musk is a fine biography, but an even better business book, providing countless illustrations of how Musk applies his "algorithm" for shipping products.
  • Musk's entrepreneurial achievements are described as "incontestable", while his "maniacal, even masochistic, commitment to a HARDCORE work ethic" is also highlighted.
  • The article notes that Musk's intense work ethic seems to be motivated by both a desire to move the needle and to escape personal demons.
  • Musk's "algorithm" for shipping products is described in detail, including steps such as questioning every requirement, deleting unnecessary parts or processes, simplifying and optimizing, accelerating cycle time, and automating as the final step.

2. How does the article suggest learning from Musk's success without becoming his disciple?

  • The article suggests that the "trick" to getting the best out of Musk's method is to realize that one doesn't need to celebrate the "madness" as much as merely accept that it's part of the package deal.
  • It notes that one can "absolutely learn from people you wouldn't want to be" and that extracting wisdom from Musk's success does not oblige one to become his disciple or mirror.
  • The article suggests that unless one is also trying to "single-handedly accelerate the energy transition of earth or attempting to colonize Mars", it's best to "dilute his example accordingly".

[02] Polarized Views on Elon Musk

1. How does the article describe the polarized views on Elon Musk?

  • The article states that "most have already formed their opinion of the man, and, especially in technology, it's typically a polarized one. Either the man is the second coming of capitalist christ or he's the devil's conman incarnate."
  • It notes that "ironically, like many of the most interesting people to ever grace this earth, there are shimmers of truth in both caricatures."

2. How does the article suggest appreciating Musk's character and achievements despite the polarized views?

  • The article suggests that one can "shake my head as much as anyone about some of Musk's antics, and yet still be ever-so-pleased that he's here, doing what he does."
  • It states that the "ability to appreciate, applaud, and even partly appropriate elements of a character you'd never wish to swallow whole" is a lesson that seems to be "currently lost to the ages."
  • The article suggests that most founders and executives would do well to add at least 10% of Musk's intensity to their personal recipe, while still believing in other management philosophies like "It Doesn't Have To Be Crazy At Work" or "REMOTE" as compelling ways of work and life.
Shared by Daniel Chen ยท
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