Are you Fully Charged? by Tom Rath

The 3 keys to energizing your work and life. They are ‘Meaning’; ‘Interactions’ and ‘Energy’.

When you are fully charged, you can perform at your optimum. You will also be able to do more for others. It is difficult to integrate knowledge from books into your daily routine. Learn to create daily well-being. It is important to measure life on a daily basis. Technology can allow you to measure a lot more than is necessary. Having a higher salary does not change your daily happiness once you have hit the income threshold. Once you have met your basic needs, income is unlikely to increase your happiness. Daily experience is important and should not be underestimated. Focus on improving your own happiness. Take small and meaningful steps today. Energy refers to both mental and physical health. Most people struggle on a daily basis. You do not need to do anything drastic to change yourself.

Meaning

Creating Meaning with Small Wins. If you know your time is limited, you will want to make a difference every single day. I ended up feeling more energized. I can continue to invest in my future. Little and value-adding moments create substance and meaning. People who search for happiness are unlikely to find it. Pursue happiness for your loved ones and community. However, seeking your own happiness is unlikely to work. Meaning is centred more around others. Humans love to pursue meaning. Create meaning for yourself and for those around you.

The essential thing people want in a job today is work that will allow them to create meaning for others. My research suggests that the odds of being completely engaged in your job increase by more than 250% if you spend a lot of time doing meaningful work throughout the day. – Tom Rath

Pursue Life, Liberty and Meaningfulness. Since young, people always have the need for meaningful work. The book cites Viktor Frankl’s “Man Search for Meaning”. Intrinsic motivation is richer than extrinsic motivation. Those who exhibit intrinsic motivation are more likely to persist and not give up. It is easy to fall in the money trap and forget about meaning. Carrot and stick methods are not very effective anymore. Find activities outside work that can appeal to your intrinsic motivation. Create your own meaning. Look at the big picture. Focus small first. Attach the dots and start by having small and meaningful interactions.

Creating meaning can be practical – and relevant – to the people you care about most. Start by asking why your current job or role even exists. In most cases, jobs are created because they help another person, make a process more efficient, or produce something people need. – Tom Rath

Make Work a Purpose, not just a place. Some people see their work as a calling. Identify your work with a larger purpose. Find bigger meaning in what you do. Have meaningful interactions with your co-workers. Work should not be just about a pay-check. Work in the modern context should be a lot more and be packed with meaning. People work in teams now. In the past, people worked like machines due to industrialization. Job satisfaction levels are at an all-time low. People need to change their relationships with employers. Derive meaning from your work. Meaningful work is highly associated with job satisfaction levels.

Find a Higher Calling than Cash. Money is not main concern now. Non-financial incentives can work as well, or even better. Do not get caught on the hedonic treadmill. Money should not be the primary determinant. Rather, ask yourself whether you have made a difference? Doubling your income will not make you twice as happy. However, do note that financial security is important for your well-being. Avoid upward comparison. Wealth can cause you to embark on more stressful tasks. Money tends to make one behave more selfishly. Incentives on a group basis is better than at the individual level.

A fortune will always be relative to the person who has more, and fame is fleeting. While you may be rewarded with a large bonus or major recognition at certain times, most days consist of making a little forward progress without external reward. – Tom Rath

Ask what the world needs. Apply your creativity whenever you can. It is important to know your talents and passions. Find a way to make a difference. Start with what the customers want. Instead of following your passion, ask what you can give. Look at everyday problems that need addressing. Find the intersection between ‘Interest – you want to do’; ‘Needs of others and the world’ & ‘Strengths – What you are good at’. Find your unique purpose in this world. Find where you are naturally at or in. Start building knowledge and skills. When you use your strengths, it tends to bring better job satisfaction. Spend a lot of time at something to be very proficient at it. Double your energies on something. Act now before today is over. Try to find tasks that can match your interests. Most people do not spend their time on meaningful pursuits. Do not let time fly by without you realizing and then it might be too late.

Don’t Fall in the Default. Most of the time, you are following the dreams of someone else. Most people want to follow in the footsteps of a mentor or a sibling. Some people act because of peer pressure. There is a high chance towards gravitating towards something which your parents chose. It is not wrong to follow their dream. However, sometimes you must follow your own too. As humans, we need to forge our own path. Identify certain traits in children when they are young. Ask ‘why’. Everyone grows up with different expectations. Find your area of passion by exploring. Do not live in the shadow of others. Craft your dream into your job. Find activities that recharge you. Seek small things that you can see progress in. It could be something like boosting your spirits of those at work. One good way could be volunteering with the community. People forge good jobs, rather than finding them through job postings. ‘Effective “job crafting” starts by looking at how much time you dedicate to specific tasks which give you energy every day.’ Spend more time in your element, if possible. Spend less time around those people who will not energize you.

Initiate to Shape the Future. It is easy to spend your whole day responding and reacting. It is what you initiate now that matters. Most people spend more time reacting than initiating. Try to initiate something new every day. Are modern people too busy nowadays? Activity may not mean real progress. A lot of people multi-task too much and that doesn’t lead to much productivity. Chances are that if you are too busy, you might be missing out the important things in life. Work smarter, not harder. Information is coming fast and people are always connected. Due your mind wandering, it is difficult to concentrate on any task at hand. Sometimes, disconnecting from distractions can be very useful. Write down tasks which waste time and try to avoid doing so much of that. Dogs can be conditioned to salivate. Do not treat information as a form of reward. Most people spend too much time checking their emails. Modern people check their mobile phones way too often. Learn to shut off your notifications. Most phones have a switch off notifications function. Set aside time to focus on one particular task alone.

Focus for 45, Break for 15. In schools in Finland, kids are given a 15 minute break for every 45 minutes of work. This method was good and allowed the kids to feel energized. People are more attentive when they receive timely breaks. During the break, learn to take a stroll. Intense bursts, followed by short breaks, is the way to go. This is a purposeful way of work. Finding a purpose in life helps to combat ageing and improves cognitive health. Let employees try to see the results of their work. Infuse each day with a reminder of your mission. Always recite the mission to keep you motivated.

Interactions

Make Every Interaction Count. Widowhood effect affects the ones around you as well. We are influenced by those around us, and they might not just be our friends. Your actions affect those around you. Those with higher positive interactions have a higher chance of having a better well-being. Negativity can affect positive exchanges. Do not assume bad intent in others. Be peace loving. Constantly try to build good relationships with others. Physical proximity matters. Close relationships can have a profound effect over time.

Be 80% positive. If you are constantly positive, you tend to feel frustrated. The ratio of positive to negative interactions matter a lot. When stressed, your body produces more cortisol. Positive emotions result in a release of oxytocin. In general, people need 3 to 5 positive interactions for every negative interaction. Managers should spend more time focusing on what works as compared to what doesn’t. Positive words help to bind relationships. Try to use positive words as much as possible in daily conversations. Do not ignore people and always pay attention to others. Negative feedback is better than nothing at all.

Start Small and Be Clear. Do not get caught up in the rat race. A warm interaction with your spouse is very important. Small gestures can help to boost others’ well-being. Use questions to spark conversation. Learn to ask good questions and probe. In general, people love to talk about themselves. Be vulnerable and humble to gain another person’s trust. Talk about your fears in general. Friendship enables you to connect with one another. It is common to mirror another person’s body language. A good level of trust is required for friendships to thrive. Sharing problems with one another is a great way to strengthen relationships. Good relationships at work are very important for well-being.

Take a Break for Relationships. Lack of cohesion leads to poor work dynamics and work productivity. Relationship building is crucial for work productivity. Influence amongst friends is contagious and you can catch the bug very easily if you are not careful. Continue to create positive experiences and your well-being will be improved. Do not text on the phone too often when having conversations with friends. Do not ruin conversations by not paying attention to friends. Give friends your undivided attention. People can easily tell if you are not focused on them. Do not allow your mind to wander.

Put Experiences First. If you recall happy memories, that can help to create some form of happiness too. The anticipation of a vacation can bring happiness as well. Experience-oriented products lead to happiness. In the long while, material items fail to provide long-lived levels of happiness. In modern societies, too many people spend on material items. People who choose to buy experiences end up being more fulfilled. The key is how you spend your money. Plan ahead for your well-being. Try to plan for your vacation a few months down the road.

It turned out that looking forward to a vacation or event provided even more happiness than the event itself. Even the memory contributed more to long-term well-being than the actual experience. – Tom Rath

Avoid Flying Solo. There is too much emphasis on solo achievement. Events with others are treasured more than solo experiences. Humans are social creatures and keep a certain level of bonding to thrive. A relationship is not a zero-sum game. Others win more when you succeed. Pro-social incentives work better than individual incentives. Try to allow others to give more than they receive.

Build a Cumulative Advantage. Focus on others’ achievements rather than their weaknesses. High levels of confidence is linked to increased level of benefits. Learn to encourage others. Use your knowledge to motivate and bring out the best in others. Bring things to life in words. Find and develop talent in others. Use praise and recognition techniques to aid you.

Energy

Put Your Own Health First. People in the healthcare sector need to take care of their health more. Invest more time in your energy and health. Star performers who work long hours tend to experience burnout. If you want to thrive in the long term, focus on your health and energy above everything else. Use short-term thinking for better health. Find the most pragmatic solutions. Make sure to get some physical activity in the morning. Ensure a good night’s sleep. It is a good idea to tackle multiple elements of health at the same time. It is very important to have enough energy so that you will feel recharged.

Eat Your Way to a Better Day. The food you consume affects your energy levels. You can’t simply measure quality of food by calorie intake. Avoid fried food. If you eat the right foods, your energy will be increased in the long run. Learn to make every bite count. Modest intake of protein is good for health. Consuming protein increases dopamine, which decreases your craving for sweet food. Go for egg-whites, berries etc. Ideally, one should consume more protein and less carbohydrates. It is better to shop when you full as compared to when you are hungry. Put vegetables and fruits at eye level. The food you eat can affect your mood and work performance. Avoid too much fatty and processed food. Learn to make better dietary choices.

Start with the basics: Avoid fried foods. Eat few refined carbohydrates. Eliminate as much added sugar as possible. Build meals around vegetables. Substitute whole fruit for sweets. Drink more water, tea, and coffee instead of soda or other sweetened drinks. – Tom Rath

Learn to Walk Before You Run. The key is to be active every day. The human being is not built to sit down and lead a sedentary lifestyle. The more you sit, the less beneficial it is. Build as much movement as you can into your routine as possible. Walking increases your energy levels too. Avoid sitting and waiting for long periods. Small bursts of energy are good. Use a pedometer to measure how many steps you have taken per day. Set a target for a minimum number of steps per day. According to research, 10,000 steps per day is a good target. People who exercise tend to experience better moods. After exercise, people will get a 12-hour mood boost. Exercising in the morning will give you energy for the rest of your day. Start by incorporating some activity into your daily routine.

Sleep Longer to Achieve More. Sleep is not a waste of time. A lack of sleep affects your well-being, productivity and health. However, most people tend to sacrifice sleep at their own expense. Ideally, try to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Add an extra of sleep to your routine. Sleepless driving is extremely dangerous and should be avoided at all cost. Get a vaccine for the rhinovirus. You are more likely to catch a cold if you sleep little. A good night’s sleep has benefits on physiological health. Using a cell-phone late at night can affect sleep quality. Avoid noise and bright lights when close to sleeping hour.

Eat, Move and Sleep to De-Stress. Stress can decrease the length of telomeres. Always keep active and eat well. Keep stress levels from snowballing. Stress is cumulative in nature and can soon lead to chronic levels. Avoid inheriting stress from others. Be conscious of your words and avoid stressing others out.

Respond with Resiliency. React to a situation as a challenge and do not see it as being stressful. Reframe stressful situation as challenges instead. Humans are remarkably resilient. Control your responses and do not do anything rash. Smile through difficult tasks. Force yourself into a smile and move on.

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Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance (Part 2)

For Part 1, click here.

Pain, Suffering and Survival. Downey had heard about Elon Musk. Downey was thoroughly impressed by his headquarters and the SpaceX facility. Everyone seemed excited about their work. Elon had an idea to live by and dedicated himself fully to it. Musk was associated with Iron Man after helping Downey. A lot of people thought Musk was an eccentric man. Musk bought a new house. Elon took part in Hollywood night parties. He realised that he was having too much fun. Musk had a different side to him as well. There was an element of mystery to him. He became the darling of the media. Elon started getting worried about his businesses. Tesla was not doing well. The media found out about the money issues as well. People knew he was ousted as CEO too. People criticized for not staying grounded in reality. Justine suffered from depression in 2007 and their marriage was on the rocks. Justine was a published novelist. Both SpaceX and Tesla were sucking money without producing results. Musk sold his McLaren. Elon didn’t have much time for his family. Justine felt like a trophy wife. In Jun 2008, Musk filed for divorce. Justine kept a blog on her public life. Elon was known to be good at giving ultimatums. The couple decided to split their assets. According to Justine, Elon treated her like a business adversary during the marriage. Elon banned soft toys from his kids as he wanted them to have a hard childhood. Lee introduced Talulah Riley to Musk. She was a pretty waitress. She had a dazzling figure. Riley knew that Musk was a good guy and that he was attracted to her. Riley’s dad, however, thought that Musk was a playboy. Musk and Riley continued keeping in touch and Musk wanted to show her his rockets. Riley agreed to marry him at age 22. Riley has since found their relationship to be difficult. Elon needed money for his companies and was under severe stress and had difficulty paying his employees. Falcon 1 finally launched but it crashed after the first stage. Many employees were downcast. Elon encourage and motivated his workers. SpaceX was running out of cash for a fifth launch for Falcon1. 6 weeks later, Elon was ready for the next launch. This time the launch was perfect. It took 6 years for the project to be successful. Everyone burst into tears. It was one of Elon’s greatest days in his life. SpaceX started building Dragon capsules – which could take supplies up to space. Tesla used up too much funds and spent most of the deposits that customers gave them for their cars. There were many negative articles on SpaceX in the press. Elon thought that he only had enough money to save SpaceX or Tesla. It was 2009 and the financial situation was bad. Elon’s weight fluctuated crazily. Tesla desperately needed another round of funding. Elon was hoping to get the deal to send a capsule to ISS from NASA. Musk mustered all his money and gathered $20 million. Musk was a guy who took incredible risks. Some of the investment firms matched his investments one-for-one. SpaceX finally won a $1.6 billion contract with NASA. Elon had the ability to undergo tremendous stress. The harder things got, the better he was able to make decisions.

Liftoff. Falcon 9 was SpaceX’s workhorse. The rocket was powered by 9 engines. A rocket launch is a big achievement for mankind. Now, SpaceX sends rockets up about once a month. SpaceX is lot cheaper than its competitors like Boeing. It was a commercial launch market. It costs someone about $60 million per launch. Corporates now also send satellites up to space and might use SpaceX’s services. Satellites are becoming ever-present in space. Musk wanted to reduce the costs of sending things up to space. The rockets would also be re-usable and refillable. In 2008, SpaceX is now profitable and is worth around $12 billion. Musk is a very detailed guy. SpaceX’s aim is to advance technology and its rockets are more high-tech than other companies. The Russian technology is very old. Their machines are very old and risky. Musk is more of a general than a CEO. Their interview processes are very strict. Employees are made to write an essay on why they want to join SpaceX. Musk will also tend to meet the candidate individually. Musk was concerned about the candidate’s thought process. Many employees quit SpaceX because of the working hours. Not many were used to his direct working approach. Elon has a very clear vision. The office is quite impressive. There are also top secret zones in SpaceX’s office. Most of the rockets are designed and manufactured in-house. Depending on suppliers was seen as a weakness. Reinventing the wheel for Musk was worth it. They like to streamline the engineering process to cut costs. Standard materials were proven to be good enough for space travel. SpaceX pioneers work on complex hardware systems. A lot of processes are being automated. SpaceX is constantly looking for lighter materials and more efficient processes. Bezos also has a rocket company called Blue Origin and Musk and he are at loggerheads. Musk liked to quiz people so that he could learn about what they were doing. Musk had a fantastic memory as well. His timelines were ridiculous. Due to this, he often couldn’t get products out to the public on time. Musk was simply a very optimistic guy. Elon Musk admitted that his schedules were demanding because he didn’t understand what rocket making required. Elon often asks for very detailed proposals for projects. He has mastered the art of getting the most out of his employees. Elon is smart because he makes people take ownership of their own deadlines by saying things like ‘I need the impossible done by Friday at 2pm. Can you do it?’ Some employees work 16 hours days. The dragon capsule was conceptualized in 4 years. Musk wanted the bulk of the rocket’s computing systems to be $10,000 when the industry average was over $10million. Elon was very hands-on and understood everything. He was too smart and he can outmanoeuvre and outthink you. Elon would send emails criticizing staff for using acronyms. The emails would be stern. He would fire you and take your job and make sure it’s done. Elon often had squabbles with the FAA because their approval process was too slow. Bowersox felt neglected by Elon. Musk didn’t have respect for authority and would call intelligent people ‘idiots’. The way he treated people was a big issue. Shotwell focuses on the overall strategy of SpaceX and has done well. She was an engineer. She pursued a PhD in applied mathematics. She was excellent at negotiating deals and got deals which raked in money for SpaceX. Later, she was made COO of the company. One of SpaceX’s goals was to make flights as often as possible. No one could compete with their pricing. Joining SpaceX was the best way to get into space. She encouraged interns to be productive. Using the best materials and requiring high budgets results in a bloated commercial space industry. SpaceX had to face a lawsuit from ULA on competition issues. Even though Falcon 1 was successful, there were not many orders for it. SpaceX was the first private company to dock with the ISS in 2012. It received $440 million from NASA to keep developing Dragon. Elon later unveiled the DragonV2. It was a spacious capsule. It would be able to dock with the ISS and also return to Earth and not land in the ocean. Re-use was the way to go. Falcon Heavy would be the most powerful rocket built. Elon gets a tremendous amount out of others. Many SpaceX employees wonder when they will receive a big reward. Elon didn’t want the company to be listed yet before he created the Mars transport system.

Even if you’re someone who writes code for your job, you need to understand how mechanical things work. We were looking for people that had been building things since they were little. – Dolly Singh, on HR recruitment in SpaceX

Elon will pick the most aggressive time schedule imaginable assuming everything goes right, and then accelerate it by assuming that everyone can work harder. – Kevin Brogan, a SpaceX engineer

Everything he does is fast. Elon pees fast. It’s like a fire hose – three seconds and out. He’s authentically in a hurry. – Kevin Brogan

The individual doesn’t have to hold meetings, reach a consensus, or bring other people up to speed on a project. He just keeps working and working and working. – Ashlee Vance

The guiding principle at SpaceX was to embrace your work and get stuff done. People who await guidance or detailed instructions languish. The same goes for workers who crave feedback. And the absolute worst thing that someone can do is to inform Elon Musk that what he’s asking is impossible. – Ashlee Vance

There is a fundamental problem with regulators. If a regulator agrees to change a rule and something bad happens, they could easily lose their career. Whereas if they change a rule and something good happens, they don’t even get a reward. So, it’s very asymmetric. – Ashlee Vance

If you hate people and think human extinction is okay, then fuck it. Don’t go to space. If you think it is worth humans doing some risk management and finding a second place to go live, then you should be focused on this issue and willing to spend some money. – Shotwell

Public company stock, particularly if big step changes in technology are involved, go through extreme volatility, both for reasons of internal execution and for reasons that have nothing to do with anything except the economy. This causes people to be distracted by the manic-depressive nature of the stock instead of creating great products. – Elon Musk

The Revenge of the Electric Car. Car manufactures have always been looking for a car with more room etc. The Model S from Tesla was revolutionary. It was quiet and a luxury car. There was a touch screen for controls. It had a constant internet connection and one could access Google maps. You could activate the car by just sitting down. Recharging at Tesla stations was free of charge. Fuel consumption and energy wastage was at an all-time low. Tesla used a direct-sales model. The standard oil changes were not necessary because the car didn’t have an engine. There was a lot of technology being employed in the car. Some early adopters were willing to put down $100,000 on a car even before its launch. It was voted car of the year at Motor Trend. It was more efficient than a Toyota Prius. Musk built the automotive equivalent of the iPhone. There was a raise in car prices as the manufacturing costs turned out to be unexpectedly higher. However, there was a need for a product recall. This happened at least twice. In 2009, Musk was sued by Eberhard. However, they managed to settle out of court. Some people at the Valley thought that Musk was an abrasive blowhard. Electric cars could be fun to drive. There were arguments as to whether Musk was a founder of Tesla. However, there was no doubt that he played a large role in the success of Tesla. Elon hired Henrik Fisker to design the Model S. However, Elon was not happy with Fisker’s initial designs. Later, Fisker started his own car company and wanted to compete with Tesla. Elon sued Fisker but Fisker won the lawsuit. Tesla dismissed a hybrid model. Tesla had limited resources to design a car in-house. Elon’s team transformed a Mercedes CLS into an electric model. Franz von Holzhausen joined Tesla. He had a design career in the automotive industry and had some experience in that area. He worked on the Volkswagen’s Beetle. GM was too large and suffered from red-tape issues. He later left the company. Then, he worked on Mazda’s cars when Tesla said they wanted a chief designer. Tesla was almost bankrupt in 2008. However, he liked the work environment with fearless geeks. Holzhausen had to build his own office. He managed to design Model S in 3 months. He and Musk got quite close on a personal level. Almost everything would be touch-screen in nature. The body would be made out of aluminium as the car needed to be light to house the heavy battery. Elon wanted a 17 inch touch screen in the Tesla. Many of the engineers worked overnight on the project. Finally, in Mar 2009, SpaceX was unveiled to the public. Tesla was way ahead of GM and Nissan. In-house work required higher costs in general. O’Connell later worked in Tesla. The US was too reliant on oil. O’Connell had to find out what tax credits and rebates Tesla might be able to earn. Daimler bought a 10% stake in Tesla for $50 million. The Department of Energy also offered Tesla a $465 million loan. Tesla bought a huge plant that was abandoned by Toyota. In 2010, Tesla was listed as they wanted more funds. Back then, Tesla was still bleeding cash and had many sceptics. Even the people from Toyota were mightily impressed. The engineers knew they had to prepare well before any meeting or risk being fired. Musk had a design eye even though he was an engineer by training. Elon wanted falcon-wing doors. Elon always wanted a perfect car. He constantly pushes people to produce something spectacular. There were massive delays on promised delivery dates. Tesla started people who were sacked from GM and Toyota. Musk and Riley had divorced. He took a vacation to relax now. Tesla went into financial trouble and couldn’t meet increasing demand. Many people started shorting the stock. Tesla unveiled that it had started building charging stations. Some of the features that other luxury brands had were not present on Tesla. Some suppliers didn’t trust Tesla as well. Elon hired Blankenship to work at the service-centre operations. However, their relationship fell apart later on. Negative publicity was everywhere. Elon was in emergency mode and had everyone call customers and deliver the cars. Elon was too desperate and now wanted Google to acquire Tesla. Just before the deal was clinched, a miracle happened and the company sold a huge volume of cars. The talks with Google ended. Elon held a party and he was like a rock star. At the charging stations, you could get a robot to replace a battery for 90 seconds. However, one had to pay for this. The latest supercharged Tesla could go from 0 to 60 miles/hour in 3.2 seconds. Ford was suffering as it was carrying too much baggage and couldn’t change its systems overnight. Tesla was selling customers an image and not just a product. Many car dealers make profits from servicing cars. However, Tesla makes money from the initial sale and then some optional software services. Fisker Automative filed for bankruptcy in 2014.

At Tesla, there was no history, no baggage. There was just a vision of products that could change the world. Who wouldn’t want to be involved with that? – Franz von Holzhausen

I have been optimistic with respect to the timing on some of these things (Tesla Model S car lunch), but I didn’t over-promise on the outcome. I have done everything I said I was going to do. – Elon Musk

The mantra was that one great engineer will replace three medium ones. – Lloyd

The Unified Field Theory of Elon Musk. Everdream was a great technology founded by the Rive Brothers. Lyndon and Musk explored the Black Rock desert. Elon suggested Lyndon to look in the solar energy market. Elon designed and modified a car and drove it. It was the Burning Man event. During a solar energy conference, Lyndon found out that many people were waiting for the cost of panels to drop. People were reluctant to buy because they were expensive and future models were more efficient. SolarCity was founded in 2006. The plan was to buy solar panels and do everything in-house. They analysed whether a house was receiving enough sunlight to make installing a panel worthwhile. Customers could also lease the panels and pay a monthly rate. At the end of the lease, customers could also upgrade their panels. Elon owned at least a third of SolarCity. SolarCity was now the largest installer of solar panels in the country. Even Intel, Walgreen, Wal-mart would be their clients. In 2012, the company went public. The company is worth $7 billion in 2014. Many people pumped money into green energy but failed as they required government support. However, Elon has the two most successful clean tech companies in the US. SolarCity now sells energy storage systems. Buying solar panels was SolarCity’s great advantages. In 2014, it bought over a solar cell maker, Silevo, for $200 million. However, due to excessive demand, SolarCity is now planning to manufacture themselves. The goal would be to be one of the largest supplier of electricity in the US. SolarCity and Tesla complement one another. Even Tesla and SpaceX help one another. When Tesla’s shares rose, SolarCity tended to increase as well. In total, Musk employed 15,000 people at the end of 2014. Tesla plans to introduce Model X in 2015, an SUV. In future, Musk wants to create a submarine car. By 2017, Musk hopes to sell the Model 3 at around $35,000 and make electric cars mainstream. Elon has plans to build a Gigafactory, or the world’s largest lithium ion manufacturing facility. The plan is to increase range on a single charge to 500 miles. Elon wanted to be safe and to raise money just in case something happened. Elon considered building a space rollercoaster from building to building in SpaceX. It is expected that there will be a surge in demand for electric vehicles. Tesla and Solarcity also have a great first-mover advantage. The ultimate goal of Elon is to turn humans into an interplanetary species. There are plans to automate the rocket launch process. He hopes SpaceX can develop something by 2025 to take large groups of people to Mars. It has to be economical as well. Once you get there, it is not that hard to make a pressurized transparent greenhouse to live in. However, Elon does not have a plan on how to heat up Mars to make it warm. Elon wants to be the first man on Mars as well. Both SpaceX and Tesla has the brightest brains there. There is great value in what he is doing. In Aug 2013, Musk unveiled the hyperloop. The bullet trains nowadays aren’t as fast as planes and faster than cars. He wants the Hyperloop to travel faster than a plane at a cost of $6 to $10 billion dollars. After he unveiled it, he knew he wanted to build it. The US President loved it. The company has been formed. The mission takes precedence over your desires. Mart Beth Brown was an executive assistant who worked very hard for Musk for more than a decade. However, when she took a break, Musk found a way to replace her by getting Shotwell’s assistant to perform her work. There are those who criticized Musk for a lack of empathy. However, with family, Musk treats them a lot better. In 2014, Tesla went open-source with its patents. The idea was free for others to copy now. Elon has the ambition of someone like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Unlike Jobs, Musk does not treat every presentation or media moment as being precious. Musk has his critics as well. Smil feels that the US cannot compete with China and that Tesla is an overhyped toy for showoffs. He also concluded that the Hyperloop idea was mentioned before and was not new. Musk’s companies use vertical integration and control in-house components. Tony Fadell concluded that the smartphone represented the maturity of hardware and software. Many people in start-up admire Musk. Larry Page is one of Musk’s admirers. Elon has always tried to solve difficult problems. The power of human settlement on Mars is really competing. ‘Good ideas are always crazy until they’re not.’ Larry and Elon would meet to discuss crazy ideas. Elon was the key guy you should look up to if you want to emulate.

Honestly, if I never go to space, that will be okay. The point is to maximize the probable life span of humanity. – Elon Musk

Elon’s worst trait by far, in my opinion, is a complete lack of loyalty or human connection. Many of us worked tirelessly for him for years and were tossed to the curb like a piece of litter without a second thought. – Unknown

What was clear is that people who worked for him were like ammunition: used for a specific purpose until exhausted and discarded. – Unknown

Elon came to the conclusion early in his career that life is short. If you really embrace this, it leaves you with the obvious conclusion that you should be working as hard as you can. – Straubel

My kids might have a little adversity at school, but these days schools are so protective. If you call someone a name, you get sent home. When I was going to school, if they punched you and there was no blood, it was like, “Whatever. Shake it off.” – Elon Musk

I would like to die on Mars. Just not on impact. Ideally I’d like to go for a visit, come back for a while, and then go there when I’m like 70 or something and then just stay there. If things turn out well, that would be the case. If my wife and I have a bunch of kids, she would probably stay with them on Earth. – Elon Musk

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The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Office Politics by Shane Dustin

This book is for you to step on others in order to climb up. This book is for entertainment purposes.

A Dangerous Game. There are also two kinds of positions: candidate (play the game) or constituent (get run over). Learn to say and do the right thing at the right time. Shape inter-personal relationships at work. There are two types of career driven people, White Hats and Black Hats. White Hats will do the right thing and pursue self-improvement programs and play by the rules. Black Hats take aggressive steps to step on the toes of others. Like it or not, office politics is always present. Sometimes, you need to be selfish and play the game. Stand up and be counted. Learn to take a stand. Learn to play the game. To defend against the black hats, learn the following 21 rules.

Some may say playing the office politics game is a cowardly way to get ahead, but those in the know, and in the top corner offices, understand that getting ahead is about seizing opportunities, and using any means possible to serve themselves first. – Shane Dustin

Develop the Right Mindset. You are your own best advocate and you need to accept that. White Hats will volunteer for tough assignments. Black Hats will join projects that are already successful and leave those that are failures. Do not volunteer yourself for projects unless you understand the risks/rewards for the project.

Nobody cares as much about his or her career as you do, and nobody will step out on a limb to back you or support you, unless you take the first step. – Shane Dustin

Court Productivity. Productivity is not enough, self-marketing is important. Learn to create a continuity folder and help a subordinate to learn your job. Create SOPs and guidelines for your subordinate to follow so that hiring of the new guy can be smooth.

One of the shortest route to the top is to be better than anybody else. Once you know your job, learn your boss’s job. And where your job uses measurable goals or quotas, always set new standards. – Shane Dustin

Build a Network. Protect yourself from making wrong connections. You can help your juniors to excel, provide feedback on how to improve the department, volunteer on process improvement teams. Black Hat’s tactic is not to associate yourself with losers.

Politics is known as the art of compromising, and in the corporate world, you get ahead by helping the right people pursue their agendas and realize success. – Shane Dustin

Master the Redirect. Wear a rubber shield so that you can deflect criticism elsewhere. Learn to absorb praise when you receive it. You must learn to deflect blame and absorb credit to climb up the ladder. To be a good worker, accept responsibility for your failures. To be a black hat, disassociate yourself from department shortcomings. Transfer out of the department, if necessary.

Listen First. Do not spread gossip or rumours. A good worker will stop a rumour in its tracks.

Avoid the water cooler gossip circle, and do not get caught spreading rumors. Instead, keep your mouth shut, listen carefully, and observe which way the wind is blowing. When overwhelming evidence suggests the right course of action, take a stand with the winning side. – Shane Dustin

Stay Focused. You must have a plan. Know what it takes to get promoted and the skills required for that position. However, realize that it takes effort and hard work. Remind yourself of this goal and that should motivate you. Consistently learn about your boss’s job in order to stay head of your peers. A Black Hat doesn’t believe in loyalty to an organization and will jump around to different organizations in order to climb the ladder.

Be Resilient. There will always be critics, whether you are a white or black hat. You must have thick skin to win. You must tolerate the abuses your colleague gives you. Look for training opportunities. Attend conferences that are related to your job. A black hat will not attention to the conferences, but use it for networking purposes.

Get Impersonal. Make your colleagues your friends outside of work. Defend yourself when things get nasty. As a black hat, get your friends to achieve your goals. Only think about yourself. If you want to play office politics, understand that you may not be the most well-liked person around.

Maintain Plausible Deniability. Ensure that you obey the rules and code of conduct for your department and organization. Do not stray for it. For every crisis you survive, you will emerge stronger and fitter. To a black hat, do not commit to a deadline unless you are very sure you will not fail.

Know the Unwritten Rules. As you know the organization better, you will know that you can play outside the rules and regulations. The trick is to understand the written rules, but push the boundary. As a good worker, set rules and ensure that people comply and do not play dirty or over-step the rules. As a black hat, tell people to perform things outside of the written rules.

Copy Success. Learn from the people who have made it. Do not ‘re-invent the wheel’. Copy your supervisor’s good behaviour. As a black hat, steal others’ ideas and claim credit for it. Find out what are your boss’ hobbies and then research and chat with him about it.

It’s sad in human terms, but the reality is, getting ahead is often a game of attrition. Your job is to outlast your peers, and be the last soldier standing in the field when the war is over. If you copy the habits and behaviors of survivors, you will greatly increase your chances of joining their ranks. – Shane Dustin

Be Assertive. Learn to be assertive, and not aggressive. An assertive people is confident of their views and takes a stand. Be the person who is best prepared. Let the facts speak for themselves. To be a black hat, be very aggressive during meetings.

Grow Up. You must play by the rules of the big boys and girls. There is no shame in excelling at your work. Accept credit where it is due. Do not hide your accomplishments. Analyze your skillset and determine weak areas. Ensure you get the right training you need. Find ways to impress your job.

Take what is offered. Don’t let ego get in the way. Be bold to state what you want. Look to be number 1 even if others may not be happy with you. Accept what is rightfully yours. Accept any promotion.

Dump the Employee Mindset. The employer and employee goals are usually opposites. The employee wants to work as little as possible and get paid as much as possible. If you don’t like your employer, leave and start your own company. Change your attitude towards employers and treat them better. This is the capitalist system and you have to accept it. Always speak highly of your employer. Ask what you can do to improve the situation.

Your job is directly tied to the value you add to the organization. – Shane Dustin

Everybody Lies. We all lie. The best players of office politics do it the best. However, you can lie to your advantage. Listen to things from your colleagues with a pinch of salt. You can use lies of omission, as this is not completely lying, but just leaving out the key details. Exaggerate the good traits of your co-workers.

Cash in Your Chips. Negotiate the best trade-off. Give when you can, and take when you can. Co-operate with colleagues and make concessions.

Be Seen. Learn to draw attention to yourself. Volunteer to be the emcee at events.

The fact remains, anything you can do to grab the attention of the boss is good. Ideally, you will place yourself in the position to be noticed providing outstanding customer service, helping a co-worker resolve a problem, and being the last employee out of the building at night. – Shane Dustin

Adopt a Hobby. Learn to play golf and understand what hobby your boss likes. People like being around others with similar interests with them. Align yourself with those who have similar interests. Learn things about your new hobby. Spend time practising your new hobby.

Spurn Mediocrity. Do not be mediocre. Many are happy to be mediocre and have no drive in life. Do not be like them.

Nobody wants to be labelled as “average”. But few people will take the extra effort to rise above mediocrity. Which is a good thing for you, because it means there will be less competition for the better jobs. – Shane Dustin

Be a Professional. Learn to be a professional. Have consistency in your actions. Pursue excellence. Be punctual and make yourself available. Complete all the tasks within a given timeframe. Continue to play the office politics game.

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The World of Watches (Rolex) by WatchTime

In 1914, Rolex was granted a Class A chronometer certificate. This book tracks the major Rolex Oyster models from 1926 to 2014.

Discover 100 years of Rolex chronometers and Rolex Oyster Watches. The Class A certificate was only given to large marine chronometers. It was the first watch that was as accurate as a chronometer. This would later make Rolex very popular. Later, it would become the world’s greatest manufacturer of luxury watches. In 1926, the Oyster case was invented. In 1931, the self-winding ‘Perpetual’ rotor was invented. Now, all their Oyster models are chronometer certified. Their first watch passed over 45 days of tests and the average daily rate only increased by +1 second/day. A small watch could rival the best timepieces. Hans Wilsdorf was the founder of Rolex and thought the wristwatch was the future of the watchmaking industry. He strived hard to make the best watch possible. To him, precision was very important indeed. By 1950, 90% of the Swiss chronometers were made by Rolex. That is why there is a term ‘Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified’. It has played a central role in the modern watch. The book features some of its key models.

Watch models. In 1926, the Oyster case was an octagonal shape. There was also a cushion-shaped case. The first Oyster Perpetual looked more like a modern watch. The first DateJust was introduced in 1945. The 1953 Oyster Perpetual looks more refined. The Rolex Explorer was introduced in 1953, so was the Rolex Submariner. The first GMT-Master was launched in 1955 and had a GMT hand and also a two-tone bezel. The Rolex Milgauss was launched in 1956 and had the lightning second hand. The Day-Date was introduced in 1956. The Deep-Sea was launched in 1960. Their chronograph, the Cosmograph Daytona, was introduced in 1963. The Rolex Sea-Dweller was launched in 1967 and had 2000m of water resistance. The Explorer II was introduced in 1971. The GMT-Master II was released in 1982. The Yacht-Master was introduced to the market in 1992. For ladies, the Rolex Lady-DateJust Pearlmaster was released in 1992. In 2000, the Daytona had a new in-house calibre 4130. The Yacht-Master II was released from 2007. The Day-Date II was introduced in 2008. The Deepsea Dweller in 2008 has a ringlock system and a helium escape valve and has 3900 metres water resistance. The DateJust II was introduced in 2009. A new model, the Sky-Dweller was launched in 2012. The new GMT-Master II has a black and blue ceramic bezel. The Milgauss from 2014 has a green edged sapphire crystal, orange hands and a blue-green dial. The GMT-Master II from 2014 has a dark blue and purple two-tone bezel.

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Information on Omega and James Bond Watches

Ten Things to Know about Omega by WatchTime

Omega is a well-known brand which has associations with NASA, Olympics and James Bond etc.It has the Speedmaster, Seamaster and Constellation collections etc.

What’s in a Name? In 1903, the company changed name from Louis Brandt & Frere to Omega Watch Co.

Precision Timing. The company was known for its accurate timekeeping and ease of repair. In 1931, Omega won prizes at chronometric marathons in 6 categories. The Omega 30i observatory calibre was the first wristwatch to have a tourbillion regulator.

Exploring the Ends of the Earth. Ralph Plaisted was the first surface expedition to reach the North Pole. He and his team were armed with Omega Speedmasters. Arved Fuchs and Reinhold Messner trekked to Antarctica on foot in 1990. They were wearing Omega Speedmasters.

Speedy in Space. Omega was chosen for the space exploration program in 1962. Among other brands like Rolex, Longines etc, Omega emerged the winner after a series of stringent tests. Buzz Aldrin, on July 21, 1969, landed on the moon wearing his Omega Speedmaster Professional. Neil Armstrong left his in the capsule as their on-board clock was spoilt. The speedmaster can work well even under zero-gravity conditions.

Master of the Sea. The Seamaster line was introduced in 1948, to mark the brand’s 100th anniversary. The Omega Seamaster 300 debuted in 1957 and resembled watches that Omega made for the British Army during WWII. The British Special Boat Service chose the Seamaster 300. The Omega Professional Diver 600 was introduced in 1970. Even COMEX divers used the watches and didn’t have any issues.

Olympic Timing. The first chronograph was manufactured in 1898. It was the official timekeeper at the 1932 Olympics. Some of them were accurate up to 1/10th of a second. Later, Omega developed state-of-the-art timekeeping and data-handling technology.

James Bond and Film. Omega has featured in many of the latest Bond films. Omega Seamaster and Planet Oceans are the most popular for Bond watches. The watches worn by Bond managed to fetch a huge sum of monies at the auction. Omega watches may have appeared in many films like ‘The Bounty Hunter’; ‘The Right Stuff’; ‘Event Horizon’; ‘Seven Years in Tibet’. Omega watches came in handy in Apollo 13, when they were used to time the astronaut’s re-entry into Earth.

The Kennedy Connection. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev wore a gold Constellation Manhattan. Pope John Paul II wore an Omega De Ville “Classic”. Ringo Starr, Buddy Holly, John F. Kennedy have all wore Omega watches.

The Co-Axial Escapement. The Co-Axial is a low friction escapement. The Caliber 2500 was launched in 1999. It was a new type of watch escapement to be invented in 250 years. The Caliber 8500 has a low friction, mechanical efficiency and uses a free sprung balance. The watch is a COSC-certified chronometer and comes with a 4 year warranty.

Conquering Magnetism. In 2013, Omega created the first movement that is resistant to greater than 15,000 gauss. Most of the anti-magnetic watches use a soft iron inner case. The new movement consists of non-ferrous materials which are already anti-magnetic in nature. It is also possible to see the movement through a sapphire case-back.

The Watches of James Bond by WatchTime

In 1963, James wore a Rolex. Since there, most of the films feature Bond wearing either a Rolex or an Omega.

The Bond Watches. In ‘Doctor No’, Sean Connery wore a Rolex Submariner. In ‘Live and Let Die’, he wore a high tech watch without a brand. Some of the chronographs given by Q were from the brands, Seiko or Rolex. The Omega Seamaster Professional with the blue dial was worn in 1995’s ‘Golden Eye’. In ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’, Bond wears the Seamaster Professional with an automatic calibre. Bond wears the Seamaster in ‘The World is Not Enough’ and ‘Die Another Day’ as well. In ‘Casino Royale’, Bond wore the Seamaster Professional with a co-axial escapement. The second watch featured in the film was the Seamaster Planet Ocean, with calibre 2500, 600 water resistance and a black dial. In ‘Quantum of Solace’, Bond wore the Seamaster Planet Ocean with a 007 logo on the second hand, a special caseback and a film title on the dial. There is also a 50 years of James Bond movies. It is chronometer certified and has a co-axial escapement. One of them also has an open view of the rotor which creates a stylish gun-barrel appearance. The 2007 Skyfall edition has a clear sapphire back and the 007 logo at the 7 o’clock position.

Omega "James Bond 007 50th Anniversary Collector's Piece" Seamaster wristwatch, 212.30.41.20.01.005 reference, limited production of 11,007; released in 2012.

Dive Watches by WatchTime

The Best Dive Watch Brands You Don’t Know About. Aegir Instruments: Prices start from $1600. Aquadive: uses the Bathyscaphe model. Some are even up to 3,000 metres of water resistance: Prices start from $990. Germano & Walter: German brand, bezel can be locked by crown at 4 o’clock position. Prices start from $3700. H20/Helberg: Allows customization. Prices start from $500. Pita: Spanish brand which doesn’t need a crown as it is operated from caseback. Prices from $4575. Suissemecanica: Uses internal rotating bezel. Prices from $119,000. Squale: Uses ETA movements. Italian brand. Prices start from $600.

What did divers use before dive watches? Panerai supplied dive watches to the Italian Navy in the 1930s. Omega launched the rectangular Marine in the early 1920s. Back then, watches were not made for divers. In the past, divers mounted pocket watches on the inside of their helmets.

Bracelet Extensions vs Flexible Straps. Over a wet suit, you will need extension in order to wear your watch. Deep under water, due to an increase in pressure, it will cause your suit to become looser. Rolex has an easily adjustable clasp extension. Some rubber watches have ridges and this is quite usual as well. An example would be the Seiko Marinemaster 300.

The Basics of the Rotating Bezel. Align the 12 o’clock bezel with the minute hand. It is often uni-directional for the diver’s safety. Do not remove the watch once you are in the water. In addition, try to operate the bezel with only 1 hand. Internal bezels are harder to operate, unfortunately. Some bezels have locking mechanisms to prevent excessive turning. An internal bezel looks more elegant as the bezel cannot gather dust. The IWC aquatimer has managed to innovate a watch with both internal and external rotating bezels. This is an engineering marvel.

Five Ultra-Complicated Dive Watches. These are really costly. IWC Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date Month. Richard Mille RM032. Breguet Marine Royale. Blancpain X Fathoms (55mm) – depth measurement, max-depth reached memory, retrograde 5-min counter. Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Pro Geographic Navy Seals.

What Makes a Dive Watch a Dive Watch? A dive watch should be at least 100m water resistant and satisfy the requirements in ISO 6425. Very few watches are certified ISO 6425. There are physical requirements and methods for testing them. The watch must have a bezel etc. In addition to a visibility test, there are also other tests like temperature, salinity, reliability under water etc. There are also anti-magnetism and shock resistance tests. If you see the word ‘divers’ marked on the watch, it means that it has passed the ISO 6425 standards.

Saturation Diving, Helium Valves, and ‘Extreme’ Dive Watches. Saturation diving is where the diver needs to live and work under water in a pressurized meeting for up to several weeks. Due to the pressure built up inside the watch due to the effective sealing upon surfacing, the watch crystal might pop out. In 1967, Rolex worked with COMEX to produce the Sub 200T. Omega developed a large ‘Super Comprex’ watch. Only very few watches have a helium release valve as these watches typically have water resistance up to at least a 1,000 metres. Does a professional dive watch need a helium escape valve? Ask yourself: ‘Why not?’

My top 5 dive watches. Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial. Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe. Tudor Heritage Black Bay. Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000. Edox Hydro-Sub North Pole. My five most wanted dive watches: 1) Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial; 2) Tudor Pelagos; 3) Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000; 4) Citizen Grand Touring Sport; 5) IWC Aquatimer 2000.

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Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance (Part 1)

Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Musk was broad shouldered and looked fit. We met for dinner. At first, he didn’t want to let me write about him. However, I interviewed many of his friends whom I already knew. He wanted to have a say in the editing. He could not stand factual errors. Musk was worried about Google building AI robots to destroy mankind. Finally, he relented and allowed me to write about him. Deep down, he respects resolute people who don’t give up despite facing rejection. We would meet once a month to have dinner and work on the book. He asked me whether I thought he was insane. I visited his headquarters of SpaceX. To Musk, he wanted to enable humans to live on Mars. He does say ridiculous things sometimes. He is like a deity in Silicon Valley for doing the impossible. He was in a techno-utopian club and is a well-intentioned dreamer. To an outsider, he is simply dreaming of utopia. SpaceX flew a supply capsule to the ISS; Tesla Motors delivered Model S and he was the biggest shareholder of SolarCity. These were some of his achievements. There is a rectangle printed outside SpaceX HQ and it says ‘Unity of Body, Soul and Mind’. There were hundreds of people in the factory helping to assemble rockets in Musk Land. There is the R&D for Tesla. Sometimes, he comes around as being shy and awkward. He often pauses when he speaks. He doesn’t talk nonsense and is usually very serious. Musk walks around and talks to employees. Silicon Valley had crazy ideas where people tried to make as much money as possible. However, nowadays, people just want to play it safe and avoid taking excessive risk. The dotcom boom showed that many companies just wanted an easy buck without creating physical products that added value. There was a decline in innovation in the year 2000s. Nowadays, people were just refining innovations without creating anything revolutionary. Peter Thiel had a similar view too. Was technology changing the world? Musk was different and he was wildly ambitious. EBay acquired PayPal for $1.5 billion in 2002. Musk was daring and tried to reinvent the aerospace and automotive and solar industries. There was a high chance that he would fail. The Space industry was dominated by Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Musk fears that the Russians will assassinate him if his space programme is better than theirs. Tesla makes fully electric cars and sells them on the Web. Electric cars do not require much servicing. There are many recharging stations around. Musk is also thinking of building end-to-end transportation system. He has a net worth of $10 billion and SolarCity is working well. Many people respect his drive and mission. Musk has one of the grandest tasks ever imagined. Musk credited his tough childhood for his success. He has a crazy schedule and gets little sleep. Musk has twice divorced (Justine and Talulah Riley). Musk organizes crazy parties on his birthdays. Riley tries to entertain him and let him take breaks from work. Musk was complaining that not many people were working on weekends at Tesla. There was a love-hate relationship with him. Musk is different from others at the Valley and wants to integrate technology for the long-term. You have to live in Elon’s world if you want to survive.

I would like to die thinking that humanity has a bright future. If we can solve sustainable energy and be well on our way to becoming a multiplanetary species with a self-sustaining civilization on another planet – to cope with a worst-case scenario happening and extinguishing human consciousness – I think that would be really good. – Elon Musk

I think there are probably too many smart people pursuing Internet stuff, finance and law. That is part of the reason why we haven’t seen as much innovation. – Elon Musk

It’s the sweeping goal that forms a unifying principle over everything he does. Employees at all three companies are well aware of this and well aware that they’re trying to achieve the impossible day in and day out. – Ashlee Vance

I would like to allocate more time to dating, though. I need to find a girlfriend. That’s why I need to carve out just a little more time. I think maybe even another five to ten – how much time does a woman want a week? Maybe ten hours? That’s kind of the minimum? I don’t know. – Elon Musk

We’ve grown fucking soft. I was just going to send out an email to Tesla employees: “We’re fucking soft.” – Elon Musk, after learning that less employees at Tesla were working on weekends

Africa. The public first met him in 1984. He was a software programme back then. Back then, he had big dreams. He fantasized about space and battles. When he was young, he liked the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. He wanted to strive for greater collective enlightenment. He also relied on philosophy texts. Musk was born in SA in 1971. He wanted to leave Africa because of the apartheid violence that ensued in the 1970s. He plotted an escape from SA. America was the land of dreams at that time. Musk’s grandfather was a great inspiration to him. His name was Joshua Norman Haldeman. Initially, his grandpa worked on a farm and later moved to doing odd jobs before finally becoming a chiropractor. Later, he bought a plane and also wrote a book on planes. However, in his later years, Haldeman sold everything and then moved to SA and opened a chiropractice business. Haldeman never believed in punishing kids. He was an adventurous man as a pilot. Musk admits that he might have adopted the risk tolerance level of his grandpa. Maye was Elon’s mother. Elon’s father was Errol. Errol worked as an electrical engineer while Maye was a dietician. Elon has a brother named Kimbal and a sister named Tosca. Elon tended to space out sometimes. He was really obsessed about thinking and would be oblivious to those around him. Elon was gifted at maths and science. Since young, he had an obsession with reading. He plowed through books like ‘The Lord of the Rings’. His knowledge was also impressive because he memorized facts from the encyclopaedia. Only when he grew older that he developed strong relationships with his family. Later, his parents underwent a divorce and Elon decided to live with his dad. Elon loved learning engineering stuff from his dad. Errol was proud of Elon’s achievements. Elon had a bad childhood and had some bad memories of Errol. When he was young, Elon experimented with gunpowder and was lucky not to have hurt himself. Back in the day, he and his brother would go for adventures in South Africa. Musk was often hounded by bullies when he was in school. Elon was not the brightest kid in school. The only subjects he was interested in was computing, maths and science. South Africa was like a prison for Musk.

Maybe I read too many comics a kid. In the comics, it always seems like they are trying to save the world. It seems like one should try to make the world a better place because the inverse makes no sense. – Elon Musk

Canada. Musk’s uncle wasn’t in Canada. He tried to contact his cousins which he knew. Musk did odd jobs for a living. Finally, Musk enrolled in Queen’s University. His brother and him cold-called people and wanted to ask them out for lunch. They got to meet Peter Nicholson, a top executive at Bank of Nova Scotia. Christie was Peter’s daughter and Musk liked her. Musk knew Justine Wilson from Queen’s. They both were top students in the school and very academically driven. Although Justine dated other people, Elon was persistent. Elon simply did not give up. Elon liked board games and could play it for hours on end. When he is interested in something, he develops such a deep interest into it that not many people can match. Musk enjoyed his time at Penn. He made a good friend in school. He was Adeo Rossi. Elon hated the taste of alcohol. Back then, he had great ideas on how to harness solar energy. He could link scientific research into how to profit via setting up a business. He was not chasing fads and the ideas for his businesses had already sprung up in college.

If there was a way that I could not eat, so I could work more, I would not eat. I wish there was a way to get nutrients without sitting down for a meal. – Elon Musk

Elon’s First Start-up. Kimbal and Musk took road trips. The Web was up and coming at that time. Kimbal thought of a business of creating an online network for doctors. Musk was keen on his ultra-capacitors. In the day, Elon worked at Pinnacle. In the evening, he worked on Rocket Science Games. He dropped out of his PhD programme and went for the Internet’s craze. Elon was a self-learner and liked to find out stuff on his own. Their first start-up would be Zip2. It was like a ‘yellow’ pages of the web. Errol, his dad, gave him money to aid at the initial stage of the business. Musk and Kimbal lived in the office. They did door to door sales and were very poor indeed. Musk didn’t seem to go home during the weekends. Kimbal was the optimist. The business didn’t take off and many customers rejected him. The sales report was depressing indeed. Musk kept making improvements to the Zip2 software. Investors were bought into Musk’s passion for the company. He was willing to risk a large chunk of his time. Greg Kouri was his business mentor. Mohr Davidow, a VC, invested $3m in the company. Zip2 wanted to sell to newspapers, who would then sell to others. They wanted to do away with the door-to-door model. Musk was a CTO now. However, the VC hired a CEO and Musk had to lose control of the company. Elon wanted to be CEO. Elon was not as skilled as the best coders in town. Musk was in control now, he wasn’t soft when he was back in school. Elon tended to criticize senior people upfront but soon mellowed with age. To him, the word ‘no’ doesn’t exist. Elon’s mentality was ‘do or die but don’t give up’. Zip2 had great success courting newspapers. Musk brought the matter that he wanted to be CEO again and to sack the existing guy. The board were not pleased by his defiance. Microsoft was competing with Zip2 and was doing better. Compaq computer bought Zip2 for $307 million and the owners were delighted. This lesson was important and taught Elon of the importance to have control and that investors might change your business model of your company sometimes. Elon sometimes fixed people’s problems for them without telling them. People didn’t like that. He made a good profit from his first business.

If you asked Elon how long it would take to do something, there was never anything in his mind that would take more than an hour. We came to interpret an hour as really taking a day or two and if Elon ever did say something would take a day, we allowed for a week or two weeks. – Jim Ambras

PayPal Mafia Boss. Elon was confident after the sale of Zip2. The bank of Nova Scotia passed up the opportunity for a trade worth a lot of money as they didn’t want to invest in debt of developing countries. Elon realised that bankers were stupid and they didn’t take their opportunities. They simply followed other people blindly. Then, he wanted to create an Internet bank. By then, security was not good and that might pose a threat to banking transactions online. He wanted to create a bank to process online transactions and navigate all the regulatory loops. The starting name for the company was X.com. He bought an apartment and a sports car with his new found wealth. He thought X.com would be the next big thing. Musk joined the big boys club in racing. Then, he got into a minor accident, which damaged the car. Musk invested $12m into X.com. X.com had the potential to be a revolution. It was an industry which he wasn’t familiar with. Musk started the company with Ho, Fricker and Payne. Elon had to read up on banking to understand how it worked. Regulatory problems were horrible. Fricker was displeased as Musk was making visionary statements which did not promise anything. Fricker ordered a coup and took everyone with him. Elon was upset but wanted to continue. Elon tried to seek venture capital. X.com tried out radical banking ideas and a P2P money transfer system. Many people were hooked on this service. Peter Thiel and Max Levchin were working on Confinity. They were in direct competition with one another. It was like head-on competition. Musk worked crazy hard. Finally, X.com and Confinity decided to merge and join forces. There was a tech rift and Thiel resigned. Levchin threatened to walk out of the business. Fraud was present as X.com couldn’t cope with the number of transactions. A group of employees wanted Thiel back as CEO and to kick Musk out without letting him know. The board voted and Thiel replaced Musk. It was split and some employees were not happy that Musk was removed. Thiel renamed X.com as PayPal. Elon, instead of being bitter, supported Peter and continued investing in PayPal. Finally, eBay bought PayPal for $1.5 billion and Elon netted $180m after taxes. Musk had a bad reputation as the media saw him as being ego-centric. Some investors didn’t like the ‘I-know-it-all’ attitude. The PayPal mafia were known to be the brightest people around. Given even time, Musk tends to achieve his ambitious goals. Justine and Elon had a good relationship at that time. Finally, Elon proposed to Justine. Elon was never afraid of responsibility. Later on during the marriage, Elon mentioned how he didn’t like her shortcomings. The marriage didn’t last. Then, Elon fell terribly sick after contracting Malaria from a trip to Africa. He nearly died. A vacation almost killed him.

He’s willing to take an insane amount of personal risk. When you do a deal like that, it either pays off or you end up in a bus shelter somewhere. – Ed Ho

Mice in Space. Elon was 30 in 2001. People often bragged about the long hours they worked. The couple decided to move to LA. The call of space attracted him. Now, Elon was crazy about space. LA would be the HQ. Most of the aeronautics work was held there. Zubrin invited Musk for coffee. He educated Elon on some experiments. It was possible for mice to reproduce in space. Although Elon didn’t know a lot about space, he was willing to find out. Elon started donating money to the Mars Society. Elon wanted to send mice to Mars, and not just into orbit. The intent was for the mice to procreate along the way. Elon felt that the public should focus more on space. He was alarmed as NASA wasn’t planning anything too. Elon wanted people to consider the potential of Mars. There were many people who were interested in his project. The plan was to build a greenhouse on Mars. Elon has the belief that he will be the guy who will change the world. The problem was funding and Elon had to have at least 200 million to spare. Elon started to explore how much a launch to Mars would cost. Elon and his friends headed to Russia and planned to buy a rocket. The Russians didn’t think Elon was a genuine buyer and insulted him. He was pissed and stormed out of the meeting. Russia were the only ones who had cheap rockets. Then, on the plane back to LA, Elon thought that we could build the rocket ourselves. Space exploration was risky and you could blow your fortune. Elon built a spreadsheet and calculated the cost of building a rocket and read astronomy books. Some of his colleagues thought that he would fail. It was then that Tom Mueller met Elon. Mueller was a geek in astronomy. He managed to build liquid-fuel rocket engines. Mueller met Musk and they started chatting. Soon, he was in the team. The plan was to reduce the cost of sending things up to space. Space Exploration Technologies was founded in June 2002. The engineers and machinists would be working close to one another. They wanted to revolutionise the space industry.

Being a private company, Elon could avoid the waste and cost overruns of government contractors. It might soon be possible to send satellites to space in a cheaper fashion. Their first launch would be called Falcon 1. Many people wrote Elon and his team off. Justine’s son, Nevada Alexander Musk, passed away when he was 10 weeks old. Justine had other kids later on. Elon didn’t want to talk about the baby’s death. Elon had an A-star team at SpaceX. Brown was his assistant and she helped a lot as well. Boeing had large and cumbersome projects. Hollman soon joined Elon’s team. SpaceX was working on a crazy timeline and wanted to launch their rocket only 15 months after the company started. Many of the engineers worked all nights. Empowerment also kept the team going and motivated them. Many of the tests were failures. Elon hated excuses or the lack of clear plan. Elon was not afraid to get his hands dirty. The SpaceX family was tight and united. The first prototype was unveiled to the public in Dec 2003. Hollman was stressed and was at a breaking point after he broke his glasses. Elon heard him whining at work and offered to pay for his Lasik surgery. SpaceX revealed plans to build Falcon 5, where the rocket would have enough power to reach the ISS. Musk looked out for graduates who did well in school but also had done exceptional things with their talents. Many suppliers could not keep up with SpaceX’s schedule. Elon hated the standard relationship-building exercise with salespeople. Sometimes, Musk tried to claim credit for the work and this infuriated the engineers. Things didn’t work well and Falcon 1 launch was delayed. SpaceX had to find a launch pad. There was also always something to do at SpaceX and there were plenty of engineering problems to solve. The problems kept coming. It was a bonding experience. In Nov 2005, the rocket was ready for launch. It failed and the next launch was slated for Dec instead. The project delayed again till Mar 2006. The rocket launched but disintegrated midway. Hollman and Musk had a shouting match as Musk thought that it was Hollman’s fault for the crash. The engineers vowed to take a more disciplined approach in future. On Mar 2007, Falcon 1 launched and flew for 5 minutes before crashing again. Elon was a very optimistic guy. This was a guy who thought big.

I had friends who complained that their husbands came home at seven or eight. Elon would come home at eleven and work some more. People didn’t always get the sacrifice he made in order to be where he was. – Justine Musk

The longer you wait to fire someone, the longer it has been since you should have fired him. – Elon Musk

SpaceX is in this for long haul and, come hell or high water, we are going to make this work. – Elon Musk

All Electric. Straubel liked to play with chemicals in his younger days. He wanted to develop his own software and control energy. The clean-tech movement was still new. He built an electric car. However, electric cars had limitations like battery life. He formed friendships with those in Stanford. Lithium ion batteries were getting better at that time. Straubel wanted to build an electric car made up of lithium ion batteries. In 2003, he met Elon Musk. Elon wasn’t keen on the plane project but was keen on the electric car project. Elon initially wanted ultracapacitors as batteries. Elon gave him some money. AC Propulsion had a tzero car and Elon was deeply impressed by it. Elon was determined to build a high performance base car and electric powertrain. Eberhard was a great engineer. He was also interested in the AC Propulsion cars. Eberhard later started a company on electric cars manufacturing. They were targeting the rich people in the US. Eberhard and Tarpenning incorporated their company in July 1, 2003. It was called Tesla Motors. The last successful car start-up was Chrysler. There were plenty of hurdles they needed to cross. They decided to sell their cars direct and to license technology from AC Propulsion. The founders wanted Elon Musk on board to provide funding for a prototype. Finally, Elon agreed and wanted to end US’s addiction to oil. Later on, Musk and Eberhard would experience a power struggle. Straubel joined their team too. They were planning to build a car from scratch. They found a make-shift office and started work. The body would be the Lotus Elise body. Dave Lyons was a brilliant engineer who was on their team. Elon invested $9million more into the company. Suddenly, one of their batteries caught fire. It was a setback as there were safety issues. Tesla was on a verge of a breakthrough. The Roadster body still was a work of progress. By May 2006, there were a hundred employees. Google’s founders also invested in the car. The cars were well designed and could go from zero to 60 in about 4 seconds. The car costs more than $90,000 and could drive 250 miles on a single charge. Many rich people wanted in. When tests were run, engineers would solve the problems on the spot. Detroit was not a very friendly place for business. It was a big turn off. Eberhard didn’t like Elon as he kept wanting to make the car more comfortable but this delayed the shipping. Later on, the company would have big problems trying to mass produce cars. The transmitted and gear change was a big problem and was difficult to solve. They set up a factory in Thailand but managing the Thai workers was difficult and frustrating. Watkins was hired to diagnose the manufacturing problems. There was excessive expenditure in equipment and materials. The actual costs turned out to be $170,000 per car and they were only selling it for $85,000. The company continued to miss deliveries while Eberhard was CEO. The cost figures made people think that Eberhard was mismanaging the company and not bothering about cost. Eberhard was demoted by the board and Michael Marks would be CEO. In Dec, Eberhard left the company. The car still had problems. Marks and Elon had disagreements. Marks had the intention to sell the company away. However, Elon disagreed and wanted to control it. Ze’ev Drori replaced Marks in 2007. Musk was hands-on and would work on pressing problems personally. Musk ran the place like a military camp. Elon was sharp in spotting details. Elon could be very imposing. You must be as crazy as him to survive. Straubel admired Elon’s work ethic. The company was almost made bankrupt as they were bleeding funds. Elon tried to persuade investors to pump in more money.

I would tell those employees that they will get to see their families a lot when we go bankrupt. – Elon Musk, after Tesla employees complained that they couldn’t see their families as they made to work on weekends due to car production problems

I never want to hear that “it was the standard way things had always been done” phrase again. What we have to do is fucking hard and half-assing things won’t be tolerated. – Elon Musk

For Part 2, click here.

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