Why Elon Musk Would Be A Great CEO Of Apple

Image from: http://garinkilpatrick.com/elon-musk/

Elon Musk is one of the greatest innovators of all time, being called a real-life Iron Man. His two current companies, SpaceX and Tesla, have been crazy successful even though they had encountered every possible obstacle. SpaceX is a private company making rockets to go to space in the hopes of getting to Mars to colonize and inhabit it. Its going up against companies like Blue Origin run by Jeff Bezos, Araianespace, the European Space Agency, Boeing Aerospace, Lockheed Martin, and the United Launch Alliance just to name a few. (Thanks to Iain Scott for the list down in the comments) Tesla is revolutionizing what it means to be a car. Tesla cars are electric cars with unbelievable underlying software that makes the car run and the overall experience amazing. Not only that, they are redefining what a car dealership is, selling cars in unheard of ways: online and without a dealership. And his previous company PayPal, you may have heard of it, was sold to Ebay for 1.5 billion dollars. PayPal revolutionized and set the standard for online banking. He also is chairman and helped found SolarCity, a solar energy provider that was named the number 2 overall solar installation company, in 2013, in the U.S.

I recently read two books: Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ahslee Vance and Zero to One by Peter Thiel. The first was a biography on Musk describing his upbringing, education, and entrepreneurial career. The second was about building a startup that solved a problem and that changed the world, “Zero to One” startups. Elon Musk is creating products and companies that are “Zero to One” startups, meaning that they solve a problem, have a mission, and are truly original. “Zero to One” startups are leaders in the industry. They impact the world with their work. They push the human race forward. Musk is tackling two problems: one obvious and the other not so much. The first is that of renewable energy and saving the environment by creating electric cars and making solar energy affordable. The second is of reaching Mars and setting up colonies there. If Tesla and SpaceX aren’t “Zero to One” I don’t know what is.

Apple is a “Zero to One” company. Steve Jobs knew how to make “Zero to One” businesses. He was a perfectionist and was adamant about creating an unforgettable user experience with Apple’s products. Similarly, Elon Musk seeks to create perfect products that pay attention to detail and seek to solve problems. Steve Wozniak himself has compared Musk to Jobs. The similarities in work ethic, vision, and passion has allowed Musk to put his work at the same caliber and level as Jobs. This is why Musk would be a great CEO of Apple. He would be able to share the same vision as Jobs had and would be able to lead the company just like he has with Tesla and SpaceX. All three companies truly show what innovation is and this mainly is the effect of the people behind the product.

Innovation, today, has become an overused word that has come to describe any product that does mildly successful. It has strayed from its true meaning which is to create something new that is of value, that will push humanity forward. Musk is setting an example of what innovation should be. He is setting standards in technology that other companies should strive to match and exceed. He is a shining example of what used to be in Silicon Valley. He takes risks, has big ideas, and executes on those big ideas like some of the companies that used to inhabit the Valley like HP, Intel, and later on Google and Apple. They, as it says in Vance’s book, “made physical products and employed tens of thousands of people in the process. In the years that followed, the goal went from taking huge risks to create new industries and grand new ideas, to chasing easier money by entertaining consumers and pumping out simple apps and advertisements.” Musk is a reminder of what the tech industry and what Silicon Valley, the so-called “cradle of innovation,” was built upon. He and his companies shows us how innovation is built: through taking risks on big ideas and executing on those ideas by creating something that makes an impact.

Musk’s work ethic is second to none and his insatiable appetite for innovation forces him to challenge himself and push himself forward. Elon Musk is redefining what the word innovation means by reverting it back to what it originally meant before making a social media app that has one tiny feature different from Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram was considered innovation. He is creating something out of nothing. No, not something. He is creating the future out of nothing. He is setting the standards for what a “Zero to One” startup has to be. These qualities are what makes him a great CEO and what makes him a great fit for Apple (hypothetically if it ever happens). After all, he seems to have a knack for continuously pushing the limit on what was thought to be possible, which should remind you of a certain Steve Jobs that did so, as CEO of Apple, just a few years ago…

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