A man who really makes the future
In Silicon Valley there always seems to be some guys who do some almost impossible things with a smile. One of those guys is Elon Musk who already by college age in early 90's had decided he would go for looking solutions to some major issues for the future of humanity. He picked up three topics: Internet (which at the time was just at about taking off), space and clean energy.
He started from Internet: for a two days in 1995 he was a Stanford graduate student before business drive took him. He created the company ZIP2, sold it with $300m bought another one and turned it to Paypal from which eBay paid $1,5 billion 2001. Hew then turned his head to his real passion out into the sky and beyond: he created company called SpaceX and lo and behold, last year SpaceX made history when its craft dragon became the first commercial vehicle to dock at the International Space Station. His real interest is to launch a vehicle that could colonize the mars, and thus actually to extend life beyond earth. Recently he has stated that they are actually about to solve some key technical issues around that target. The mission for Mars, failed from NASA, might be achieved by a Silicon Valley entrepreneur.
But this is not enough. He also started number of years ago Tesla Motors, with an idea to develop an electric plug-in car. They created a roadster, first one to be able to drive more than 300km per charge. Now the next generation is coming with a family car called MotorS, where the price is coming down (start from $60K only :-)) while the range is enlarging up to 300 miles. I have seen it and it really looks inside like a space car. After that he fancies for a next generation car, which is again a lot cheaper.
He has also founded the company SolarCity, which designs solar power systems (there is a one on the top of the house I am staying right now in Santa Barbara). The beauty of the concept is that houseowner do not have to buy the equipment, he can lease it. Thus is becomes an easier and better business for all parties. Today SolarCity is the nr 1 residential installer in the United States. SolarCity also builds charging stations for electric vehicles as well as performs energy efficiency audits.
So here is evidently a guy who has had some big dreams and been able to follow them. His target is always the same: to put up something that has a real impact to the world. You might say that this is easier to be said than done. But as we can see, it is not impossible. And he is just over 40 so he has a lot of time to build more installations of his dreams.
What strikes me in his habitus is that he is authentic and easygoing, in the good spirit of the Valley.
Key learning: think big!