Elon Musk’s high stakes

Elon Musk’s high stakes

Elon Musk, SpaceX founder and Tesla chairman, who has recently re-taken the title of world’s richest man — bumping out luxury tycoon Bernard Arnault — is known for taking the kinds of big risks the average person could only dream of.

In fact, in a new book titled “Elon Musk,” by Walter Isaacson, the author suggested that Musk is all but addicted to this level of risk. The author even claims to have heard Musk once say, “I want to keep taking risks. I don’t want to savor things.”



While it’s easy to note the billionaire’s failures — buying and nearly tanking the social media site X, formerly known as Twitter; not delivering the fully autonomous Tesla car that he promised; and a SpaceX rocket explosion — Musk’s bets pay off more often than not.

Here are 6 reasons why Musk’s risks lead to financial rewards.

He Dreams Big

Musk has never settled for small ideas. The company he co-founded before he was a household name — X.com — was a key player in the formation of PayPal, which now more than 428 million people use worldwide to make digital payments.

As CEO of Tesla, he’s made electric cars a popular, and even coveted, choice among consumers.



Then there’s SpaceX, formed in 2002, part of Musk’s vision to make space travel possible and affordable, as well as to potentially colonize Mars. Though skeptics doubted it would take off, the company did the unexpected: landed and then put back into flight a Falcon 9 booster in 2017. He even landed a contract with NASA to transport cargo to the International Space Station.

He Tries to Solve Problems

People seem to either love or hate Tesla, but Musk has said he never set out to build a car company, but an energy company. In a “Master Plan” that he revealed at a company event in Texas, Musk explained that Tesla’s goal is to help eliminate the world’s reliance on fossil fuels and lead the way in sustainable energy on multiple levels.

Beyond just cars, Musk aims to produce such things as heat pumps, sustainably fueled planes and boats to create an entirely sustainable civilization.



He Thinks Beyond Profits

Recently, Musk lowered the price of Teslas to make them more affordable for the average person — to the disappointment of his shareholders when Tesla stock prices dropped.

Musk explained that he’s prioritizing volume of car sales over profits right now, with a vision of generating revenue through software updates down the road, but that getting people into Tesla’s cars is more important right now.

He Never Stops Innovating

Musk is known for constantly pushing his teams to think beyond current goals, even reaching for what others might consider “impossible” goals. While he might seem crazy to some, he has a way of achieving what detractors say he can’t.

Even Tesla was treated skeptically when the cars were first revealed, and yet now they are among the most popular electric vehicles on the market.

He’s Not Afraid of Controversy



You don’t get to be the world’s richest man without the media having its way with you. Musk is used to being a topic of discussion, and often a controversial one.

He raised a lot of hackles when he bought X and changed not only its name, but how people can use the platform. While others may not like the changes, he claims it is democratizing the platform.

He Treats Failure as Learning

In April 2023, SpaceX’s uncrewed spacecraft Starship met with disaster at launch when it exploded, slowing down the development of a rocket whose intent was to eventually carry people to the moon and Mars.

However, Musk was not upset by the failure, seeing it as a crucial piece of learning in the process and expressing gratitude that the rocket made it off the launch pad.



Anand Mahindra, chairman of the Mahindra Group, posted on X, “Most would be terminally daunted by such a ‘failure’… but when you set up each initiative as a learning experiment — and of course, have raised the resources to do so! — you essentially extend the frontiers of knowledge and progress.”

It doesn’t seem like Musk has any plans to stop taking risks.

“If the odds are probably in your favor, you should make as many decisions as possible within the bounds of what is executable,” Musk has said.

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