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Elon Musk And The Changing World – OpEd

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Elon Musk, touted by some as a madman in the age of science and technology, continues to innovate in his own way. What is particularly prominent is that he is very good in making use in his capital, that he playfully uses technology to engage in manufacturing but treats the market. In today’s society with excess capital and professional division of labor, where the market practically worships science and technology, Musk often sets off trends for this world. From the perspective of financial accumulation, Musk has surely won the market. On January 8, 2021, Musk was worth USD 195 billion and Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos USD 185 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Microsoft founder Bill Gates ranked third, worth USD 134 billion.

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While lamenting Musk’s “arrogance”, the world cannot help but admiring his exuberant creativity. Elon Musk gave an exclusive interview with the Wall Street Journal in his DIY “billionaire haircut” on December 7, showcasing all the characteristics of this tech madman.

First, we look at Musk’s robust innovation capabilities and actions. Musk promotes the development and industrialization of many new items. In addition to the already developed Tesla electric cars, Musk is also promoting the development of a variety buzz products, from Cybertruck, Neuralink, Starship, to Tesla Bot. Cybertruck is an all-electric pickup truck launch by Tesla in 2019 and plans to achieve mass production in 2023. Neuralink is a neurotechnology company that studies brain-computer interfaces. The “brain-machine interface” implants tiny levels of electricity into the brain, using electricity to form a “connection” between the computer and brain cells. Musk said the “brain-machine interface” device is expected to be used in humans next year to help restore systemic function in tetraplegic patients. He hopes Neuralink will be approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by 2022. Founded by Musk in 2002, SpaceX, an aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company, has gained a foothold in the world aerospace market and is currently valued at more than USD 100 billion. SpaceX is developing and launching Starship, which Musk said is a fundamental breakthrough necessary for mankind to move towards space civilization. In 2021, Tesla released Tesla Bot. In Musk’s vision, Tesla will build a humanoid robot that can perform repetitive tasks that could ease labor shortage. Musk redefined Tesla: “Tesla is arguably the world’s biggest robot or semi-intelligent robot company in the world”.

How can Musk promote multiple technological innovations at the same time? Musk is an innovative entrepreneur, his innovation is not limited to technology and laboratory products, but to turn innovation intro industrial products to meet certain needs of society, and even to change the world. Many people can only achieve creativity in one field in their entire lives. Why then, can Musk engage in industrial innovation in multiple fields and still achieve great success? According to the analysis of Chan Kung, the founder of ANBOUND, is that Musk has made full use of the world’s resources, and he is promoting innovation from the dominant position. Musk only gives out ideas and opinions, and everything else is operated by professional institutions. On the other hand, If Musk gets more detailed on his work, it would be difficult to develop his innovation. This view was confirmed by Musk in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on December 7, Musk calls CEO a ‘made-up title’. He would be working day and night from when we woke up to go to sleep seven days a week, roughly evenly divided between Tesla and SpaceX. “I just sort tasks and try to do the most useful things, where I’m most needed,” says Musk. Musk’s allocation of time and energy is actually the difference between “coming up with ideas’ and “implementation”.

Musk’s innovation, through bold ideas and continuous industrialization efforts, has brought unexpected products to the world, which is reminiscent of what had been done by Apple’s founder Steve Jobs. Jobs once said, “it’s hard to design a product through market research, and a lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show them the product”. Similarly, Henry Ford was noted to say, “if I ask people what they need, they will only tell you they want something even better”. It can be seen that the world’s demand for innovation often does not come from public surveys. On the basis of insight into the world, the insights of scientific and technological innovation elites and entrepreneurial elites are the important forces to promote the progress of the world. Musk’s innovation and success have similar characteristics, he uses innovative ideas that go beyond general public understanding and general business rules to pool resources, create momentum, and attract capital.

The successful realization of Musk’s innovation is related to the characteristics of today’s world. In today’s world, there is no shortage of capital. Credit expansion has long created a world with excess capital and maintaining the bubble of excess capital has become an impossible path for human society to turn back, so what the world does not lack is capital and science and technology. Although major revolutionary scientific and technological breakthroughs are not common, phased scientific and technological innovation and breakthroughs in the application of science and technology have penetrated into the consumption and production processes, and have become the norm of social operation. There is no shortage of professionals from various industries, and specialized teams at the executive level have become the modular standard in society. Importantly also, there is no lack of consumer demand, in the era of credit expansion, the urbanization process stimulates long-term capital surplus which supports the long-term development of the consumer society. So, what is lacking in this society? In our view, what is missing is a “vision” with original and innovative significance, and the fanatical spirit of entrepreneurship to continue to promote the “vision”. This is how Jobs is and Musk may be the same.

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In such a world, Musk’s innovation and entrepreneurship do not need to start from brick by brick or from the most basic resources. He can base on real innovative ideas and make full use of the mechanisms of the world and put his innovative ideas and dreams into practice. Compared with entrepreneurs in the past, Musk has the characteristics of a new generation of internet entrepreneurs and is not bound by the business rules of Wall Street. Compared with Musk, not to mention Bill Gates who founded Microsoft and Bezos who founded Amazon, even Zuckerberg, who founded Facebook, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who founded Google, belong to the “traditional entrepreneurs” of The Information Age. Musk is a master of momentum building. When he founded the industry, he knows how to create influence in the era of online social networking. His tweet has caused a huge shock in the digital currency market; he also expressed that he wanted to resign as full-time “technology celebrity” and attract attention from the market. Musk expressed rare contempt for the capital market represented by Wall Street, because in the era of excess capital, the last thing the world lacks is capital. Ultimately, capital needs to chase investment goods and pursue scarce original innovative ideas. At least for now, Musk has won the race against capital markets.

Final analysis conclusion:

The application of scientific and technological innovation, excess capital, and high degree of informationization are rapidly changing the world. Some new types of innovative entrepreneurs have also emerged, and Elon Musk is one of them. By effectively using the rules of this world, Musk skyrocketed into the world’s richest man with the fasted speed in a “fashionable” way in this technological era. Musk’s experience shows that the world is undergoing profound changes, though many are still unaware of such changes.

Anbound

Anbound Consulting (Anbound) is an independent Think Tank with the headquarter based in Beijing. Established in 1993, Anbound specializes in public policy research, and enjoys a professional reputation in the areas of strategic forecasting, policy solutions and risk analysis. Anbound's research findings are widely recognized and create a deep interest within public media, academics and experts who are also providing consulting service to the State Council of China.

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