“I would like to die on Mars. Just not on impact.”
“Great companies are built on great products.”
“Any product that needs a manual to work is broken.”
“Life is too short for long-term grudges.”
I think it matters whether someone has a good heart.
Rockets are cool. There’s no getting around that.
As you heat the planet up, it’s just like boiling a pot.
I’m anti-tax, but I’m pro-carbon tax.
Patience is a virtue, and I’m learning patience. It’s a tough lesson.
I think you should always bear in mind that entropy is not on your side.
I think we are at the dawn of a new era in commercial space exploration.
If I’m not in love, if I’m not with a long-term companion, I cannot be happy.
When I was in college, I wanted to be involved in things that would change the world.
I don’t create companies for the sake of creating companies, but to get things done.
Land on Mars, a round-trip ticket – half a million dollars. It can be done.
I will never be happy without having someone. Going to sleep alone kills me.
It’s OK to have your eggs in one basket as long as you control what happens to that basket.
Really, the only thing that makes sense is to strive for greater collective enlightenment.
Tesla is here to stay and keep fighting for the electric car revolution.
I’d rather be optimistic and wrong than pessimistic and right.
When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.
If you get up in the morning and think the future is going to be better, it is a bright day. Otherwise, it’s not.
Some people don’t like change, but you need to embrace change if the alternative is disaster.
If something’s important enough, you should try. Even if – the probable outcome is failure.
It’s very important to like the people you work with. Otherwise, your job is going to be quite miserable.
I do love email. Wherever possible I try to communicate asynchronously. I’m really good at email.
If humanity doesn’t land on Mars in my lifetime, I would be very disappointed.
I say something, and then it usually happens. Maybe not on schedule, but it usually happens.
If you’re trying to create a company, it’s like baking a cake. You have to have all the ingredients in the right proportion.
Self-driving cars are the natural extension of active safety and obviously something we should do.
I think there should be regulations on social media to the degree that it negatively affects the public good.
Starting a business is not for everyone. Starting a business – I’d say, number one is have a high pain threshold.
People should pursue what they’re passionate about. That will make them happier than pretty much anything else.
I think life on Earth must be about more than just solving problems… It’s got to be something inspiring, even if it is vicarious.
I tend to approach things from a physics framework. And physics teaches you to reason from first principles rather than by analogy.
I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.
People work better when they know what the goal is and why. It is important that people look forward to coming to work in the morning and enjoy working.
We’re already cyborgs. Your phone and your computer are extensions of you, but the interface is through finger movements or speech, which are very slow.
When Henry Ford made cheap, reliable cars people said, ‘Nah, what’s wrong with a horse?’ That was a huge bet he made, and it worked.
There’s a silly notion that failure’s not an option at NASA. Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.
We’re running the most dangerous experiment in history right now, which is to see how much carbon dioxide the atmosphere… can handle before there is an environmental catastrophe.
I’m interested in things that change the world or that affect the future and wondrous, new technology where you see it, and you’re like, ‘Wow, how did that even happen? How is that possible?’
The value of beauty and inspiration is very much underrated, no question. But I want to be clear: I’m not trying to be anyone’s savior. I’m just trying to think about the future and not be sad.
Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time. Sometimes it will be ahead, other times it will be behind. But brand is simply a collective impression some have about a product.
To make an embarrassing admission, I like video games. That’s what got me into software engineering when I was a kid. I wanted to make money so I could buy a better computer to play better video games – nothing like saving the world.
A company is a group organized to create a product or service, and it is only as good as its people and how excited they are about creating. I do want to recognize a ton of super-talented people. I just happen to be the face of the companies.
The problem is that at a lot of big companies, process becomes a substitute for thinking. You’re encouraged to behave like a little gear in a complex machine. Frankly, it allows you to keep people who aren’t that smart, who aren’t that creative.
The path to the CEO’s office should not be through the CFO’s office, and it should not be through the marketing department. It needs to be through engineering and design.
There have to be reasons that you get up in the morning and you want to live. Why do you want to live? What’s the point? What inspires you? What do you love about the future? If the future does not include being out there among the stars and being a multi-planet species, I find that incredibly depressing.
I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better. I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.
If you go back a few hundred years, what we take for granted today would seem like magic – being able to talk to people over long distances, to transmit images, flying, accessing vast amounts of data like an oracle. These are all things that would have been considered magic a few hundred years ago.
If you’re entering anything where there’s an existing marketplace, against large, entrenched competitors, then your product or service needs to be much better than theirs. It can’t be a little bit better, because then you put yourself in the shoes of the consumer… you’re always going to buy the trusted brand unless there’s a big difference.
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