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Elon Musk Is Basically The Real Life Iron Man

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Elon Musk’s impact on superhero film culture is undeniable, but always changing.

The SpaceX and Tesla, Inc. entrepreneur influenced Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark in 2008’s Iron Man, the kick off to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and most recently, seems to have served as an inspiration for Riz Ahmed’s evil visionary in Venom, Carlton Drake. Critics have argued that Musk had an indirect influence on supervillains like Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and even Danny Rand in Marvel and Netflix’s Iron Fist series.

There’s a good reason: Musk, who broadcasts his technological ambition through a blustering, Silicon Valley personality, represents a shift in how superhero cinema grapples with science and innovation in 2018.

Here is a really fun clip of Joe Rogan and Steve Aoki talking about Musk and liking him to a whole host of superheroes including Iron Man:

Here is an excellent in-depth profile of Elon written by Carly Vivian of

Superhero Profile: Elon Musk

Let’s look at our first real-life superhero Elon Musk. Musk is currently CEO, co-founder, and/or co-chairman of not one – SpaceX, not two – Tesla, not three – OpenAI, but four – Neuralink companies. He’s also chairman of SolarCity and lest we forget the other companies that he has co-founded including Zip2, and better known as PayPal. Let’s face it, his level of activity, energy, and success is just not normal and can only be attributed to some degree of having superpowers. Elon Musk even had a cameo appearance in Iron Man 2 which is quite fitting for this real-life Iron Man.[1]

But how does Elon Musk do it? I’ve identified four superpowers that I believe he possesses.

•   Outrageously bold
•   Ultimate risk-taker
•   Purpose driven
•   Thinking differently

Let’s examine these strengths in more detail.

Superpower #1: Outrageously bold – Bold visions, bold statements, bold bets are a natural part of who Elon Musk is. From the age of 12 when he created and sold his first computer game and planned to open a video arcade, Musk has spent his life bringing outrageously bold entrepreneurial ideas into reality. So what triggers ideas for him?

It’s interesting to note that his mental starting point for building both SpaceX and Tesla was a low likelihood of success, around 10%. So a high likelihood of success is not a factor in his future bets for the future. When asked by Scott Pelley during a CBS interview, “why try if you didn’t expect the company to be successful?” and Musk replied that “if something’s important enough you should try. Even if – the probable outcome is failure.”[2]

At Stanford’s Future Fest in 2015, he shared his surprise that we haven’t yet done more in space. His idea behind the precursor to SpaceX was based on a question of why we haven’t sent people to Mars, and he thought it was a question of will – that we had lost the will to go. As a result, his original goal was to catalyze an increase in NASA’s budget to stimulate the desire to go Mars. The goal changed over time but the question of “why we haven’t done it” was the starting point. It’s this desire to discover that seems to push forward the dream.

Musk associates the future with the need to be inspiring. He believes that it’s “very important to have things that are exciting and inspiring in the future otherwise why get up in the morning. If it’s just one sad problem after another, life is not worth living.”[3]

Lesson #1 for mere mortals: When you see an opportunity you think is inspiring and will make a difference, don’t let even a high probability of failure stop you. The process of discovery is the engine behind the dream.

Superpower #2: Willing to risk everything – Musk has faced failure multiple times throughout his career and persevered as disaster loomed perilously close. For example in 2008 after the third rocket launch failure with SpaceX, within three days Musk announced that the fourth launch was happening in a matter of months. When asked during a CBS 60 Minutes interview if he thought of giving up after that failure, he said “never…I don’t ever give up. I’d have to be dead or completely incapacitated.”[4] The very next month, the financial crisis hit and rocked the world. By the end of the year, all three of Musk’s companies; Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity, were in a dire, dark period at the same time.

During this period of the worst financial conditions since the great depression, GM went bankrupt, and Musk struggled to keep his companies from facing the same. With the success of the fourth rocket launch, SpaceX quickly turned around, but Tesla was still on the brink of collapse. Tesla was within a few months of being out of money, and when no one else was willing to take a risk on the company, Musk invested all of the remaining capital he had from the sale of PayPal into Tesla. It was his determination, confidence, and commitment to saving the company by putting up $40M of his own money, that caused other investors to jump on board and the company pulled through.

Lesson #2 for mere mortals:  Whatever you undertake, go all in with confidence and commitment, even if it breaks you. The tides might turn in the final seconds.

Superpower #3: Fiercely passionate to a cause – He is passionately committed to saving the planet and waging this fight on two fronts; reducing fossil fuel consumption with Tesla and increasing alternate energy supply through SolarCity. Musk really cares about changing the world and, in his vision for the future, he wants to provide clean and renewable energy. He’s achieving success toward this feat through SolarCity which is currently the largest solar service provider in the U.S.[5]

But Musk isn’t trying to change the world with everything. He believes that a “usefulness optimization” should be used wherein, even a marginal increase of making someone’s life better is worthwhile if it occurs for a large enough group of people.

Lesson #3 for mere mortals:  While changing the world is great, all goals don’t need to be world-changing. As long as you’re making someone’s life better, you’re impacting the world.

Superpower #4: Extremely smart yet basic thinking – One only has to look at Elon Musk’s simultaneous role as leader of multiple companies to understand the superpower in how he thinks differently. Musk relies on a thinking approach called “first principles”[6] which is looking at the world from a physics mindset and boiling things down to the most essential and basic fundamental truth. Using this as the starting point, everything is reasoned up from there. This way of thinking has allowed Musk to see complex concepts and problems differently than someone who thinks analogously, which is more common.

Musk is changing the world in a lot of different areas at the same time, and while it may appear that he is multitasking on a grand scale, instead he is a master of prioritizing and compartmentalizing. He prioritizes the stepping stones to a vision[3] through which things have to occur and puts 90 – 95% of his attention on the present issue and avoids distraction by not getting ahead of what has been accomplished. Musk also described thinking about certain aspects of his different companies for “a half hour per week” which points to an ability to compartmentalize and set things aside until it’s time to focus on that particular piece.

Lesson #4 for mere mortals:  Think differently. Start with the fundamental truths and then reason your way through the steps to arrive at logical conclusions. Said another way, start with a problem, and when you can’t ask any more questions and are down to the core idea, you’re using first principles thinking.

Elon Musk This Man is Real Iron Man of 21st Century

Elon Musk thinks we’re all probably trapped in a “Matrix”-like pseudo existence.

The universe is 13.8 billion years old, so any civilizations that may have arisen throughout the cosmos have had loads and loads of time to hone their technological know-how, the SpaceX founder and CEO explains during a long, wide-ranging and very entertaining appearance on comedian Joe Rogan’s popular podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience.”

“If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then games will be indistinguishable from reality, or civilization will end. One of those two things will occur,” Musk said. “Therefore, we are most likely in a simulation, because we exist.” [

“I think most likely — this is just about probability — there are many, many simulations,” he added. “You might as well call them reality, or you could call them multiverse.”

The “substrate” on which these simulations are running, whatever it may be, is probably quite boring, at least compared to the simulations themselves, Musk further told Rogan.

The Matrix Is Real – Elon Musk

And here is the video to Elon Musks amazing full length interview on The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast:

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