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Billionaire futurists are changing our brains

What must Elon be thinking, really? What characteristics convince a person they can leave this planet, and be rewarded?

Elon Musk is an attractive man. Stay with me, we’re going somewhere (not Mars. Or Texas. And not in a rocket). You’ve got to hand it to him. Despite year on year Twitter storms here on earth, he’s forever reaching out there, and we have to commend him for that.

Whether you agree with his interplanetary agenda or feel that his efforts (and wallet) would be better utilised here on earth, he’s a figure that reminds us all that maybe, just maybe we will surpass that frontier and be the first. A real pioneer, first in digital setting up Paypal etc. now he’s looking to leave his legacy in outer space.  

The first to claim never-before seen territory, set to yield an abundance of ground-breaking knowledge and human experience. The Red Planet in a sea of burnt out stars. Elon is, The Real Deal.  What is it with billionaire entrepreneurs, and their need to conquer the new?

And who can blame him? Us mere mortals get excited when a new sandwich shop opens on the highroad. In contrast, what must Elon be thinking, really? What characteristics convince a person they can leave this planet, and be rewarded?

Firstly, he doesn’t give up. This month has shown us that. It must have been a painful moment…to witness that landing (the return of a space ship to earth a marvel of technology in itself), be cheering loudly in that mission control room only to witness the miracle and billions of dollars, well, blow up. But is this part and parcel of being of the pioneering ‘possibilist’ he is? 

It’s the deep innate desire to see something incredibly remarkable replace the mundane, and change the world forever. And therefore, is it worth every penny? Many would say it is.

Secondly, he has no limiting beliefs (actually, is that a limiting belief?). We might see his risk appetite as disproportionate to, well, sanity, but it’s clear this man wastes no time considering the various facets of ‘can’t.’ There’s not the ‘if,’ there’s just the ‘how.’ And that makes any success he finds worth ten times the risk and effort put in. Forbes has the figures.

Finally, he has a mighty fine TEAM; a unique body of engineers tasked to help realise the ‘often unrealistic goals’ Musk sets all while under ‘enormous pressure.’ They all have one thing in common. Actually two. 

The first is that their brains are ultimately aligned with a single vision. When leaders at SpaceEx say ‘we’re going to Mars’ the response had better be ‘hell yeah!’ They simply MUST all be in it to win it. Mind, body and soul. (Which is why I stated Elon is an attractive man, not for his aesthetics, but due to the inspiration he evokes in both his team and the public). 

Secondly, they each have their behinds in the right seat. A unique mix of fact-finders, analysts, risk-takers and (probably diplomats) they have been selected to be on this mission. 

Apparently ‘complicated’ Musk tends to remember your name if you’re about to be axed. Enigmatic head honcho aside though, without their individual attributes, ability to thrive and produce in just about the most edgy office on earth, there would be no mission to Mars. It’s that simple.

So is team selection and development as important, if not going to the red planet? But rather towards doubling or tripling business value? Yes. 

Must the team follow their leader, putting aside reason and counter arguments for fear of being ejected from the cockpit? No! 

There are limits after all. Just not according to Elon Musk…

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Hutton Henry
Hutton has worked with Private Equity Portfolio firms and Private Equity funds since 2015. Having previously worked in post-merger integration for large firms such as Ford and HP, Hutton understands the value of finding issues prior to M&A deals. He is currently the founder of Beyond M&A and provides technology due diligence for VC, PE and corporate investors, so they understand their technology risks before entering into a deal.

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