TED’s Chris Anderson on What Makes Elon Musk the Most Remarkable Entrepreneur Alive

Elon Musk exudes confidence and know-how, both essential elements of good entrepreneurship. But even more important, Musk respects the science behind his investments.

Chris Anderson: Two years ago at TED I had the great joy of interviewing Elon Musk, who by common consent is probably the world's most remarkable entrepreneur right now, the world's most remarkable living entrepreneur. What he's done in terms of the space industry, the future of electric cars, the future of solar power, are truly remarkable, and then side projects like Hyperloop and so forth.

I asked Elon what his secret was, and he first refused to answer because I think he almost - there's a modesty there and part of him actually genuinely doesn't know. Again, it's the curse of knowledge. He's Elon; he doesn't know why everyone else is different. But when pushed what he said was, you start with physics. You take physics seriously. 

So this is a guy who is so confident in the efficacy of science that he will risk his entire fortune on the belief that he can build a business that taps into the power of that physics. So with SpaceX without having a winning design for a rocket, he starts this company, invests tens of millions of dollars believing that physics demands that the cost of sending stuff up into orbit has to be a lot lower than NASA was currently paying. It had to be because NASA was paying 99 times the cost of the actual ingredients that were being sent to space.

That confidence is just amazing to me. And the fact that he can go from there to building out and mapping out in his mind a very complicated future that incorporates elements of engineering, of physics, of business, of human psychology, of consumer demand, weave it together and confidently go for it in a particular direction, that's amazing. There are very few minds that can do it that way. So he's certainly someone I have a lot of respect for.

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk exudes confidence and know-how, both essential elements of good entrepreneurship. But according to TED's Chris Anderson, what sets Musk apart from the rest is the massive respect he has for the science behind his investments.

Ideology drives us apart. Neuroscience can bring us back together.

A guide to making difficult conversations possible—and peaceful—in an increasingly polarized nation.

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  • How can we reach out to people on the other side of the divide? Get to know the other person as a human being before you get to know them as a set of tribal political beliefs, says Sarah Ruger. Don't launch straight into the difficult topics—connect on a more basic level first.
  • To bond, use icebreakers backed by neuroscience and psychology: Share a meal, watch some comedy, see awe-inspiring art, go on a tough hike together—sharing tribulation helps break down some of the mental barriers we have between us. Then, get down to talking, putting your humanity before your ideology.
  • The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it. The foundation supports interdisciplinary research to overcome intolerance, new models for peaceful interactions, and experiments that can heal fractured communities. For more information, visit charleskochfoundation.org/courageous-collaborations.

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
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Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
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