Tesla Motors' Martin Eberhard recently spoke at Stanford's Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders series. His talk was extremely honest, and he spoke frankly about some of the lessons he had learned, some of them repeatedly and painfully. Here are the key lessons he mentioned during the talk:
Do something meaningful
Think your ideas through
Build your company while you're building your product
Face reality every day
Hire the very best best people
Aggressively follow all leads
As is often the case, the lessons Eberhard discusses an an entrepreneur, can be of service to us in personal progress as well. In particular, the last three items seem to me to be capable of drastically speeding up the process of reaching any of our goals.
Face Reality Every day
Other re-statements of this lesson are:
If I were just starting this project now, would I do it at all?
What would be a better use of my time
Is this the highest and best use of my resources?
Is this working?
When is the last time I sat down and calculated the value flowing from this project?
Hire the Very Best People
If we are talking a bout personal development, we might expand that lesson to
get the highest quality input we can. One way to do that is to discard what Charlie Munger calls "Excessive Self Regard". Simply put, the chances that your own ideas, about virtually any area requiring specific knowledge and or experience, unaided by expert input, are almost certain to be wrong, incomplete, outdated, or in some way overly convenient to you. Find experts, read constantly, and discard often.
In business, the difference between the best and the "not so good" is so huge, that, as Jack Welch often said, it is a service to the hard working, high-output people, to fire the lowest-percentile, and, indeed, it is an albatross to everyone, including stockholders, to keep bad employees on.
In out personal lives, we might consider "firing ourselves" from as much as possible that is outside the realm of our core competencies.
Aggressively Follow All Leads
This may be the single best career advice I have ever heard. The fact is, the world is a vast, incohate sea of probabilities, much like a quantum wave function, that only resolves itself when there is an interaction. Success usually comes from odd intersections of ability and chance. And it may be a one-in-ten shot, so you have to take the ten shots to get the one result. Now, a million at-bats will do nothing if you don't have any batting skills, but percentages multiplied by skill is a superb recipe for success.
Techtags: Martin Eberhard Tesla Motors Success Factors Entrepreneurship