Elon Musk on Money and Success

Last month was busy for Elon Musk! He officially reclaimed his title as the richest man in the world—with a net worth of over $200 billion—and his private spaceship company SpaceX completed a successful mission to take four civilians safely into space and back. In the wake of such an accomplished month, we want to feature some words from Elon Musk himself about money and success, in both business and life.

“If you have a choice of a lower valuation with someone you really like or a higher valuation with someone you have a question mark about, take the lower valuation. It’s better to have a higher-quality venture capitalist who you think would be great to work with than to get a higher valuation with someone where there’s even a question mark, really.”
PandoMonthly, July 12, 2012

“I certainly have lost many battles. So far, I have not lost a war, but I’ve certainly lost many battles . . . more than I can count, probably.”
Who’s Time, April 22, 2014

“It’s better to approach this [building a company] from the standpoint of saying—rather than you want to be an entrepreneur or you want to make money— what are some useful things that you do that you wish existed in the world?”
—in conversation with Bill Gates, Boao Forum for Asia, March 29, 2015

“It’s certainly a good compliment. If all your competitors are banding together to sort of attack you, that’s a good compliment, I think. A very sincere compliment.”
—Countdown to the Closing Bell, September 17, 2014

“There are three things you look for: You have to look forward in the morning to doing your work. You do want to have a significant financial reward. And you want to have a possible effect on the world. If you can find all three, you have something you can tell your children.”
Pennsylvania Gazette, November 4, 2008

“It’s ok to have your eggs in one basket as long as you control what happens to that basket. The problem with the Silicon Valley financing model is that you lose control after the first investment round.”
Inc., December 1, 2007

“I’m a big believer in: don’t ask investors to invest their money if you’re not prepared to invest your money. I really believe in the opposite philosophy of other people’s money. It just doesn’t seem right to me that if you ask other people to invest that you shouldn’t also invest. . . . I’d rather lose my money than any of my friends’ money or investors’ money.”
—2016 Tesla Annual Shareholder’s Meeting, May 31, 2016

“How does this wealth arise? If you organize people in a better way to produce products and services that are better than what existed before and you have some ownership in that company, then that essentially gives you the right to allocate more capital.”
The Joe Rogan Experience, “#1470 – Elon Musk,” May 7, 2020

“The size of the company market cap isn’t really a metric by which I would judge my own achievement.”
—Think Tank, December 13, 2007

“When people ask me why I started a rocket company, I say, ‘I was trying to learn how to turn a large fortune into a small one.’”
Discover magazine, September 8, 2005

For more quotes like these, grab a copy of Elon Musk: In His Own Words.

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