Interview with Elon Musk. Part 1 - about how he wanted to become a physicist, but became an entrepreneur

Elon Musk, founder and co-founder of companies such as PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla Motors, studied physics at the University of Pennsylvania. In the first part of the interview, which Musk gave Elena Levin, columnist edition of the American Physical Society APT News, he talks about how he uses the thinking based on the principles of what benefits it gave the study of physics, and about why he proudly calls himself nerd. I>

Levin In a recent interview you recommend to people who want to engage in business innovation, "to study physics and learn to think, guided by the principles, rather than analogies." Can you elaborate what you mean?

Mask Physicists have been forced to develop a way of thinking that allows to understand counterintuitive elements of reality. Things like quantum physics is not too intuitive, and to advance in their study of physics have created a technique of thinking that allows you to get the right answers, even if they are quite obvious. This requires a great deal of mental stress. In everyday life, you can not always be guided by the principles that would require too much mental energy consumption. So much of life has to act by analogy, simply copying the behavior of others with minimal variations. But if you're trying to become a pioneer, invent something really new, something you have to go to thinking based on the principles, identify the most fundamental truths in your industry, and to deduce the thought of them. This requires a stretch head, and I can give you a couple of examples of how it helps in the rocket.

Levin Let.

Mask Any technology in rocket judged by how much it reduces the cost of space transportation. But if you study the history of missile launches, you will see that this value is almost constant, and in the US it even increases with time. If you think a template, by analogy, you will be nothing left but to recognize that such is life. But it is not. If you think, based on the principles, the first thing we must learn from what makes missiles, and how much are these materials. When we did this, we were very surprised - materials make up only a few percent of the missiles. This is definitely something wrong and we are doing something very stupid. If we were smarter, we could do a lot cheaper missiles.

Levin How is your day? You constantly apply this way of thinking, or at some point you have to stop, because it requires too much stress?

Mask I am glad to say was that constantly think, based on the principles, but, unfortunately, I have too much to do, and I was saving mental energy only for the most important of them, for example, to achieve any technological breakthrough or some serious plugging in a business that requires creative solutions. Sometimes it comes out by itself - I wake up and suddenly comes to me insight in the shower (laughs). It sounds cliche, but it happens often. I think my brain is working on the problem at a subconscious level, and the next morning the solution pops into consciousness.

Levin Why did you decide to study physics?

Mask It was very interesting to understand how the universe works. A physicist doing just that - trying to figure out how the world works at the most fundamental level. At some point, I seriously thought about a career physicist, thought some weeks of physical problems, but looking to the future, I began to fear that wallow in bureaucratic delays with some Collider, and then the project can generally close, as was the case with Svrehprovodyaschim supercollider , and it will be full of crap. From this you lose heart.

Levin So you have decided in advance that you love physics, want to study it, to know how to construct the universe, but is not going to work physicist?

Mask For some time I wanted to be. Somewhere between 12 and 13 I had an existential crisis, I tried to understand what it all, why we are here, is there any meaning in life and all that jazz. I came to the conclusion that the best thing to do - is to improve the scope and scale of consciousness and achieve a higher insight that, in turn, will allow us to ask more and more good questions, since it is obvious that the universe - is the answer, important to ask the right question. All business issues.

Levin It is interesting to work - you have decided to study physics to understand the structure of the universe, but at the same time began to study and the economy, that is, from the beginning you thought about business education?

Mask When I was trying to decide what I want to do in life, I was convinced that if you do not study economics, I have to work for someone who has studied it (laughs), and they will know all sorts of especially things that I do not know. It did not look very nice, so I wanted to be sure that, too, will know it all (laughs). Frankly, I can not say that I felt at home among economics students. I no longer liked to hang out with fellow students-physicists. I like people with offices of arts and sciences. I do not know, maybe you should not publish it? (Laughs) Yeah, I was not happy with the students of business specialties, I preferred artists and scientists.

Levin Do you consider yourself "Nerd»?

Mask Definitely, I was a nerd, and largely remains so to this day. If someone made a list of everything that is supposed to do this botanists, it would prove that I'm right on it all and done. I spent many hours throwing Daishi in D & D.

Levin And Costumes dressed?

Mask (laughs) Yes, it was the case a couple of times, but not at home, and tournaments D & D. That was cool. I loved it all. I grew up in South Africa and there was a very small community, I have had little opportunity to share with someone my hobbies ... Among my peers programming in general no one was fond of. I had to almost force them to play D & D. Some liked it, but the other had a lot of cajoling, because to participate in the tournament needed a team of four people. I played computer games, writing software, and I had pants with drawstrings. (Laughs) Actually, I lived hard. The girls did not want to go out with me ... And I have a lot of what he did - to collect radio, made missiles. In South Africa, they are not sold in stores, so I had to find out the composition of the propellant ingredients to pound in a mortar, to fill the rocket and launch it - with unpredictable results.

Levin Yes, I really - all on the list of the Nerd.

Mask (laughs) Botan level 80.

translation of the second part of the interview - why Musk believes that getting an MBA degree may be a mistake, how much will it be worth the trip to Mars, and as Tesla Model S is making history - will be published tomorrow. I>



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