A recent survey involving over 3,600 workers in the tech sector has revealed that SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is the “most inspiring” leader in the industry for 2019. Following Musk were other tech titans from some of the world’s largest companies, including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, and Alibaba’s Jack Ma.
The survey was conducted by job search marketplace Hired, which describes itself as a company that matches the world’s most innovative talents with the most innovative companies in the market. For its 2019 Global Brand Health Report, the company asked its respondents to rank the tech leaders they consider the most inspiring. Musk came out on top.
There are several reasons why the SpaceX and Tesla CEO was considered the most inspiring among the study’s respondents. Among these is the fact that Musk is unafraid to think big. With each of his projects, whether that be SpaceX, Tesla, Neuralink, and even side projects such as The Boring Company, Musk’s endgame is never small scale or short-sighted.
There was once a time, after all, when the idea of private spaceflight was considered farfetched, or the idea of an all-electric car beating a Porsche’s time around the Nurburgring was considered implausible; yet with Musk’s determination, these things are now a reality. Musk does have a tendency to perennially miss his deadlines due to his optimism, but he delivers, albeit late.
Another plausible reason behind Musk’s inspiring qualities is his lack of hesitation to place himself in the front lines. During the early days of SpaceX, Musk bet it all on the Falcon 1’s success, and it allowed the startup space firm to reach orbit practically by the skin of its teeth. Musk also took Tesla’s reins during the financial crisis to help it navigate an unforgiving period that even auto juggernaut GM was not able to survive.
Musk has never really abandoned this habit. While Tesla was setting up its GA4 on the grounds of the Fremont factory last year, Musk was spotted torquing bolts among the electric car maker’s workers. Musk also made it a point to stay in Fremont during the worst of the Model 3’s production hell, sleeping on a couch in one of the factory’s conference rooms. When asked why he chooses to put himself in discomfort, Musk was honest.
“The reason I sleep on the floor was not because I couldn’t go across the road and be at the hotel. It was because I wanted my circumstance to be worse than anyone else at the company on purpose. Like whatever pain they felt, I wanted mine to be worse. That’s why I did it,” he said.
The same applies to the company’s improvements in its Autopilot technology. In a statement to The Information, members of the company’s Autopilot development team revealed that Musk uses himself as the primary test subject for the company’s driver-assist systems. This results in some risk for the CEO, with members of the team stating that Musk finds himself in “situations that many of us wouldn’t want to be in.” Yet, despite the risks, this strategy also enables the company to develop and improve its Autopilot software quickly.