Elon Musk #2 [Founder of Tesla, SpaceX, PayPal & Zip2]

(0:47) I don't want to be the person who ever has to compete with Elon

(2:45) Musk expects you to keep up

(4:41) Short of building an actual money-crushing machine, Musk could not have picked a faster way to destroy his fortune. He became a one-man, ultra-risk-taking venture capital shop

(5:22) Revisit old ideas

(7:49) It was not unusual for him to read ten hours a day

(9:32) His approach to dating mirrors his approach to work

(10:59) Humans are deeply mimetic

(14:37) Thinking from first principles

(17:40) What it is like to work with Elon Musk

(19:28) He would place this urgency that he expected the revenue in ten years to be ten million dollars a day and that every day we were slower to achieve our goals was a day of missing out on that money

(23:29) What he went through in 2008 would have broken anyone else. He didn't just survive. He kept working and stayed focused

(25:39) A tenet of Elon's companies: make as many things yourself as possible

(27:31) The power of the individual in an age of infinite leverage

(29:37) The Internet taught me nearly everything I know. It is the modern day equivalent to the library of Alexandria, except it's much harder to burn to the ground. It is indispensable for realizing human rights, combating inequality, accelerating development, and quickening the pace of human progress

(30:19) Focusing on the endpoint 

(32:00) Grand Theft Life

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Buy Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

David Packard [Founder of HP]

(0:01) How Steve Jobs was inspired by David Packard.

(1:00) Books are the original hyperlinks.

(4:30) Profit is the measure of how well we work together. 

(9:00) HP's first product.

(11:00)  Podcasts before podcasts.

(14:00) Many of the things I learned in this process were invaluable, and not available in business schools.

(15:00) More businesses die from indigestion than starvation.

(16:30) The importance of maintaining a narrow focus.

(20:00) Growth from profit.

(21:00) Lessons from the Great Depression = No long term debt. 

(26:30) A maverick's persistence. 

(29:00) How to avoid layoffs in a recession.

(30:20) Employees should outgrow you. 

(31:00) The perils of centralization.

(35:25) Closing with optimism. 

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Buy the book: The HP Way: How Bill Hewlett and I Built Our Company by David Packard 

 

The Wright Brothers [Founders of The Wright Company]

(2:30) Unyielding determination

(4:00) Jocko's concept of GOOD 

(6:30) The ability to focus on an idea for a long time is the antidote to short bursts of dopamine we get from checking social feeds all day

(13:00) The beginning of their side business

(16:00) The importance of heroes

(18:30) Rereading / revisiting old ideas

(22:00) Books transformed idle curiosity into the active zeal of workers

924:30) Wilbur Wright on risk: “The man who wishes to keep at the problem long enough to really learn anything positively must not take dangerous risks. Carelessness and overconfidence are usually more dangerous than deliberately accepted risks.” 

(25:00) Jeff Bezos on stress 

(28:00) Discover things for yourself

(31:00) Success it most certainly was

(33:30) Profitability of flying machines  

(35:00) The distribution channel of flying machines

(38:00) Wilbur Wright on the idea of flight: "In the enthusiasm being shown around me, I see not merely an outburst intended to glorify a person, but a tribute to an idea that has always impassioned mankind. I sometimes think that the desire to fly after the fashion of birds is an ideal handed down to us by our ancestors who, in their grueling travels across trackless lands in prehistoric times, looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through space, at full speed, above all obstacles, on the infinite highway of the air." 

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Buy the book The Wright Brothers by David McCullough 

Paul English [Founder of Kayak]

(7:00) Kayak sells for $1.8 billion

(12:00) I'm paying attention. I want meetings of three people, not ten. 

(15:00) Someday this boy's going to get hit by a truck full of money, and I'm going to be standing beside him.

(22:30) A description of Paul's bi polar disorder

(31:00) The economics of games

(36:30) Learning how to negotiate from his Dad

(43:00) The Internet has massively broadened the possible space of careers. Most people haven't figured this out yet.

(50:00) Leaving a $1,000,000 behind

(55:00) Applying the lessons he learned from watching his Dad negotiate

(58:30) The entrepreneur of ice

(1:01:00) Consistency doesn't matter. Only invention matters.

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Buy the book A Truck Full of Money: Coding, Mania, Love, Genius: The Life of an American Entrepreneur

 

Henry Ford #2 [Founder of The Ford Motor Company]

(0:01) A theory of business

(7:30) if an old idea works then the weight of the evidence is all in its favor. (the Lindy effect) 

(11:00) All people are not equal

(15:00) That is why I never employ an expert in full bloom

(19:30) I quit my job on August 15th, 1899 and went into the automobile business

(25:00) Henry Ford's philosophy on constant change

(26:00) Henry Ford's 3 conclusions about business

(29:45) Traits of a prosperous business

(34:00) I cannot discover that any one knows enough about anything on this earth definitely to say what is and what is not possible. . .We get some of our best results from letting fools rush in where angels fear to tread

(40:00) Fix the problem. Do not think money will be the solution

(44:00) Over come fear. Be free

(52:30) Fuck your feelings

(56:00) Henry Ford's 4 principles of business 

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Buy the book My Life and Work by Henry Ford  

James Dyson [Founder of Dyson Company]

(0:01) I am a creator of products, a builder of things

(13:30) The best kind of business is one where you can sell a product at a high price with a good margin, and in enormous volumes.

(16:00) One sentence summary of this book: Difference, and retention of total control

(20:00) Misfits are not born or made; they make themselves

(24:30) The parallels of running and building companies

(30:00) People who inspired him

(34:00) I am only celebrating my stubbornness. I am claiming nothing but the virtues of a mule.

(43:00) When selling something new, do not mix your messages. Consumers can not understand multiple new ideas

(47:00) Entrenched professionals are always going to resist more than private consumers

(55:00) Don't make your products too wide. Narrow it down

(1:02:01) The "Edisonian Principle of Development" 

(1:15:00) Total control is what this whole thing had been about

(1:18:00) James' Design Philosophy

(1:31:00) If you make something, sell it yourself

(1:33:00) James' Business Philosophy 

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Buy the book Against the Odds: An Autobiography by James Dyson 

Danny Lewin [Founder of Akamai Technologies]

(3:00) When Danny was excited about something, you couldn't help but get excited too

(6:00) Steve Jobs had one speed: GO!  

(10:00) Danny joins Israel's special forces

(19:00) Life is too short to be bored. Only boring people are bored

(22:00) The idea for Akamai  

(28:00) If he didn't know something he would go learn it

(31:00) Building a company the right way

(35:00) Finding a business model

(38:30) Passion is worth $500,000

(42:00) The first product

(44:00) My goal was to express it in layman's terms so that your grandmother could understand it

(45:00) Finding the right price/model

(48:10) The best salesperson

(54:00) Hi, this is Steve Jobs, and I want to buy your company

(57:00) I have this company of one hundred ten people, headed by one of the biggest businessmen around with lots of money in the bank, and I'm just a graduate student.

(58:30) In less than one year, a tiny startup out of MIT had grown to a company with a market valuation than that of General Motors

(1:00:00) The last day of Danny's life 

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Buy the book No Better Time: The Brief, Remarkable Life of Danny Lewin, the Genius Who Transformed the Internet 

Jim Clark [Founder of Netscape, Silicon Graphics, WebMD]

(0:01) He grew up poor, dropped out of high school, and made himself 3 or 4 billion dollars

(8:00) New Growth Theory

(11:15) Growth is just another word for change

(15:00) The notion of what constituted useful work had broadened

(18:00) If everyone was patient there'd be no new companies

(21:00) Turning his life around at 38

(30:00) Jim's idea to avoid the Innovator's Dilemma

(33:00) The beginning of Netscape

(38:00) The fast eat the slow

(40:00) The people you don't want

(43:00) The difference between a pig and a chicken ("They had wanted to be chickens; Clark forced them to be pigs")  

(48:00) All chips on 00 / Diversification is for idiots

(56:00) Moving the goalposts / "Mama, I'm going to show Plainview." 

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Buy the book The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story by Michael Lewis 

Evan Spiegel [Founder of Snapchat]

(0:01) I'm not going to work for someone else

(7:45) Early design decisions of Snapchat

(10:00) Steve Jobs and Edwin Land

(13:00) How Snapchat convinced people to download the app

(16:00) How Facebook created the environment for Snapchat to grow

(21:00) The problem of standard

(23:00) Evan on conforming

(27:00) Mark Zuckerberg's first move on Snapchat

(34:30) A great quote from Jeff Bezos

(36:30) Digital Dualism

(39:00) Snapchat Stories

(44:45) Evan's framework for Snapchat and the Internet Everywhere

(50:00) Learning from messaging apps in Asia

(55:00) Brands are not social. People are. 

(59:00) Evan's philosophy on the distinction between privacy and secrecy

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Buy the book How To Turn Down A Billion Dollars: The Snapchat Story

John Carmack & John Romero [Founders of ID Software/DOOM]

(19:00) Intro to Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture

(30:00) "We’d like to be painters, we’d like to be poets. We’d like to be writers, but as everybody knows—we can’t earn any money that way. What do you want to do? When we finally got down to something which the individual says he really wants to do, I will say to him you do that—and um—forget the money. If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time...You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing, which is stupid! It is absolutely stupid! Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way. And after all, if you do really like what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter what it is—somebody is interested in everything—anything you can be interested in, you will find others who are..." —Alan Watts

(36:00) John Carmack's personality and early life

(44:00) If you want to understand the entrepreneur, study the juvenile delinquent (44:00), 

(51:00) How ID Software was born

(57:00) How the two Johns process time

(1:00:00) The shareware business model

(1:06:00) All of science and technology and culture and learning and academics is built upon using the work that others have done before

(1:15:00) ID Software financials

(1:21:00) Keep things simple: Just focus on making great games

(1:25:30) The business model of Doom

(1:37:00) The beginning of the end of the partnership between John Carmack and John Romero

(1:44:00) Different philosophies on how to run a business / what happens when you abandon frugality

(2:00:00) In the information age, the barriers just aren't there 

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Buy the book Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture 

Danny Meyer [Founder of Shake Shack & Union Square Hospitality Group]

(0:30) This is not a typical business book

(4:00) Why don't you just do what you've been thinking about doing your whole life?

(8:00) How Danny learned from other founders on what to do and what to avoid

(18:00) The smartest business decision I ever made

(20:00) Optionality as a nonnegotiable

(23:30) Inadequate focus on core product

(27:00) The founding of Shake Shack is an example of this great quote from Jeff Bezos: "We know from our past experiences that big things start small. The biggest oak starts from an acorn. If you want to do anything new you’ve got to be willing to let that acorn grow into a little sapling and finally into a small tree and maybe one day it will be a big business on its own.

(38:00) Advice from Stanley Marcus (Neiman Marcus): "The road to success is paved with mistakes well handled.

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Buy the book Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business by Danny Meyer

 

Steve Jobs #2 [Founder of Apple, Pixar, NeXT]

(0:30) Learning from great company-builders

(5:00) Steve Jobs verbal mastery

(10:00) The failed negotiations between NeXT and IBM

(18:00) But how can he be a turnaround expert when he eats his lunch alone in his office, with food served to him on china that looks like it came from Versailles? 

(22:00) You can't go to the library and find a book titled The Business Model for Animation. The reason you can't is because there's only one company [Disney] that's ever done it well, and they were not interested in telling the world how lucrative it was.

(29:00) Bill Gates on Steve's simplicity

(33:00) Steve Jobs on being an artist

(34:00) Apple pays half a billion dollars to rehire Steve Jobs

(38:00) The company is one of the most amazing inventions of humans, this abstract construct that is incredibly powerful

(42:00) Unlocking secrets

(45:00) Who gives a fuck about the channel?

(52:00) It's not about how fast you do something, it's about doing your level best

(55:00) Deep Restlessness

(59:00) Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle.

(1:08:00) Bill Gates on the negotiations between Pixar and Disney 

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Buy the book Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader 

Yvon Chouinard [Founder of Patagonia]

(1:00) If you want to understand the entrepreneur study the juvenile delinquent

(4:00) Being an 80 percenter

(12:30) Why are you in business? 

(24:00) How you do one thing is how you do all things

(27:30) Innovation vs Invention

(32:00) Ideas should come from as close to the source as possible

(34:00)Nonfiction marketing

(37:30) Quality as a financial strategy/ no exit strategy / natural growth

(44:00) Management by absence / decentralization / evolution as opportunity

(57:00) The way toward mastery of any endeavor is to work toward simplicity 

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Buy the book Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman

Jeff Bezos [Founder of Amazon & Blue Origin]

(0:02) The Philosopher CEO

(9:00) Jeff Bezos in his 20s and the idea for Amazon

(21:00) Jeff Bezos’ regret minimization framework  

(32:10) Customers not competitors

(40:00) Bezos on work life harmony

(43:00) There will be no John Sculley at Amazon

(46:30) Focus on the customer and frugality

(51:30) The founder of Costco gives Jeff Bezos advice

(59:05) If you’re not good, Jeff will chew you up and spit you out. And if you’re good, he will jump on your back and ride you into the ground

(1:02:30) Jeff’s counterintuitive point on communication: Communication is a sign of dysfunction

(1:08:15) A different approach to meetings/ working backwards from the press release

(1:13:00) No room for gatekeepers in the digital age

(1:15:01) An email from the first CFO of Amazon 

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Buy the book  The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

 

John D. Rockefeller [Founder of Standard Oil]

(0:51) He preferred outspoken colleagues to weak-kneed sycophants.

 (4:21) Able to ship by water or land Rockefeller gained the critical leverage he needed to secure preferential rates on transportation. 

(8:11) Often times the most difficult competition comes not from the strong, the intelligent, the conservative competitor. But from the man who is holding on by the eyelids and is ignorant of his costs. 

(9:14) As someone who tended towards optimism, seeing the opportunity in every disaster, he studied the situation exhaustively instead of bemoaning his bad luck. 

(15:47)...as did Rockefeller's decision that the leading men would receive no salary but would profit solely from the appreciation of their shares and rising dividends. Which Rockefeller thought a more potent stimulus to work.

(21:04) He had a fanatical desire to control expenses...rooting out any inefficiencies. As a result his business was much more more profitable than other refiners. 

(29:12) An instrument of competetive cruelty unparalleled in industry.

(37:58) Rockefeller engineered his most important coup. The swift, relentless consolidation of Cleveland's refineries...Rockefeller swallowed up 22 of his 26 competitors. [The Cleveland Massacre] 

(47:56) It looks like they are selling to Camden so they can get together and fight Standard Oil. But they are selling to Standard Oil. They just didn't know they were selling to Standard Oil. 

(49:26) It's very hard to compete with someone you don't even know exists.

(55:38) By the end of the 1870s Standard Oil was refining over 90% of the oil in the United States. 

(58:29) He constantly expounds on this idea that you shouldn't waste time nor money. That they were very much interrelated. He didn't waste his time talking to people...what people call networking now. He just worked. He came up with his ideas and then worked everyday to enact those ideas. 

(59:27) He wasn't one to persist in a flawed situation.

(1:00:55) Success comes from keeping the ears open and the mouth closed. 

(1:02:13) Do not many of us who fail to achieve big things fail because we lack concentration. The art of concentrating the mind on the thing to be done at the proper time and to the exclusion of everything else. 

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Buy the book Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller 

Mark Zuckerberg [Founder of Facebook]

(1:25) Microsoft had offered Mark between $1 million and $2 million to go work for them. Amazingly, Mark had turned them down

(8:01) Maybe he knew he was about to cross a line. But he had never been very good at staying in the lines. From Mark's history it was obvious that he didn't like the sandbox. He seemed the type of kid that wanted to kick out all the sand.

(11:23) He didn't care what time it was. To guys like Mark time was another weapon of the establishment. The great engineers and hackers didn't function under the same time constraints as everyone else.

(14:36) Mark wondered: If people want to go online and check out their friends couldn't they build a website that did just that?

(21:19) Mark. Founder. Master and Commander. Enemy of the State.

(24:20) Instead of attacking Baylor head on they made a list of schools within 100 miles of it and dropped Facebook in those schools first. Within days the kids at Baylor begged for Facebook on their campus.

(32:38) Mark Zuckerberg had found his place in the world

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Buy the book: The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal

Elon Musk Part 3: How and Why SpaceX Will Colonize Mars

(4:38) In the most recent 1% of our species short existence we have become the first life on earth to know about the situation 

(8:41) The total market for satellite manufacturing, the launches that carry them to space, and related equipment and services has ballooned from $60 billion in 2004 to over $200 billion in 2015

(9:13) Here is what SpaceX does: it takes things to space for people for money. Here is what SpaceX really does: it is an innovation machine trying to solve one big problem. The astronomical cost of space travel

(20:35) For 1% we can buy life insurance 

(23:26) Up until 25 years ago there had never been such a thing as a global brain of god like information access and connectivity on this planet 

(31:21) Musk has said he doesn't care that much about your degree. Just raw talent, personality, and passion for the SpaceX mission 

(40:14) For domestic launches the ULA charges the government and the US taxpayer $380 million per launch. For a similar launch the US government pays SpaceX $133 million 

(45:55) Life has to be about more than just solving problems. There has to be things that inspire you

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Buy the book The Elon Musk Blog Series: Wait But Why

Elon Musk Part 2: How Tesla Will Change The World

(7:02) At the time he was already running SpaceX and trying to colonize Mars, so launching a startup car company wasn't something he could really fit into his calendar.

(10:43) The overarching mission wasn't to build the biggest car company in the world.

(15:06) "If a little company in California can do this, why can't we?" —Bob Lutz, Chairman of GM

(21:05) The moment the person leading a company thinks numbers have value in themselves, the company is done. The moment the CFO becomes the CEO it is done. Game over.

(31:28) A study of Tesla isn't about a car or a car company. It is about how change happens. And about why it often doesn't happen.

(37:41) Change doesn't happen on a familiar landscape. Change has to construct the landscape itself.

(40:41) That's how to spread the brainwaves of a single person throughout a huge industry and the global public. By the time it's done everyone will think a lot about electric cars.

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Buy the book The Elon Musk Blog Series: Wait But Why

Elon Musk Part 1: The Cook & The Chef, Elon Musk's Secret Sauce

(3:55) Which leaves only two options: create or copy.

(6:04) Conventional wisdom: If something is both a good idea and possible, it's already been done. 

(14:10) I'm fascinated by those rare people in history who manage to dramatically change the world during their short time here, and I've always liked to study those people and read their biographies. Those people know something the rest of us don't and we can learn something valuable from them. 

(20:28) Musk calls this reasoning from first principles. One of the most important parts of this podcast.

(27:08) Conventional wisdom screamed at the top of its lungs for him to stop. 

(31:42) Your entire life runs on the software in your head. Why wouldn't you obsess over optimizing it? 

(36:17) We mistake the chef's originality for brilliant ingenuity. 

(41:16) The reason these outrageously smart people are so humble about what they know is that they are aware that unjustified certainty is the bane of understanding and the death of effective reasoning. 

(45:41) Conventional wisdom worships the status quo and always assumes that everything is the way it is for a good reason. And history is one long record of status quo dogma being proven wrong again and again, every time some chef comes around and changes things.

How you can support Founders Podcast

Leave a 5 star rating on Apple Podcasts/iTunes

Get a free audiobook by trying Audible. 30 days of membership free, plus a book to get you started. 1 credit a month after trial, good for any book regardless of price. Ad-free, premium audio you listen to offline. No interruptions. Your own amazing library - keep your books even if you cancel. 30% off in exclusive member-only savings. Easy exchanges. Don't love a book? Swap it for free, anytime. http://audibletrial.com/founders

Buy the book The Elon Musk Blog Series: Wait But Why