Earlier than he ever tried constructing electrical vehicles or sending individuals to Mars, Elon Musk tried to get a job at Netscape, an early web browser company. However Musk had the mistaken credentials for a software program startup, and the mistaken persona to speak his means right into a job. In order that they did not even reply to his job software.

For Netscape, passing on Musk was an apparent mistake in hindsight. He turned out to be one of the crucial unique thinkers of our time. Meantime, Netscape misplaced Browser Wars, and was acquired by AOL in 1999. Its browser was discontinued in 2008, though it partly lives on within the Firefox browser. For Musk, not getting the job he wished turned out to be the perfect factor that would have occurred. It ought to function inspiration for each aspiring entrepreneur.

Musk instructed this story in a 2012 interview with entrepreneur Kevin Rose that was highlighted in 2018 by CNBC. He instructed Rose that he’d all the time recognized he wished to invent or create issues, however not significantly begin an organization. Actually, Musk had wanted to work at a particle accelerator earlier than the U.S. authorities pulled the plug on the Superconducting Tremendous Collider.

He first got here to Silicon Valley to do graduate research at Stanford in utilized physics and supplies science. “In ’95, I type of thought the web was one thing that may change the world in a significant means and I wished to be a part of it,” he instructed Rose. “Truly, what I first tried to do was I attempted to get a job at Netscape. I would not truly attempt to begin an organization.”

Thankfully for Musk, that did not work out. “I did not get any reply,” he stated. Musk had levels in physics and enterprise, however he did not have a pc science diploma or expertise working at a software program firm, he defined, which can be why Netscape took no real interest in him.

He additionally did not have the present of gab. Musk tried hanging out within the foyer at Netscape to see if he may strike up an acquaintance that may assist him get within the door–a strategy that can be very successful. There was only one problem–Musk could not do it. “I used to be too shy to speak to anybody,” he stated. “It was fairly embarrassing. I used to be simply kind of standing there making an attempt to see if there’s somebody I may speak to after which I simply could not. I used to be too scared to speak to anybody. So then I left.” Extra lately, Musk revealed that he has Asperger’s disorder, which regularly causes social awkwardness and will have made it tougher for him to start a conversation.

Startup or Stanford?

But when he could not get within the door at Netscape, Musk nonetheless knew what he wished to do. He spent the remainder of the summer time writing software program however when fall got here round, he needed to choose–try beginning an organization or attend Stanford.

“I figured, if I begin an organization and it would not work, I can all the time return to grad faculty,” he stated. “So I talked to the chairman of the division and he let me go on deferment. I stated I will in all probability be again in six months and he stated he was in all probability by no means going to listen to from me once more. And he was right. I’ve by no means spoken to him since.”

Musk went on to co-found Zip2 which developed web metropolis guides for newspapers. Compaq acquired Zip2 in early 1999. That very same yr, Musk co-founded X.com which later turned PayPal and was bought to eBay for $1.5 billion (eBay spun it off in 2015.) That made Musk a millionaire 100 instances over and gave him the funding, the credibility, and the boldness to pursue his biggest dreams.

It is odd to suppose what might need occurred, although, if whoever reviewed Musk’s job software had been capable of acknowledge his genius, or if Musk had been higher at speaking to strangers. We could be residing in a world with out Teslas, and Netscape Navigator may be our browser of selection.

The opinions expressed right here by Inc.com columnists are their very own, not these of Inc.com.

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