This can be a story about what Elon Musk really wants to do with his life, and perhaps what you need to do, too. It is the kind of perception that impressed my free e-book, Elon Musk Has Very Big Plans, which you’ll download here.

It begins with one of Musk’s tweets — a reply tweet, really — which hinted at an essential distinction that many formidable folks gloss over. In actual fact, aspiring entrepreneurs are sometimes the final to comprehend it. 

The entire thing got here in response to a brand new e book that claims that Musk wanted to sell Telsa to Apple a number of years again, however solely on the situation that he turn out to be the brand new CEO of Apple.

Musk denied the report, as did Apple CEO Tim Cook dinner. However somebody on Twitter mused that he would have been a sensible choice to run the corporate. Musk shot down that concept with simply eight phrases:

“I do not need to be CEO of something.”

Provided that Musk is at present CEO of two demanding firms and closely concerned in a number of others, this looks as if a weird declaration — as if Kevin Durant declared he did not need to be a basketball participant, or Donald Trump out of the blue introduced he had no need to be president. 

But, it displays a sentiment that many profitable folks have expressed to me over greater than a decade of interviewing enterprise leaders and entrepreneurs, even when lots of them do not articulate it so succinctly, or even perhaps perceive it so deeply.

Let me synthesize what they’ve instructed me:  

  • Entrepreneurship is a callingConstructing issues could be life-affirming.
  • However, really being a CEO and operating an organization? That is a job.

Simply take into consideration  the dictionary definition of the CEO place: 

“a chief government officer, the highest-ranking particular person in an organization or different establishment, finally answerable for making managerial choices.”

Within the area of a single sentence, it begins out so sturdy and promising (“the highest-ranking particular person!“), nevertheless it strikes rapidly towards one thing that many innovators discover much less interesting (“answerable for making managerial choices“).

It is a brutal fact. Folks on the skin conflate the 2 roles, however being an innovator or an entrepreneur is a wholly totally different calling from being a CEO. But, individuals who aspire to 1 function can discover themselves boxed into working to imagine the opposite.

Possibly the confusion stems partly from the very fact we describe so many icons of entrepreneurship with a number of titles:

  • Jeff Bezos is each the founder and former CEO of Amazon, for instance.
  • Invoice Gates was each the cofounder and CEO of Microsoft.
  • Musk is the each founder and CEO of SpaceX, and one of the five founders and CEO of Tesla.

However, it is the distinction between dreaming, designing, constructing, and iterating — versus the entire sensible issues that the chief of a enterprise group has to supervise (or rent for, and delegate): advertising and marketing, recruiting, finance, logistics, stakeholder relations, regulatory compliance–the checklist goes on.

Now, in the event you take a look at that checklist, the irony is that Musk really excels at most of this stuff. He even appears to take pleasure in a number of of them.

Is there a greater marketer on the planet? Tesla is the world’s most beneficial automobile firm, and would not spend a penny on advertisements. Determine that one out.

For that matter, who amongst CEOs is healthier at human assets and recruiting? 

Finance? Logistics? Stakeholder relations?

Regulatory compliance? (Truly, perhaps that one is not his favourite.)

However, there’s additionally no one in a greater place to grasp the divergence of those roles. 

In actual fact, reporter James Clayton of the BBC dug up a telling, longer quote — that Musk apparently gave below oath in a deposition — about how he feels about being CEO of Tesla:

“I slightly hate it and I might a lot want to spend my time on design and engineering. … “I’ve to [keep the job] or, frankly, Tesla goes to die.”

Clearly, there is a mercurial motivation. Musk reportedly made $6.7 billion throughout 2020 for his work as CEO of Tesla alone.

That is nearly 12 occasions as a lot because the second-highest paid CEO of a publicly traded U.S. firm. However on the identical time, that gargantuan determine reinforces the truth that Musk would not need to do something in any respect that he would not need to.

Maybe it was a fleeting second when Musk tweeted about not eager to be CEO of something.

Possibly that is how he felt on a Friday, however by the next Monday he was thrilled as soon as extra to be in cost.

Possibly he is like many people, in that he agrees with the 19th century poet Ralph Waldo Emerson that consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. 

Nevertheless it would not change the brutal fact. It is one factor to need to design the longer term. It is one other factor totally to assume the function, and to be answerable for the limitless parade of small choices which are required to get there. 

(Remember the free e-book, Elon Musk Has Very Big Plans.)

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





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