A 1999 interview shares some useful advice from a young Elon Musk

Musk makes a point not to allow financial success to be synonymous with the end of the journey.

Photo: Flickr via OnInnovation

Although America had yet to be overwhelmed by Elon Musk mania, in 1999, at age 28, he was already a multi-millionaire. This fact is made all the more impressive when you understand the virtues that foretold it.

The success Musk has procured survives on an unyielding sense of conviction and a sober appreciation of risks. Selling his first computer program when he was only 12 years old,  is the earliest testament of a knack for seeing shapes in landscapes out of focus for most. The erroneous prediction that commercialized trading on the internet was just flash in the plan nonsense seems beyond the pale of insanity in retrospect but that was the very much the censuses.

An interview with the South African banker filmed in 1999 for a documentary about millionaires, at once evidences a young entrepreneur blissfully welcoming the upper echelon and the precocity that would see him build upon his place in it in subsequent years.

“Back in 95, there weren’t very many people on the internet. And certainly no-one was making any money at all. Most people thought the internet was going to be a fad.”

A year prior, Musk sold his online publishing company, Zip2Zip for $400 million dollars. He occasions his comprehension of the unbridled potential the internet has to “transform the banking industry” as one of the ways he doesn’t fit the conventional archetype of a banker. He believes wealth should furnish opportunity. He makes a point not to allow financial success to be synonymous with the end of the journey. Musk is much more interesting in using his money to evolve and develop new promising companies.

This is more especially a reference to X.com which many of you may know to be the father of PayPal.  Musk reveals that he “sunk the majority of his net worth” into the fledgling company matter of factly. The statement is a token of his confidence, not an admission of some misguided dedication.

The lesson to be learned from the formulation of companies like Tesla Motors and SpaceX isn’t merely to see a thing through. It’s, more importantly, a call to nurture an aptitude for determining whether or not a thing is worth being seen though. You don’t play poker without first having an understanding of the rules and a general sense of strategy.

The three and half minute interview ends with Elon Musk reiterating the idea of embracing stakes right before he and then-fiancee Justine Wilson speed off in his newly purchased McLaren (he makes a point to mention that he now owns one of 62 that exist in the world).

“The real payoff is the satisfaction of having created the company that I sold.”  Wilson leaps to remind the young Musk that the car is pretty “fun” too.

CW Headley|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at cheadley@theladders.com.