Elon Musk. Mission-motivated leadership in action…


Quite possibly the most amazing person alive today

Elon Musk as he appeared in Business Week

Elon Musk as he appeared in Business Week

I was first introduced to Elon Musk about a year ago on a 60 Minutes segment entitled, SpaceX–Entrepreneur’s Race to Space. At the time, I didn’t connect the dots regarding the staggering potential of this amazing man.

But now I have—thanks to my friend, Leo Schwaiger, who brought him to my attention a few days ago. Then, just a few hours later, I discovered the passion of Elon Musk—He is a mission-motivated leader who likes to tackle projects that will make a HUGE difference in this world. A few of his quotes:

[He likes] “to solve important problems that will most benefit the future of humanity”

“We need to figure out how to have the things we love and not destroy the world.”

“Unless we solve the sustainable energy problem in this century, we will face massive economic collapse.”

Link to "60 Minutes" video at end of this article.

Link to “60 Minutes” video at end of this article.

Background. A native of South Africa, Elon will turn 42 on June 28, 2013. And what a career he’s already had. After earning multiple undergraduate degrees in Economics and Physics from the University of Pennsylvania, here’s what he did next (from Wikipedia)

Musk then considered three areas he wanted to get into that were “important problems that would most affect the future of humanity“, as he said later, “One was the Internet, one was clean energy, and one was space.”

Then he got busy making money. His first commercial success was the sale of Zip2 (provided online content publishing software) to Compaq in 1999 for $307 million. He then co-founded PayPal which he sold to eBay for $1.5 billion. Since then, he has launched SpaceX, Solar City and Tesla Motors. Not only is Tesla now turning a profit after ten years, they just recently repaid a Federal loan of $465 million—22 years early. From Wikpedia:

Tesla Motors designs, manufactures and sells electric cars and electric vehicle powertrain components. Tesla Motors is a public company that trades on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the symbol TSLA. After 10 years, Tesla posted profits for the first time during the first quarter of 2013.

One of the nation's most successful clean energy providers.

One of the nation’s most successful clean energy providers.

After pouring hundreds of millions of his own money into both SpaceX and Tesla, Elon was able to lead them back from the brink of financial collapse—and now both businesses are enjoying commercial success.

As the first civilian participant in outer space, his company now has a $1.6 billion contract to service the International Space Station for NASA.

What about food? Mr. Musk likes to work on important problems that most affect the future of humanity. What could possibly be more important than food? This is the question that I kept thinking about as I watched several of his videos. The first one is 52-minutes long and does a great job of chronicling his remarkable career—SO FAR. If you don’t have time to watch it now, then make sure you do watch it soon.

In my case, I spent the better part of May 23 watching videos and reading information about Elon. Then I wrote him a letter—and have provided a copy of it just after the video.

Meet the amazing Mr. Elon Musk

My letter to Elon (requesting a meeting)

Subject: Working on things that really matter

Dear Elon,

Like yourself, I am concerned about the long-term sustainability of our species. Knowing of your interest in “important problems that would most affect the future of humanity,” I have spent the better part of the morning studying your background, watching your videos and drafting this letter of introduction.

You are clearly concerned about global warming, our dependence on fossil fuels and many other issues that might affect the future viability of our species. Like you, I share those concerns but, unlike you, I am primarily concerned with the most-powerful and most feasible Earth-based solutions.

Based on my 10,000 hours of study in my new field since 2002, I have concluded that our most urgent problems are driven by the food choices that we make. For example, in the USA, our “Standard American Diet” requires over ten times as much land, water and energy—on a per calorie basis—as does a health-promoting, Earth-friendly, whole foods, plant-based diet. The collective impacts of these numbers are staggering.

You must agree that nothing is more important than having food to eat for all humans. And if everyone (all 7 billion of us) ate the way we do in the USA, we’d need two planet Earths to feed us all—yet we only have one—so far. As you know, the production of our food requires a never-ending supply of land, water and energy—and we’re squandering all three at a record pace.

Since our money-controlled healthcare system and U.S. Government are not addressing this food problem, I have decided to tackle it myself. Kind of like you and your experience with NASA. After publishing my book in 2011 (Healthy Eating, Healthy World), I have published almost 800 blogs on my website at hpjmh.com and am now focusing my efforts on two projects that could best leverage my knowledge and talent for the greater good:

  • Food/Education venture. A highly innovative, direct-to-consumer food distribution & education model that could revolutionize the food business while promoting improved eating habits among millions of people. This venture is in the early, pre-funding stage.
  • Cost of healthcare reduction consulting. The only leaders in our nation who have a financial incentive to promote health are the CEOs of the large corporations who are paying the lion’s share of our $2.8 trillion annual healthcare bill. We’ve developed a powerful consulting package aimed at saving hundreds of millions of dollars a year with a single corporation, but are still searching for that first CEO client. You can read all the details by clicking on the following link, located at the top of my website at hpjmh.com: “Slashing the cost of healthcare in businesses”

Elon, I am writing to request a meeting with you. As you say, “We need to figure out how to have the things we love and not destroy the world.” Right now, we’re destroying the world by the way we eat. And the problem is getting worse every day.

The first car was a flashy roadster---primarily to promote awareness and interest. The affordable family sedan is on the way.

His first Tesla Motors car was a flashy roadster—primarily to promote awareness and interest. The affordable family sedan is on the way.

Please give me a call at 917-399-9700. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and consider meeting with me. I would be thrilled to work with you—someone who is so committed to working on things that are “really going to matter.”

Sincerely, J. Morris Hicks (Jim)

PS: I am sending this letter to your office at SpaceX in Hawthorne and to your Tesla office in Palo Alto. Hopefully one of them will make it into your hands soon. I look forward to hearing from you.

Ten Minutes for Tesla. Elon’s vision for a transportation system that generates more energy than it uses. A ten-minute video that will make you want to buy your first electric vehicle. In this video, he addresses the primary concerns about electric vehicles—and his vision has a solution for all three.

The Bottom Line. The world desperately needs mission-motivated leaders like Elon Musk. He has the brains, the knowledge, the leadership skills, the track record and the money to tackle just about any problem he chooses. Let’s hope he chooses to join us in tackling the most important problem (for humanity) in the history of the world.

Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to jmorrishicks@me.com

International. We’re now reaching people in over 100 countries. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter or get daily blog notices by “following” us in the top of the right-hand column. For occasional updates, join our periodic mailing list.

To order more of my favorite books—visit our online BookStore now

J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at jmorrishicks@me.com. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

SHARE and rate this post below.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
This entry was posted in Activism & Leadership, Sustainability. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Elon Musk. Mission-motivated leadership in action…

  1. Andrea says:

    Very excited to have found your blog. Fabulous letter to Mr Musk. My husband has said for years, it will take the power people (read: money people) to effect big change on these issues and I think we are starting to see that. Thanks!

  2. Joanne Irwin says:

    The ABC’s of Elon Musk……Amazing, Brilliant and Concerned! Jim, if he doesn’t respond, it’s time to get on a plane, bring some ‘healthy’ snacks and reading, and sit outside his office till he sees you. Thanks to Jim and Leo for sharing Elon Musk!!

    • J. Morris Hicks says:

      Joanne,

      You’re up early.

      Be well, Jim

      J. Morris Hicks writer, speaker and consultant Promoting health, hope and harmony on planet Earth

      New content daily at HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com jmorrishicks@me.com Cell: 917-399-9700 PO Box 823, Stonington, CT 06378

  3. Michaella Misko says:

    Thanks for this..very good, amazing guy I hadn’t heard of..funny thing is I was having my husband apply for a local company here in Kent called Blue Origin..they too are developing space vehicles for the public..anyhow, what an amazing man..I do hope he gets your letter 🙂

    -Michaella

  4. My one concern is this: Electric vehicles are at the mercy of the SOURCE of the electricity that powers them. Recharge from an outlet powered by a nuclear power plant, and you’re using nuclear power. Recharge from an outlet powered by a coal-burning plant, and you’re using filthy coal’s energy. HOW can we have both the clean, quiet efficiency of an all-electric vehicle AND insure fully renewable, clean energy use?

    • J. Morris Hicks says:

      Beth, Please take ten minutes and watch the second video shown above. In it, Elon addresses your concern in addition to other common concerns about electric vehicles. This is the kind of powerful leadership (and deep pockets) that we need when it comes to addressing our unsustainable global feeding model. Thanks for your interest.

    • Leo S. says:

      Even if the electricity is from coal, pollution should be around 50% less. If it comes from renewable energy there will be no pollution. If it comes from solar as from the Tesla Superchargers there is no pollution–and as it is pointed out in the video, there is no charge to the Model S owners, so one could drive across the country without having to pay for fuel when that project is completed. In addition, the intention is to have enouugh energy for the cars and also extra to be put back into the grid. That will provide more renewable elecricity for other uses, not just electric vehicles. This is pointed out in the video. The videos can be long and sometimes people miss important points.

  5. Leo S. says:

    These should be the four videos mentioned earlier. Hope they transmit without trouble.

  6. km says:

    From the family section on wikipedia: “His brother Kimbal is the … owner of The Kitchen restaurant with locations in Boulder, Colorado and Denver, Colorado.[76]”

    Kimbal Musk’s bio (pop up on this page): http://thekitchencommunity.com/founders/kimbal-musk/# & wiki pg: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimbal_Musk

    Although not a vegan restaurant, it seems to be modeled after Alice Waters Chez Panisse. They have been business partners in several other ventures, but I am not sure if Elon Musk is involved with The Kitchen.

    Just sharing this info as a context of letting you know that yes, he is interested in food & I think he’d be a great candidate for getting your msg out there. Best of luck!

  7. Leo S. says:

    Tesla Motors is a company that might be interested in listening to presentations on lifestyle changes and how they might affect the company, the individual and the planet. More people should become aware of Elon Musk’s efforts through the years and how his products are beneficial to the planet
    Here are some of 49 videos of Tesla and Elon Musk. 7–Superchargers; 16–Jay Leno; 30–Elon Musk; 36–Tesla Model S and Megafactories (where and how the car is built and where future models will be made). He was struggling to keep the company solvent and making the Roadster only 5 years ago. He and Tesla will make a change in the future. It will be interesting to see how much of this will come to pass. The 36th video is the first, because it shows the dream and accomplishments so far. Is this the future in the making? People should be aware of these developments. Many don’t know of Musk and/or Tesla Motors.

    Elon’s life story is interesting and just what man and the planet need. His mother’s interest in nutrition was probably helpful in improving his mind and enabling him to accomplish all he has and will do in the future.

    What difference does it make if a person drives an ICE, a hybrid or an EV if they go to the grocery, fast food vendor, or restaurant, if the fuel they provide for their primary means of conveyance (their body) is not the most efficient and least toxic toxic fuel? Tesla’s projected Super Chargers will provide fuel for their cars and not pollute the environment and at the same time show people how they can make changes for themselves and the planet and provide a better future for all.

    The health of employees are also important to the function of a company and the quality of products. Health care costs are an important part of a company’s ability to stay solvent–as in the case of GM. Some companies have reduced those costs by 44% because the employees made lifestyle changes to improve their health and reduce the incidence of illness and thereby insurance costs. The Ornish and Pritikin Programs are now covered by Medicare, since 2010, because about $30,000 is saved on each person making lifestyle changes. These changes should be made with the hope that illness will not develop, or not as quickly, or need as much medication.

    Here are results of two companies that considered lifestyle changes for their employees.

    http://www.vegsource.com/news/2012/10/whole-foods-markets-compassionate-care-for-employees-video.html

    Can other companies see similar results if they make lifestyle changes? Only time will tell.

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