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Elon Musk on the process he uses to start a business


elon musk
Elon
Musk uses six questions anytime he needs to come up with an idea,
solve a problem, or decide whether to start a
business.

Aaron P.
Bernstein/Reuters


  • Elon Musk asks himself the same six questions before
    making any big decision.
  • He uses the process as his own version of the
    scientific method.

The inventor and engineer Elon Musk has successfully started four
billion-dollar companies: PayPal, Solar City, SpaceX, and Tesla.
And to launch them — and to answer any complex question — he uses
the same approach, he told Neil Strauss of
Rolling Stone
.

It’s “the scientific method,” Musk said. “It’s really helpful for
figuring out the tricky things.”

He describes his process this way, according to Strauss:

  1. “Ask a question.”
  2. “Gather as much evidence as possible about it.
”
  3. “Develop axioms based on the evidence, and try to assign a
    probability of truth to each one.”
  4. “Draw a conclusion based on cogency in order to determine:
    Are these axioms correct, are they relevant, do they necessarily
    lead to this conclusion, and with what probability?
”
  5. “Attempt to disprove the conclusion. Seek refutation from
    others to further help break your conclusion.”
  6. “If nobody can invalidate your conclusion, then you’re
    probably right, but you’re not certainly right.”

Musk uses these six questions anytime he needs to come up with an
idea, solve a problem, or decide whether to start a business. He
values this kind of evidence-based decision-making, and he
criticized people who can’t separate fact from feeling.

Most people employ “It’s true because I said it’s true,” he told
Strauss. “It’s very unscientific.”

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos also has a set framework for
decision-making. In a 2016
shareholder letter
, he distinguished between Type 1 and Type 2
decisions
.

Type 1 decisions are “are consequential and irreversible or
nearly irreversible — one-way doors — and these decisions must be
made methodically,” Bezos wrote.

Type 2 decisions are “changeable, reversible — they’re two-way
doors,” and they “can and should be made quickly by high judgment
individuals or small groups.”

Get the latest Tesla stock price here.


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