Elon Musk's 10 Rules For Success - and 2 Are About Better Hiring


Elon Musk is known for a lot of things -- his early success at PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX, Solar City -- but not as much about what he looks for when hiring talent for one of his many ventures.


That's why this video from Evan Carmichael on Elon Musk's 10 Rules For Success interested me, because I thought that it might give really good insights into his thinking when it comes to hiring and talent management. That would be something I'd really want to hear.

Problem Solvers and Great people

Unfortunately, it doesn't quite do that, but you can't blame Musk for that. Although this list of Musk's 10 Rules For Success comes from a variety of video sources that surely were full of great insights, but Evan Carmichael, the Canadian entrepreneur who put it together, seems chronically unable to get to the good stuff, as I have written about before.

A lot of the "rules" for success in this video are things like "Never Give Up" and "Take Risks," which are overly broad and non-specific platitudes that is the kind of advice you might give a 12-year-old. However, if you don't focus so much on the "rules" that Mr. Carmichael has come up with for Elon Musk and instead just listen to what Musk says here, because you'll come away with a lot more good and actionable insights that you can apply to your own organization.

It's a six-minute plus video overall, and the two success rules for hiring are "Look for Problem Solvers" (No. 7, at the 2:53 mark) and "Attract Great People" (No. 8 at 3:16). They're worth listening to, but for my money, the absolute best advice in this video is Musk's admonition that business leaders and entrepreneurs should "Focus on Signal Over Noise" (Rule No. 6 at the 2:12 mark). It's unconventional advice you don't hear people like him talk about in this way -- and that's what makes it extremely interesting and worth spending six plus minutes of your life on this video.

What a company comes down to

On of the things Musk says here when talking about attracting great people got me thinking. He says:

All a company is is a group of people who have gathered together to create a product or service. And so depending on how talented and hard-working that group is, and to the degree in which they're focused cohesively in a good direction, that will determine the success of the company."

That's straightforward, simple, and (some might say) fairly obvious, but it's a great little insight into the essential ingredient needed to make a company successful.

Elon Musk is a very interesting business leader and has a more intriguing things to say than are captured in this video. It's a pretty basic overview on where he's coming from, but it tells me that there is probably are a lot better insights from him out there. That's something I'll spend a little time to track down.