Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Excerpt from Wired 'Grasshopper project'

Born in 1971 in South Africa, Elon Musk is an American entrepreneur who is most notable for founding the company X.Com (which is now known as PayPal). He also founded: SpaceX, which manufactures space launch vehicles which are replacing NASA's space shuttle program; Tesla Motors, which developed the Tesla Roadster, the first electric car to go to production; and Solar City, which is the largest supplier of solar energy systems in the USA. He has a net worth of 2.4 billion dollars. The following is an excerpt from an interview with him in the November 2011 issue of Wired:

Chris Anderson: So how do you do it? What's your process?

Elon Musk: Now I have to tell you something, and I mean this in the best and most inoffensive way possible: I don't believe in process. In fact, when I interview a potential employee and he or she says that "it's all about the process," I see that as a bad sign.

Chris Anderson: Oh no. I'm fired.

Elon Musk: The problem is that at a lot of big companies, process becomes a substitute for thinking. You're encouraged to behave like a little gear in a complex machine. Frankly it allows you to keep people who aren't that smart, who aren't that creative.

I was interested in this interview partly because I feel that we have many students in the program for which process and proper procedure are an anathema   I don't confuse rejecting procedure with intelligence, and I
DO believe that many of my students need to learn strategies for working with systems, but I wonder if we should be careful to recognize that challenging accepted practice is sometimes a necessity.


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