Elon Musk’s secret sauce, dissected (part 2 of 2)
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Today is the 2nd (and last) part about lesson #3… risk roadmaps, with Elon Musk!
Tomorrow we’ll move on to growth engines.
Remember yesterday when I told you how I blew $50.000 on Facebook ads? How we wasted nearly half a million dollars on an ‘MVP’
Truth be told: we were exactly 4 days away from declaring bankruptcy.
Most startups fail.
Startups are risky.
Today’s lesson is “brought to you” by Elon Musk, so to speak.
Let’s learn from the master of ‘turning luck around’…
To set the stage: Elon started extremely difficult and ballsy enterprises, that are much more risky than any of our companies:
None of us are trying to put people on Mars. Elon is.
None of us are trying to stop climate change single-handedly. Elon is.
None of us are as mad as Elon. Only Elon is.
Yet somehow Elon survives…. he succeeded with Paypal and now with Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity against all odds
Luck? Yes, certainly.
Only luck? No, definitely not.
Today I'll show you the EXACT FRAMEWORK Elon uses to make his enterprises succeed.
It’s how he hacked the science of startups.
To illustrate that, here’s a little example…
This was the situation when Elon started Tesla:
Huge, established, competitive market of petrol cars
People thought electric cars are never gonna happen
They’re very expensive to produce and buy
“Refueling” takes a long long time
The driving range is very limited
What’s Elon’s plan?
Well… he wanted to produce 500,000 cars by year 2020, so he needs to build an entire production-grade car manufacturing that can compete with the big guys that have been around for 100 years or so (hello Mr. Ford)
Here’s what I imagine Elon’s “to do list” looked like:
Design awesome looking car
Build electric motor
Fix issues with batteries & charging stations, etc.
Build ‘mega factory’ that can produce 500.000 of said cars
Put people on Mars (think about it: this would be funny if it was a joke…)
Where the hell do you start, to solve this
It turns out that Elon’s real to-do-list was much simpler:
Get the battery to work
Elon focused all his energy on the battery.
Why the battery? Because out of all the work, that was the single most RISKIEST part of his model
Elon knew that for electric cars to work, they need to drive 265 miles (426 km), and recharge in only 20 min.
Other things had been done before: making beautiful cars, making many of them, selling them, etc. But nobody had hacked the battery just yet.
Everything would fail if the battery wouldn’t stand up to the test. All other electric cars ultimately didn’t work, because the battery system didn’t work well enough.
So Musk put all resources in making the battery work. He puts the riskiest thing first. Once he ‘validated’ that this crucial part would work… everything was ‘easy’
Not necessarily super-easy.
And still 10 years of work…
But no longer risky.
Just tons of hard work.
The path was open to raise a shit-ton of money, and build the rest of his business… but with the riskiest parts already taken care of.
Even though it’s a very long march, there was nothing fundamental stopping him from getting there. It’s just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other.
The key insight here is counter-intuitive…
Key Insight: Elon focused on riskiest-things-first, rather than most-work-first.
Elon —engineer at heart— was very systematic about cutting his risks. If you want to follow in his footsteps, you better adopt his system.
That framework is called a ‘risk roadmap’.
I can’t cover that in just an email, but it’s covered fully in Growthcasts Elite. There I dedicate an entire module to it.
Other than that, see you tomorrow… when I show you what growth engines are, and how they work.
That’ll explain — once and for all — why all the growth hacks you’ve tried so far haven’t produced any significant results.
Growth engines is where it’s at.
To be continued tomorrow…
Pieter “risky” Moorman
Btw. Elon Musk talks a lot about “compressing time”…
Risk roadmap is how you do that.
But there’s a magic metric that you should optimise for. Not only for executing risk roadmaps, but as the essential growth hackers metric / ‘north star’…
Think about that. What could that be?
Let’s continue this tomorrow…
P.S. As I promised: tomorrow will also be the core lesson on ‘growth engines’, and how to build them.
That’s what actually turned my career around. It’s surely gonna be an “ah-ha” moment for you, too.
Because one way or another you need to drive traffic… and that’s what growth engines do.