"What Does It Take To Become A Billionaire?"
Full disclosure: I'm not a billionaire
Elon Musk has been a competitor of mine. We have competed with each other in the clean energy market. He has holdings in SolarCity and I respect and admire him. He is a billionaire, today. Justine Musk, his first wife, also knows several things about what hard work is and how wealth can be accumulated. Her ex-husband is also the founder of PayPal and the Chief Executive Officer of SpaceX and Tesla. He has an estimated net worth of over twelve billion dollars.
Recently, Justine Musk responded to a Quora thread that asked about whether a person could become a billionaire if he or she is determined and if all necessary work is put in.
She answered with a NO. She pointed out that this particular Quora reader was not asking the correct question. She went on to say that determination is not sufficient. She mentioned that determination should correlate with the desperation of running naked in waters that are infested by sharks. She asked whether a person would remain determined if he or she was washed up on a deserted island and he or she was bloody, ragged and disoriented and beaten into staring into the distant horizon while waiting hopelessly for signs of rescue.
She went on to offer a little advice. She asked the reader to shift the focus away from the goal of earning billions and become immersed and curious about what the world actually needs and wants. She asked entrepreneurs to ask themselves about their potential and what they could offer to the world. What they offered had to be compelling and unique. It had to be something that could not be replaced by any other human or machine. Your offerings should be such that they cannot be outsourced and no one should be able to steal what you have to offer and make it better and push you aside into oblivion. Such a potential has to be developed. One key thing has to be selected and then perfected so that an entrepreneur becomes a master of it. Then, a second thing has to be chosen and that too has to be mastered. When an entrepreneur becomes a master of two worlds such as business and engineering, he or she could bring about a blend in a manner that introduces compelling ideas; these ideas could then be multiplied and they could reach levels that have never been attempted before. They will help create a kind of competitive advantage and the entrepreneur could then move between these worlds, speak both the languages and connect in order to project fresh and creative insight which changes the entire scenario of your industry.
If you want to become a billionaire, do not expect the world to throw a billion dollars at you just because you want it or you have worked so hard for it and because you feel you deserve it. The truth is the world is not bothered about what you deserve and about what you want. The world will always give you money in exchange for something that you offer and which the world perceives to be of some equal or a greater value than what they need; it has to be something that can change a cultural aspect. It could be reworking a familiar tale and introducing a new story that changes the very way people think about a particular niche category of business so that they can use it in everyday life. There are no road maps that can be provided in order to do this and there can be no blueprints. Many people may come forward and give their advice. Most of it will be trash and some of it may be good. You will have to work out what may apply and what to toss aside as you are always travelling with different curves on your road. You have to remember you are doing this alone until you build up the necessary credibility and have the charisma to draw in the talent you require giving you support throughout your business journey and on your path of becoming a billionaire. So have courage and move forward. You will need this courage and loads of luck along with it.