Entrepreneurial Thinking From The Masters

Many entrepreneurs or people with entrepreneurial thinking within companies read this blog. Many more of you should be–entrepreneurs, that is.

I picked up this bit of wisdom of Elon Musk from the Abundance Newsletter of Peter Diamandis (Singularity University). Check out “Deconstructing Elon Musk.” Diamandis distilled three key parts of Musk’s genius. I recommend going to the Website and checking out the article in its entirety as well as subscribing to the newsletter. I hope this stirs some passion.

The three parts are

  • Deep-rooted passion
  • A crystal-clear massively transformative purpose
  • First-principles thinking

A brief description of each to whet your appetite.

Deep-rooted passion: “I didn’t go into the rocket business, the car business, or the solar business thinking, ‘This is a great opportunity.’ I just thought, in order to make a difference, something needed to be done. I wanted to create something substantially better than what came before.” – Elon Musk

After selling PayPal, with $165M in his pocket, Musk set out to pursue three Moonshots, and subsequently built three multibillion-dollar companies: SolarCity, Tesla and SpaceX. Ultimately, it was his passion, refusal to give up, and grit/drive that allowed him to ultimately succeed and begin to impact the world at a significant scale.

A Crystal-clear massively transformative purpose: Musk’s MTP for Tesla and SolarCity is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. To this end, every product Tesla brings to market is focused on this vision and backed by a Master Plan Musk wrote over 10 years ago. Elon’s MTP for SpaceX is to backup the biosphere by making humanity a multiplanet species.

“I think fundamentally the future is vastly more exciting and interesting if we’re a spacefaring civilization and a multiplanet species than if we’re or not. You want to be inspired by things. You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great. And that’s what being a spacefaring civilization is all about.” – Elon Musk

First-principles thinking: (from an interview with Kevin Rose–who has a podcast you should subscribe to) “First principles is kind of a physics way of looking at the world. You boil things down to the most fundamental truths and say, “What are we sure is true?” … and then reason up from there. Somebody could say, “Battery packs are really expensive and that’s just the way they will always be… Historically, it has cost $600 per kilowatt hour. It’s not going to be much better than that in the future.” With first principles, you say, “What are the material constituents of the batteries? What is the stock market value of the material constituents?”

It’s got cobalt, nickel, aluminum, carbon, some polymers for separation and a sealed can. Break that down on a material basis and say, “If we bought that on the London Metal Exchange what would each of those things cost?” It’s like $80 per kilowatt hour. So clearly you just need to think of clever ways to take those materials and combine them into the shape of a battery cell and you can have batteries that are much, much cheaper than anyone realizes.”


The Future of Work — Drug Epidemic Contracting Workforce

The Future of Work — Drug Epidemic Contracting Workforce

The drug epidemic now impacts the workforce shrinking the available pool of potential workers. My new favorite news site is Axios. The site is growing rapidly and offers skilled reporting, short bites with links (often to “competitors”), and a smart context. It includes not only political news but also specialized reporting on media, the future of work, energy, and more.

Steve LeVine writes a weekly Future of Work newsletter.  He wrote something a week or two ago to which I responded with some local observations. Most of these national reporters, and LeVine also works for a Think Tank in Washington, look at aggregate statistics and have little knowledge of life east of the Appalachians. So I told him that out here in the boondocks of Ohio there are many available jobs but that they cannot be filled because the remaining applicants can’t pass the first important test–the drug test.

Turns out there exist statistics for this phenomenon. Check out the link for more.

Important point: We all need to be finding ways to entice millennials and the following generation (whatever marketers call it) into manufacturing, engineering, and industry. But in our local communities, what can we do outside of work to help people in need to reach programs to get off drugs? This is a crucial society need.

LeVine also spotted a trend–American working class people are no longer mobile. People in this country have moved from place-to-place for jobs since the beginning. Several trends are converging to slow that mobility.

Important point: If you are planning new facilities, keep in mind that there may be an available workforce in many locations you may not have expected.

I Have a Dream

I Have a Dream

“I have a dream.” Most Americans and people in many other countries know how to complete that introduction. Americans today celebrate the life of of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

His dream–that all peoples would be judged on the strength of their character rather than the color of their skins.

Many laws were passed in his wake. Much has been done to make society more fair in America–and probably many other places.

But almost every news I see from everywhere in the world, people are still wrestling with bringing this basic respect for other people–especially those who differ from us–into our thoughts and lives.

I heard a couple of guys talking in the locker room recently. They were talking about black people in the classic “they are lazy and on drugs and always looking for a handout” manner. I’m sure I didn’t confront them, because I’m personally pretty non-confrontational. But I must have said something, because one said, “Do you think we’re racists?”  I thought to myself, “Well, yes, I do.” But he didn’t think he was. <sigh>

Respect for people is the foundation principle of Lean.

A workplace with a diverse group of people outperforms one where everyone is the same.

We know these work.

It only takes a small step every day to bring that dream into general reality.

Big News Day: Rockwell Automation Elects New CEO

Big News Day: Rockwell Automation Elects New CEO

Blake_Moret,_Keith_Nosbusch_April_2016We have been anticipating a transition at Rockwell Automation, and today the company announced it has happened. Its board of directors has elected Blake D. Moret, a 30-year veteran of the Company, as president and chief executive officer, effective July 1, 2016. At that time Keith D. Nosbusch, 65, who has been president and chief executive officer since 2004, will transition from those roles while continuing as chairman of the board. Moret, 53, is currently senior vice president of the Company’s Control Products & Solutions segment.

A similar transition occurred when Nosbusch became CEO—Don Davis remained as Chairman for a period of time to assist the transition.

Rockwell had a strong group of internal contenders for the position. Any would have been a good choice in my opinion.

Donald R. Parfet, Lead Director, said: “Blake has proven himself to be an exceptional leader, with demonstrated readiness to lead the company. We welcome him to his new role at the conclusion of a deliberate and planned succession process. We are delighted he will build on the Company’s many accomplishments under Keith’s direction and propel our vision of The Connected Enterprise to the next level.”

“The past 12 years have been transformational for Rockwell Automation,” Parfet continued. “We’ve become a global technology leader and the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and information. Equally important, we are well positioned to accelerate our evolution with industry-leading innovation that improves our customers’ global competitiveness.”

“We thank Keith for his outstanding leadership during this period, including his work as a vocal champion of smart, productive, and secure manufacturing. We are pleased that he has agreed to stay on as chairman so that the Company can continue to benefit from his experience and support Blake’s transition to CEO.”

Nosbusch said: “It has been an honor and privilege to lead Rockwell Automation over the past 12 years. While as a team we enjoyed tremendous success, I have no doubt that we are well positioned for an even greater future. Blake is the ideal executive to move Rockwell Automation forward in its next chapter. He brings a strong customer focus, as well as a deep understanding of the Company’s values, culture, people, and technology, and how each of these power the Company’s success.”

Moret said: “I am honored to have the opportunity to lead Rockwell Automation and its talented employees into an exciting future. We have a deep management team, unmatched technology solutions, domain expertise across a broad range of industries, and enduring customer relationships around the world. We are committed to continue to deliver customer and shareowner value in the years ahead.”

Moret has 30 years of experience in sales and business management roles in product, services, and solutions businesses across Rockwell Automation. He began his career in 1985 as a sales trainee, and subsequently served in senior positions across the organization, including international assignments in Europe and Canada. In 2011, he was named senior vice president of Control Products & Solutions, one of the Company’s two business segments, with FY15 sales of $3.6 billion.

Moret is a graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He has served as Chair of the Board of the Manufacturing Institute of the National Association of Manufacturers. Additionally, he is a member of the Board of Directors for the Milwaukee-based Urban Ecology Center, the Board of Directors of the United Way of Greater Milwaukee, and the Advisory Board of the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech.


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