Inspirations
with Elon Musk
Filmed June 2008

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ELON MUSK:

I think on like Wikipedia it says that I was inspired by my father in terms of technology.  This is actually not true.  I think that needs to be corrected.  (CHUCKLE) He's somewhat of a Luddite actually in many respects, and particularly computers.  He didn't wanna buy a computer and refused to use computers and said they would never amount to anything.

So I actually had to buy a computer with saved up [money]; I saved up my allowance.  And he did contribute a bit after I saved up my allowance.  But he initially refused to buy a computer for me. But he was an engineer, an electrical and mechanical engineer.  So I was exposed to technical subjects when I was growing up.  It's just that he wasn't much of a technologist. As far as role models, I think there's obviously somebody, the obvious role models.  I think Edison was certainly a role model probably one of the biggest role models.

INTERVIEWER:

Did you study Edison's life?

ELON MUSK:

Yeah, I read books about him, absolutely.  And it's an interesting contrast like Edison versus Tesla.  The car company is called Tesla.  And the reason it's called Tesla is because we use an AC induction motor, which is an architecture that Tesla developed.  And the guy probably deserves a little more play than he gets in current society.

But on balance, I'm a bigger fan of Edison than Tesla because Edison brought his stuff to market and made those inventions accessible to the world, whereas Tesla didn't really do that.  So he would certainly be a big one. And you know, I think the great technologists--Steve Jobs at Apple, Bill Gates.  I actually thought Disney was a pretty good innovator.  I like Disney, yeah.


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