The Elon Musk book by Walter Isaaction is a real Rorschach test for the participants of the tech ecosystem.

A lot of CEOs/ execs will justify setting impossible deadlines (based on them not breaking any physics laws) and feel empowered to throw tantrums and fire people at will thanks to this book.

But for me the real learning is that demanding extraordinary sacrifices from employees require an extraordinary mission (reaching Mars). And empowering employees by removing bureaucracy and office politics.

And working on the cutting edge of various domains (space, automotive, AI) and yes, the leader has to lead from the front.

A lot of incidents in the book shows that during war time Elon takes charge and shows the path forward. And simplifies processes. Provides clear directions.  

Takes decisions based on first principles vs doing things that will impress the board and help raise the next round of funding. He rarely is obsessed over the competition. Does not blindly copy whatever the competition is doing.

His employees don’t even quit inspite of the pressure cooker culture because no where else would they get the chance to work on cool things and have the ability to move fast and be part of a world changing company like Tesla or SpaceX.

Now compare that with say an exec at Byju’s asking an employee to skip the wedding of their sister or come to office on a Sunday night. The employee knows that all they will accomplish is sell predatory loans to lower middle class families while their CEO is sitting in some middle eastern country, and have taken out 100s of millions in secondary. Can’t compare their CEO to Elon who risked personal bankruptcy multiple times to get to Mars and literally sleeps under a desk during surges at his companies.