The Key to Elon Musk’s Success


That’s according to author and historian Walter Isaacson who wrote Jobs’ biography and is working on one about Musk. Isaacson says that Musk — like both Jobs and Gates — is unemotional when dealing with employees or colleagues, and uncompromising when it comes to fulfilling his grand vision for his businesses.

“That ability to not be as emotionally, empathetically engaged in order to see [their] vision through. It’s something Steve Jobs had, it’s something Bill Gates [has],” Isaacson said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Tuesday. “It’s something a lot of these people have, because they’re not looking for affection from the person sitting across from them. They’re looking to get rockets to Mars.”

In the past, some of Musk’s employees at Tesla have described him as an extreme micromanager who isn’t shy about expressing his displeasure when workers fall short of his lofty standards, or fail to meet his overly ambitious deadlines. He can be harsh, and not always easy to work for, but also often inspiring and funny, employees have said.