Startup Secrets Sandbox
Startup Secrets Sandbox
Problem solving

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Elon Musk, Tesla, SpaceX

Elon Musk as a problem solver

One great problem solving company is Tesla, led of course by Elon Musk. He’s a problem solver at the highest level who takes each problem he encounters to the next level. (I encourage you to read to get a glimpse of this trait.)
As a result. Tesla is known for its groundbreaking work in the electric vehicle (EV) industry, as well as its advancements in energy storage and solar energy solutions. The company has pioneered numerous technological innovations in the automotive sector, including the development of long-range electric vehicles, advanced battery technologies, and autonomous driving features. Tesla's innovative approach has not only disrupted the traditional automobile industry but has also inspired other companies to invest in clean energy and sustainable transportation solutions.

What can we learn from Elon with regard to problem solving?

If you read the book you’ll find Elon’s problem solving is remarkable and resulted in what he calls “The Algorithm”.
TL;DR: is that it’s vital to eliminate parts of your problem before you try to solve. Otherwise you not only waste energy on the wrong things but you may get distracted from finding the simplest, most elegant solution.
This is something he applied when optimizing his vehicle output at Tesla and other operations at SpaceX.
Here it is in full:
Question every requirement. Each should come with the name of the person who made it. You should never accept that a requirement came from a department, such as from “the legal department” or “the safety department.” You need to know the name of the real person who made that requirement. Then you should question it, no matter how smart that person is. Requirements from smart people are the most dangerous, because people are less likely to question them. Always do so, even if the requirement came from me. Then make the requirements less dumb.
Delete any part or process you can. You may have to add them back later. In fact, if you do not end up adding back at least 10% of them, then you didn’t delete enough.
Simplify and optimize. This should come after step two. A common mistake is to simplify and optimize a part or a process that should not exist.
Accelerate cycle time. Every process can be speeded up. But only do this after you have followed the first three steps. In the Tesla factory, I mistakenly spent a lot of time accelerating processes that I later realized should have been deleted.
Automate. That comes last. The big mistake in Nevada and at Fremont was that I began by trying to automate every step. We should have waited until all the requirements had been questioned, parts and processes deleted, and the bugs were shaken out.

Questions to get you thinking of how to optimize your own problem solving:

How could you apply Elon’s algorithm to the specific problem you are solving?
To problem solving in general?
How might you train an AI to help you with problem solving using both the learnings from Andy Jassy and Elon Musk?

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