Elon Musk came from little, made $180m USD in the exit of his company. He could have retired and rested in comfort for the remainder of his days. Running a startup is really hard, I mean REALLY HARD and taxing on everything in your life. What did he do?

He doubled down and invested (and took over) Tesla and founded Space X. He had a dream that scares others and wanted it, so he took it.

Is Elon a good guy? I have no idea and that is not your question, it’s about respect.

Why does Elon have so much respect? He took everything he had acquired and took “the giant leap” and started an electric car company dominated by IC carmakers. One disrupting startup is a lot of work, so… He then started another company to create reusable rockets (nobody is doing), to colonize Mars (nobody is doing), and terraform Mars (nobody is doing).

Every entrepreneur should have the “go big or go home” startup idea in the back of their mind. And I’m not talking about another tech startup or software product, but the “change the way the world operates, behaves, and thinks” kind of company. Very few create the amount of wealth required to start that journey and even fewer people risk that newly acquired wealth to execute the idea.

This is where Elon is different than others. Jeff Bezos basically created a digital Walmart. Bill Gates created software OS. Steve Jobs made a phone. While these people are impressive and have fundamentally changed the world, they have not created companies or products that make people say “Yeah right, that is impossible…you’re nuts!”.

Elon plays the long game in a world dominated by short term thinkers.

I’m imaging the closing table where Compaq was doling out hundreds of millions of dollars in checks to the Zip2 founders. Most were probably envisioning houses in Malibu, Ferraris, and a full nights sleep without life and death decisions looming in the back of their mind. What was Elon Thinking…. “Mars, here I come!”