“Physics is the law, everything else is a recommendation.” – Elon Musk

I wasn’t planning on a Part 2.

But then I couldn’t sleep last night, and stayed up until 1:30 reading the new Elon bio where I came across that beautiful one-liner above.

Here’s the backstory:

One night in the early SpaceX days, lightning struck a rocket test stand and jacked up a fuel tank.

In most aerospace companies (NASA, Boeing, etc), this would mean spending months replacing the tank and running through a bloated safety checklist to make sure nothing blows up.

Elon’s approach:

“Nah, just fix it. Go out there with some hammers and pound it back out, weld it, and we’ll keep going.”

Then he jumped on his jet and flew three hours to the testing site to help out.

The tank held, and SpaceX saved months of work and who-knows-how-much money just because Elon questioned the accepted protocol and got his hands dirty.

And so it went:

Every time someone insisted on following “protocol” (because that’s just how it’s done), Elon demanded to know exactly why it should be done that way.

Precise, accurate, first-hand thinking was accepted.

“Because the military / government / legal department said so” was not.

Yesterday in Part 1, we discussed the extra step in Elon’s thinking that makes it all possible:

The step from asking if something can be done, to asking how it can be done.

But perhaps more important is the step after that:

Asking why.

Why does this matter?

Why is has it always been done that way?

And, why does it matter that it has always been done that way?

You cannot lead by following without questioning, and you cannot innovate by doing what has always been done.

Move fast, blow things up, question everything, and always, always ask why.

That’s how Elon thinks.

Alright, I need a nap 🙂

Have an awesome weekend over there and I’ll see you back here on Monday.

– T

P.S. If you feel like going deeper today:

Here’s an unreleased personal story about “moving fast and blowing things up.”

That clip was recorded on the fourth night of our retreat this summer, when a thunderstorm drove us inside for a candlelight Q & A. 

The guys got me reminiscing about my early days in entrepreneurship, and what unfolded was one of my favorite moments of the week. 

I hope you enjoy 🙂

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