This Week Health

Today: Elon Musk, 10 Things I Learned P1

Can we learn anything in Healthcare from Elon Musk. Gosh I hope so. But I also hope we don't buy into everything. Today we explore.

Transcript

Today in health, it 10 things I learned from reading the Elon Musk biography, actually five things. I'm going to break this into two, five things today, five things tomorrow, and that will end our year. And almost consider this two episodes of Friday ramblings. That's what I normally do on Friday. All right.

My name is bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system and creator of this week health instead of channels and events dedicated to transform healthcare. One connection at a time. We want to thank our show sponsors who are investing in developing the next generation of health leaders. They are. Art a site parlay it's certify health. Notable and service now, Oop and short test.

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Alright, here we go.

10 things I learned. From the Elon Musk book. Now, if you haven't picked this up, it's a. It's a really good read. Walter Isaacson does it. He did the Steve jobs biography amongst many others. She's actually considered one of the. One of the primary historians of our day, or at least biographers, I should say biographers of our day.

And I liked his writing style. He really gets in depth with these characters. And he forms a relationship with them and really gets the true story out of them. I read the Steve jobs book and it was really interesting how honest and upfront it was. And, if, when you're done reading it, you still hold Steve jobs up and deify him.

Then you didn't read the book. It really does talk about his shortcomings. His foibles is is harsh personality. And some of the things that he did. All along his career. He may have softened towards the end, but it was really at the bitter end. That he softened prior to that. He was a jerk and Walter Isaacson caught that as well as his brilliance. And I think the same thing's true of this biography.

He captures. The the challenges that Elon Musk has, especially in the area of interpersonal relations. And he ties that back to a lot of his upbringing and things. That the guy was bullied and he stood up to bullies. He does not shy away from a fight. And you're seeing that today.

And I think people are underestimating the amount of fight this guy has in them. And again, read the biography. It's all right there. You could see that he is not going to back down. Even if he goes penniless, he's not going to back down. For those of you think somehow he's going to be bullied out of Twitter.

I think you're going to be sorely disappointed because I just read the biography. He's not going to be, he is going to figure out a way through it. So I think the other thing I'll just touch on before I get into the 10 things. Is talking about Elon Musk today has a tinge of politics to it. And you don't really pick that up in the book.

What you pick up in the book is that he essentially is a very complex individual. Who thinks very deeply about these very different subjects and but then has the the ETQ sometimes of a teenage boy. And, so you get these weird blasts and Twitter blasts and that kind of stuff and goofiness that comes out of them.

And I think that's part of what has made him successful in his charm. The fact that he wanted to name his three cards the model S E N X, because he thought that was funny. It's a giggly. Teenage boy kind of thing. And now he couldn't get the model lead because Mercedes had it.

So you called it the model three. Which is essentially an E backwards. So he got to do his little teenage boy joke. That's endearing, it's funny and, Yeah, this billionaire who still thinks like a teenage boy, it's interesting until he fires off these tweets and says these things, and then you just go, what is going on? But he does think very deeply about these things.

One of the stories that sort of captures that is he has set up a philanthropy arm and he's going to give money just like every other. But Julian air. And and bill gates catches wind of this and bill gates once Sam to be a part of the bill and Melinda gates foundation and giving, and he wants to come and talk to them about all the things that he's doing. And he comes in and he talks to them about all the things he's doing.

And Elon Musk, shows them all this stuff. And they both, it's interesting in that. I said, captures both perspectives and they both think each other's a little crazy, but they both have admiration for each other for how they've pushed through things to make to be as successful as they happen. But at the end of the day, they were unable to do something together. Because as much as bill gates talks about caring for the environment and wanting to do things for the environment, He took a significant short position. And selling short of a stock means you're betting against it. That your essentially hoping that the stock fails so that you will make money there. And he took a significant short position against Tesla. And Elon asked him about that.

And he said She's just investing has nothing to do with the rest of the stuff I'm doing. Elon Musk. Couldn't see through that. Couldn't see past that. He essentially said, look, you have one of the companies that's doing the most for the environment of any other company and you bet against it.

You want it to fail. He goes to me, that's the ultimate form of hypocrisy. And so when he finally follows up with them, he says Ilana, based on the conversations, do you want to be a part of this and he fires back in a tweet or not in a tweet or a text. He fires back. Are you still shorted of Tesla?

And it turns out he had only sold half of his short position. And he still had shorted Tesla half. Half of whatever that amount is, which I'm sure is a significant amount. And Ilan says, no we're done. And so he thinks deeply about these things and he and he cares about these things and it matters to him.

What position do you do? Take. I'm going to go into the, regardless of the politics, regardless of what you think of him today. And I understand that there's going to be some people that aren't gonna listen to this, just because as Elon Musk in the title, And there's gonna be others who do, because it has Elon Musk in the title.

So here you go. Five things. Today five things today, five things tomorrow. Number one. Elon Musk. Is the chief problem solver for all of his companies. And my takeaway from that is if you have chief in your title, your job is chief problem solver. If you're the chief. Executive offers officer you're absolutely the chief problem solver.

The hardest problems come to you. If you're the chief information officer, all things around technology, you should be the chief problem solver. You see this over and over again in the book. Where he gets his really smart people together. And he says, Hey, we need to do this in 10 days. And they are, we need to do this.

And they said, it's going to take 10 days. He goes, we need to do it in 24 hours. And they go it can't be done. Can't be done. It can't be done. And he goes, how about if we do this and this. And they go. Oh, then it can be done. Chief problem solvers. Look at problems differently. Adjust the problem and make ways for things to be possible that others don't think are possible. If you have chief in your title, your job as chief problem solver.

That's number one. Number two, it's not enough to rely on experts. Sometimes you have to be the expert. And so what's interesting to me is that he Dells into all areas of engineering within his companies. And he understands and participates in discussions, not as an executive listening to really smart people talk about a problem, but he has taken the time to educate himself, to read manuals, to delve into the science, to delve into the technology, to delve into the assembly processes and whatnot.

He doesn't sit off on the side and say, my job is to orchestrate all this. He actually gets involved by the way, completely different from Steve jobs who was more of an orchestrator. Elon Musk gets involved and understands the problem. And I think, the thing I will point out here is security. So security within healthcare. I feel like too many boards, too many CEOs, and even some CEOs are too hands off. They have not delved into the intricacies. Of the security problem and the attacks and what's happening in that environment. And I just think that's a short-sighted approach and one that is not providing the leadership that your organization needs and requires. And for the CEOs that are hands-off on technology altogether. My personal opinion is you should be fired. That there should not be a CEO in healthcare today that is not weighing in heavily on the technology direction. Of your organization.

And that will mean understanding things at a little deep, deeper level. And I understand some of you start from a position of not really understanding technology. My CEO, admittedly. Came to me and said, I need you to educate me on this. And we would meet every week, every other week, we would have conversations.

I'd bring her books, I'd bring her articles. And two years later, she was up in front of the physicians getting the vision on our digital transformation strategy. That's the level of commitment that is required. So it's not enough to rely on experts. Sometimes you have to be the expert. That's number two, number three. Vision. See it clearly say it creatively. This guy sees things that we are not seeing.

He's talking about the, these robots, these optimist robots that they were building, and he's saying this is going to be bigger than the car industry. Everybody's going to have this 15 to $20,000 robot in their house to help them with things like getting up in the attic and bringing down the Christmas decorations, like getting on the roof and cleaning out the gutters.

Like all the things that we get injured doing today, we're going to have robots doing that. He sees these things very clearly. He sees us being a multi-planetary species. He sees us going to Mars. He sees those things and he says them in such a way that people want to be a part of it. People get excited and they see the vision with him and they say, yes, I want to be a part of it. And by the way, I don't think he's the most articulate guy in the world.

If you've heard him speak, he's clunky onstage. But it's the things that he says that people are like, Hey, he solving the problems I think are that are worth solving. I want to be a part of that. Alright. Vision. See, clearly say creatively that's number three, number four. And this is controversial, but reality distortion field has worked well with engineers, but there is a cost associated with it.

All right. So the re let me explain the reality distortion field. So this comes up in ISIS, Isaacson's book around Steve jobs. And. And it also is very prevalent in the Elon Musk book. They come into a room and Steve jobs would look at the team and say, we're going to build a computer that can do. This kind of this kind of display, this kind of typeface, it's going to be able to speak.

It's going to be able to do this. And they would look at them and go. Nobody's ever done that before. And he would say, we're going to do it. And we're going to do it and we're gonna do it in record time and it's going to be amazing.

And he would keep coming back into the room and he would keep pushing that team to get things done that they didn't even think were possible.

Now. He's a tyrant. He would say, you know that thing, that's going to take a year. We're going to do it in three weeks kind of thing. That those stories are very prevalent in the Elon Musk book. It's things like, Hey, that thing that you say is going to take a week, we're going to do it in today.

That thing that you say can't be done, we're going to have meetings every day. Until we can solve that problem. And by the way, when he says we're gonna have meetings every day it's meetings every day at 10:00 PM. And when he says every day, he means seven days a week until we solve that problem. Because when he paints these problems and creates this urgency. It's with the sense of that our plaintiff's not going to be here and we need to build a lifeboat that takes us off this planet before we destroy this planet, that's his thinking. And he pushes people with that kind of urgency.

Let's go, we got to build the lifeboat. And the. The thing about this as the reality distortion field has worked well with engineers. And they, he pushes them so hard to do things. And it's story after story. There are story after story in this book. Of how he pushes them to do things that no one thought was possible.

Now they achieved things that no one thought were possible. And it's interesting. Some engineers will leave under that pressure. And then what happens is because there is a cost, right? If you employ the reality distortion field with your engineering team today, or with your team and push them too hard. They will leave.

There is a cost there's either a cost for them staying, in which case. You're taking away their work-life balance or there's a cost for them. That they will essentially leave. But what's interesting is there's a handful of stories in the book where people leave and they get bored and they're not able to work on problems that they feel warrant their time at work or get their, their creative juices flowing.

You know it. And so they ended up coming back to the organization. So reality distortion field has worked with engineers. But there is a cost that's number four and number five. Liberal arts makes for great problem solving. I know this is, this sounds silly. I met with a CEO, not CEO, president of a university once, and it was a liberal arts university, asked him to explain to me the value of a liberal arts education.

And he said, not every problem can be solved from an engineering perspective, not or not. Every engineering problem can be solved from an engineering perspective. And as I was reading this, I realized both he and Steve jobs have that in common Steve jobs. Would see things. In the art world and other places and bring it to the Mac and say, we should be able to do this on a computer. And you could still see SA. I mean there's that is all over the Mac.

If you touch the Mac. Steve jobs, his influence on it, of pulling the arts and humanities and everything else into it. And that's why it's so beautiful and it's elegant and the design and the materials it's. It's all those things. The same. Thing's true with Elon Musk, the liberal arts education, and there's a handful of stories in there. Where they talk about how he takes ideas from over here.

And he brings them over here and ideas from over here, it brings him over here. And the one that I will point to, which is probably the best. Instance of this fact that you can take problem solving from anywhere. Is the, a car body. So the car bodies for Tesla were pricey and there was too many parts and you had to weld them and bring them all together and that kind of stuff. And he was playing with one of his kids' toys once and he looked at it and he goes, this entire car, this toy car. Is stamped.

It's one big stamp. And so he takes that car and he goes into the engineering team and he goes, I want to build our cars as one big stamp. And they look at them and they all know Ilan. So they're like, okay, he's serious. We got to think about this thing. And they couldn't do it with all one big stamp, but they were able to take the entire front of the car and turn it into one big stamp.

And they took out tons of complexity, tons of parts and tons of costs. I think they drove close to $10,000 out of the cost of the car by implementing that car body designed based on a toy. So number five liberal arts makes for great problem solving. So there you're there your top five for today.

If you have chief in your title, your job is chief problem solver. It's not enough to rely on experts. Sometimes you have to be the expert. Number three vision. See clearly say it creatively. Number four reality distortion field has worked well with engineers, but be aware there is a cost. And number five liberal arts makes for great problem solving.

So those are the first five things I learned from the book you're going to want to tune in tomorrow. I have five more and that will be the last. Episode of the today show for the year until we come back on January 3rd, I think is that when I said earlier, I. Oh, who knows what I said earlier. You got the picture.

We're going to come back after the new year. So that's all for today. Don't forget. Share this podcast with a friend or colleague. We want to thank our channel sponsors who are invested in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders. Short test our decide parlance certified health, notable and 📍 service.

Now check them out at this week. health.com/today. Thanks for listening. That's all for now.

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