Elon Musk

The Paralyzing Fear of Getting Started

I haven't been straight with you.  Like most entrepreneurs... I haven't told you everything.  I told you why I decided to found data.world in this Lucky7 post.  I told you the good part.  What I didn't tell you is that I was living in fear during those first few months of getting started... being back in an office and back in the arena once again.

But why?  I had started successful companies before, such as Bazaarvoice and Coremetrics.  data.world was my sixth!  I had a bigger network than ever before.  I had more know-how than at any other point in my entrepreneurial career, including the lessons that hardened for me in writing Lucky7 over the years to help other entrepreneurs.  I had spent three years in deep reflection.  I had seen over 1,100 startup pitches, which really does have the effect of making new mental connections (VCs call this "pattern recognition").  I had worked behind the scenes at Austin Ventures, seeing how the VC industry really works.  I had served as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at both The Wharton School and U.T. Austin.  I knew company culture like the back of my hand - Bazaarvoice had been rated the best place to work in Austin when it was a small, medium, and then large-size company, winning #1 in all three categories as we rapidly grew.  Alongside my excellent co-founders, I had spent months researching the viability of data.world.  In short, I was, rationally speaking, more prepared than I had ever been before.  So why was I afraid?

My keynote to the U.T. Austin McCombs MBA class at their Orientation

Last Monday, I had the honor of keynoting the Texas MBA Class of 2015 Orientation. This is the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin's largest class to date - I believe around 270 students. Around 80 spouses were also present. Tina Mabley, Assistant Dean of the Full-time MBA Program, introduced me. She introduced me as the Vice Chairman and Co-founder of Bazaarvoice and also as the incoming Entrepreneur-in-Residence at McCombs, a position I'm glad to begin in September. My grandfather, James Mann Hurt, taught at U.T. Austin for his entire career and I'm proud to follow in his footsteps. I promised the students I would post my speech, complete with links, and that is what follows here:

Middle-aged entrepreneurs - this is your five-step program to freedom

Middle-aged entrepreneurs - this is your five-step program to freedom

We are at the tail-end of RISE week here in beautiful Austin. If I was an aspiring entrepreneur, I would take a vacation during RISE week and attend as many sessions as I could. I was happy to do my part and present on fundraising both Monday at Austin Ventures as well as Tuesday along with panelists from CTAN (the Central Texas Angel Network). And, overall, it has been another great week for Austin, with TechStars announcing their launch, which I wrote about in this Lucky7 post.

The Tesla Model S, the iPhone, and 'The Innovator's Dilemma'

The Tesla Model S, the iPhone, and 'The Innovator's Dilemma'

On Thursday, Consumer Reports named the Tesla Model S the best car they've ever tested. That is quite a statement considering they've been testing cars since 1936.

Josh Baer, founder of Capital Factory (and who invited me to be with The President and CTO of the United States on Thursday), was the first person in Austin to get one and he let me drive it the day it came in, back in November (or maybe it was December). I'm quite an auto nut, and I was stunned. It was like the first time I used the iPhone. I knew it would up the ante forever for the auto industry worldwide. I was also proud that it was happening here, with an American-born company (and the first new American auto company to have this good of financial results in 50 years).