Two take-aways from this clip from the interview between Elon Musk and BBC reporter James Clayton.

  1. It does not matter who has your back, you have to be prepared. You have to know what you are talking about. You have to do your research. You have to have facts. And if you don’t, which is fair, because sometimes there’s just too much to know, just avoid the topic you are not prepared about altogether. Drop it.
  2. There’s a point when you are winning an argument where you need to check with the situation and concede something to the part that is losing the argument. If you don’t, you are just going for the kill, and nobody appreciates that.

A viable option

When you are under pressure, mistakes happen.

Luckily, not all mistakes will cost you $100 billion. And most importantly, you are the one deciding what pressure to bow to. Not everything is worth pursuing, not all chances are worth taking, not all competitors are worth following.

Sometimes the wise response is to slow down and let go. It’s always a viable option.

Choose carefully

Hubspot and Intercom are very successful companies. And on the exact same type of communication to their customer, they choose two completely different approaches.

One is before, the other is after.

One raises awareness, the other raises alarm.

One gives you agency, the other takes it away.

One is about hope (“Your contacts database is growing”), the other is about failure (“You’ve exceeded the usage”).

Also (you can’t say that from the message alone, but I’ll ask you to trust me), one is true, the other is not.

There is no right or wrong way to do stuff.

But the choices you make say a lot about who you are and what you stand for.

Money doesn’t lie

Google’s mission was to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Today, 81.3% of their revenue comes from advertising, which admittedly has little to do with making information universally accessible.

Facebook’s mission was to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. Today, 97.7% of their revenue comes from advertising, which admittedly has little to do with giving people the power to build community or bringing the world closer together.

If you don’t measure the right things, it’s very easy to end up in a very different place from the one you initially had in mind.

No, thanks

What is valuable to your audience?

We design experiences with our own benefit in mind, trying to make life easier for us, adding an additional step so that we don’t have to do some more work.

And the burden of all this, of course, is on the user. Who has options and kindly says, no thanks.