This is a continuation of my hour-long interview with Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, who made a fortune during the Internet boom years, making just over $200 million with PayPal and over $20 illion wtih Zip2.
Now Elon is the man behind the company that could make electric cars a reality. Recently, Palo Alto, Calif-based Tesla raised $226 million in an IPO in June 2010, valuing the company at $1.6 billion, and making it the first carmaker to go public since 1956, when Ford Motors went public.
In this interview, Elon talks about what the new kid on the block is teaching the old guard. Clearly, it's something or he wouldn't have received validation from both Daimler AG - the inventor of the internal combustion engine and Toyota - a leader in hybrid technology. Toyota invested $50 million this summer. Daimler invested $57 million and took a took a 10% stake in May 2009.
"It's worth noting that they [Daimler] didn't sell any shares at the IPO," said Elon (around 1 minute into the video). "They actually had a three-fold return on their stock and so they could have sold a portion of their stock, recovered all of their cash and still have a 2X return, but the haven't sold their shares."
I also asked him how differently GM would look if Tesla bought the century-old company. Elon said he'd focus on the product. "The path to the CEO's office [for a product company] should not go through the CFO's office," he replied.
Elon also talks about what kind of entrepreneur it takes to handle two CEO jobs for two major game-changing enterprises. Elon is also the CEO of SpaceX, the maker of rockets.
"You have to be very different and have a high pain threshold," he said. "You have to be able to work when you wake up to when you go to sleep.... and deal with enormous amount of stress." I also ask him which venture - Tesla or SpaceX - would he walk away from if push came to shove.
Watch the video for that answer as well as Elon's approach to raising his five sons (two are twins and three are triplets). Specifically, he talks about how he encourages them to be curious about life.