Elon Musk – CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX: Entrepreneurship at Khan Academy (Transcript)

SAL KHAN: So first of all, I just want to thank Elon for coming– hungry You didn't even have dinner

And we didn't even feed you properly ELON MUSK: No, sorry to be a bit late I just came from the Tesla factory in Fremont SAL KHAN: Yes Was something wrong? ELON MUSK: There's always something

SAL KHAN: Did you have to like– ELON MUSK: At any given point, there's always something wrong SAL KHAN: Yes ELON MUSK: Because there's just too many things going on So one of the trickiest things about a car is that there's thousands of individual components– there are thousands of unique components– and even if one of those things is missing, you can't make cars So today's fiasco was– I kid you not– we were missing a $3 USB cable

OK So we could not complete cars, because– SAL KHAN: So the whole line was stopped? ELON MUSK: Yeah So essentially, because it's part of the wiring harness So you can't put the interior in without this cable And so we could either make a whole bunch of cars minus the interior, which means that you've got to stack them up in the yard

SAL KHAN: The resale value would be no good ELON MUSK: Well, it can be done, but if then things go out of sequence, and it's way more inefficient– you don't have a moving production line Then you have to send people out to hundreds of cars that are sitting in the storage yard And so this happens to be a particularly pernicious cable It's kind of routed under the carpet, in a difficult place

And it's literally $3 And so we basically had to send people throughout the Bay Area to go and buy USB cables SAL KHAN: Like, literally, Radio Shack? ELON MUSK: Like Fry's SAL KHAN: Oh, Fry's That's better

ELON MUSK: You're going to have a hard time getting a USB cable right now at Fry's, because we bought every one of them SAL KHAN: That's good ELON MUSK: And so we're able to continue production And I don't want to belabor the anecdote, but essentially the supplier is in China And we had plan A and plan B

And plan A was like the normal supply chain process But what the supplier did was instead of sending our parts in their own package, they grouped it together with a bunch of other stuff for other companies and sent that all via some extremely slow boat from China to LA And when it got to LA, the other stuff didn't pass customs And so they wouldn't let our stuff through, because– SAL KHAN: They put it like a barrel fruit or something ELON MUSK: I don't what they put it, but something that customs didn't like

And the paperwork wasn't in order or whatever So it got stuck there for like a couple weeks And then we had plan B So we called and said, look you've got to air freight some of these cables– cause they're just little cables– to us And we talked to their US subsidiary and ordered from the US subsidiary, who then communicated to China

But then because this was another batch of parts, so it was kind of double the order, it exceeded the credit limit that we had So it bounced off the credit limit, so they didn't ship it SAL KHAN: Fascinating So someone's losing their job now This is– no, I'm kidding

You shouldn't fire anyone ELON MUSK: I mean, it's pretty farcical And, anyway, so, it's coming like tonight at 11:00 PM or something SAL KHAN: Wow And these things are happening like all the time? This was an unusual circumstance? ELON MUSK: Yeah

That's like one example, but there's many things like that SAL KHAN: I guess, I mean, that's actually a really good example, because that leads into what I've always been fascinated by a lot of what you're doing Well, I'll start with, how did you get into this? ELON MUSK: Into cars? SAL KHAN: Into cars Into taking over NASA Well, not taking over NASA– being a contractor for NASA

ELON MUSK: Just for the record, we are not taking over NASA SAL KHAN: You're not taking over NASA They are an independent organization But you are becoming a major provider of services for NASA Obviously, kind of internet payments and payments generally

I mean these are three completely different spaces I think a lot of people would not take someone seriously, if they had a business plan in one of these ELON MUSK: Right Sorry to eat SAL KHAN: Oh, yeah, take your time

What was your– did you always think you were going to be doing this or– when did it dawn on you that you would try to revolutionize three industries? ELON MUSK: Well, when I was in college– I didn't actually expect to do it So it was not like this is some long-fulfilled expectation But when I was in college, I thought about what were the areas that would most effect the future of humanity, in my opinion And the three areas were the internet, sustainable energy, and space exploration, particularly if humanity becomes a multi-planet species You know, there's kind of like a pretty substantial bifurcation in our future, if we're either out there among stars on multiple planets, or if we're confined to Earth until some obviously eventual extinction

Pages: First | 1 | 2 | 3 | ... | Next → | Last | Single page view