Elon Musk, Tesla Motors CEO at 36th Annual ENCORE Award Event (Transcript)

At the 36th annual ENCORE Award event on October 2, 2013, Stanford Graduate School of Business honored Tesla Motor CEO and Product Architect, Elon Musk.



Garth Saloner – Dean, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Good evening and, Welcome to the Stanford Graduate School of Business. I’m Garth Saloner. I’m the dean here, at the GSB and it’s my privilege to welcome you all to this wonderful event, I want to thank the award selection committee for this really fantastic selection, as well as all of the companies who have supported us by sponsoring the event.

This is the 36th event of its kind. The 36th annual ENCORE award reception and each of the award is given to an entrepreneurial company that embodies the spirit, innovation and unique culture of the companies that we’re familiar with in in Silicon Valley.

And so let me be the first to congratulate Tesla and Elon Musk for the award this evening.

I’m going to be brief before handing you over to Geoff. But I did want to just spend a few minutes saying a little bit about the things that we’ve been doing here at the Graduate School of Business in the area of entrepreneurship and I’m very quickly going to reference three innovations this year.

The first is we have an entrepreneurship course and have had for many years in which we put our students together in multi-disciplinary teams from across the university and they work on projects together and this year, as a harbinger of technology to come we have for the first time flipped the classroom to Stefanos Zenios who teaches the class recorded what would have been the lectures and instead the students got to use the class time to be mentored and to work together on the projects and I think that’s very much a sign of the times and the future.

The second is many of you will be familiar with a program that we have offered here at Stanford in the summer and during the year which we used to called the Summer Institute for Entrepreneurship. We now call it Stanford Ignite. This is a program that at Stanford was aimed at graduate students at Stanford not in the business schools so it’s students in engineering and medicine, and life sciences, and so on who might be starting a company or be working for companies that were innovating. And we’d give them a general management education with an entrepreneurial and innovation spin.

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And this year we started to take that program globally. So we offered a version of it in Bangalore, India this summer, and are in the midst of teaching one in Paris right now in a partnership with called Polytechnique. And that program too, makes heavy use of technology. Most of the classes are actually, our faculty being from the Knight Management Center to those locations.

The final thing I want to reference is again, many of you are familiar with SIIDE which is the Stanford Institute for Innovatiion in Developing Economies, an institute that we launched here at the business school about two years ago, and it had a landmark event this summer when we opened our first Innovation Center in Accra, Ghana where we have in the first cohort 29 local entrepreneurs who we are working with to help them to scale their businesses and it’s a regional hub and a regional program with participants from five neighboring countries.

So, lot’s going on at the GSB while we’re helping to make entrepreneurial awards. We’re trying to do our bit to simulate the entrepreneurial ecosystem and in that vein, let me just say that in everything we do, we rely very very heavily on this community. You come into our classes to help teach and mentor our students and help us in a whole variety of ways and we’re extremely grateful and delighted to have you all with us this evening, thank you very much.

Geoff Yang

I’m Geoff Yang. And I have the privilege of chairing the Stanford ENCORE Award Committee. So, you may ask, you know, how do we pick a particular company to win the award.

And I’ll tell you, we look at four things. You know, the first is companies that embody the entrepreneurial spirit. We look for companies that are doing something big, bold, and important. We look for companies where the founder has or continues to play a very important role in the company’s success. And we look at companies that have interesting stories, or whose founders are interesting personalities.

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So you might say, well how’d you get Tesla, then? 4It isn’t quite.

So the story of Tesla, you know, you look how it stacks up. And you say well Tesla was started by two engineers, Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning who believed that electric vehicles could change the world.

Okay, check.

Tesla has succeeded in an industry where start-ups aren’t supposed to succeed by incorporating novel design approaches to little things like concept design, and battery design, and body design, and drivetrain design, and manufacturing design, supply chain management, mass production.

Tesla is attempting to disrupt an industry in which its competitors have massive scale and long histories.

Okay check.

Elon Musk, this is a company series, a lead investor and now chairman, continues as its CEO and product architect, check.

And finally an interesting story, well, Tesla was practically gone out of business, my understanding, is a couple times and is now runaway success with a market cap of over $23 billion. Its CEO was the inspiration for the character of Tony Stark in the Iron Man series according to its director. Check, check kind of an interesting personality. You know, you get the picture.

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