How did you get to where you are today? What is your story? What incidents and experiences shaped your career path?
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
Yeah, well, you know, my career is a little bit unique in the way that I started in a very in financial services. I started my career in investment banking, and I I currently in a position where I live in a very creative role, uh, color factory. So it's, you know, I I think when people ask where you got today, I always sort of think from a narrative perspective about my career. Like what? What am I doing and why am I doing it? Like, why do I just leave ah, position or go to a position? Like what? What are the purposes behind it? So I initially started at Goldman Sachs because that was the best name I could get on a resume at the time. Um, and the best job when I came out of school in finance, I wanted something that really established me is ah is a real person is someone that could help leverage me into new roles as I move forward. Um, I knew I didn't want to be there forever, and I ended up working there for two years and having a really great experience. It was really difficult is really rigorous lot of long hours and all those kinds of things. But I knew I wasn't something I wanted long term. I just want to be with leverage myself into a better, uh, in a better opportunities. And that's the best place to start. And I got you know, some of the best experience of my life there learned how toe operate and carry myself in a business perspective. From a business perspective in business, atmosphere and some of the best boardrooms in the world, I I opportunity to really learn, like, technically sound principles that would help me carry into my next positions as well. From, you know, excel standpoint from a, uh, just business operation standpoint. All these season was awesome, but I knew I wasn't gonna stay there long term. I always had kind of the idea. When I say I think about it from a narrative perspective, I always had this long term goal of either operating my own company, running a company or being in a private equity group on running lots of companies. So I every step I made from there, from Goldman to where I am now, was in an effort to either get a skill set or get a, uh, experience that would play into my larger goal. So while I was in New York, I ended up. You know, I always kind of tell people that when in doubt, when you don't know what you're going to do next, build something and create something. So I spent a lot of times starting businesses. I spent some time learning how to d. J. I spent some time learning how to write and all those things sort of played into. Later on, I end up writing for a major music block. At the time, this was just for fun. It was sort of a thing to keep me saying while I was working on Wall Street, that eventually ended up uh, what I left physical Wall Street. I went into another investment bank, and years later, one of the guys I hired when I was working on that music, Blawg called me and asked me if I wanted to help start an advertising agency. And that was something that years later pushed me into a position where I got an opportunity to, uh, start a company. That and then eventually I built that company and sold that company, and that's what led me into my next job. So I think of everything that I do from where I left from, Where I go like one think about is the narrative like where you want to go and like, You know, I didn't always know what the next thing was. So I built things that turned into either opportunity or value, and it's sort of created opportunity for me down the road to actually move to where it waas. So my career paths winding, and it's a hard answer to the answering a hard question to answer a pithy way. But I think those were kind of the things that the principles that I live by is create opportunity for yourself by building things and then find, ah, way to, uh, treated more like a narrative. And then and your career path will make more sense in the end. When you get there, if you actually move for either skills or for opportunity appropriately,
What responsibilities and decisions does one handle in a job like yours? What are the top three priorities? What are weekly work hours like?
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
Oh gosh. Oh, yeah. I mean, you name it and I do it that I think that's the big kind of I wanna say lie. But that's the misunderstanding of a of an executive position is you think you know when you're young and your career you off. You think that you're doing a lot of the grunt work that sort of is you'll grow out of. And really, the reality is Is that every piece of difficult work that, like the lower levels pick like you need to become an expert in it because you'll still be doing it when you move up chain, no matter where it is. So, as chief executive officer, I still you know, I approve. I have the one understand every facet of every department of the company, from marketing to experience Thio design, Thio accounting all of it s so that I can actually like you know, I'm responsible for approving everything, and I'm responsible for the direction and the tone and chamber of my my company. So I have to be the one that understands what I'm approving. What I'm talking about, what I'm doing. So a Sfar is like, what response responsibilities. Do I have I Few. My responsibility is everything from approving design choices, which doesn't seem like a highly technical thing. But it's something I have to have a handle on to approving, marketing, spend from owned and earned and paid Thio even, just like having talent on hand or having celebrity relations. I mean, we are having, you know, we shot a video this week in our color factory about It's gonna go on the Ellen Show next week. And you know, I have to understand one who is going to be in the facility, how they're going to be shooting and how they're going to treat our brand, how they're going, how we're going to be represented in that. And I think those are the kind of things that, like you need to be able to understand, uh, even the questions to ask eso you could even approve it. Andi. That's an easy thing to sort of approve because it's a major TV show and those kind of things. But we have, ah, 100 those types of decisions a day, whether it's letting a certain influences come in and film or, you know, whether it's letting ah brand represent us in a certain way. We have to be you. You know, you sort of have to understand all assets of facets of how much you know, What's the revenue opportunities? What are they saying? Uh, there's a faras possibilities go. I think it's all encompassing as far as like what kind of decisions I make, I kind of talked about some of them. But I make every decision or I help. I have put really good people in charge. My various departments who make a lot of the decisions and I think that's important to do is kind of give them the right of, uh, how decision making authority that they could make their decisions as we go but also understand which decisions need to come to someone like me that I could help them with that. I can help sort of that that it would impact the larger organization so and that I that I have the responsibility for saying yes or no to excited to live with the consequences of the yes or no answer on those things, too. So kind of decisions I make could be anything from budget decisions on new builds. Um, could be on what cities we go to go and that those are really big decisions. Could be a small as like I said earlier, like marketing spend on a trying to boost tickets in a certain market. I can help with those decisions, and I often don't and not the one that will execute every single one. But I'll be the one that helps make the decisions for the people and then as a CEO, my real job. Ultimately, it all rolls up to What's the corporate strategy for the company from a revenue perspective like, How do we make money and from a brand perspective, like How are we perceived by our markets and by our customers? And so those decisions all roll up to me tomy top three priorities one like, How are we perceived in the market? From a perspective, too, is you know, we in particular color factories of brand that started a za pop up. And so I view one of my major priorities is making something that was once disposable brand that was once disposable nature of pop ups into a institution and something that's, Ah, long term has long term brand value for our shareholders. And then the third thing is maintaining our souls. We go through that. It's really easy, I think, businesses. Often when they have success. It's easy to start making decisions that just impact the bottom line. But sometimes the best decisions are ones that have a higher cost but carry a longer term brand value or carry longer in the future. And so I have to weigh those decisions between making money now and creating value for the shareholders over a long term. And I view that you know the kind of dovetail the multiple into the same priorities. But ultimately I view that is probably my number. One priority is making something that's disposable or brand that's disposable at one point. Have heavy have long term value. Um, as far as what my weekly hours look like. I mean, that's the I think the other misnomer sometimes is that like you, You when you're young in your career, You had you worked pretty heavy hours when Goldman Sachs I work 70 80 hours a week and I thought that as I moved up the chain and moved through different careers so that that would reduce in some cases it went down a little bit. Or you have you can find better ways to manage your work in your life like that. But right now I'm asking my people to work long hours. I often want to be the one that's leading from the front. And so I would say my typical weekly hours are probably 60 hours of any normal person would consider work. I also, um, on all the time to like I had called this morning at seven AM I had calls over. I have calls over the weekend because we have celebrities come through. I deal with those kinds of things, like So I You know, it's hard to say when you turn off when you turn on, so I think in that case from work hours. Perspective, it's important Thio establish the right boundaries but also realized that you need to be like really take the right on approach of like, you know, you dig if you want to really have success, I think you've got to make sure you, like I said, set boundaries but also work the appropriate amount for the task. And so that's the key. I think whether you're a CEO or anyone is learning how to take ownership over your role and knowing how much time you need to put into it. And that takes some experience that takes time and also takes, like learning how to be efficient. But I'd say, Yeah, I don't know the answer to question with a non question, but they're not answer. But that's it's It's a hard one to say because I feel like I'm always on to a certain degree. But like I said earlier in this call, I think before we jumped on, I'm actually on vacation with my family right now, Um and you know where and I've been taking calls from the road where I can and I've been trying Thio be with them when I can. So I just you know, I think fiercely scheduling yourself and then living up to it so that you don't drop any balls. It is important that role too. So I feel like you kind of do both these days.
What are major challenges and pain points in a job like yours? What approaches are effective in overcoming them? Discussing examples will help students learn better.
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
Oh, I I kind of just gave one just a minute. So I think there's a lot of temptation. You know, one of my big pain points is just like learning how to log off and I doing that appropriately and that I had for me what that took was getting an assistant that would schedule my time and then, like, make sure that I was at those things like, fiercely guard my time, but also make sure that I'm scheduled appropriately for the right things and that I am on time and where I need to be when I need to be there. I think that's a really important thing. I think there's, you know, everybody has the same 24 hours in a day, and I'm not a person that necessarily think that, you know, you hear, some executives will say, Oh, you gotta wake up. But like I wake up at three in the morning, so Aiken jog for an hour, and so I couldn't fit everything in. I think you can actually the work, you know, tech tools and have created an environment where it can be much more efficient than we were. Even when I started my career in the early two thousands. I could be so much more efficient now. And the temptation, I think, is to not only be more efficient, but Cranmore Hours of the day. So what? I think the smart thing to do is actually, you know, schedule your time correctly and then be efficient in what you do. Learn how to do it really well, like the hard things really Well, get the reps in whether that's, you know, excel. Whether that's, uh, you know, account management. Whether that's whatever it is like, learn your craft really well and to be really efficient, then guard your time effectively and do your job well. In the time that you're there, when you're working, work your guts out when you're playing like they learn how to be in that stuff, that's that's a hard thing for me, I and if you ask my wife, she'd tell you even more. That's one of my biggest struggles is actually like carving out that time, so I'm being effective in the places I am. But I I think that's my always One of my biggest challenge is to be where I am when I'm there, and I think I'm getting better at it. I think the ways I've actually done that is like I said, guarding my time by having, in my case, having someone that can help me guard It forced me to guard it and then schedule myself pretty fiercely. Um, other pain points in a I would say in a in a my company Pain points. We have pain points across just across the board once things like ahead of the curve and from a creative standpoint and being really, like, way value ourselves and being cutting edge in the, uh, experiences we deliver, we are, Ah, lot of our competition shows up now in the form of, you know, giant pieces of fruit or giant pieces of food that people think, you know, instagram opportunities. They see what we are success and they try and find us through Ah, through you know, photo opportunities. But we But I think the way we come back to combat that so we have a lot of entrance into the market. The way we can ban is one. Combat is by one being excellent in what we do, and then to understanding what we actually deliver isn't a photo opportunity. We deliver a beautiful experience to people. And if we give a beautiful experience of them, they're going to remember, and they're gonna have an emotional attachment to it. That well, yeah, maybe, like, be result in a beautiful picture that they can share with their friends. But the picture is just a representation of the experience, not the end product. Whereas a lot of our competitors always think that their end product is that photograph. And so they miss a lot of times and people to understand why they go out of business left and right in this market and this industry anyway. And it's because they don't actually deliver the experiencing. They're promising their people, which we believe that if we do that and we stay true to it, that will we will always create a valuable environment for people that will want to experience it. So that's a challenge in the pain point for us. The other one is really big for us is that we are a creative company. Um, but we sell tickets and tickets are primary revenue generator, uh, for our company, and that is something that's an ongoing battle. When we moved to New York, you know, we were in San Francisco. It is a shorter term exhibit, and we sold out for nine months straight. And you can get really cocky when you're like that, because you think you have unlimited demand everywhere you go. When we moved to New York City, we realized pretty quickly that this is a bigger market. We're competing with every ticket in the entire city, which, if you've ever been in New York, you know, that's a lot of tickets. That's baseball games. That's opera. That's the Met. That's everything. We were no longer just competing against our prime competitors, which were other, uh, art immersive art facilities. And so suddenly we had, like that was a huge pain point for us is like, How do you maintain value and customers when you're competing with the Yankees and the Mets and everybody else? And so we've had to learn, like to be really agile and learn how to be really smart and have to build different tools that will actually work in that environment. And was we went same thing. We moved into Houston. We're going to move to other environments. Every city is different. And so we have a pain point. Um, and our biggest pain point challenge on that front is learning new markets, and we move into him. But again, it kind of goes back to what I said earlier if were excellent in what were our main core offering is we find that we bring a pretty passionate group of people with us everywhere we go, and then we build off of that from there.
What tools (software programs, frameworks, models, algorithms, languages) are typically used in a role like yours?
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
Wow. I mean, we use a lot of stuff. I speak annually south by Southwest usually, And also like various ticket conferences for a company for our company called Show Clicks, which is a ticket and logistic software, Um, that live event companies use and that they were one of their. We do that because we are probably were one of their largest by volume sellers in the world. That goes for I mean, I speak usually with Burning Man and some of the some other pretty big festivals and groups. That s l. A lot of tickets, but that's one platform that we use we use a lot of. Shockingly, we use a lot of, uh, logistics and, like ticket logistics and other sort of, uh, you know, owned earned media. Excuse me? Paid media is really important to us through our ticketing platform. So we use a lot of technical tech tools on the purchasing side that goes from S E O platforms and measurement Thio. Um, you know, actual sales techniques to, uh, you know, I have to be able to speak to that sort of stuff because I I need to call Google sometimes or Facebook or place like that where we have a ticketing platform. But we we drive a lot of tickets from our Facebook page or from our Instagram page, Let's say, and we want to integrate sales point of sale system into, let's say, an instagram uh, page instead of on our home. It tradition lives on our home page. Well, let's say we'd like it in a Facebook page and on Instagram page like, I do understand that software and understand the purchase funnel because we pick up a certain percentage mawr. If they can buy at the point of where they hear about us, then they can. If they go, they have to go down the funnel into our site. So we use a lot of that type of measurement and tools to understand that we also have iva analytics and, uh, analytics person that I really rely heavily on to understand customer trends in different cities. Why, for example, in New York we have we rely heavily on tourism, and so people by, you know, and these are the types of things I measure and I, we have to understand, is that people traditionally by seven days in advance on a ticket there because they're planning their trip. The New York and so they buy their internationally. It's a little bit more. And so we had we had just and that changes how we advertise the international markets versus domestic markets in Houston, people by traditionally within 24 hours. Because they are. It's a working town, much more, and we don't realize much on tourism there. And so we have a lot more locals coming. But it's a massive market, so they buy within 24 hours of the weekend. So we ramp up our advertising on the weekend, prepping in preparations for the weekends because we want them to when they're sitting there on a Thursday night thinking, Where am I going to go on Friday or Saturday for my for with my friends? We want them to see an Instagram ad, then purchase and go through at that point. So we changes how we look at things, so we look at a lot of those types of things. We also look at demographics. Diversity is really important to color factory, and it's really important to our bottom line that not only the markets were in, uh, that they are diverse. But then we represent, and we advertise effectively to diverse markets in different ways. We make sure that our car models in different cities reflect the percentage of people are the people looking at it, too? So we have a certain amount of of a black audiences in black. Do we wanna make sure and or like, Let's say, in in Houston, it's a heavy Hispanic audience. We want to make sure that we are or South Asian or whatever it is. We make sure that our employees reflect that. We make sure that our advertising reflects that, that we have people of color in those in our advertising, so that when people look at our page, they see people that look like them, and that translates into better businesses. Well, not only for our perspective. People feel welcome when they come, but also that they feel like, you know, when people feel a welcome and be that the people that are there, uh, that they see themselves in that situation and that those kind of places and they buy more, and so we want to make sure that we understand, like our demographics and diversity and that we actually honor that really way all the way through our entire company too. So we know you're all sorts of stuff, and as far as like what tools we use, we use a million different tools and from Excel Thio, uh, show clicks is back ends of telling us how many people look at it. What? And we look at everything and Google, do we csco and those types of trends as well? So all sorts of things that e mean every company is a tech company. Now, at the end of the day, we're we are, ah, Experiential Art Museum where people can walk through physically and see art. But we rely heavily on these types of tech analytics and things like that to sell our company and to get people toe come through our doors. So I kind of you, every company, the tech company, you need to have a baseline of understanding of these different tools and algorithms and models. Otherwise, you're a disadvantage no matter what
What are the job titles of people who someone in your role routinely works with, within and outside of the organization? What approaches are effective in working with them?
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
Oh, well, I Well, I feel, for example, in our Houston location, there's a, uh, there's a national entertainment chain that that is a bowling alley that also serves food. And it's a high end bowling alley and things like that. Those people read, The CEO of that company reached out to me last week to see how we could partner on things were moving into a top 10 world attraction. We're gonna be our next color, factors likely going to be in a city somewhere in the world that is gonna be paired with a top 10 world attraction. And I work with the curator. You know, from one hand, I work with the the, uh You know, the building that we're working with is a works in the real estate group that is one of the biggest real estate groups in the company. And I worked in the in the world. I mean, and they have to work with there, uh, you know, the gentleman that runs the company, the building company, though the super that runs the building, the construction companies that build our facilities, like the general contractors. I worked with the city's I worked the mayors of the different cities we've gone into. When I when we were building our Houston facility, I had to fly down there every other week to work with the Building Commission for zoning. And then I had to go and talk to the mayor of Houston because we had problems with the building commission and, like, you know, we will. I will work with you. Name the the the kind of person is and I have worked with those people, and that goes again from the top of an organization to the bottom. I talked to the painters that paint our buildings, and I talkto artists like world renowned artists, they're putting in installations in our buildings. I've worked with art institutions in San Francisco. We work with the SFMOMA in New York were the Cooper Hewitt, and in Houston we worked with it's called The Can the Contemporary Art Museum of Houston, and I've had I've sat down with their, uh, they're curator, and the boards of those places to, like talk to them about what types of art. If we could underwrite their artists and things like that, we also just put an installation in it. Rice University and we, you know, had to work with there. Uh, there are team there and like, different. So we I will work with almost anybody in the titles. Everything from CEO to general contractor, too. Anything you can think of. I also work in our company. I will fly out to are different locations when we're opening, and I'll work with our experience Specialist most you can be the most junior people that are in our company, but I want them to see me, and I want to talk now. I want them to understand that we are. We care about that. So I work with everybody across an organization as far as what approaches are affecting work with them. I talked about this a little earlier to having an understanding and working knowledge of all these different. You sort of have to be jack of all trades in a role like mine and a master of some, because there are some that are really important. And it's really it affects the bottom line really strongly to understand how permits work in a city or how general contracting works and subcontracting works. I've never been a general contractor or a subcontractor, but I know a lot about it. I know a lot about permitting. Now I know a hell of a lot about curation. Uh, you sort of have to have a good handle on everything. I know a lot about media because I have to be. I spoke to the Wall Street Journal last week. I e. S that. We're gonna be on Ellen next week, and we're gonna be on a major network in December doing partnering with three different major outlets. So there's you sort of have thio. That's why I know I have, you know, career experience or no experience that I've had are, you know, from owning a marketing agency to being on Wall Street. Every single one of my roles has been very important to what I can actually bring to the table. When I talked to the talk as an executive at Color Factory because I have to know a little bit about every single industry so that can actually be affected. And that all translates toe how much we make money, how much we advertise and how well we dio as a company at the end of the day and from a finance perspective. What? How I could explain it to our shareholders at the end of the day and why we did what we did. Like I can explain as the CEO of expense, I'm responsible for the overall strategy of my company and I. There's a lot of people with a lot of different opinions that have invested in us or that have that are followers of ours or whatever. And I need to be able to explain why I make certain decisions we have gone through a lot of during Coben layoffs or during, uh, the the you know, the social rights issues that have happened in the in the black community the last six months. You know, we have a We have a very large ah, a contingent of leadership and of workers that air black market in our color factory family, and I have to be able to explain why we do things the way we dio. So it's important for me is ah is an executive early in my group to listen, to understand, and to try and continue that, too, because these aren't always my community or my expertise is that I have to be able to be empathetic and listen and understand and learn and be change, whatever that is from. Like I said, social issues, too, uh, to business issues, because otherwise we're not flexible. We're gonna be in trouble.
How would you describe your management style? How has it evolved over the years? Can you tell about experiences or books that influenced your management style?
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
Oh, man, I think the biggest book has influenced my management style is how to win friends and influence people, which sounds crazy. My dad gave it to a teenager because I think he thought I needed it probably. But I think that and the thing in that that book probably influenced by management style the most waas learning people's names and remembering people's names. That's a very it's a really big thing he focuses on. I think you know the most important word to anybody in any language is their own name. So you learn how whose people, what their names are. You learn how to say them, pronounce them right and you remember him, and that goes a long way. My management style is largely I hire really, incredibly confident people experts in their field traditionally, and I let them work, let them make their decisions and then let them even have opportunities to fail. And I will always be there with them side by side and whatever it ISS. But I don't wanna. I never, ever wanted them to feel like I'm micromanaging them. So I try and give people a lot of opportunity and I try to be that, you know, I try and let them own their successes and try and share with their failures. So that's the approach I take as faras. Other books that have influenced that heck Heart told is the power of now is something that like it Zaveri. It's more philosophical, but actually really helps me, uh, in business a lot thinking like, I think it says earlier, learning how to be in the moment, whatever. Wherever I am, I want to be with that person in that moment and like helping them and like being what they need for me. So I really try and focus on that. Um, I'm trying to think what else I've read. I read a lot. I read a lot of books, but I think the power of now is a huge one, and I think how to win friends and influence people, probably the two that really have been important in my career.
How do you manage conflicts within and across teams? How do you promote trust, openness and a healthy work culture? Sharing stories will greatly help.
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
Oh, man. This is always this is always an issue because you have so many different people. Especially like I told you earlier. Like we have a diverse people when we want those views. Um, because if I hire even in my executive team, if I hire ah for, like, dudes, white dudes like me, we're gonna get have a very white dude perspective on everything we do, which is not what we want. Any regard. Eso how do I manage? Come. So first of all, the way I manage conflicts, I think I sometimes I don't want to create conflict, but I try and create an environment where there's a lot. There's not a lot of group think I want people to think differently. And I wanted to feel like they have a culture wherever I am being able to speak up and give their opinion on things, too. I don't want everyone to agree with me because if they do, then like I said, we have I come from a very I mean we all come from a perspective very unique and sometimes narrow worldview of whatever. However, we grew up. And so and no matter how you want a divorce, that from business it's almost impossible. So you want to hire people from diverse backgrounds, diverse cities and all over the place, and we try to genuinely do that. We try to really keep in mind as we continue to grow, too. So our executive team, uh, for example, right now is two women and two men. One is the South Asian woman. We're all from different cities and different parts of the world. And where we recently, I mean in our color factors, we try to higher management locally on the ground that understand the people there with two. So we have a female black GM in New York who, because they have unique issues there, the deal that come from having a well, that's, Ah, very important perspective for us to have only for our customers before our employees coming out of there. And so I try and really, really, really look for that, I think, pushed hard to make sure we have a very diverse base in thought and in background and ethnicity, everything, and then listen to him as far as like what that does for an organization that could be pretty disruptive it's easier to hire people just like you. But I like I said, I think that the way that we try to do it and we as a creative company to have a lot, a lot of diverse opinions on everything um, I don't really take the approach ever that I'm like. I mean, I am the final say on a lot of things, but I don't think we ever get to a point where I have to be the final say, because again, I put people in a position, I hope, where they feel empowered to make the decisions. And I trust them enough that the decision they made this one that I would I would either make or endorse once they told me the reasons for it. We've had, you know, questions of, like what, you know, way taking it really seriously. Like what art we should include in a place who we should hire, how we should approach certain issues. What cities we should go. Teoh is a big one. Um, and as far as like like I said, how I promote trust, I trust the people that do it to make their decisions and thio make there a case for things. I expect people to be able thio that I put in a position of authority to be able thio, identify problem making, uh, with several solutions and make the right one, or make a a decision on what they think is the right one. The dirty secret with almost everything 36 secret was almost any decision making in any organization is there's usually three or four that were are equally is good. Then you're gonna deal with consequences of any major decision you make. No matter what you decide, even if you don't make a decision, that's a that's a decision of inaction, and you'll deal with those consequences if you do that. So I like I said, I like to trust that. Hire people I trust and let them make the decision, and then they know that we'll deal with consequences together of whatever that is. But we all like trust him and agreed with them to go into it, and we go for it. Um, I remember an example when I owned my advertising agency code word. We were growing really fast in the first few years we signed Google and Qualcomm just a major contract when we were small agency and we had to hire like, 30 people within a week that were ex subject matter experts. We were changing offices, which was one a huge cache, issuing a big problem and then with that came with we had to move offices. Then we had to move offices again, who signed more contracts. We had to move off again. We moved offices three times in a about a six month period, maybe an eight month period, which is hugely disruptive and very expensive. But we didn't have, you know as way didn't have money to move in Manhattan to move into a major office yet. And we finally have one of my partners came to me and said, We need to We need to make a big financial swing on this and finally move into a major like a big office for us at the time. Even though it's way bigger than we need, it's gonna be way more expensive right now. We're seeing our trajectory, and we can't afford to keep moving. Location, location, finance perspective. I wanted to keep moving location, location, and I dug in a little bit on it and was like, No, it's cheaper if we just, like, get what we need and then get what we need and like, always kind of just big enough for the size we are. And his point. My business partners point was like, No, let's like, skate to the puck. You know, let's like skate to where we're built, like grow into by the big office, get the big office and grow into it. We trust ourselves when we see our success, Let's go for it. And he was right, and I thought about he made his case and I was like, Yeah, let's do it And so we did and it was terrifying. We bought in office twice as big as we needed a great part of Manhattan and we went for it, and it was one of the best decisions we ever made. We never we didn't have to deal with the emotional upheaval. Every time we had to move again, we stopped moving. We end up being in that office for five years, and it and we grew into it and mawr over the course of it. It was turned out to be a great financial decision as well, so that I just think there's a lot of decisions like that. Sometimes it's easy toe diggin from your perspective. Mind that time was a money perspective. But when I had a broader world, you two, it had somebody that I had a good reason to do it and made the case for it. It made all the sense in the world, and it ended up working out really well.
What skills and qualities do you look for while hiring? What kind of questions do you typically ask from candidates?
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
Oh, man. Well, the way I approach hiring in general is like, if you're in the room, you know, I hate resumes, and I know they're necessary evil. But I think one is to do put some things on your resume that are interesting about you too. Like I talked to us earlier about, like, knowing your narrative, your career, Like also kind of tell a little bit about you from a perspective of what you're interested in somewhere. I When I started my career on Wall Street, I actually I wasn't any smarter than anybody that went out there. I was a really hard worker, and I really make sure my resume saying But what was on my resume was complete. Don't want garbage. It was just really junior. Like, really, Lola, When you're coming out of school and I'm applying for a job, you look just like everybody. I mean, you have a little better experience, a little worse experience, whatever. It you basically look like everybody coming out. So put something on that. It makes you look different. You know, you're saying you have great excel skills, is a college graduate or like, you know, I graduated advanced derivatives. What I know about derivatives of the time. Nothing, really. Um, but what I put I always put is an accident on my resume is that I I put that I hate the Yankees in the very, very end and all my like, cv stuff in there in the very last thing, because it is mostly filler. I hate the Yankees, and I love the Red Sox. Um, and I put that I played in a I live in in, uh, Palestine, Uh, slash Israel for a while in college, and e happened to play against the Palestinian national basketball team that was preparing for the Olympics. And I put together a basketball team that when I was in college, that and they're playing these guys in some games to help get ready for the Olympics. They saw an American walking around and they basically just were looking for a good basketball run. And they asked me, I'm a fairly tall guy, so I stick out of some of that may actually play basket. So we did that and it was awesome, but I put that on my resume. I said I went to one against Palestinian National basketball team in three exhibition matches. Uh, when I was in college, and so I got my I got I had all the the proper, uh, stuff to get me in the room at Goldman Sachs. All the credentials get me in the room. And when I went in there, I had prepared, like, crazy to answer all the crazy questions you hear about, uh, about finance interviews, like, how many ping pong balls fit in this room And how, uh, you know, just the non how many manholes here in Manhattan and this kind of stuff. And I was waiting for those questions. And instead everyone asked me two questions, and I usually got through 11 was Tell me about this basketball game you played in Palestine and the other one was always like, So you hate the Yankees. Why? And that was what people want to talk about. So, you know, when you're in the room, that was the interesting I look at resumes, you know, 10 resumes or something. I just hired a finance person the other day and I was bored to tears looking at resumes. If I'm looking at him, I assume you're you've been scouted at my level. Anyway, you've been scouted your at the level that you should be. You're gonna get a non opportunity, come in. But you gotta find some sizzle to that steak. So I think that's an interesting thing. Put something on there that relevant. It also makes you stand out. And it's sort of interest that we could talk about. And that dovetails into what I look for when I talked to a cannon. If you're sitting in front of me, I know you're credential. I know you're prepared and you're ready to do this, but I don't know, is it Do I like you? So I usually look to see if I like you. I like to see if you could tell a story I'd like to see. If you communicate the most valuable people to me in any role that they're in, you know, we'll bring you in for the skills on your resume. But we want to talk to you and see if we can actually stand you and see how you think about the world. So be interesting. You know, the worst thing you could be in the world and in the worst thing I think you could be in an interview is be boring. So come in. Be interesting and learn how to tell your story and what you're looking for and why you would actually contribute to where you're at. Um, you know, I know if you're a junior employee, you're not gonna be like coming in. Thio change the world on your you're not. You're not coming in to be an executive or make massive decisions. But how are you going to contribute? What do you like about this? What are the things you read or what the things you have, what your worldview on what? On what we're doing in the industry, like what our competitors doing? It's interesting to you like, tell me that kind of stuff. We've got into the stories, we start talking about it, and that's kind of stuff I look for. Somebody can effectively tell those types of things and clearly shows interest in what we're hiring for and shows the kind of attitude that they're interesting, that they're willing to learn. And they have some grit. And if you have those three things, I'll probably hire you
Can you discuss career accomplishment(s) that you feel good about? Please discuss the problem context, your solution, and the impact you made.
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
I think one accomplishment that I I am really proud of is like I said, I started finance. I stayed in finance for a lot of years. I went through the financial crisis. Is it happened in two thousands? Um, I moved over and work about it. Throughout that time, I actually worked on a lot of creative endeavors that end up paying dividends. Like I said, it's largely those creative group, uh, writing for Music Block. I wrote for ESPN for a long time. Um, just for fun. I made nothing on these. They're just things I did for fun. But they gave me some credentials in an industry that then got some interesting traction from my future partners that we're the ones that asked me to come help them start a ad agency in the age of content. NPR. And so when I did that and that that having a finance background plus advertising and creative background is what got the private equity group that was going Thio invest the color factory interested in bringing me in to run color factory excited the right skill set. So I I think one of the most things I'm most proud of in my career is Do is are these little things. It was like like spending time writing for a music blogging. Becoming the managing editor of this music blogged when I was working on Wall Street because that is a tiny hinge that a bit my career my giant career door swung on. Um, you know, I started just, ah, writer they're writing about, You know, I did reviews for albums, and then I kept pitching my editor asking if I could write MAWR. I could write more right, like opinion pieces and the opinion pieces or the ones that launched me into, like, gave me my 15 minutes of fame early on in my during Internet one point. Oh, and let me transition into Mawr Opportunity down the road, which eventually helped me start my ad agency. Another big career. I think I feel really good about kind Accomplishment was selling my my ad agency to a major, uh, independent ad agency in in Seattle. Um, you know, we started this business is a lifestyle business and one that we just knew we could make money, and we have found a niche industry that were really good at and that was content expert level content for tech companies. And we just ground like grinded on that for years and years and years. And eventually we, you know, we got better. Better became, like a kind of special ops like creative group that became really well known in the industry. And eventually, you know, we know we didn't know we'd ever be sold, and that wasn't why we built it. We built it because we had a really cool thing on our hands and we were really good at it. And ultimately, the company that bought us, which is an amazing ad agency, called we communications they they came to us for that reason. That's why they were interested in because we were really good content and we were, you know, we ended up landing some really big clients. The tiny agency, we Atlanta clients like Google and Netflix and Snapchat and all these ones that showed that we knew what we were talking about. Um and I'm really proud of, you know, the teams that were I mean, I wasn't creativity, that I was kind of the leadership hand that helped guide it. But I'm really proud of the teams that we built that were ableto help build our company and I'm really proud of the group that bought us and even pull that off in industry was in a career was really a big moment for for me. So I was really proud of that. And, you know, I would also say my getting my job, my first job on Wall Street coming out of college. This may be more impactful for the students. Watching this is like getting your first job is a really big deal on DAT has all the impact in the world. Like the first job you take often sets the trajectory for your career. And I think because it's the way you approach is the way you're you, network is the way you built your um, getting a really good grades, whatever that is. Whatever kind of sets you on that trajectory of getting your first job and what that first job is, I was really proud that I worked for Goldman Sachs when I did the highest revenue producing desk in the world trading desk in the world commodities desk of the time. That was a really cool thing. Instead of trajectory in a business professionalism trajectory for me that I think I've kept my entire career, so I was really proud of that as well.
What responsibilities and decisions do you handle? What are the top three priorities and pain points? What strategies are effective in dealing with challenges?
Based on experience at: Partner, EVP, Codeword
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
Yeah, the time. My first when I was a code word. I came into the company initially as the finance guy, and so my number one number one responsibility there was building a company. I came, and I say what I say Finance guy say, like CEO slash cf. I came in my I had my partners with creative, and my goal was to set up a company that was a completely turnkey operation for them, that they could just sit and do. I could take care of all the business mechanics and they would take care of being creative and we would grow, and that's what we did. So that was my number one priority. Initially, I set up all the accounting, the legal, all the you know, the business structure, you know, they're building the branding, setting up Web pages, getting the, you know, starting the marketing engine, all those kinds of things. So that was like, initially, that's early on in the business when I was there first, um, it transitioned over time, I went and opened our you know, were we? But you know, then it was like the strategy that we start in San Francisco. we open an office in New York, and then it was dealing with all those things, too, like we talked about, like putting in the the new offices, transitioning, buying equipment, selling equipment, getting out of offices, leases all these kinds of things. That was my primary role for years. But when I in 2014 I came and opened, we had our San Francisco in New York office and we came and open to Utah office in Salt Lake City. And that was my priority. There is kind of bifurcated I could do. You know, at this point, we now have a finance team. We had a controller and did people that we're sending out invoices and all that that I didn't have to deal with it anymore. So I was building the company I was building, like dealing with hiring a team there, building an office. We're getting, uh, new clients, using my network to actually like I had you know, over that time, I learned how to sell our services and then be able to, like, build the right team that could actually execute on those locally in Utah and across the country. And so that was a big thing, that just growth of ah, in office. And then at the end of it, my probably. Towards the end, I went back to being, and this is more of a senior role of everything. But this was when I was, uh, you know, it's actually selling the company. We decided we actually started getting offers inbound offers from all these things. My background is investment banking. So one of my major priorities became actually selling our company and doing it to the right company, doing it effectively doing the due diligence, understand the process, actually, like doing the valuation, negotiating it all those things, actually, uh, getting it across the finish line. We had to deals fail before our third one succeeded. And they failed for different reasons. And we But we had probably 8 to 10 different offers, and we didn't go abroad process. These were just offers that came in. We said no toe five of them before we even said yes, toe one. And then the couple failed. Then one actually succeeded. So you know, it's faras, like what strategies air dealing with these challenges. I think I kind of said what I look for on hiring people. I think grit is one, I think, which is very hard to teach is something you just have to show do and just like stick with things over time. Another major strategy. Thio affect inspection of dealing with any challenges, being able to identify problems and identify solutions to problems, and then being able to have a reasonable line that can actually like way those options and choose them for the right reasons. But unless you can actually identify the problem, what the actual problem is and not just looking at, ah lot people struggle because they pay attention to symptoms and not the actual disease. You have to get to the disease, and when I say disease, it doesn't have to be a bad thing, but like the core problem before, you can effectively like, eradicated or like solve it. So I think people that air and some people really go to that and they're really good at finding what core problems exist and they're really good strategies from there, but that I I look for people who can and I hope to be that kind of person can deal and find and get the root for issue of things and then actually solve problems, then you know, making a decision and using presents itself pretty easily from there.
What college programs did you attend and what were their best parts? How did each of your college programs prepare you for your career?
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
Brigham Young University on Guy study. I went to BYU Jerusalem, which is where I was when I was in Palestine and Israel. Um, and I initially thought I was going to be a lawyer, so I started studying English, and that's probably what I think. That's probably what I'm best as the communication side of things. But I realized pretty soon that I wanted to make money and I started thinking my career, too, and like this are for me. My mom was an English teacher. My dad was a doctor, so I always grew up just thinking, you know, Yeah, that's kind of stuff you do. You either become a professor or a teacher or a doctor or ah, lawyer that you have these defined endpoints. Instead, I was like, You know what? I want to go into finance, which is a little bit more of, ah, ambiguous career starter, because finance could literally be anywhere. You can work in a county. You work for a individual company. You work for a financial firm, you can work anywhere across the board. I chose finance because I went back that narrative approach to my career. I'm like I want to run a business. At some point. If I can understand finance, I can understand the core mechanisms for business of looking forward and actually doing it. So I went into that, and then I knew I wanted to work for Goldman, and I actually, that was just the best financial firm at the time. I just wanna work for Goldman Sachs in New York City tailored my my undergrad to what I was going to do, and I instead of doing the easy thing for me, which was the English, I think, and communications type stuff. I went and decided to be really good at this. So I did advance derivatives because that was the hardest thing. And I really believe in doing one of the like find the hardest thing in whatever career you're going after and you become a really good at it. And I didn't get good at a BYU. I just learned about it at BYU. But then I got my internship from there. I just network my brains out, and I got an internship with Goldman working on the weather derivatives desk, and, uh came back and I had my offer. So that's how I got, uh to that by the and I got a full time off and I went back and work there. The thing that probably meant the most to me BYU was the reason I even got to Goldman and started in networking. There is they had a mentor program you could search on people's names and where they worked are not named where people working with city they were in. So I searched for Goldman Sachs in New York, and there's a man there that now works at Utah's in You in Salt Lake City. Goldman office. But he was the only BYU grab that worked there, and I, like, walked up, walked out of the class and I went and called him right then and we got to be friends, and that's how I got my first interview over time. So I kind of talked me out of network. He taught me a lot about Goldman Sachs over a year period of talking to him various times, and that's how I actually got my opportunity. At Goldman. Somebody dropped out of an interview. He called me and said, Hey, can you be in New York tomorrow? And I said Yep. And I flew there and I took my interviews and I got my job, my internship. That's kind of a head in that direction. So you I use finance program was probably one of the best things I did, not even from a actual, uh, technical standpoint. You know, it was fine, good there, but it was from, like, those extra programs or what really led me to my career. Interesting. So I really support people doing looking around the extra things and finding your way through and not just focusing on the pure academics, even though that's very important. But I wasn't afforded student, but I was a hell of a networker. So I found the right way in, did well, got myself credential enough to get there, and then I had the opportunity networking to actually take the swing, and I got hit. So that's how I did it
What three life lessons have you learned over your career? If any, please also discuss your experiences facing adversity, or trying something unusual.
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
I mean, the three biggest life lessons I think are the 33 most important things you need for getting a good job. Or like actually like going through your career is one, like, have really a really, like get yourself in the game so you can actually play, like, get the best grades you can do, like, get the credential so you can actually be in the game because if you can't swing a bat, you can't play baseball. So you gotta figure out, like, get the credentials you need to actually be in the game. The second thing is, work your guts out to put yourself in good opportunities because you actually like that's was one of the biggest things for me. Like you can have all the credentials of world. You don't work your guts out to get in front of people. You're never gonna have a chance to use them. And the third thing is, you need a lot of luck. And part of luck comes from working like crazy. I mean a lot. Some of us, you know, selling my company, doing the things I did. Ah, lot of it comes from just like you know kismet of meeting someone on the street or doing like, but you've got to be out on the street to meet those people. So I think it's important to have the credentials toe work like crazy to put yourself in the right positions and then you're, you know, and to have the best luck again. But you gotta have the luck to. And no matter what we dio, you know it's easy to pat ourselves on the back or get mad ourselves when something doesn't go right or something does go right. And I think everybody's choices we have chance and store yours. So you better just you know yourself in a position to have a lot of opportunities to be lucky, because we all need it.I can say I knew that I wanted to leave finance for a long time. You know, again, look at my overall career. I want to run a company. And there was a company that was hiring for a CFO position. I was totally qualified for it. This is when I was still in finance and I applied for it. I interviewed Went awesome is for a CFO position. And I really, really, really, really wanted a tech company. And I came down the wire, They're gonna hire me. And then a guy from Harvard swooped in and he got the job over me, and it was super disappointing because I was like, I want to move my career to the next level. I want to move on all these things. I really liked the company, and, uh, I didn't get a job. That's that's it. It just didn't happen. And so I kind of like, mhm. I could sit there kind of looking my wounds on the whole thing. And my wife is just like, No, this is like, let's move on to the next thing. So I was like, cool. And a week later I started code word I got the call week later from a friend that that, uh, my buddy that helped me start code word and my future partner. And we started code word a week and a half later so I would have gotten that first job. Then I wanted desperately I never would've started my company. I never would have sold it. I'd probably be that company, kind of like had a few good years, then failed overall. So it's just kind of interesting. Sometimes you think you know what you want and you know, that's why I say Don't beat yourself up for, like, the negative things either, because, you know, like adversary often produces the like where the the environment for you to grow in, Which is kind of what it did for me, that really it was pretty happy about that.
What starting job (after internship) would you recommend to students who hope to grow professionally like you? What other parting advice, dos, and don'ts would you give?
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Oct 16 2020
My biggest thing is just find the job. Like I said, think about your job where you want to be and you may not know where you wanna be. So think of the best endpoint you can further standpoint you can and thinking job that gives you either the skills or the experience, Um, or the name. I mean, you could do it. Just be strategic about what you go into it for. Don't just sometimes strategies. I wanna make a lot of money and maybe you'll have that opportunity. But I do it thoughtfully, just like you think about what job you're going into and find the right job for you. There's times in my career I left Goldman Sachs. I went to a middle market investment bank, and I I was. It was in Denver of all places, and I took a massive pay cut almost a 50% pay cut to go there because I wanted a certain skill set on my modeling in Excel, and I was why I went there. I want to go from it being ah, specialist to a generalist on these companies so I could understand business is better, so I could run a business MAWR later down the line, and that was worth it to me to do that because I needed the experience for this thing. But think about your career effectively like that I said, a narrative approach to it, like, Where do you want to end or where do you want to be even in a few years and find the right job for that? In that much time, some of you will want to go back to school. Some of you want to stay in the career in the work force. Some of you wanna like, you know, move on and get a different go get a PhD in something who knows but think. Find the career that it's not all about money. And it's not all about, uh, you know, anyone thing. Just think. Try and take a holistic view and find the job that even if it pays less or even if it's like not as cool or even if it's whatever find it, that will point you in the right direction and have the right trajectory for whatever that end point is, and you'll get there and then, like I said, the other biggest piece of ice and give anybody is when in doubt, build something like if you're interested, I have you all times like oh, I wanna get because I get questions about how to be an executive, how to be a writer, how to be good at excel, how to be an analyst, Whatever. Whatever the hell it is, just do it like don't wait for anybody to tell you how to do it. If you want to be a writer, start writing stuff and put yourself in a position. Sun Tsu, in the art of war, talks about putting his people. If you want to succeed in something, put yourself on a death ground, which means you either have to succeed or die doing it. Not only an actual death, but in this case, if you're going to be a writer, right, a public blawg, send your friends to it. Make your your boyfriend or girlfriend. Read it, give yourself actual stakes to these things and become good at it. And then just work, work, work and that other. The other thing is, besides putting on the death ground. Ah, I just lost my train of thought. I said it earlier today, but I can't remember now. So when in doubt, build something, I think people that are interesting to stuff and it may I have a dozen blog's. I have a dozen companies. I have all these things that went nowhere. But I have one that did here, and I have a company that sold there, and I have these things and those lead to success. So, like put yourself in the rhythm and build things like learn how to create, and that's where I think real success comes from.