The Stanford Business School Alumni Association’s ENCORE award for Entrepreneurial Company of the Year has chosen LinkedIn, Twitter, Amazon, and Apple, twice. This year it chose Tesla Motors for the honor, and its founder Elon Musk specifically, whose 10-year-old electric car company has gained $23 million.
Musk studied all the sci fi favorites at school: sustainable energy, internet, planetary motion, and also artificial intelligence and rewriting genetics. Musk’s career began after he left an applied physics doctorate at Stanford in 1995 to program a Web software company Zip2 with his brother. They sold it to Compaq eventually, becoming multimillionaires.
Elon went on to help cofound what would became PayPal, an internet financing company, before moving on to found both SpaceX, a company that is to schedule and finance missions to Mars, and also Tesla. Though being the CEO cost him 100-hour workweeks, which only lately have slowed to “80 or 90” hour weeks, he has managed to make them work.
Google co-founder Larry Page thinks highly of the upstart, saying “If I were to get hit by a bus today, then I would leave all of [my money] to Elon Musk.” He was particluarly impressed by Musk’s “higher calling” business philosophy.
As for his SpaceX campaign, it was inpired by his interest in NASA missions. “There’s a tremendous amount of will in the American population, particularly to explore,” he said. “The United States, maybe more than any country, is the distillation of the human spirit of exploration. And it is really fundamental to the psyche.”