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Tesla CEO Elon Musk talks about design [Video]


Stanford recently released the video of a talk between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and investor Steve Jurvetson. The discussion focused on Musk’s vision of the future and if you are an avid watcher of Musk’s interviews, you probably will not learn much from the hour-long video, but we still found a few interesting moments worth sharing.

In response to a student’s question, the CEO explained his approach to design. Musk says that it’s fairly easy to make a car look good by making it low and slim, but the difficulty is in balancing aesthetic design with functionality, which he described as being the biggest challenge with the Tesla Model S and X.

Steve Jurvetson briefly worked with Steve Jobs at Apple and Next in the 90s and he sees similarities between Musk’s and Jobs’ approaches to design. Especially their deep-seated aversion to design imperfections, which Musk said can drive him “bananas”.

Musk tries to find the elements that can “trigger the emotion of appreciation of beauty in your mind”. A great example, but not in the discussion: Musk was so determined to make the Model X’s Falcon Wing doors opened and rose up like the swan arms ballet move that he actually made the engineers watch ballet.

With so much speculation about the design of the upcoming Tesla Model 3, it is interesting to get a peek at Musk’s thought process when it comes to design.

If you have a full hour, the whole video might be worth a watch. With Jurvetson knowing Musk for 20 years and being very involved and his companies, there’s no one better to interview him. Here’s the video starting at the design question:


The iconic entrepreneur behind SpaceX, Tesla Motors and Paypal shares his predictions for artificial intelligence, renewable energy and space exploration, in conversation with DFJ General Partner Steve Jurvetson at Stanford on Oct. 7, 2015. University President John Hennessy introduces the future-focused discussion, which follows Musk’s journey from his first Internet startup in the mid-nineties to his dream of a Mars colony in the next 20 years.

Picture: Steve Jurvetson via Flickr

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