|Musk's Tesla Energy talk was off the grid.|
Musk was thoughtful at an early age. While he was in college, he concluded that the three areas that would most affect the future of humanity were the Internet, sustainable energy and space exploration. He did not expect to found companies in all three areas, but went to grad school to work on energy storage for electric cars (using capacitors, not batteries). He realized that his capacitor storage might fail and decided he would rather work on the Internet than study it.
He speaks of large problems he wants to solve, not of business, profit, return on investment or stock prices -- those are means to his ends. He wants to bring Internet connectivity to sparsely populated and developing areas and provide 50% of global, long-distance connectivity (5-15 years), accelerate the advent of sustainable transport (half of our cars to be electric in 13-14 years), send people to Mars (12 years) and eliminate use of fossil fuels (a generation or two).
He is not trying to do any of this on his own -- he wants to be a catalyst. Tesla was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport, not to dominate the car industry, so they will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use their technology. Simlarly, Musk sees their huge battery factory, Gigafactory verson 1, as a product to be replicated by others -- The Tesla policy of open sourcing patents will continue for the Gigafactory and battery systems.
He is a relaxed speaker with a sense of humor. Musk and Steve Jobs are two of the best speakers I have seen, but a Jobs presentation was planned and rehearsed to perfection, while Musk seems to be speaking off the cuff. That being said, his product introductions in the following Tesla Energy talk were reminiscent of Jobs -- he used a few slides with images, not text, and spoke over them in the Jobs style. He even included a Jobs-like surprise. He revealed that the auditorium and talk were powered by his batteries, which had been charged using solar power (image below) -- like Job's "one more thing" moments or the "three new products" that turned out to be the iPhone.
If you would like to get to know Elon Musk and how I came to admire him, I recommend the following videos. (I have my students watch them).
Sal Khan of the Khan Academy interviewing Elon Musk
April 2013, 48:41, 502,483 views
This conversation gives insight into Musk’s goals and his motivation for investing in Tesla and SpaceX and you get know Sal Khan as well.
Recruiting engineers for the SpaceX satellite Internet access project
January 2015, 25:53, 23,348 views
In this talk Musk describes his plan to create a constelation of satellites to provide fast, global Internet service.
Announcement of Tesla Energy
May 2015, 18:02, 2,112,997 views
In this presentation, Musk annpounces products -- integrated, open-source battery systems for consumers, enterprises and utilities and the open source Gigafactory to manufacture them.
If you'd like to see more, there is a YouTube channel that claims to have links to every Elon Musk video and you can read an excerpt from a forthcoming biography of Musk here. It's a long post that traces events from his early desire to grow plants on Mars in order to stimulate interest in space through the near-bankruptcy of Tesla and/or SpaceX, which was averted at the last minute by winning a NASA contract. You can see a video (4:53) of an interview of the author, Bloomberg's Ashlee Vance, here.