On risk: “Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”
On the future: “There's a fundamental difference, if you look into the future, between a humanity that is a space-faring civilization, that's out there exploring the stars … compared with one where we are forever confined to Earth until some eventual extinction event.”
On government licensing: “We have essentially no patents in SpaceX. Our primary long-term competition is in China. If we published patents, it would be farcical, because the Chinese would just use them as a recipe book.”
On ideas: “[Physics is] a good framework for thinking. … Boil things down to their fundamental truths and reason up from there.”
On hiring: "[My biggest mistake is probably] weighing too much on someone's talent and not someone's personality. I think it matters whether someone has a good heart."
On perseverance: “If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.”
On ambition: “The first step is to establish that something is possible; then probability will occur.”
On progress: “I came to the conclusion that we should aspire to increase the scope and scale of human consciousness in order to better understand what questions to ask. Really, the only thing that makes sense is to strive for greater collective enlightenment.”
On his childhood experiments: “It is remarkable how many things you can explode. I’m lucky I have all my fingers.”
On iteration: “You want to be extra rigorous about making the best possible thing you can. Find everything that’s wrong with it and fix it. Seek negative feedback, particularly from friends.”
On motive: "Going from PayPal, I thought: 'Well, what are some of the other problems that are likely to most affect the future of humanity?' Not from the perspective, 'What's the best way to make money?'"
People have even said that Elon Musk is more interesting than Steve Jobs ...