Elon Musk is the ambitious founder and CEO of SpaceX, a private company that has won more launch contracts than anyone else in the launch business. In this lesson excerpt, Musk explains his approach to innovation in the space race. The full lesson, available on Big Think+, offers strategies for identifying an industry worthy of disruption.
Elon Musk: When you’re looking for an opportunity, I think it’s important not so much to focus on just disruption for the sake of it, but rather where is an industry either stagnant or in decline, where the product or service has stayed pretty much the same or maybe even gotten worse over time? It’s worth looking at industries which a lot of people think are impossible or think you can’t succeed at - that’s usually where there’s opportunity. If everyone thinks you can succeed in an industry, they’re probably diving in.
In the space industry, things have gotten worse over time. They’ve not gotten better. When you consider the fact that we were able to go to the moon in ’69, with Saturn V, and then with the space shuttle we were able to go only to low-earth orbit, and now the space shuttle’s retired and the United States cannot get a single person into orbit without the help of the Russians. That is a terrible trajectory. So, I started Space X with the goal of reversing that.