First off, Musk co-founded and runs both Tesla and Space X. That's a pretty good start. We won't hold founding PayPal against him, either. He's also got some Canadian connections, which never hurts. His mother is Canadian and he spent time at Queen's University. But, that's not why I think he's cool. I've seen him give numerous interviews and he's great. He's not great in a funny or amazingly charismatic way, but he's just so smart, thoughtful and bold. He's doing some incredible things and they all seem like very noble endeavours. Beautiful electric cars. Reusable rockets that launch into outer space. Colonizing other planets. High speed rail "Hyperloop". So cool.
His interview on The Daily Show in 2012 was great, but in fairness, Jon Stewart makes most interviews great.
This talk he gave where he got into talking battery technology with an Apple engineer is interesting too.
The reason I even started writing this today is because of Re/Code's coverage of an appearance he made at the World Energy Innovation Forum. Here's a great anecdote he told about selling Tesla Model S's to Google employees:
Most people just charge their Model S’s at home, because it’s got 260 miles of range or thereabouts.
I was having a conversation about this yesterday with Larry Page. He was saying all the chargers at Google are filled with [Nissan] LEAFs and [Chevy] Volts.
I thought, ‘Geez, what are we doing wrong? Do we need to do more to sell Model S’s at Google?’
He said ‘No, there are lots of Model S’s at Google — but nobody bothers charging them at work.’
Musk named Tesla Motors after the famous inventor and electrical engineer Nikola Tesla. I just finished reading a biography of Tesla, and although much of it was very technical and a little over my head, you can't help but be amazed by what the guy accomplished in the late 1800's and early 1900's. The guy was a genius and changed the way we all live today. Anyway, so Musk just confirmed via Twitter that he'll be making a donation to help build a Tesla museum.
Those are just a few of the things that I think make Musk a pretty cool guy, and someone who we'll be hearing more and more about in the coming years.