Josh Davis

I'm currently a software engineer working on machine learning at AWS and am living in Seattle.

I like to learn, read books, and code.

I never save anything for the swim back.

11 August 2013

My Favorite Elon Musk Quote

Recently I’ve been going on an Elon Musk video watching spree as you can see by my recent playlist on YouTube.

Elon Musk, without a doubt, is the man I look up to most at the moment. With the exception of Steve Wozniak, most of the other people that I really admire have all passed away. This includes people like Richard Feynman, Carl Sagan, Benjamin Franklin, and Steve Jobs.

One of the interview videos that I watched recently was a clip of Elon at the 2013 SXSW. He was asked the following question:

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made and how did you move forward? Looking back, was it really that big of a deal?

I’ve linked to the point in the interview that it happens. If you have the time, I’d definitely recommend watching the whole thing. It’s an excellent interview, like always.

I figured he would mention something about building a business or possibly a financial situation, but he didn’t. It was actually straight from Elon’s heart which is why I really enjoyed it.

It took him awhile to come up with an answer for it but here is what he answered:

The biggest mistake, in general, that I’ve made and I’m trying to correct for that is to put too much of a weighting on somebody’s talent and not enough on their personality… It actually matters whether someone has a good heart, it really does. I’ve made the mistake of thinking sometimes it’s just about the brain.

The reason why I love this quote so much is that it completely embodies the way I approach the world. I have always argued that if one cares enough and works hard enough, they will always outperform someone that somewhat cares and is only riding on their natural ability.

This whole idea, I think, is best shown in the movie Gattaca. It is without a doubt my favorite movie. If you haven’t Googled it by now, my favorite tag line: “I never save anything for the swim back” is from Gattaca.

The next post that I will write in the next week or so will talk about why I love Gattaca so much. It is a long overdue post but I think it’ll be a good one. Stay tuned.

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