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Is Elon Musk the next Steve Jobs?

By Kirthana Devaser

Simply put, no. Not because he doesn’t wear black turtlenecks or have peculiar eating habits. And definitely not because he is overly optimistic and sometimes defies common sense.

Steve Jobs was a hippie who could foresee how humans would grasp the shift of gadgets to what they can do today. He had the unparalleled gift to picture what people want and make it happen, almost like magic.

Elon Musk is a scientist, technologist, an inventor. The centibillionaire revolutionised the electric car industry and took the aerospace industry to the next level. SpaceX was the first ever private company to send a spacecraft to the ISS. SpaceX also became the first company to successfully launch the first reusable rocket to reach orbit. Musk may just be the Nikola Tesla (pun intended) of our generation.

Jobs and Musk are not to be compared for they are masters of their own fields. To quote Bill Gates who was asked if Musk would be the next Steve Jobs, “Elon’s more of a hands-on engineer, Steve was a genius at design and picking people & marketing. You wouldn’t walk into a room and confuse them with each other.”

Comparing Steve Jobs and Elon Musk is the equivalent of comparing Harry Potter to Luke Skywalker - they have similarities, but one is not greater than the other. They are both figureheads and have successfully become the face of their respective companies. When you imagine Jobs, you think of the piercing stare and charm in his glare. When you think of Musk, you think impulse tweets and memes.

Simply put, they ‘put the legend in legend-ary’ in their own ways.

How are Steve Jobs and Elon Musk Similar?

Believe it or not, Jobs and Musk have their similarities. They may have different leadership styles, but they have common grounds. They are driven by their vision and most significantly, they are notorious for asking their team for the impossible. This has created a culture of excellence for their respective organisations.

Emotional Game

Jobs is often seen as the father of Apple whilst Musk is arguably the “It man” in today’s world of entrepreneurship.

Both Jobs and Musk have inherently created an emotional connection, which has garnered an army of loyal fans respectively. The biggest difference, however, is the fact that Steve Jobs sold Apple to the public eye, but Elon Musk successfully marketed himself. Steve Jobs was Apple and Apple is Steve Jobs. But Elon Musk is not Tesla or even SpaceX. Tesla and SpaceX are seen as Elon Musk.

Differences between Steve Jobs and Elon Musk

Whilst both Jobs and Musk have their similarities. They also have their differences. For example, Steve Jobs was said to rehearse presentations a month in advance and was always on time. Elon Musk is said to never prepare for interviews because it is a waste of time and is often quite late to interviews. Apple always met deadlines and roadmaps were always delivered on time. Tesla often postpones deadlines.

Pedestal

The likes of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are put on an unattainable pedestal. The average consumer can only dream of achieving a mere fraction of their success. Elon Musk on the other hand appeals to the average consumer, the average millennial. Even though he is known as the real life Iron-Man and his achievements are fully recognised, Musk’s casualness appeals to many. He is humble and stays engaged with his audience. Millennials love Musk for more than just his futuristic companies, they love him for his realness. His pedestal is but a journey to the moon, and hey! He wants to make that reality for you and I.

Final Thoughts

Frankly speaking, there is no comparison to be made. Whether you measure net-worth or successful projects, there is no set measure of success.

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