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Why Elon Musk's trusted long-time tech chief grew a beard and waved bye-bye to SpaceX

George Nott | Feb. 15, 2017
Brendan Spikes was Musk’s most trusted IT lieutenant for the next 15 years.

“And next year is going to be a game-changing improvement,” says Spikes. “If we succeed on this it could actually be more compelling to use our technology than to use a traditional browser.”

What have I done

“Starting a company takes guts,” Spikes says. “It takes courage right? And sort of irrational optimism.”

The transition from CIO to CEO was “big”, he says. Learning the financial aspect of running a business was a steep learning curve for the “engineer type”. The need to raise capital and keep check on the costs of running a business gave Spikes an even greater respect for his former boss.

“I think 'oh shit what have I done' all the time! It’s a constant thing,” he jokes. “But being an entrepreneur is awesome. It’s scary right and it does take a certain amount of bravery. And confidence. But should you? Yeah. It’s a great adventure.”

And the biggest lesson learnt from all those years at Musk’s side?

“That it’s never about the idea really. It’s about the execution,” Spikes says. “I’ve seen startups that aren't doing anything like what they set out to do initially. In fact SpaceX is one of those. Don’t let the idea be why you would start a company. Let the desire to have that adventure be the reason to start the company.”

Branden Spikes

 

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