난 일한만큼 돈을 벌고 싶어!
옷을 사고 집을 사고…
그 돈으로 세 끼를 먹고 싶어!
이게 큰 꿈이야?”
This guy is an insane guy. This man is a character.
Founder of PayPal.
Founder of Space X.
Founder of Tesla Motors.
Got Economics and Physics degree from U Penn.
Went to Stanford University for Applied Physics and Material Science.
Dropped out of Ph. D after two days.
What kind of guy is he?
He was born in South Africa under an engineer father and a model mother. Taught himself programming and sold his first program at the age of 12. Moved to Canada for Queens University. Then went to U Penn 2 years later. Graduated with an Economics degree from Wharton School and Physics degree from U Penn. While in U Penn, he started thinking about problems that the humanity is facing and what solution could impact the world most effectively. He came up with three areas that he will dedicate his life to: Internet, clean energy, and space. In 1995 he went to Stanford University for Ph. D in Applied Physics and Material Science. But after two days, he decided to drop out, and found a company with his brother. He slept on the office floor and took a shower at YMCA next to the office because he didn’t have enough money. 4 years later, in 1999, AltaVista (good ol’ days, right?) bought his company, giving him enough money to found a next company, X.com, which became PayPal soon later. With aggressive marketing, giving $10 for opening an account, PayPal became huge throughout the world. Then in 2002, eBay noticed the potential of PayPal, and decided to buy it from Musk for $1.5 billion. But Elon didn’t stop there. Right before the deal with eBay was made, he founded a space company called Space X, and a year later, with the fortune he made, he founded an electric car company called Tesla Motors, which was inspired by Nikola Tesla. By doing this, he accomplished all three goals that he set for himself when he was in college. With Space X, he established a goal to make space travel affordable and move 80,000 people to Mars. With Tesla Motors, he set a goal to make electric cars that are just as good as gasoline vehicles, and make them affordable. Regarding to Space X, people scoffed at him saying that he is just dreaming of a science fiction. Regarding to Tesla Motors, people were skeptical because no other motor companies were able to make electric vehicle that good enough. But a few years later, he launched a space shuttle and docked at ISS as the first commercial company, and launched a decently priced electric car that can go 426 km with one charge. But he is not stopping there. He still has many more things to do, and he will keep working until his goals are accomplished.
Wow, did he just sound like Steve Jobs? Yes. He is an innovator just like Steve Jobs.
He is a back door entry innovator, coming through the indirect route, got established, and then spoke boldly about his ideas. He snook up without notice, and established himself, gaining trust and authority from people. He was able to sneak up because he was daring in the areas that no one ever tried. And because he succeeded, he was able to have a voice in his field.
He is a workaholic. He spends 100 hours a week, working on his companies. 100 hours a week? Let’s see what this means. 24 hours in 7 days, 168 hours for a week. Subtract 100 hours. You have 68 hours left. I bet he doesn’t sleep full 7 hours everyday, but let’s assume that for now. Subtract 49 hours. You have 19 hours left to eat and do something else like taking a break or commute to your work. Let’s say he eats really quick and spends total of 2 hours every day on breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And that’s being lenient. Then you have 5 hours left. 5 hours left to spend time with your wife, play with kids, commute, or take a break. At this rate, it is probably safe to say that you have to say goodbye to your marriage and family. He basically dedicated his entire self to his work and goals in his life. For him, it was innovation, or nothing. It was the same for Steve Jobs. It wasn’t until way later that he finally got married and had kids.
He established three areas of goals to work on, which was Internet, clean energy, and space. His characteristic is that he firmly believed in what he believed in, and went forward like a tank. He actually did and executed things, with specific purposes, goals, and plans, even though they seemed very unrealistic. They were unrealistic, yet reachable ideas and goals. He explored areas that he never did before. He dared to try. He taught himself aerospace engineering while he founded and ran Space X. Same attributes from Steve Jobs.
But why does he feel different from Steve Jobs? Why do I feel distant from Steve Jobs now while feeling the excitement and passion that I felt from Steve Jobs from Elon Musk right now? Is it because my past passion belongs to the past, or because Musk is alive and Jobs is dead?
For me, I believe nanotechnology and biotechnology will be the major field in the future like mechanical engineering and electrical engineering are right now. They are so vast with so much potential that the true definition of each field is not even defined yet.
For once, I thought “Why can’t I just pursue a goal as far as I can? Isn’t it just a will power that I need to strive as far as I can?” But then soon after, I realized that without a specific goal, it can’t work out. Goals have to be specific. If you want to go farthest you can, then you have to make the specific goal that puts you to the furthest. Elon Musk set a goal of moving 80,000 people to Mars. That’s the farthest that humans can go, in our perspective right now. And throughout your lifetime, that’s going to be the farthest you can pull, because you know, we have a thing called lifespan. If we could live like 300 years, then exploring Mars and some other planets could be our goals too. But we don’t even live 100 years. Mars is the maximum he can go with his life.
This time, I will bring God into my goals. I may have role models, but they don’t live forever. Steve Jobs and Peter Cooper died. Once they die, it will stop there. They won’t provide me any inspirations. And Steve Jobs and Peter Cooper died. But with God, He can carry His promises past my lifetime, like how He did with Abraham and David. It will be up to my descendants to carry on and continue, but God will give me credit for relying on Him and believing in Him. These role models are just catalysts to give me specific goals and directions in my life. But God is the true strength, the everlasting source of energy and true wisdom and inspiration. I must mold this well when it’s still soft enough that I can fix the shape.
I will have to be different from Steve Jobs and Elon Musk because I am Christian. They will provide me practical inspiration and directions, but I must be myself at the same time because God will use me as I am to show people something different. If I were to become an entrepreneur, I will be a different one because I am Christian and I belong to God. Which is why my three main goals are going to be nanotechnology, biotechnology, and education. Philanthropy may be Musk’s side project, but philanthropy must be my major goal for me, because education and impacting students is what I live for God. That is my purpose for God. That is the area dedicated for God, no matter what I do in my life. I will impact students in education.
Some say that philanthropy can make things worse. I think it does because we are not targeting the root of the problems. People think money can solve all the problems, but it actually doesn’t. It has made many places worse. Pouring billions of dollars into the troubled area didn’t solve the problems because this solution wasn’t sustainable. Money is a huge help for the mean, but it is not the end. What people misunderstood and did was that they kept giving fish to people. But if you keep giving them fish, they are not going to be able to live for themselves once the fish supply stops. We have to attack the root of the problems. We have to teach them how to fish. And that’s why education is so important. It teaches them how to fish. It teaches them how to imagine. And imagination can go infinitely far, bringing ideas for changes, and changes that will bring transformation and revolution.
Because of God and the transformation He has brought in college, now I view biotechnology differently. I always had a bleak perspective on biotechnology because companies become huge with monopoly over people with their patented drugs, and only the rich can have the benefit of it. But hey, Elon Musk is bringing the space technology to the people for cheaper price. Because of this, now I believe biotechnology can be done in the same way too. So that means we can have drugs and biotechnology to make it affordable. And on top of selling new medicine that people desperately need with cheaper price tags on, we can use Tom’s Shoes’ model to help the areas of this world that cannot afford the medicine. When one buys one medicine, another will go to Africa. Therefore, the more drug we sell, the more drug will go to Africa and Asia where people need it but can’t afford it. (What on earth did I just say…? Am I just babbling a random daydream, or daring a dream…?)
In biotechnology, I want to find drugs that people need, and make it affordable. Steve Jobs did the same thing. He brought the future of technology to real life, making it affordable. He knew what people subconsciously wanted and needed, and he delivered it to the world despite the scorn and scoff he received in the beginning.
In nanotechnology, while I don’t have a specific goal yet, I believe there will be countless unimaginable inventions that will transform people’s lives, especially in materials. Materials can be carbon nanotubes. Or new kinds of fabric. Or membranes.
In the future, water will be the most scarce necessity to find. As water becomes more polluted, there will be less drinkable water, causing water shortage. Membranes can be handy in this situation and used to purify water. There are currently prototypes of water purifier that looks like syringes, where you pull in water, as it goes through the membrane, water is purified and becomes drinkable. Or, as Elon Musk thought, clean, alternative, and sustainable energy is another area that nanotechnology can greatly contribute, which battery can be one of them.
Steve Jobs said “think different,” and “stay hungry. Stay foolish.” Elon Musk said “you have to think big.” These people thought differently, imagined the unimaginable. They thought ideas, technology, and business simultaneously and mix them together, which only a few can do. They believed in their ideas, embraced the risk, and carried out their thoughts in action to bring these ideas into reality despite the underlying danger.
But I cannot be just like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, copying after them. They will provide me practical, real life examples, and guidance, but I must be different because I don’t belong to this world. I am Christian, and I belong to God. I must be a different engineer, innovator, and entrepreneur. I must incorporate their strategies with God’s purpose and desires for this world. Which brings me back to this question that I asked myself in the early time of the summer, while I was searching the area that I can and want to work for my life.
What can I find?
What can I do?
What can I improve?
To show God’s Glory to the people?
But while I’m walking this path, I must make sure that I will not give in to the temptation of this world and be the worshipper of money and turn God’s work into a slave system for profit. (Well, if it were truly God’s work, then it will not become a slave system for profit in the first place.) Worshipping money is a huge sin that I must avoid. It is not what God wants to see, and it will be following the path of injustice that has been present in this world. I also shouldn’t idolize work, leaving God outside of the picture. This is the mistake I made, and through this mistake, I learned that my passion and desire without God will eventually burn out, leaving me cold and empty and turning me into ashes. I shall learn from my own history and not repeat it again.
In order not to falter but to last, I must put God first. In the midst of my passion, excitement, and desire, I must put God in the center and Him be the source of my direction, inspiration, and strength. Without God, I am just a feeble human being who will eventually die and be forgotten. But with God, everything is everlasting, and my life will not be meaningless and purposeless, but full of meanings and purposes. My faith will testify His Name, and He will be glorified through my life. Therefore, whatever I end up doing in my life, God will always have to be my first and foremost, and my utmost will be for His highest.
Conclusion? After inspirations and thoughts, now I don’t care what I end up doing. I am Christian. I belong to God. He will lead me to places where He desires. It is not my life, but His because Jesus bought my life with His blood. I am not mine. I am His.