Working on "Elon Time"

Working on "Elon Time"

I got back from TED 2018 - The Age Of Amazement a few days ago. I am only now just recovering. Over the five days, there are some 90+ talks, multiple experiences, workshops, Jeffersonian dinners, parties. All that with some of the most incredible people you’ll ever meet in your life. The event in its entirety is NO JOKE. And yes, I’m going again next year.

As I sat through each session, I kept my TED catalog of speakers tucked in my lap with my pen ready to take notes, trying to absorb as much as I could from this mental deluge of information. Notes, my friends, I wanted to make for you. I kept thinking…

  • What information would be helpful to the readers?
  • Would that woman let me feature her on #ladybadass.com because she’s awesome?
  • Are there any new lessons I can learn that will make me better for those I coach?

I took copious notes which I’m still going through. I hope that the ripple effect from the amazing people I met will continue to be valuable to everyone.

To start with I thought I’d share a story, a story that reminded me that even the superfabulous people of TED struggle with how to articulate their awesome. Let me read you some copy from the catalog about a couple of our esteemed speakers.

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Each speaker had one page with a full-size headshot beaming out. On the second page was a bright pink headline about the speaker, a short bio then room for my scribbles.

It was the pink headlines that got my attention. Let me share with you two.

Speaker A: “responsible for day-to-day operations and for managing all customer and strategic relations.”

Speaker B: “a fella who tries to find out interesting things and tell others about them.”

Dear awesome readers, who would you want to meet?

If you chose Speaker A, shoot me a note with why. I’m genuinely curious. Everyone I’ve asked so far has looked at me askance and said something along the lines of “Duh, Speaker B, of course. He sounds way more interesting.”

And yet folks, Speaker A was the ever so #ladybadass Gwynne Shotwell, President & COO of SpaceX. Yes, she’s the one who runs the whole operation that put that Tesla Roadster up into orbit in early February. At TED she hilariously mentioned that Mars was a “fixer upper” planet. She was marvelous in every sense of the word. I wrote GIRL CRUSH across my page. She also spoke so brilliantly about her role balancing between “Elon time” and the reality of what her team could accomplish without totally freaking out.

And yet, if I hadn’t been sitting in the audience that day and just read the headline, I might have skipped her talk all because her headline was boring. Gwynne Shotwell is NOT boring.


So in the spirit of the Jo Jo Magic, below are a couple of options of what Gwynne could use as her headline. I’ve used language that she herself used during her exceptional interview. I think we should help her, don’t you?

Example 1: Selling rockets is all about connection and relationships, and if you want to colonise Mars you need to sell a couple of rockets. I grow the connections and relationships as the President and COO of SpaceX so we can build and sell a future for humans on Mars.

Example 2: All the time and all the money in the world doesn’t always produce the best solution. Constraints are what drive us to innovate, to invent, and yes to recycle at SpaceX. It’s those constraints - especially of managing “Elon Time” - that challenge me to guide the team at SpaceX as the President and COO.

Just out of curiosity. Which one do you prefer now?

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