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Gaining consent of the interviewee and finalizing the time plan

An interview can be undertaken as a basic conversation format done to gain a piece of varied information, consisting of discreet details helping the interviewer in terms of analysing and interpreting the information (Slade and Sergent 2018). Based on the provided subject topic, intuitive research would be conducted in the likes of a conventional interview process with highly successful and emerging entrepreneurs in this modern 21st century helping in providing discreet information regarding the various subjective questions raised. The basic purpose of the interview is to gain knowledge related to a specific market field. The interviewer wants to gain access to information that helps interpret and analyse the various strategic steps and implemented steps a successful entrepreneur undertakes to witness optimum outcomes when faced with shortcomings. In this assignment topic, the researcher will act as the interviewer, conducting a conversational interview with Elon Musk, a business tycoon, and a dedicated entrepreneur in the 21st century. The study will further focus on identifying the organisational leadership imposed and followed by Mr Elon Musk along with that conduct a critical analysis regarding the discrete character traits possessed by this individual to help in identifying the behavioural and characteristics traits possessed by the individual.

Gaining consent is extremely important during the setting up of an interview process with a reputed individual. Based on Arifin (2018) falls under the section of basic ethical consideration, where consent regarding voluntary participation is needed to be provided to help in conducting in-depth research, where the interviewee can stress some salient facts and information. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the entire interview process with Mr Elon Musk will be conducted on the online platform (Zoom). When a definite of 10 questions will be raised, where Mr Musk will provide the most detailed information analysis helping in gaining a coherent outcome. The entire convocation of this semi-formal interview process will take approximately 30 minutes since it is understandable that such a dynamic and busy individual possesses an extremely low schedule.

To gain the overall permission, I have conducted necessary activities such as sending a personal letter addressed to him to his corporate secretary situated in Tesla, Inc. 3500 Deer Creek Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304 United States along with some repetitive Tweets regarding participating in the interview process ( 2022). I assimilated in the conduction of all these miscellaneous activities for 1 month before gaining approval regarding the decision where he was willing to conduct the interview. The online interview meeting was set for 26th April 2022, at sharp 5 p.m. (AST). Along with me and Mr Musk, the secretary Mr Musk will also be present at the meeting. I will provide the sending of the link and accessibility to Mr Musk’s secretary 15 minutes before the interview takes place, helping in avoiding any form of lament delay. The entire interview session would be recorded for conducting analysis of the questions raised, helping the interviewer in terms gaining optimum time for interpreting and analysing the information received.

Selection of the language

The conversational tone and language will be kept semi-formal since it will help better understand a situation. The overall interview will be conducted in English, helping both the interviewer and the interviewee communicate in harmony. The topic of discussion would be mainly on the current rise of entrepreneurs and the leadership styles imposed by such individuals.

Before conducting the interview, it is extremely important to talk about the interviewee himself. In terms of the automobile sector, electric vehicles are the new future, and the current global spearhead who has completely transformed the e-vehicles game is Tesla, owned by Elon Musk (Strauss and Smith 2019). Born on 28th June 1971 in Pretoria, South Africa, Elon Musk possessed early talent in programming and handling various software intricacies from an early age. At age 50, Elon Musk stands as the world’s richest man alive accounting for a net worth of $267.1 billion (BBC News 2022). Before the making of Tesla, Elon Musk was already involved in the making of applications like PayPal and SpaceX. PayPal was formulated in 1999 with the help of Kimbal Reeve Musk, brother of Elon Musk (Maamoun 2021). Musk was also related to the making of an online banking system under the name of which went on a merger with Confinity in early 2000, that later led to the formulation of PayPal, which eBay later bought in 2002 for a whopping net worth of $1.5 billion (Musk 2021).

When promulgated in the current scenario, can be witnessed in 2002, Elon Musk founded SpaceX, a business organisation that provides services in terms of space transport services as well as being an aerospace manufacturer. Currently, he stands as the CEO and Chief Engineer of SpaceX (Pisarchik, Maksimenko and Hramov 2019). However, the technological reformation brought by him in the entire ecosphere of the automobile sector is with the introduction of Tesla Motors in 2004. The entire dynamics regarding the misconception related to the relatability e-vehicles possess, the difference in ergonomics with the ICE (internal combustion engines) holds has been completely changed (Khan 2021). Further, the addition of futuristic specifications like autopilot facilities, out-of-the-box designs, and build stature has helped Tesla gain exponential market caps in the automobile sector across the globe (Muegge and Reid 2019). It can be justified. Mr Musk is an innovator, deploying futuristic designs and developing projects that highlight him as one of the most successful entrepreneurs. In 2016, Elon Musk also initiated the creation of Neuralink, a start-up company possessing neurotechnological advancements regarding integrating AI (artificial intelligence) with the human brain (Kulshreshth, Anand and Lakanpal 2019). The overall concept regarding this technological repair, which helps humans merge with machines, helps add clarity related to communicating with software more effectively. Thus, it can be analysed and deduced that in terms of being an entrepreneur and an innovator, finding a competitor or someone at his level is extremely hard. Since the ideas, Mr Elon Musk brings in are completely new and fresh.      

Overview of the person

Interviewer: So, ladies and gentlemen, it is that time of the day when I will be the lucky one interviewing an eminent personality, a philanthropist, an entrepreneur, an innovator, an engineer, and whatnot. Ladies and gentlemen, with a warm round of applause, please welcome, none other than Mr Elon Musk. Hello sir, welcome to this online interview, and thanks again for making time allocation for attending this interview.

Elon Musk: Thank you for such a warm welcome. It would be my pleasure to interview on a wide topic of discussion related to entrepreneurship and career-related aspects. As far as I recall, this would be the first time where a STUDENT has approached me to give an interview. I am all set and will provide the necessary details regarding the questions you raise. SO, LET’S GO!

Interviewer: So, here goes the first question:

  1. Interviewer:What motivates you to constantly develop and keep up with the changing environment even when you are at the pinnacle of your life?

Elon Musk: I would say if in life you want to become a successful entrepreneur, you have constantly evolved and adapted with time and developed necessary outcomes to help in meeting the customer's needs and wants. From an early age, I wanted to develop products and establish something that completely segregates me from the rest. I would say that is what always motivated me in terms of never giving up and doing whatever I can to remain successful.  

  1. Interviewer: What would be the key driving force that helped you become an entrepreneur?

Elon Musk: My brother. Both of us, from an early age, were extremely competitive and constantly pushed each other to our limits. During my university days, my brother proposed bringing in an application that could provide a guide to newspapers on the online interface, which led to the formation of Zip2. So, it is pretty evident that I always think my key driving element towards becoming a successful entrepreneur is Kimbal. Other role models I always idolised while growing up were Edison and Nikola Tesla. Once you have a successful, hardworking individual as your role model, try to stay focused and do all the activities that the individual has accomplished. Guys……ALWAYS STAY PERSISTENT.   

  1. Interviewer: How did you come up with the name Tesla?

Elon Musk: As I said earlier, since my childhood days, I have had this weird liking for innovators and inventors. As far as the name goes, it is completely derived from my childhood idol Nikola Tesla. No gimmick, straight-up fascination led to creating a company under the name of my childhood idol.

  1. Interviewer: What is the potential way to identify the right customer base and how to target it?

Elon Musk: I would say that segmenting the customers according to their choice is the first step in determining and understanding the potential customer mindset. Secondly, it should be followed by the research of the potential competitors. Thirdly, I would like to shape a well-designed marketing strategy, and lastly, it should identify the new demands of the consumers and shift their behaviour. I, as an entrepreneur, focus and emphasis more on the customer shifting behaviour and their demands to target the right customers.

  1. Interviewer: What is your most probable fear, and how do you interface and mitigate one?

Conducting the interview

Elon Musk:  Failure. It is the probable fear that I used to avoid in any circumstances. I would like to maintain open coordination with my team members and managers. To avoid any type of failure, entrepreneurs must think to build and develop a solid plan and control and monitor the risk deliverables. It can be the best way to prevent failure from any cause.

  1. Interviewer: How would you determine success and failure?

Elon Musk: Attitude. My brother's attitude is the only thing that determines both success and failure. I would determine success by my attitude and utilize myself to my full potential. Several goals are there which seem to be more complex than the others, but according to me, a positive mindset and attitude is the only key that makes the work easier to achieve the goals positively.

  1. Interviewer: What key areas and activities would you recommend an entrepreneur focus on?

Elon Musk: I would like to mention and recommend that entrepreneurs must focus and put more emphasis on building and developing the business accordingly, rather than doing busywork. The key area which the entrepreneurs must focus on is that they should do things that empower them rather than discourage them. Further, they should listen to the customer’s demands and requirements, not just critics. Lastly, I would say that they also emphasize selling the products instead of raising the findings.

  1. Interviewer: On a typical day, how long do you work?

Elon Musk: Apart from sleeping just 5 to 6 hours a day, I used to put stress on my work based on engineering works and designs.

  1. Interviewer: Can you highlight the current changes that are taking place in the leadership styles of a budding entrepreneur?

Elon Musk: In the current day scenario, I have seen that most of the emerging entrepreneurs are using authoritarian leadership styles, and it has been observed that it creates a barrier between the team members and the hierarchy of the organisation. Hence, this results in low productivity and major challenges regarding their aims and goals. In this case, I would like to recommend that transformational leadership will be the effective one for change management. It can benefit the team members, as it generates a strong relationship. Between the team members and the managers as they used to interact freely with their members. Besides this, it also encourages learning and puts more emphasis on creativity and minimises employee turnover.

Interviewer: The Covid 19 pandemic has caused a major paradigm shift. Tell you the major problems you faced and the potential risk mitigation strategies you implied?

Elon Musk: I would say that I have faced many challenges due to the pandemic breakdown by Covid-19. The main issue was that I believed it was just influenza or any other form of cold; it is nothing deadlier or more severe to the health status. Nevertheless, the pandemic has impacted negatively on the world and created major problems such as customers losing their purchasing powers, breakdown of the supply chain, acting on moving forward, and finding new consumers.

I have implied some of the covid-19 safety guidelines, which should be considered to mitigate the risk. Through Tesla, it has been implemented that the meetings should be done through video conferencing and minimise the gatherings; people should wear masks and proper sanitisation and clean measurements to be taken.

From the above interviews conducted with Elon Musk, it has been observed that he is a person who used to think positively and also believed that the attitude is the key aspect that can measure the approach to success. According to him, his motivational idols are Edison and Nikola Tesla. He used to implement transformational leadership in his organisation and believed that it is the leadership style that can be an effective change management process over autocratic leadership. This leadership not only improves productivity but also achieves the final aims and goals of the organisation. It has been observed that he used to work 80 to 100 hours a week on engineering works and designs. Besides this, it has been recognised that his probable fear is a failure, and he used to avoid those circumstances through open communication with their team members.

The leadership style implied within any organisational culture holds great importance towards receiving optimum work output from employees. According to the opinion of Angelos et al. (2021), to effectively handle organisational disputes, ensuring the establishment of an ethical organisational culture and application of the right organisational leadership provides a great beneficial advantage. In this scenario, the leadership style imposed by Elon Musk within Tesla and SpaceX can be seen as a transformational leadership style. Transformational leadership can be undertaken as works with the motive of inspiring and motivating employees helping in the shaping up of the organisational future. As opinionated by Abelha, Carneiro and Cavazotte (2018), transformational leadership holds a strong influence in shaping and changing the attitude and behaviours of the customers. For this case scenario, applying the transformational leadership style would be the preferable theory to justify to the entrepreneur. The transformational leadership theory consists of 4 integral parts; it is as follows:

Inspirational motivation: The main base of transformational leadership can be seen as the presence of constant mission, vision, and consistency within each key member as in employees within the organisation (Pink and Sonnentag 2018). Leaders who apply the following transformational leadership help guide the employees by finding the potential solutions when interfaced with a challenge. When looking at this case, Elon Musk can be seen as an extremely optimistic and enthusiastic leader who incorporates following a coherent work culture, where the constant inflow of motivation and employee support is present, helping in providing rapid organisational growth.    

Intellectual stimulation: In such a stage, leaders apply innovation and creativity within the workspace promoting encouragement. Leaders stress finding “what” is the issue instead of blaming their subordinates (Pink and Sonnentag 2018). In such a leadership style, leaders incorporate reformed business practices, eliminating orthodox work culture to promote better growth. Elon Musk has completely transformed the orthodox work culture and applied in following innovative work culture to promote better work output.

Idealised influence: Leaders in transformational leadership follow the philosophy that leaders need to practice what they preach to the employees. Leaders act as role models for their employees, resulting in mutual trust and respect between both parties. In transformational leadership, the overall goal is to influence the employees toward achieving one unified goal (Faupel and Süß 2019). Musk implies praising employees and their accomplishments around everyone, helping in bringing employees to the limelight as well helping in the initiation of a confidence boost.   

Individualised consideration: A leader serves as a mentor to their followers, providing rewards to all those showing initiative and ingenuity. The leader applies a different style of communication and treatment based on the differences in the knowledge and talents of the employees (Faupel and Süß 2019). Thereby it helps in providing better decision making leading to a better outcome.

Figure 1: Transformational leadership theory

(Source: Abelha, Carneiro and Cavazotte 2018)

For conducting this above assignment, three needed skills were needed to be developed that helped in completing this assignment. Mainly I must stress and work on my communication skills, time management skills and critical thinking ability to successfully develop this assignment. Harris and Clayton (2018) state that adaptation and upgrading of oneself within necessary skills can help in doing better career navigation and help in keeping up with the rapidly changing world. I prepared the overall project timeline at least 1 month before conducting the interview. During this 1-month phase, I worked on the mentioned skills to remove any form of latency and stuttering during the interview. I must select a necessary discussion topic and prepare a strategic questionnaire to gain valuable insights from this reputed entrepreneur. Along with that, I must do repeated check-ups and track related to gaining the acceptance from the personal manager of Elon Musk to be able to convince him in terms of conducting this interview. Thus, I have developed these needed skills, which will further promote me to gain better career exposure in the future.


Intuitive research was conducted on the allocated research topic that focused on discussing and presenting a constructive analysis related to a successful entrepreneur selected by the interviewer as a student. The research presented a constructive analysis by presenting the overall accumulated details regarding the activities conducted by the interviewer in terms of gaining the consent of Elon Musk, who would provide discreet information regarding entrepreneurs and leadership. The research showcases a detailed question sample and the valuable answers presented by this eminent personality. The study focused on identifying the leadership style imposed and followed by Elon Musk himself within his organisation culture and carefully dissected the information regarding the various strengths. The study also conducted a critical analysis regarding the beneficial aids experienced by Elon Musk with following transformational leadership style and presented a self-critical evaluation regarding the activities conducted to achieve the overall assignment. Thus, it can be concluded that the research addressed the necessary points within the assignments, helping in presenting a coherent outcome.


Abelha, D.M., Carneiro, P.C.D.C. and Cavazotte, F.D.S.C.N., 2018. Transformational leadership and job satisfaction: Assessing the influence of organizational contextual factors and individual characteristics. Revista Brasileira de Gestao de Negocios, 20, pp.516-532.

Angelos, P., Devon, K., Ferreres, A.R., McLeod, R. and Ellison, E.C., 2021. A crucial moment for reflection on the importance of ethical leadership in academic medicine. Annals of Surgery, 273(2), pp.e46-e49.

BBC News. 2022. Elon Musk's six secrets to business success. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 27 April 2022].

Faupel, S. and Süß, S., 2019. The effect of transformational leadership on employees during organizational change–an empirical analysis. Journal of Change Management, 19(3), pp.145-166.

Harris, R. and Clayton, B., 2018. the importance of skills–but which skills?. International Journal of Training Research, 16(3), pp.195-199.

Khan, M., 2021. A critical analysis of Elon Musk’s leadership in Tesla motors. Journal of Global Entrepreneurship Research, pp.1-10.

Kulshreshth, A., Anand, A. and Lakanpal, A., 2019, October. Neuralink-and Elon Musk start-up achieve symbiosis with artificial intelligence. In 2019 International Conference on Computing, Communication, and Intelligent Systems (ICCCIS) (pp. 105-109). IEEE.

Maamoun, A., 2021. Elon Musk and Tesla: An Electrifying Love Affair. SAGE Publications: SAGE Business Cases Originals.

Muegge, S. and Reid, E., 2019. Elon Musk and SpaceX: A Case Study of Entrepreneuring as Emancipation. Technology Innovation Management Review, 9(8).

Musk, E., 2021. Elon Musk Biography.

Pinck, A.S. and Sonnentag, S., 2018. Leader mindfulness and employee well-being: the mediating role of transformational leadership. Mindfulness, 9(3), pp.884-896.

Pisarchik, A.N., Maksimenko, V.A. and Hramov, A.E., 2019. From novel technology to novel applications: Comment on “An integrated brain-machine interface platform with thousands of channels” by Elon Musk and Neuralink. Journal of medical Internet research, 21(10), p.e16356.

Slade, S. and Sergent, S.R., 2018. Interview techniques.

Strauss, N. and Smith, C.H., 2019. Buying on rumors: how financial news flows affect the share price of Tesla. Corporate Communications: An International Journal. 2022. Contact | Tesla. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 27 April 2022].

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