A couple of years back, I watched the History Channel series “The Men Who Built America“. I was blown away by the vision, foresight and determination of the people portrayed – Rockefeller, Carnegie, JP Morgan, Edison, and Ford. Looking back, it was impressive to see how they saw a vision of the future and made it a reality.
Well, I believe there are two such people in our generation who people will look back upon in the same way – Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. When you listen to them speak, their vision of the future is impressive. What’s more impressive is that they aren’t just talking about it. They are doing things that are enabling them to create and achieve their vision. I’m not talking about creating the next social network or iPhone app. They are working on items like space travel to enable colonization of other planets, artificial intelligence to improve human capability, sustainable energy to preserve our planet, and more mundane things like building better cars and improving media.
While I’m not privileged enough to get invited to the Code Conference, they are generous enough to put their interviews online. At the conference earlier this year, Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher interviewed Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. I found both interviews fascinating and worth watching, especially if you want to see where the future of technology is heading. I’ve embedded both videos below.
In addition to the video below, Walt Mossberg also did a nice write-up of his takeaways from his interview with Jeff Bezos. It’s worth reviewing after you watch the interview.
After I watched these videos, here are the key things I took away:
- As I mentioned above, they’re working on big visions. In my view, they are thinking about problems and executing on a different level than the rest of us.
- They are very well spoken and articulate. Watching Elon think through the questions he was asked before (or while) answering was enlightening. He was clearly processing at a deep level. I also found Jeff’s answers to Walt’s questions to be very deep. In other words, his answers weren’t “off-the-cuff” responses. The answers were very well thought out.
- They’re visions are inspiring. They motivate those around them, including me!
- The problems they are interested in solving are ones that will have a large impact on the future of the human race. Just hearing Bezos talk about why he is interested in space travel and how it will tangibly benefit humanity was fascinating.
- There is lack of strong visionary leadership in today’s corporations. Don’t misunderstand me. There are lots of great leaders, but they are more focused on today’s profits rather than long-term innovation. From what I can tell, both Elon and Jeff are focused on a picture that is much bigger than keeping Wall Street analysts happy every three months.
I’m a firm believer that Elon and Jeff are the type of people future generations will look back upon and realize that they changed the world, much like those who were chronicled “The Men Who Built America.” So, while I titled this post “A peek into the future of tech,” these videos could very well be a peek into the future of the human race.