Having known tech entrepreneur Elon Musk for more than 20 years, engineer, physician and XPrize Foundation founder Peter Diamandis has seen Musk through the lows and highs, from going into debt financing the creation of Falcon-1 to becoming the richest man in the world.
The pair, whose professional careers have crossed paths on numerous occasions, recently announced a $100 million prize for their XPRIZE Carbon Removal competition and share a fascination with space exploration. Diamandis has great respect for Musk's enterprise, even saying he is possibly the "greatest entrepreneur of our age."
Diamandis (second from right) and Musk (far right) pictured in zero gravity together. (Diamandis.com)
As one of Fortune's World's 50 Greatest Leaders, Diamandis knows a thing or two about success and shares what he believes built Musk to where he is today.
According to Diamandis, Musk doesn't enter into business ventures that he doesn't believe in. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO said he got into the car, space and solar industry because he believes that in order to make a difference, you must "create something substantially better than what came before. His abilities to stay focused, push forward through adversity and love for his craft are just some of the traits that make Musk successful, Diamandis said.
Massively Transformative Purpose
Something Diamandis says all successful ventures have in common: Massively Transformative Purpose, or a motivation to do great things. The MTP for Tesla and SolarCity, a subsidiary under Tesla that makes solar generation systems, is a transition to sustainable energy, while SpaceX's MTP is a backup biosphere to bring humanity to the cosmos. Diamandis said it is this passion and purpose that keeps all of Musk's ventures afloat.
Singular, unwavering focus
Musk has been known to zero in on the task at hand, sleeping in his office and putting in 80-hour weeks to keep the machine well-oiled. Diamandis said the key is what is called a "flow state," a highly enjoyable state where work becomes energizing and immersive that is achieved through passion, purpose and focus. Where many people might feel burned out, Musk is energized.
First principles thinking
Instead of a default mode of thinking, Diamandis says Musk uses first principles thinking, a mode of inquiry that "relentlessly" pursues the fundamentals of a problem. For instance, when developing new batteries, Musk continued to dig for a more affordable option than the standard and rejected that the present was the peak of performance. Musk was able to develop a battery that ran for $80 per kilowatt-hour, down from $600 per kilowatt-hour. The strategy allows people to edit out the unnecessary.
Thinking in probabilities
Nothing is ever certain, so according to Diamandis, Musk does not think in black and white. Thinking probabilistically—weighing chances based on different outcomes—as opposed to deterministically—as in A + B = C, something that has a definitive outcome—leans on different possibilities and discoveries. It goes against the inherent train of thought but gives way to new outcomes.
Not settling for "no"/Not giving up
A "no" is a green light to go one step higher, as Diamandis says, and conviction is key. Musk expects and embraces failure, always budgeting for a few mistakes in his endeavors, even going into debt despite his missteps. If your purpose and passion are strong enough, they will drive your vision.
In summation: Mindset is key for creating a Musk-worthy career.
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Austin's Delta 8 industry has been turned on its head after Texas health officials clarified that the cannabinoid is on the state list of illegal substances, though it was previously believed to be legal by most retailers, consumers and manufacturers.
House Bill 1325, which was signed in June 2019 by Gov. Greg Abbott, and the Farm Bill, signed into law by former President Donald Trump in 2018, legalized any hemp product containing less than .3% THC. The same bills were thought to have made Delta 8 legal, though the Texas Department of State Health Services added a notice on its website saying it was still a controlled substance as of Friday, Oct. 15.
Both the federal and state governments keep separate lists on what is considered a controlled substance. Marijuana is considered Schedule I, a category reserved for substances with "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse," both statewide and federally.
Austin-based CBD retailer Grassroots Harvest CEO Kemal Whyte, like many CBD shop retailers, was blindsided by the announcement. Many small businesses rely on Delta 8 for their sales—Green Herbal Care CBD said about 90% of its sales come from Delta 8—and Whyte said he is frustrated by the inconsistencies in the drug scheduling system.
Since 87% of Texans support the legalization of marijuana, at least for medical use, per a recent poll, Whyte said he wonders who this legislation is for.
"It's gonna have a massive impact on small businesses—there's just no way around it," Whyte said. "The reality is, we don't want to push out anything bad for our customers, we want this to benefit our customers and to help them. If we can make money while doing it, that's the American dream. What are we doing, whose benefit is this for?"
Delta 8 surged in popularity after the perceived legalization—consumers enjoyed its lower psychotropic potency, decreased anxiety while using it and the peace of mind as a legal way to get high. So in order to protect their products and livelihoods, both Grassroots Harvest and Austin-based manufacturer Hometown Heroes are taking legal action.
Whyte said Grassroots Harvest is suing DSHS, saying their action is creating negative effects in the market. Meanwhile, a Hometown Heroes spokesperson said the company is in the process of filing a temporary restraining order that would pause the ban on Delta-8 in the state of Texas.
Threats against Delta 8 are not new—DSHS lost a lawsuit trying to make "smokable hemp products" illegal last year and Texas lawmakers had been considering a bill that would make Delta 8 illegal, though it was dropped after the clarification was made.
Hometown Heroes released a formal statement in response to the DSHS rule.
"I need to be clear—we love Texas, we're just choosing to fight for the will of the people in regards to cannabis in Texas," Hometown Hero CEO Lukas Gilkey said in a statement. "(Texas DSHS) are using backhanded ways to create legislation and go against the will of the people."
Whyte laments the fact that it would be easier legally to "open up a strip club that also sells guns," and said he can't post customer testimonials that mention the benefits of Delta 8 without getting hit with a cease and desist from the Food and Drug Administration. Whyte said he isn't opposed to regulation—far from it—he just wants to see it go through the correct channels.
"The fact that they're stunting our ability to communicate with our clients that want to learn about this, you're preventing us from communicating with them and teaching them, or spreading information that we know," Whyte said. "I think that that in and of itself opens up a lot of questions."
Grassroots Harvest still has Delta 8 products on its shelves for the time being but for how long, Whyte doesn't know.
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Austin Public Health and other clinics around Austin are now providing booster shots for all three vaccines, including Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, to fully vaccinated individuals after both Pfizer and J & J were approved by the CDC on Wednesday.
APH and Austin clinics, which were already administering the approved Pfizer booster, will begin distributing shots as soon as Friday.
Those who received the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine more than six months ago are elligble to receive a booster if they are over 65 or if they are over 18 and:
- Live in a long-term care environment
- Have underlying medical conditions
- Work or live in high-risk settings, such as schools, hospitals or correctional facilities
Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said in a media Q&A Friday that APH is encouraging boosters just as much as they have urged residents to get their first and second doses.
"Boosters are incredibly important to keeping our community protected and hospitalizations low," Walkes said. "If we can stay on top of our vaccinations, we provide protections for our most vulnerable and make it that much harder for COVID to spread in our community."
Eligible residents are free to choose the same booster as their first doses or "mix and match," per the CDC announcement.
Those looking for another dose can simply bring their vaccination card to APH centers or the dozens of Walgreens and CVS locations in the metro, which began administering doses Friday.
Additional updated guidance from the CDC allows for all eligible individuals to choose which vaccine they receive as a "mix-and-match" booster dose. It is advised to remember to bring your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Card showing the original doses with you when going for booster shots.
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