Branson vs Musk: Colors of Entrepreneurship

The race to space does not seem to be reaching the finish line soon, and the battle of billionaires seems to be only starting. Both men are self-made men who are working hard to take human race into space as CNN puts it. Both have extravagant interests and ambitions. Branson expects the journey from New York to Sydney to take 30 minutes. Musk expects a train journey from San Fransisco to Los Angeles to take 30 minutes.  Both have exuberant characters and a set of extraordinary skills. Additionally, they seem to be heading towards a head-to-head competition for low orbit space communication. There are fears that there will be literally no “space” for both in the space.

While extraverts are masters at influencing people and communicating their vivid visions and reaching the maximum potential by aligning vast amounts of resources, introverts also have their own share of strengths.

Up to this point, the two men have too many similarities. They share interest in strange causes. Whereas Branson contributes to rescuing swans in England, Musk supports efforts to keep artificial intelligence in check. Obviously, both share a lot of enthusiasm for adventure as well, but this is not what interests us, neither are the other similarities … What interests us most is the difference, and particularly personality differences.

Musk is an introvert, an extreme case of introversion indeed, whereas Branson is an extravert, and a good example indeed, despite the fact that he repeatedly mentioned his stage fright and occasional introspection.  The comparison of both men gives a clear and a living example of the ability of both personality types to  flourish if individual’s strengths are exploited. While extraverts are masters at influencing people and communicating their vivid visions and reaching the maximum potential by aligning vast amounts of resources, introverts also have their own share of strengths. Introspective minds are always more capable at observing hidden patterns, analyzing and strategizing for better or worse.

Diversity is the source of specialization, and specialization is the core for innovation.

The main point though is to realize one’s main strengths and weaknesses and possess a high degree of self-awareness to team up with the right people to complement the skill set. As illustrated in the previous post on colors of entrepreneurship diversity is the source of specialization, and specialization is the core for innovation. In the example of Musk and Branson, both work hard for what is seemingly a very similar goal, but their strategies are much different. Each of them leverages what he does best, and this is the key. Irrespective of the personal differences in character or style what is seemingly impossible can always be achieved if passion prevails, whether it is the passion for glorious endings or simply for a memorable endeavor.