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The Greatest Speeches in History: Elon Musk’s USC Commencement Speech

The Greatest Speeches in History is a weekly column that compiles the most memorable and impactful speeches in history. This week we focus on one speech, which isn’t delivered in the most compelling way, yet it carries important messages about entrepreneurship and building a company.

Elon Musk may not be a talented public speaker but he is one of the most notable entrepreneurs of our time, innovator and visionary leader. We all can learn a lot from him, which is why today we will share a speech delivered by him that is truly motivational. Here are the most important highlights of Elon Musk’s USC commencement speech:

“… you need to work, if you, depending on how well you want to do, particularly if you want to start a company, you need to work super hard.”

“So, work hard, like, every waking hour. That’s the thing I would say, particularly if you’re starting a company. And I mean, if you do the simple math, you say like somebody else is working 50 hours a week and you’re working 100, you’ll get twice as done, as much done, in the course of the year as the other company.”

“The other thing I’d say is that if you’re creating a company, or if you’re joining a company, the most important thing is to attract great people. So either be with, join a group that’s amazing, that you really respect. Or, if you’re building a company, you’ve got to gather great people.”

“So depending upon how talented and hard working that group is, and to the degree in which they are focused cohesively in a good direction, that will determine the success of the company.”

“…focus on signal over noise. A lot of companies get confused. They spend a lot of money on things that don’t actually make the product better.”

“…the final thing I would encourage you to do is now is the time to take risks.”

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