A Billionaire's Ex Tells You How to Become a Billionaire

by Leigh Anderson
Originally Published: 

Justine Musk, who divorced the PayPal founder Elon Musk in 2008, schools the asker in what it takes to become a billionaire, based on her firsthand knowledge of her husband’s entrepreneurial career:

First, she says, put the end goal (money) out of your mind. “[G]et deeply, intensely curious about what the world wants and needs. Ask yourself what you have the potential to offer that is so unique and compelling and helpful that no computer could replace you, no one could outsource you, no one could steal your product and make it better and then club you into oblivion (not literally). Then develop that potential.”

Then, she says become a expert in one subject, and then once you’ve done that, learn a second subject. Once you’ve done this, she instructs: “When you become a master of two worlds (say, engineering and business), you can bring them together in a way that will a) introduce hot ideas to each other, so they can have idea sex and make idea babies that no one has seen before and b) create a competitive advantage because you can move between worlds, speak both languages, connect the tribes, mash the elements to spark fresh creative insight until you wake up with the epiphany that changes your life.”

Musk, who has five children with her ex, should know about billionaires: She married Elon before he was anyone and saw him through his first couple of companies. They weathered the death of their infant son together and went onto have a set of twins and triplets before they split. Musk, who has her own career as a writer, has got one thing right: “There is no roadmap, no blueprint for this.” And one has to be obsessive and even domineering, which might have a detrimental effect on your relationships: Musk chronicled the ugly details of her divorce in Marie Claire in 2010. Sometimes hot ideas aren’t enough.

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