Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey have a lot in common. Both are genius tech entrepreneurs and both are at the helm of multiple companies – Twitter and Square for Dorsey and Tesla, The Boring Company, and SpaceX for Musk. But only two out of three publicly traded companies named are beating the S&P 500, while the other has shed one-fifth of its value. Spoiler alert: The company that’s not doing so hot in the stock market is Elon Musk’s Tesla.
KEY MAN SYNDROME
So with so much in common, what sets these two innovators apart? Their style. For one, Dorsey doesn’t appear to seek the spotlight. He’s responsible for the success of his brands but he’s not really synonymous with them. Musk, on the other hand, is his brand and all of the attention – good and bad – that comes along with it.
Old Town Road (CEO Remix) pic.twitter.com/AazVBE6n8X
— Twitter Music (@TwitterMusic) July 29, 2019
If anyone has reason to brag right now, it’s Jack Dorsey. Both Twitter and Square stocks are on fire and both companies appear to be operating on all cylinders.
Yale School of Management’s Jeffrey Sonnenfeld described Dorsey’s personality, comparing him to another tech legend and telling CNBC:
“He truly is brilliant and dedicated – while avoiding the temptations of vanity and flamboyance his own technology offers some with less discipline. Like Steve Jobs spanning the leadership of three companies, Dorsey is in rarefied air.”
Tesla, on the other hand, just reported disappointing quarterly results including a worse-than-expected loss and revenue results. Yet, it’s Musk who has a history of trumpeting the company’s performance from the social media rooftops.
Both Dorsey and Musk share at least one quality when it comes to their work ethic, and that’s discipline. They wouldn’t have come this far if they didn’t. Musk doesn’t even have time for gaming these days even though that’s where his passion for electronics began. But Musk – for all of his strengths – likes to fan the flame of the spotlight, whether it’s to prove a competitive edge or just to put a goal out there into the ether as a way of attaining it. So this is where maybe he could learn a thing or two from his more reserved peer. Here are three suggestions.
Dorsey is a meditator, reportedly spending two hours per day in this state of mind. For his birthday, he took a 10-day trip to Myanmar to do just that, on a “concrete floor” no less.
Imagine sitting on a concrete floor cross-legged for an hour without moving. Pain arises in the legs in about 30-45 minutes. One’s natural reaction is to change posture to avoid the pain. What if, instead of moving, one observed the pain and decided to remain still through it?
— jack 🌍🌏🌎 (@jack) December 9, 2018
Dorsey doesn’t make lofty predictions or brag, at least not publicly. As a result, his company, Twitter, just beat Wall Street expectations rather than miss them. Square is a Wall Street darling that could almost do no wrong. Elon Musk, who has gotten himself into hot water for boasting about Tesla online, may want to take notes.
HUMILITY VS. HUBRIS
Based on analysts’ observations, Dorsey has humility in spades. On the other hand, Musk’s hubris has gotten him into heaps of trouble with regulators.
Whatever Dorsey is doing, it resonates with investors. Twitter and Square are each up nearly 50 percent so far in 2019. After Twitter reported earnings last week and with Square set to reveal its quarterly results tomorrow, Wall Street remains bullish on both of them.
Recent stock market performance aside, both Dorsey and Musk are eccentric geniuses who will go down in history for their unrivaled contributions to technology and society. Their unique personalities along with a dose of good old fashioned hard work got them where they are and for that, they should be celebrated. Though it might not hurt Musk to incorporate at least one of his CEO peer Jack Dorsey’s habits. Meditation might not cramp his style too much.