It's been a tough year for Elon Musk. Tesla shares are on track for their first down year ever — and not just by a hair, but 15 percent. General Motors is about to beat Tesla to market with a long-range EV at a price point for the mass market. Tesla was caught up in the fallout from the first passenger death related to its self-driving vehicle feature. And Musk's plan to have Tesla acquire the solar company he backs, SolarCity, has drawn fire from shareholders and corporate governance experts. Then last month a SpaceX rocket blew up — though it's now reportedly under investigation as a potential act of sabotage.
A billionaire like Musk is prepared to face existential crises at his companies. He has built them in a way that can withstand short-term concerns and sticks to his guns in a way a visionary can be expected to: skepticism and uncertainty met by equal parts salesmanship and shrewd preparation.
This week he tweeted a typical tease about a big product announcement coming from Tesla on Oct. 17. A few weeks ago, in another slick media-made event, he reminded everyone that he still plans to land on Mars. So here's an obvious lesson entrepreneurs can learn from Musk: Keeping the bold news flowing is always a good idea when the short-term news flow has been bad. Musk has also adopted key ideas from other billionaires who have built empires that last.
Here are a few big lessons from Elon Musk's wild — and so far successful — ride through the markets.
First things first: Don't panic. Or if things are so bad you can't help but panic a little, here's some calming advice.