Leadership

Elon Musk’s top 5 personality traits, according to an IBM supercomputer

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, with a Powerpack unit the background unveils suit of batteries for homes, businesses, and utilities.
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Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, with a Powerpack unit the background unveils suit of batteries for homes, businesses, and utilities.

Job search firm Paysa used data from IBM's supercomputer Watson to perform an analysis of Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, as well as other tech leaders, to try to get inside their heads and understand what makes them so successful.

What are Musk's top five traits? According to the study:

  1. Intellect
  2. Immoderation
  3. Cautiousness
  4. Emotionality
  5. Altruism

This is Musk's personality mapped out by Paysa:

Other traits Musk apparently possesses include orderliness, self-discipline, self-efficacy and being cooperative.

Paysa performed a similar analysis of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's personality and found that his top trait is also intellect. As with Musk, emotionality and immoderation appear in Zuckerberg's top five. That suggests that these characteristics may help a leader succeed in Silicon Valley.

To arrive at these results, Paysa "gathered speeches, essays, books, the transcripts of interviews and other forms of communication produced by those highlighted above." It put over 2,500 words "through the Watson Personality Insights API."

"Personality Insights extracts personality characteristics based on how a person writes," according to IBM Watson's website. "You can use the service to match individuals to other individuals, opportunities, and products, or tailor their experience with personalized messaging and recommendations."

It makes sense that Musk, an avid reader known for his ability to come up with otherworldly ideas and then pursue them with vigor, earned high marks for his intellect, emotionality and self-discipline.

Musk has also expressed that he wants his work to help the world prepare for a brighter tomorrow, a key marker of his altruism. "I'm just trying to think about the future," says Musk in a recent TED Talk, "and not be sad."

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See also: Mark Zuckerberg, Satya Nadella and Bill Gates share this crucial personality trait for achieving success