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Elon Musk's advice to CEOs: Make your product 'as awesome as possible' and 'seek negative feedback from all corners'

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Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, stands on the construction site of the Tesla Gigafactory in Grünheide near Berlin, September 3, 2020.
Patrick Pleul | picture alliance | Getty Images

Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk has some advice for CEOs: Make better products, seek negative feedback and ditch those PowerPoints presentations.

"Are CEOs from corporate America focused enough on product improvement? I think the answer is no," Musk said Tuesday at the WSJ CEO Summit.

But that is vital, so CEOs should spend less time focusing on things like financials, according to Musk, and spend more time "just trying to make your product as amazing as possible."

Musk urges CEOs to take a step back and say, "'Is our product as awesome at it could be?' Probably not. What could you do to make it great?"

"I just honestly would recommend to anyone listening...just spend less time in meeting[s], less time on PowerPoint presentations, less time on spreadsheets and more time on the factory floor or time with customers," Musk said at the WSJ summit.

The ultimate goal is to be an "absolute perfectionist about the product that you make or the service that is provided [and] seek negative feedback from all corners...from customers...from people who aren't customers," Musk said.

Even if an executive doesn't specialize in product innovation per se, Musk said the skill is "learnable." "It's not some mysterious thing," he said.

Because if you are only focusing on the bottom line, you are "barking up the wrong tree."

In fact, the biggest problem with corporate America today may be that there are "too many MBAs running companies," Musk said.

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