He's a board member for PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX, and Chipotle Mexican Grill's among other notable companies, and in the video taped interview, he advises new entrepreneurs to be authentic about their enthusiasm when growing their online brand.
Musk is the co-founder of The Kitchen American Bistro, with locations in his home city of Boulder, as well as in Chicago, Memphis, Fort Collins, and Denver. Musk, Jen Lewin, and Hugo Matheson built the first restaurant based on the concept that the kitchen table is where relationships are forged through conversation and good food. What inspired them? The three new friends were sitting at Hugo's table sharing a delicious meal he'd prepared, shortly after Musk and Lewin's Labrador played matchmaker, running up to Hugo and jumping into his lap as he sipped tea at a sidewalk cafe.
There's nothing more authentic than that story, and how Musk and his partners turned their experience into a thriving business.
The success of The Kitchen later inspired the Next Door chain, providing a more casual and wallet-friendly dining experience with the same healthy ingredients and philosophy. Musk recently announced his intention to open more than 50 Next Door locations across the American midwest by 2020, and he's bringing the world along for the journey.
"Take pictures, record what you're doing," he said. He explained that he uses Instagram and Twitter to stay connected with the public. He uses Twitter for more of the business side of things but prefers the highly visual Instagram platform for sharing his personal experiences and integrating the human side of planning and idea sharing. "I like my life, and I really enjoy sharing that with people," said Kimbal.
Musk's Instagram account shows him exploring food startups, meeting with agriculture policy makers, showing off sunny patios at his restaurant locations, and hamming it up in front of General Mills' headquarters ("Can anyone say #darktowers?!?").
His Twitter feed is packed with broadly re-tweetable content, currently focusing on his Real Food movement. He tweets about Learning Gardens, a project attached to The Kitchen intended to introduce schoolchildren to nutrition through gardening, and Square Roots, a venture bringing organic vegetable production and distribution to inner cities via vertical gardens grown in shipping containers.
In our sit-down interview, he encourages people to be genuine with their convictions, referring the "awesome hat" he's wearing. (It's a red ballcap with "Make Donald Drumpf Again" in retro-style, iron on-text.) These days, Musk is usually photographed in a straw cowboy hat, so the simple act of donning this cap, slogan and all, is a statement in itself and a testament to the power of visual social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube.
He said that many of his social media followers are drawn by an interest in his popular restaurants, but others are simply curious about what Musk is up to. This allows him to introduce one segment of his following--his restaurant market--to other endeavors. Social media as an entrepreneurial tool is effective, because of the premise that we want to do business with people we know, and getting to know Kimbal Musk's personal brand is easy thanks to his interaction through social media channels and, as is obvious in the video, his casual, unpretentious and approachable style.
His advice to entrepreneurs working to promote their concept or brand?
"Don't pretend something's interesting," said Musk. "If it's not interesting, don't expect anyone else to care. But if you're interested...people probably will be interested."
My takeaway from my chat with Kimbal? Let your true self shine through, and share your passions and your progress through social media channels. Be bold with your convictions. All of these will give your social media posts appeal, and compel your audience to share them with their own networks.
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