Kimbal Musk was being careful on the day he almost died. It was February 14, 2010. He had arrived in Jackson Hole straight from the TED conference in Long Beach to spend time with his family on a ski weekend. TED had inspired him: the prize winner that year was chef Jamie Oliver, who spoke about Musk’s own great passion, empowering people by introducing them to healthier food.
Musk was in a quandary. A few years earlier, he had opened a restaurant in Boulder, Colorado, called The Kitchen, devoted to that principle. But he couldn’t figure out how to make a bigger impact, and he worried that it would never be more than just a cool place to eat in The People’s Republic of Boulder. Distracted and frustrated, he’d returned to his previous world of tech companies. He’d agreed to become the CEO of one. But that wasn’t working out, either. Though he’d left Long Beach buzzing with energy about changing people’s food habits, he didn’t know how to channel it. He felt stuck.