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Can you solve this tricky question Elon Musk asks everyone who want to work for him?

Por: 28 de junio de 2022

Elon used to ask this riddle to every job applicant to get to know their approach to problem-solving.

Elon Musk is well known for his quirkiness as well as for his companies that are shaping the world. Electric cars, solar energy, and of course his attempt to take the human race to Mars. And of course, this is a task only for those who think outside the box, that is why Elon used to ask a very tricky question to all job applicants before hiring them.

During SpaceX’s early years, Elon personally interviewed its first one thousand workers and it didn’t matter the job position they were looking for, whether a janitor to a rocket engineer, the CEO did it himself according to an authorized biography by Ashlee Vance.

But apparently, the job interviews he conducted did not include the typical “where do you see yourself in 5 years”, but rather a brain teaser that could tell a lot about the future employees.

The riddle goes like this: “You are standing on the surface of the Earth. You head north and travel for ten miles in a straight line. After a quick stop, you again head north and travel another ten miles in a straight line. You end up exactly where you started. Where are you?”

The common answer and one that most engineers got right was the North Pole. Why? Well, if you start at the North Pole and go one mile south, then one mile west, and finally one mile north, you are most likely to make a triangular path and end up back at the North Pole, your point of origin.

Once the applicant got the most common answer right, Musk asked: “Where else could it be?”.

The second answer is near the South Pole, where the Earth has a one-mile circumference. If you walk one mile south to reach this circle, trace that mile-long circle’s path, and return one mile north to your starting point. Fewer engineers give this answer, according to Vance.

But do not worry if you didn’t get the answers right and now all your chances to work and SpaceX with Elon Musk is lost. According to Vance, he doesn’t emphasize too much on whether the applicants gave the right answer, but rather he used their responses to analyze how they process information and approach problem-solving.

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