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Why not instead work on ways to reduce the need to move people from one place on Earth to another, thereby eliminating the cost, hassle and pollution of air travel and hypothetical rocket travel? There's a huge amount of progress that can be made in telepresence technology--it seems silly to get hung up on the assumption that in order to do something or experience something somewhere you need your bag of water and meat to physically be there. We're very close to mass adopting remote employment--to the point where the barriers are no longer technical but cultural. Why not work on the same for other areas of business and for personal vacations? Physical travel should seem like a silly inefficiency!

We should focus on making the Holodeck, not rockets.




Why don't you start working on Holodecks. Musk wants to get humanity off this rock. Funding the building of a ship designed to land anywhere in the solar system, including Earth, by using it for Earth transport is brilliant. If one can make the trip from New York to Shanghai in 40 minutes, for the same fuel per person and ticket price as an airplane, why not. Having a fully reusable rocket will be amazing.

Once reliability is proven one could even start thinking about nuclear powered rockets and get those CO2 emissions to zero. I'm sure it is on Elon Musk's mind and Mueller has even mentioned looking into nuclear rockets. Solar system travel could really use nuclear rockets to get reasonable travel travel times.


I fully applaud efforts to "get humanity off the rock". To the extent that building a rocket airline helps move humanity toward this goal, great! But, other than as a stepping stone to something bigger, this just seems like a silly distraction.

As for the very HN-ish "why don't you just go make XYZ?" retort, obviously it's because, like most of us (and unlike Elon Musk), I don't have the necessary truckloads of $100 bills necessary to make that happen. I'll get back to you after my windfall from selling PayPal...


I think the retort is coming from the fact that to do something amazing like building a reusable rocket (or other great, but easier projects) takes much more than money in the bank. It takes a whole lot of talented people working very hard for a long time. The leader of such people will need an amazing amount of dedication, work, skill, time, luck, drive, smarts, charisma, sacrifice, friends, money, charm etc. to pull it off. If the leader does not have a burning passion for the goal, giving up is the likely outcome with all the problems along the way. So when someone says that this person should be dedicated to some other goal, even though the one they are doing is great, that does not make any sense. The leader and the people working with him have a passion for a certain idea and the skills to work on towards that project. Those are not fungible to another project. Move Musk and all the people working at SpaceX to working on the Holodeck would just be useless and a waste.

Technology does not just progress by magic or money. People must do the hard work. The world is awash in capital at this moment with negative interest rates in some places. Physical resources (or money) is not the limitation for getting most new things done in the world at the moment. It is the complicated process of getting people working together, taking a million false steps, and not giving up before finally figuring out how to reach a goal.


I think we agree on one point: To do great things, access to capital is necessary but not sufficient. If all it took was hard work, I'm sure lots of us would quit our jobs today and get started!


True. Some start early. Elon Musk sold a video game he wrote called Blaster to a magazine when he was 12 years old for $500. Then he used that money to try to open a video arcade with his brother. He and his brother did get $28,000 to start Zip2 from his father, but that is not a huge sum. The cost of half a year of college. I would say, if you live in the US, access to capital is far down the list on what blocks people over the long haul.


I'd say 28K is a lot when it comes to a venture that may not pay off. I hear Elon's father was not particularly poor, so there is some leverage in that. Who knows if Elon could have made it otherwise without the capital. Makes me question if we all need some money to make money.

Curiously, what was the 28K spent on? Maybe 12K for rent, tops for 1995. He even lived in the office. Someone chime in?


Why not both? Lots of smart people working on both things any ways. I'd rather Elon focus on stuff that will iterate and get us off this planet in any case as he seems built for that.

Since he's focusing on that, why don't you go ahead and focus on making the holodeck. Thanks!




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