Other people in his position adopt the public/private persona and for the most part just plain shut up. They don't tweet anything than platitudes, they don't joke, they don't speak with random people on Twitter. They probably do this to minimize their downside exposure, but that might not be very effective. Bezos's bland Twitter feed hasn't stopped anyone from making into a villain.
Musk OTOH, makes Monty Python references, fart jokes, strikes up random conversations, shittalks randos etc. Ie, things normal people do. So the downside is a deluge of tusktusktusking at his "unstable" behaviour, but the upside is that a lot of people like him because he comes across like a real person rather than a PR bot.
At the very least that's a remarkable assumption. We've been doing this for essentially ever, and it impacts all kinds of stuff. In some sense, musk is to CEO's what trump is to the presidency: all that diplomacy is just nonsense.
And - perhaps there's a kernel of truth to that; after all, the way we communicate has changed more radically than I think we really like to admit. I don't just mean the technology and the means, nor the social fashions: just read (transcripts of) old communication: I think we really think differently now than a few generations back. So perhaps old norms no longer apply completely.
But I'm not quite willing to assume that without at least some careful thought. I think it's at least as plausible that trump and musk (to be fair to musk: they differ in most ways, and trump is way more extreme) simply don't communicate very strategically at all. Despite all the hot air there's little upside; it's mostly mess.
Sure, it's entertaining. And as entertainment, that's fine. But would you want to actually deal with people like that? And if the world has changed in many ways, what hasn't is that you're going pretty much nowhere alone. You need cooperation and help to amount to anything constructive.
So: maybe there's a small chance this is the new norm and humanity has changed in pretty basic ways under the influence of todays pressures and technology. But there's also a considerable chance it hasn't.
There's a middle you're excluding here: that some parts of conventional filtering serve a valid social good, and that some parts don't.
Obviously this will vary on a case-by-case basis based on personal values. Which specific filters to accept/reject (and on what basis) make the difference between "abrasive CEO on twitter" and "guy throwing poop in Central Park."
His lack of filter is usually not great for him, for the rest of us I'm not sure it's so bad. We get more of an insight than we might otherwise.
Some benefits: Criticism (especially of authorities), skepticism, and tolerance of speech and ideas are actually foundations of the modern world, and were even necessary for the proliferation of science against established power structures and human/scoial biases against eccentric pursuits.
I hope Musk continues to speak his mind.
This is definitely true for musk, and even more so for trump. They say all kinds of things in contexts where it really isn't reasonable for the reader to tell how serious they are, that then turn out to be pretty absurd, misleading, and/or self-serving. And those lies matter: e.g. when musk says something like "funding secured" - the only reason he gets away with lies like that with as few consequences as there were is because of all the only noise in his channel.
So while it's amusing to see these know-it-alls spout nonsense about things they just don't know anything about (but might have honestly interesting takes on), it's harmful that that's mixed in with normal communication. I'm skeptical that beyond the entertainment factor it's actually all that helpful to hear all that rambling that may or may not be uninformed - who knows which mode they're in right now? Fine for Musk to speak his mind: but it should be clear when he's vaguely brainstorming, and when he's being precise - and vague rambling should not replace communication you can rely on. So I hope he's held to account for what he says, because noise is harmful, and that's not even accounting for deceptive comments, which he seems to make too (e.g. funding secured).
To rephraze: sometimes you should focus on diplomacy, but not all the time.
Amassing a loyal army of followers (and, inevitably, an army of detractors) has worked out very well for him and could be one of the main reasons why Tesla has gotten as far as it has.
I would have a lot more faith in this theory if I didn't think CEO's and politicians jobs were as similar as they seem to be, and if I thought politicians prior to Trump acted "grownup".
As it is, I considered politicians to be poorly behaved in general, and then Trump was able to double down on poor behavior to his benefit.
Calling calculated, dulled down communication designed to influence others (as opposed to convey one's views or feelings) as "strategic" is about as nice a way as one could put it.
I'm brutally honest and open with people who can accept that. I've tried to work that into every relationship I've had (family or significant other). It is a lot of work to culture that kind of relationship, but it is worth it (and it has failed many times, don't get me wrong). Maybe you haven't had a scenario like this, but I'm sure you could imagine it: holding onto your emotions for far too long, not communicating them, until they become a major problem and are blown out of proportion.
It's the strangest thing about the human instinct, we think that we're making things simpler through our actions but we often make them more complicated. If we think about what we truly want, instead of what gives us immediate gratification (revenge), we'd make better decisions. Next time you're about to initiate a fight, step back and think about how you'd communicate exactly what you need.
Occam's Razor doesn't only apply to science, it applies to humanity. Musk is a "simple" person and, despite all his flaws (there are many), that's why he's a role model for this adult. All power to him for this PR experiment.
being astronomically rich and being a regular guy are mutually exclusive.
in fact, you listed the actions that he (and maybe his PR wrangler, much like George Carlin did during his career renewal) participates in in order to keep the 'regular guy' charade afloat.
also 'shitttalks randos' isn't something to aspire to want to do, especially in your context where it's being listed as a tool used by Musk to get people to think he's a 'regular guy'.
All that said : I like Musk, and I like his endeavors. What i'm against is painting a world-mover individual as 'another one of the guys'. He's not -- it's nothing but a PR move that capitalizes on his candor and perceived honest; two traits that many nerd/geek types have issues hiding in business context. It just happens to work for him and his wranglers.
Everyone does this. At family gatherings, the grocery store, etc. You all do it. I'm sure one or two people will chime in and say they've never badmouthed a random person at the post office who was taking too long, but everyone knows the truth.
He clearly understands the value of PR. Take Tesla cars for instance, they are certainly good electric cars, but they are even better sold. It is a car you want even if you've never seen one. SpaceX launches are shows, they even managed to make failures look awesome.
How a man that puts so much attention in his companies image can forget about his own. His unhinged nature is his public persona. In fact, the only time I think he messed up was with the "pedo" accusation. It is possible that the joint incident was planned: if you consider it carefully, he smoked where it is legal, just once, and then came out saying that he doesn't like the high. It totally matches the adventurous, laid back but clear minded image he wants to project.
Jeff Bezos on the opposite doesn't really care about PR. His Twitter is generic, I'm not even sure if he actually reads it, let alone write it. For a company dealing directly with consumers, Amazon is rather low profile, they simply deliver, and make money. As for Blue Origin, they are quite secretive, completely unlike SpaceX. That's this lack of PR that made him a villain.
Gates has avoided some of it but not all. Everyone remembers where he came from and never lets him forget it. There is no atoning for him.
Larry Ellison on the other hand is just the devil incarnate and people treat him as such. At least he expends no energy pretending otherwise.
FWIW I’m not denying he’s a highly intelligent person. But that doesn’t exclude the possibility of bipolar.
Where things get interesting is when someone continues to play that role even when in a position with more to lose. Gambling is fairly normal, but people might get worried about you if you're gambling with very high stakes.
If he were only in charge of private companies, he'd essentially be free to say/act however he wants. The second you IPO and are CEO, you have muzzled yourself, or you should expect to face the wrath of your shareholders.
Why would you expect people who have millions of dollars invested in your company to expect you to do anything OTHER than act like a professional? If my retirement is in your hands I expect you to act like an adult, not a 16-year-old bruh having a good time on twitter.
It's also possible that he's an attention seeker, that this is part of his schtick, and that he can't help himself.
He's attacked the SEC publicly several times, very unprofessionally, if I were an investor I'd be pissed; it's one thing if he were to have data indicating he's being mistreated but mostly it's but Trumpish attacks on the SEC ... which could get him in serious trouble.
edit: I think thats based on programme lifetime costs, if you look at incremental costs per launch its about 12 times cheaper -see https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18706930
edit: OK maybe not the best two things to compare (although the original vision for the space shuttle was that it would launch all US payloads, due to projected re-usability). But FH is still way cheaper than any contemporary competitors, see https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18706762
edit: I've been looking at old pics of the space shuttle and lamenting that its the only thing we've ever put into space that actually looked like a proper spaceship. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/science-environment-13719297/u...
The problem is that almost everything Space Shuttle could do, could have been done more effectively by a classic modular spacecraft and a large rocket. Even more, Space Shuttle was fairly limited and inflexible in its capabilities due to its complex in-orbit thermodynamics, monolithic design and available delta-v. Jack of all trades, master of none.
Don't get me wrong, the Shuttle was a great engineering achievement and a great pride point for any American. But it's also a huge waste of resources, which resulted from enormously inflated requirements, particularly military ones. Buran was the same. It's better not to repeat such mistakes.
> That kind of world leading, "best at any cost" mentality is what made the US so technologically dominant globally from the 1950s until recently.
And left it without modular space stations, in this particular case. (and many more)
It still managed to do some pretty spectacular things no one else had ever done. I think that's worth something. I think the people who gave their lives thought that was worth something. I think they would rather the program be remembered for its triumphs than its failures.
There were risk takers, now they are protecting their ability to pay for 2 kids to go to Ivy League. Who can blame them?
The shuttle was absolutely designed to "put basic stuff in space". By being partially reusable it was meant to be cheaper than all other "expendable" US rockets and replace them all even even for simple satellite launches.
The fact that the original goals couldn't be met was only made clear after the Challenger disaster.
Also context, consider cost complexity: manned space flight >> space flight >> aerospace >> automotive.
Each increase in risk implies considerably more expense, and the difference between space flight that includes humans, and flight that doesn't is quite massive. They are different programs entirely.
So if you're putting something in space with 'humans going along' - it will always be way more expensive, no matter what.
The shuttle was supposed to be cheaper than multiple manned rockets, but not cheaper than regular satellite launches.
So for putting out complex things like Hubble, or 'fixing it' 'retrofitting' etc. - the Shuttle might make sense.
But it was never going to be cheaper than regular rockets for putting relatively straightforward satellites in space.
Fixing Hubble was one of the most complex operations the Shuttle ever did. Although only the shuttle could do things like repair and retrieval, the large majority of the satellites that ever entered the Shuttle cargo bay were simply launched and released.
More specifically, of the 105 satellites the Shuttle interacted with, only 4 were repaired-and-redeployed (including Hubble) and only 5 were recovered back to Earth.
> The shuttle was supposed to be cheaper than multiple manned rockets, but not cheaper than regular satellite launches.
Do you have cites to support this? It's not consistent with my impression of the expectations for the Shuttle when it first started flying. Your other comments here give the strong impression that you are arguing based on your intuitive knowledge of spaceflight costs that no reasonable person could have thought launching dumb satellites on the Shuttle would have been cost effective. However, I think that's hindsight, and in fact many people at the time expected the Shuttle to cheaply deploy basic satellites, and that this was part of its official mandate. Indeed, Wikipedia says
> the plan was for all future U.S. space launches—space station, Air Force, commercial satellites, and scientific research—to use only the space shuttle. Most other expendable boosters would be phased out.
EDIT: And from another link in this thread (written at the time):
> NASA plans to terminate all throw-away rocket launches as soon as the shuttle is working.
Say what? I didn't know they had interns up there.
There's also "Space Shuttle Decision, 1965-1972 (History of the Space Shuttle, Volume 1", but I think Volume 2 is far more interesting from an engineering point of view.
This isn’t how it was sold to the public.
> I interned on the the space station
Thank you. Without the ISS, we wouldn’t have SpaceX.
Manned space flight is known to be way more expensive than cheap, rocket satellite launches. There never was a comparison.
The Shuttle was going to be cheaper than manned rockets, and frankly, probably was. I can't imagine who much it would cost to put up a manned rocket to do some of the retrofitting of Hubble, for example. I don't even think their is proper vehicles for that in existence! So it would be out of the question in terms of cost.
The shuttle did mostly what it was supposed to, it just got old. And there is the space station to do science.
Soyuz + any international heavy launch candidate duplicates the Shuttle’s capabilities at a fraction of the cost.
Thats how we ended up with thee uterly insane SLS, Orion, Gateway architecture.
It only became official after the Challenger disaster, but it was quite clear to everyone who followed the project even before the first shuttle launched.
> And, according to The Washington Monthly's sources, flying the shuttle will cost more, not less, than flying those old disposable rockets.
It is explained in the sections titled "Economy at any Cost" and "Turn Down the Volume".
The main argument, which was shown to be correct, is that NASA inflated the launch volume in order to amortized their huge fixed costs on an unrealistic number of flights.
The recommendations and conclusions sections is a relatively short and easy read. I get the impression (though it could be my bias) that it is written skeptically.
It withstood the test of time.
* But they developed lots of cool tech is not a good defense. Failing to deliver did not bring the tech. It was inevitable.
* But there were missions that only Shuttle could do is not right either when you think it over.
I can think of two admittedly unlikely mission profiles that only STS or Buran could have pulled off:
* Recovering a satellite already in orbit safely back to Earth.
* Orbital bombing. While you could launch an orbital missile platform, it would have a predictable enough orbit to be vulnerable to ASAT. You would have to execute multiple burns for evasive maneuvers and that’s easier with a manned spacecraft. This, specifically, was the capability the Soviets feared enough to design Buran. This is also a violation of international law, not that such things matter in a scenario where you are dropping hydrogen bombs from orbit.
Shuttle was used for recovery only four times. It would have been cheaper to ditch all those satellites and build and send new ones compared to recovering them.
> Orbital bombing
ICBM's do it better.
I didn't say it was a valuable use case, nor did I say you were recovering your own satellites.
> ICBM's do it better.
ICBM's follow a predictable ballistic trajectory and are more vulnerable to countermeasures. Again, this might not be a good use case, but it is one.
In the words of cosmonaut Oleg Kotov: "We had no civilian tasks for Buran and the military ones were no longer needed. It was originally designed as a military system for weapon delivery, maybe even nuclear weapons. The American shuttle also has military uses....A shuttle is particularly useful for this because it can change its orbit and trajectory – so an attack from it is almost impossible to protect against." Source: https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20664-cosmonaut-sovie...
Mass is mass. It’s a perfectly fair comparison. If we were talking about people, sure, that would be unfair.
I'm not disagreeing with the Falcon 9 being incredibly cheap, and the SpaceShuttle being outrageously expensive - I agree with both statements. I just think the direct price comparison is bad.
Most of the Shuttle’s payloads were aggregates of smaller payloads. For big stuff, sure, the Shuttle retains its mantle. But it simply wasn’t launching that much big stuff.
Just most parts of the ISS
Without the shuttle we couldn’t have the ISS, MIR wasn’t much larger than Skylab.
The Shuttle is what allowed us to launch a station the size of the ISS and construct it in orbit.
So to a first approximation the ISS could have been over 2000 tons if NASA had just stuck with and scaled up the Saturn V architecture, which history has shown was both more capable and cheaper.
So no, the Shuttle isn't what allowed us to construct the ISS. Except in the narrow sense that the better launch vehicle had been cancelled, so it was the only project left to do the job.
We have no way to do any major service to the ISS now without the shuttle and the ISS retrofit was the main reason for the deferral in the Shuttles retirement.
By comparison the Saturn V has a 140 ton mass to LEO, 7x what the Proton-K could carry, and more importantly could have carried modules double the diameter of what the shuttle could put into LEO.
The unique selling point of the shuttle was the ability to return payloads from orbit to the ground for servicing, but as it turns out that was much more expensive than having a cheaper launcher and just launching another module.
Let's not draw the wrong conclusions from history. The shuttle was a failed launch system by any reasonable criteria. History has shown that plain old boring boosters were the right choice. The Soviets/Russians have been able to launch things to the ISS after the US lost its wings.
The only reason we have "no way to do any major service to the ISS" is not because the shuttle was so great, but because it was a dead end. The US has had to play catch-up with the COTS program with SpaceX et al.
MIR wasn’t only 4 times smaller than the ISS in terms of tonnage but it’s design was the same as the Salyut and Skylab the ISS was the first thing we can say we actually constructed in orbit.
The only thing that could have been somewhat complicated without Shuttle capabilities was returning the Mir solar panels, for detailed analysis of their faster-than-expected degradation.
That payload is small enough that it could have been put on a reentry capsule if it wasn't for the Space Shuttle.
Most ISS components were less than the Falcon 9's capacity. Given Falcon 9 launches payloads an order of magnitude cheaper (cost per kg) than the Shuttle did, cost savings would almost certainly be realized. The remaining payloads would be more expensive to launch on other platforms, but that extra cost for a few projects is outweighed by the savings across the bulk of what the Shuttle did.
For heavy-lift launches, Titan IV and Proton beat it. For manned launches, Soyuz beat it. Today, Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy are better options, though they are built (in part) on the lessons of the Shuttle.
I want to see the attempt of building the ISS with a Falcon 9. Some assembly launches would be within lift capacity (especially on the expendable configuration). Some payloads would actually fit in the fairing. But when you have it in orbit - what then? The Space Shuttle not only lifted the modules into space, it berthed them to the station, and carried the crew together with the payload to execute the assembly operations and be able to react in time.
As much as I agree that the Space Shuttle was way too expensive, it was irreplaceable for building the ISS, and had it existed back then, the Falcon 9 wouldn't have changed that.
Plus, since this seems to get forgotten a lot, size matters. I find the best size comparison between the ISS and MIR is with the Space Shuttle attached: ISS  vs Mir .
Sure, you might need some such platform to construct something in orbit. That's basically a space forklift with thrusters.
It isn't an argument for Space Shuttle system as a whole, i.e. propulsion system, heat shield, solid rocket boosters & external tank, being needed.
For what it cost to launch the shuttle such a platform could have been entirely expendable with astronauts returning in capsules, and they'd still have saved money, and been able to take up 3-4x the amount of cargo up on each trip.
If you're talking about the one aiming to be best in the field to describe how good it is performing, you usually don't compare it to the broken clock of the group.
It's a fair comparison if the real product of the space shuttle program is compared with the real product of the Falcon Heavy program.
Comparing what the space shuttle could hypothetically have been with what Falcon Heavy actually is would not be a fair comparison.
They are totally different configs, for totally different purposes.
It's like comparing a drone to a jet or to a cargo plane.
For every “send things to the ISS” and “put thing in orbit” mission, the two are directly comparable. The Space Shuttle simply wasn’t using its maximum capacity that often for big packages. The Space Shuttle was a boondoggle.
For crew launches, the per-person cost of the Shuttle still compares unfavourably to SpaceX’s projected crew launch costs. But projected isn’t actual, so we’ll let the Shuttle keep its spot for now.
(Special repair projects and ISS boosting are two things the Shuttle can do that SpaceX currently cannot.)
That alone puts it in a completely different category than Falcon.
FYI many (most?) drone missions that the US does right now would not be carried out by manned aircraft for a whole host of reasons.
Making a manned, multi-purpose vehicle like the Shuttle really starts to get expensive when you just want to launch a big satellite. Sure, they perform a bunch of science up there but that's as secondary goal to getting the main payload into orbit. The Shuttle had good goals in mind but turns out its just cheaper in the long run to make something that won't last more than one launch.
What sounds like a more attractive option, owning and operating a semi to make round-trip deliveries cross country where the driver goes sight-seeing along the way or to buy and ship a shipping container that makes a one-way trip?
This is simply not a true statement.
Not trying to say Space Shuttle wasn't extremely expensive, but comparing two different things isn't exactly fair.
When you talk about launch costs, you care about the cost to get “the stuff you really want in orbit”.
The formal term for that stuff is “payload”. So cost per kg of payload is the relevant figure of merit.
The mass of the space shuttle is not payload. It is a means of delivering payload. As such, you do not get credit or establish launch efficiency by launching it.
It is not inefficiency to launch without carrying the space shuttle; just the opposite.
There are much more efficient systems for only carrying stuff into space and dropping it there. The Space Shuttle example makes no sense if this is what you care about.
I don't know about the Dragon, but, like before, if the Dragon's weight is the thing you really want out of the atmosphere, then yes, but if you only care about the supplies inside, then no.
>And even then, it's apples to oranges, because Space Shuttle was a manned spacecraft which brings millions other requirements into place.
What requirements? But yes, it's fair to break out "human" vs "inanimate" kg of payload. Do SpaceX products for carrying humans perform poorly when comparing to alternate ways of launching human payloads? Do SpaceX products for carrying inanimate matter perform poorly when compared to the same?
Absolutely not. Which makes it ever weirder to bring up Space Shuttle.
Incremental cost of each Shuttle flight was $18,000 per kg to LEO (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_the_Space_Shuttle...). Price per KG of a FH launch is about $1411 to LEO https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_Heavy.
So on incremental costs its about 12 times cheaper per kg to LEO
Or if you think thats still not fair, and want to treat the shuttle orbiter itself as payload - a bit abstract, but lets go with it - the shuttle launch comes out as about $4400 per kg of orbiter-and-payload, so Falcon Heavy is still 3 times cheaper than that.
edit: And its still not really a fair comparison because Shuttle could do more and carried people etc. But there it is.
Space Shuttle was a spacecraft that was much more capable than coupling on 2nd stage. So of course the price point per cargo carried is completely different. It doesn't make any sense to compare it that way. What you can compare is the price of the rocket launch and complete payload delivered to orbit, and that includes the vehicle.
If you only care about economics for satellite launches for example, then yeah, it is much cheaper. But so are many other systems, so why pick Space Shuttle for comparison?
"The original plan, ridiculous as it was in hindsight, was for STS to be the sole US launcher of all payloads.
However, after the loss of the Orbiter Challenger only seconds into mission STS-51-L, US policy was changed to only allow the Shuttle to launch scientific and military payloads that required human presence. This destroyed any economic rationale for making STS self supporting or a revenue generator.
The first 4 missions were test flights, so omitting them, you can see that 11 of the 21 "operational" missions before the policy change carried commercial satellite payloads, often multiple, up to 3 comsats per mission. A total of 18 commercial satellites were deployed from the Shuttle. "
The original purpose of the Space Shuttle was to be a highly reusable launch system to make frequent launches (including commercial and govt satellites and space probes) with minimal refurbishment time/cost. That sounds an awful lot like SpaceX's current goals, doesn't it?
Yes it had some mission profiles that the current SpaceX fleet can't do (large extended-duration crew missions in LEO, orbiting laboratory, Hubble repair) but there are also profiles that SpaceX can do that Shuttle could not (anything that involves stage 2 going beyond LEO).
SpaceX also does cargo missions to the space station (crew happening next year) which is probably a better $/kg comparison to the space shuttle for some missions:
Sure the Shuttle had unique capabilities and the Falcon rockets aren't better in all ways, but the Shuttle was originally supposed to be a cheap and reusable way for the US to do the majority of its space launches and that turned out to not be its strong suit.
If I could invest in SpaceX, I would.
 I think he's overworked and burned-out himself out but can't recognize it. Who am I to judge- I've been there.
 They were going to launch about 20 minutes ago actually, but scrubbed at the last minute. They'll probably launch it tomorrow.
 Two failures recently were Falcon Heavy middle core doing a dive instead of a landing due to running out of igniter fluid, and the much-watched booster 'water landing' recently, where they fully recovered the booster afterwards. Both were successful launches.
I think Musk has shown something a little higher than eccentricity for as long as he's been in the public eye. I wouldn't want to be his friend, date him, marry him, or have him as a family member.
* Tesla has tremendously accelerated electric car deployments. I am going to count Solar City in this bucket as well. It was not a smashing success as Tesla or SpaceX are, but it helped to accelerate solar deployments.
* SpaceX proven out booster re-usability and lowered launch prices.
* Helped start open AI which is pushing limits of building machine intelligence by tackling progressively harder problems.
Whatever you think about the man, you can't ever take away those accomplishments. All of the current controversy looks so small and insignificant compared to them.
This would be a classic example of mixing up causation and correlation.
Although your wording is specific enough I can't tell if that's entirely on purpose and there's some joke I'm not seeing...
Edit: lol, actually I think I just missed the "so" in your comment, which noticing it now makes me read it entirely differently.
If this was true there would be astoundingly more world-changing technologies, given the sheer number of people out there who abandon otherwise valued traits of being human.
That was proven long ago
We like to idealize those that accomplish much, but we also like to ignore that those accomplishments come with sacrifices that many aren't willing to make and a focus and drive that inverts many peoples optimal live balance on its head.
People have trouble with having two opinions of someone: one in terms of their professional achievements and another of their morality. I think it's a bit similar to doublethink.
Of course it is possible to be balanced and successful but the obsession leads to over-representation and the examples are outliers by definition essentially - otherwise it wouldn't be worth noting.
It might be a bit spurious but that is a fairly strong trend.
If I judged my friends by that standard, I wouldn't have any.
Calling him a curse word would have been 'fine'.
Even just coming back after a day or two and saying "I'm sorry, I should have called him [curse word of choice]" would be closer to acceptable.
Coming back to say "no, no, I'm dead serious" has no excuse.
(this exchange was hilarious at least https://1bht2ni6oc-flywheel.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/upload...)
I don't think Musk is a bad person, I just think he doesn't have a great filter. Musk said something crappy and is getting disproportional blowback from it.
It's a bit like saying "I have nothing to hide because I've never said done anything illegal". If you dig far enough, everyone has done something "illegal" (read: mean / un-PC / etc)
Normal people don't accuse someone who risked their life of being a paedo simply because they disagreed with him.
Additionally, what kind of hubris is it to imagine you can help with a rescue you know little to nothing about, especially in a way that could be viewed as a PR stunt for one of your companies?
The proper response would have been for Elon to say: 'We were only trying to help. I am glad everyone got out ok, and respect what the divers did to make that happen. Perhaps what we built could be used in future situations and we are prepared to work with rescue organizations to see if that is feasible.'
If he had said that, everyone would have cheered him. Instead, he really began his slide off the cliff. Happily, he seems to have calmed down lately. At least, I haven't seen any serious missteps in the last few weeks.
But one of the two lead British divers did tell SpaceX in an e-mail to keep working on the sub, in case other plans to safely extract the youngest kid failed. There is an image of this e-mail interaction somewhere. So one of the world's most experienced cave divers had indeed given the team the thumbs-up; the guy telling Musk to shove the machine up his ass was thankfully not representing the rescue leadership.
Also, the diver was unnecessarily aggressive and condescending toward Elon Musk (who was just trying to build a submarine to save the kids), which is what actually prompted Elon to insult him.
SpaceX owes its success to Gwynne Shotwell, not Elon Musk. It's her ability to execute that has SpaceX on top.
AI has been a thing for decades. But it's cool to see Elon Musk take credit for yet another thing he didn't actually do.
It has also relied on the CA clean car incentives to sell the Models S and 3. One of the major factors in the current popularity of Teslas is that a lot of its competition are no longer eligible for those incentives. This is why Wall Street has been so concerned about the end of the federal incentives in 2019.
> Tesla has relied on CA ZEV credits to stay afloat at several points in its lifespan.
What are you trying to express here? I think you believe it is self explanatory, but it's not to me. Tesla took advantage of government incentives just as any other company with a similar offering could have (and did!). The original statement was that Tesla accelerated electric car deployments. CA definitely deserves a lot of credit for spurring that with incentives, but Tesla goes hand-in-hand with that. The incentives are also to encourage the market to provide good offerings in that space, which it responded and did. The reality shows that the major auto makers have been slow to respond with lackluster offerings until very recently (if even then).
(Payroll, VAT, and some other taxes do have the effect you describe. To excuse my nitpicking: that confusion over corporate taxation has a somewhat outsized effect on typical discussions of tax policy)
This is exactly backwards. Tesla was the first to use up its 200000 credits, back in July. GM is the second, in December. Everyone else has a long way to go before running out of incentives.
There are people great for depending on, and there are people great for following. Even if from far away. They are still great. Just in a different way.
That's not accidental.
Which is perfectly fine as long as he keeps inspiring employees (and the world at large) so that they are even ready to "follow him into the gates of hell carrying suntan oil..."
I fail to see the merit of such a condemnation without additional context.
Though I question the validity of it to begin with unless you at least also claim that there are people who you have a similar level of optics on (i.e. "I see them on TV") and actually DO want to have them in one of those roles based on this perception.
When I asked him what he was like to be around, he said it's been over 10 years and all I remember about him is thinking "this guy is fucking weird".
Your life wouldn't be boring.
They call themselves "$TSLAQ" and spend all day fantasizing about Tesla going bankrupt.
This is a great example of exactly what I'm talking about.
A year ago, Falcon Heavy still hadn't launched. Will that happen in 2018? Ever? We didn't know.
A year ago, we were still barely a year since the 2016 pad explosion- is this going to happen again? How often? What if it happens tomorrow?
And most importantly, we've doubled (ish?) the number of landings. With more data, we've got a better estimate on the expected future success rate.
SpaceX is becoming a less risky investment. There was always a valuation hit because of that risk.
SpaceX has a huge payload advantage over Rocket Lab, but small satellites currently pay a lot of the bills at SpaceX...
No, they really don't. SpaceX makes most of their money launching 3-ton+ geostationary satellites. The second-most important workload has been launching the Orbcomm and Iridium constellations. Iridium satellites won't fit on Electron. Orbcomm ones would, but the constellation is complete.
Of all their commercial launches, on only one would the Electron rocket have undeniably been better: The SmallSat Express was a kind of a clusterfuck because there were too many customers on one launch, each with their own problems and delays.
In any case, hypotheticals about SpaceX losing customers in the future always need to be answered with this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IU41zpzWUE&t=75s
As of IAC2018, they had a $12B launch manifest. They can afford to lose a few smallsat payloads.
I am eagerly awaiting a future larger Electron. The principle of 3d-printing a rocket using only parts that are cheap to make is quite interesting, and might have room to move up to payloads larger than smallsats.
There is a lot of demand for smaller launchers. With smaller launch vehicles you can get more flexibility in what orbit you want to go in to. On the larger launches, the small satellite manufacturers have to adapt somewhat to the launches that are available. There is demand from both the commercial and DoD .
"SpaceX’s existing business faces headwinds. It expects to see declines in launches of its workhorse Falcon 9 rocket for 2019 and perhaps 2020. Global demand for launching commercial satellites, its core business, is stagnant, with some satellite manufacturers and customers looking to permanently exit the market segment."
Commercial satellites is broad - does the above mean that the market is stagnant for high orbit geosynchronous? If that's the case, then the advantage would be to Electron - but that assumes something about the profitability of low orbit.
A reference, where the WSJ got this information, would have been nice.
Otoh there are capabilities - and many distinctions between SpaceX and Electron. On the other though is the market and demand and you could have something great but if its market isn't likewise then you're going to be hampered not on the, shall we say, supply side of the rocket you offer, but rather the demand side.
What is worse, they still throw away the rocket once they launch. A "gas only" Falcon 9 rocket (which is to say they have the means to launch and relaunch over 10 times) is ultimately going to be the most cost effective path to space. Not sure Electron can get there from here.
As lithium-ion batteries improve the potential mass fraction for each Electron stage gets better: lighter batteries mean more propellant. In a decade (maybe sooner) it might become feasible for the first stage to retain enough propellant for a propulsive landing like the Falcon 9. And in this case I think there's a big pay-off with the electric pumps: there's no need for a hoverslam, since the engines should be able to deep throttle to an extreme degree that's not practical with conventional rocket engines.
In a shorter time-frame the Electron first stage, because it is so small, is probably air-recoverable using the same approach that ULA is considering for recovering Vulcan engines.
A fun engineering problem to be sure.
Reusability will eventually give SpaceX such an edge that they'll be able to launch BFR at Electron-level prices. Same cost, an order of magnitude more capability.
This is quite a ways out, however, so Rocketlab will enjoy being the only dedicated provider at the $6M price point for quite a while.
Cessna doesn't compete with Boeing, and it's not clear Electron and SpaceX are playing the same game either.
That’s not a bad thing. Boeing for example is also a profitable aerospace company, but they don’t launch to GEO. You basicly pay a near constant rate per lb to orbit and most of the money is from the large side of thing.
I'm a bit worried, however, about the CEO using it as a piggy-bank for other projects only partially related to SpaceX, and whether I'd see any payback on that risk if I were an investor (See: Boring Company using SpaceX folks to dig tunnels).
I'm perfectly fine not being an investor and instead just being a fan.
It's not for everyone, but it's the reason why Musk is so successful. He goes right up to the line, and then tries to step just a tiny bit over. Sometimes he ends up flagrantly in the danger zone, but just as often he finds out the line was much further out than anyone suspected.
You can do the same thing socially, by letting crazy people randomly test boundaries, and then using a social network to filter best practices down to you. That way you get the benefit of random testing, without risking any of your personal health or reputation. But that takes decades, whereas Elon's strategy gives immediate feedback.
He has so much privilege that he can be quite risky without actually "betting the farm" so to speak. If he was a little less mentally healthy, a little less white, a little less male, a little less rich parents, a little less educated, etc he'd probably have flamed out with this strategy. Having that intersection of privilege gives him a nice safety net when his experiments blow up. There's a whole other layer of support beyond the business fundamentals.
What’s really interesting is if you study the absolute top athletes is they treat down time as both nessisary and productive.
Absolute peak performance is simply not sustainable, you need to adjust to a huge range of tradeoffs.
And a 47 year old tweeting about "420" and his critics being "pedos" isn't someone with a "strategy" seeking "immediate feedback" where others "take decades", even where their tweets are in a sufficiently harmless space for them not to lose a measure of control over their company and find themself on the end of bad press and lawsuits as a result. It's someone who somehow managed not to learn something the majority of other 47 year olds learned three decades ago and/or someone who has failed to exercise control of their behaviour in an arena where they had little to gain and everything to lose.
You can make a case for assholery over details being integral to getting results even at the expense of relationships, but not self-destructive social media tomfoolery Musk didn't even indulge in for most of his career.
I guess above all I'm just glad nobody hero worships me enough to rationalise my own acts of utter stupidity as next-level, boundary-pushing genius. (I guess the flip side is I didn't found SpaceX, but you win some, you lose some :-)
The moment Musk made the call on Starlink, he made all the other ambitions of SpaceX conditional on it. If Starlink succeeds, they can fund Mars colonization out of petty cash.
Comcast access + tv is essentially a US only business. They have something like 26 million access subscribers and 22 million cable tv subscribers. The access business alone is good for $25-$30 billion per year in sales. They've accomplished that scale just in the US market. A bunch of medium income and developed nations still have relatively slow Internet access, including France and Australia. There are an easy ten million Starlink customers waiting just in the giant US market.
Starlink will never fund a Mars colony out of petty cash though. It'll take nearly every dollar of profit the business generates to establish a Mars colony.
Apparently the average phone bill is 80USD/month. Again some of the highest in the world.
edit: what I was going for is, you can't take that number and extrapolate it to the whole world
I would be interested in reading about the economics of this.
Can you point to such an article?
I wouldn't because I don't trust Elon Musk's honesty with investors.
Also, I don't understand the argument "I would invest because positive thing X" - how does it imply that buying the company at market price is more profitable than buying a stock index?
It just looks like he's gotten comfortable expressing the thoughts and feelings that most of us try to apply at least a small filter to, and it's hard because he's the boss of his world, so there's no one to reel him in.
I think that has been a mistake. Undercut them sure, but if they charged more they might not be seeking funding right now. They should be optimizing profit at this point (to fund new developments) and it's not clear that's what they're doing. I've never heard them talk about pricing other than what they charge and how they hope to lower those costs.
If you are flying a $20 million dollar satalite, do you fly with the 6 million dollar proven launch, or the 5.999 million dollar unproven launch?
Now if the unproven guy cuts the price to 3 million dollars, the math changes (insurance can step in, etc).
I don't think they could have charged much more and gotten to where they are.
Add to that ULA was forced to drop their prices, so Space-X doesn't really have much room to increase more. And they obviously can't increase on existing contracts.
I'm always shocked when a keyboard warrior on ycombinator thinks a company that size doesn't have a considerable workforce dedicated to figuring out what they can charge for their product... I doubt they just picked a number out of thin air. It was likely a combination of estimating how low they think their competitors go as well as where they need to be to win new business.
Falcon 9 is $62 million (and I believe that’s the expendable version, you get a discount if the mission allows for booster recovery).
The fact that these prices are publically available on their websites tells you something about the state of competition in the launch industry.
Are they really that concerned with getting "the best"? From what I've heard, they expect you to work insane hours. That pretty much limits potential employees to those without a family or a life outside of work.
Won't they just end up with the majority of their employees without significant experience this way?
In many ways though I guess it operates very much like a startup. They sell dreams to get employees.
A number of truly genius engineers won't even consider SpaceX anymore because they're married/have children and simply won't put up with the hours.
SpaceX still does a good job of bringing in stellar new graduates, but the lack of experience among so much of their workforce has definitely hampered their R&D.
I don't think you're disagreeing with me. I assume those people were relatively young since they interned there?
I was not at all trying to imply they don't have talented people working there. It sounds like a great opportunity and honestly anyone who is willing to spend so much time on their craft should get good at it over time.
I am just trying to say that they are also probably missing out on many talented people who don't want to commit so much time to work.
I mean it's working out for them clearly. It seems they consider dedication to be more important than "talent" and I wouldn't necessarily say that's wrong. I only work in software which may be different but it's rare to encounter problems which require some sort of ingenuity. Most of the time work just involves.. putting in time and effort to get things done.
I would not work SpaceX hours even though I'm a big fan. They're hiring engineers better than I, though, so I think that's a shrugworthy footnote from their perspective.
I don't think the workers would care if a launch cost $10-50M more than it does. If I worked there it would make me uneasy that they're looking for more funding for a mere $500M. It already makes me uneasy (and I don't work there) since I really want them to succeed with BFR and their Mars ambitions.
So true! I would love to invest in SpaceX
Genius, yes. Ambitious, yes. Good governance, no!
"Founders Fund in a statement said it has been briefed on the relationship between SpaceX and the Boring Co. “and we have no concerns whatsoever."
The main reason for that belief, at least for me, is Starlink.
I'll say. hits blunt
It’s just PR he’s not sleeping under desks or delusional from sleep deprivation or etc
It’s just PR to get to this moment, raising a huge round for SpaceX.