100%. Class. Act.
Elon also experienced near-death back in 2000 during a visit to South Africa. He almost died from cerebral malaria. (According to an interview) He tweeted about it here: https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/152394000857448448
I've always been in awe of Elon and quite simply that doesn't seem like changing any day soon.
John D. Rockefeller: US$392 billion to US$663.4 billion in adjusted dollars for the late 2000s, and it is estimated that his personal fortune was equal to 1.53% of the total U.S. annual GDP in his day. PS: He was worth a billion dollars in
Cornelius Vanderbilt: US$178.4 billion adjusted for the late 2000s; Henry Ford: $188.1 billion; Andrew Carnegie US$75 billion to US$297.8 billion; , Astor has a real wealth estimated at some US$116 billion when adjusted for the late 2000s; John D. Rockefeller
This might be true. But Elon stands to be the first private citizen with a chance to reach the moon or Mars. The chance is (admittedly) slim, but the expected value of being commercially successful at reaching the moon or Mars is exponentially greater than Microsoft.
I'd be more surprised if he didn't reach the moon or Mars
Zubrin has argued that the colonization of Mars is analogous to North America, and will produce unprecendented wealth.
No, good point. That one doesn't count as pedantry on your part, but as a d'oh on my part!
Is donating your fortune to charity in your will really altruistic? You're just giving away something you would no longer need, something which you wouldn't be able to use in any way after you're dead.
On the other hand, by writing that will now, you get to feel damn good about yourself and also have a lot of people praise you.
I think the people volunteering their life and their youth for an NGO and going to work with people in need NOW are the ones who deserve praise, not billionaires who are pledging to helping the poor without risking anything. I wish I could be one of the former, yet our society always encourages and rewards the latter.
NB. I'm not arguing against Ellon Musk, I'm arguing against the way you phrased that sentence, and what people are sometimes mislead into viewing as a great deeds. See also Orwell's Burmese days.
That sentence was from Elon Musk himself, not mine. So really, you're arguing against Elon Musk. Did you even read the picture I posted? http://i.imgur.com/Mnk7U.jpg
He goes further on twitter to set the basic premise that it's better to try to address some of the world's problems than to create an aristocracy of wealth.
He has donated to charitable organizations like MSF, UNICEF, Peace & Justice, Doctors without Borders, and personally bought presents for kids at the orphanage on Xmas. His established Musk Foundation helps to promote science education, pediatric health and clean energy.
All of his companies has the ultimate goal of having a positive effect on the world, whether it's space exploration, solar energy generation, or electric cars. Elon personally said that he worked 80-100 hours a week for 15 years, and at one point invested nearly all of his assets in order to keep Tesla & SpaceX alive back in 2008. Source: http://archive.mensjournal.com/elon-musk%E2%80%99s-risky-bus...
Your claim of Elon being one of those billionaires pledging to help the poor without risking anything is flat out wrong. He risked everything and gave it his all, to the point of waking up in tears during the 2008 economic crash, when he thought all 3 companies would die and his marriage was ruined. He almost had a nervous breakdown. Source: 34:42 mark http://www.bloomberg.com/video/73460184-elon-musk-profiled-b...
1. Give away your money after you make it.
2. Give away your money as you make it.
3. Stop making money once you've earned enough of it.
Elon has chosen #1, and that is a viable option. It's viable because fortune begets fortune, and if he'd chosen #2 (or certainly #3) he might not have been able to create as much wealth.
That fact that he's not choosing to set his children up for life (apart from, I'd imagine, enough to get them through grad school comfortably) is to his credit and to their ultimate benefit.
Indeed 100% class.
I look forward to buying my first used electric car in five to eight years. Probably a Leaf. Should be lots of hobbyists at that point rebuilding their own battery packs by hand.
Top Gear reviews hardly make a difference anyway, I think anyone who has watched even a few episodes knows they exaggerate negatives for entertainment value almost constantly; the Tesla was hardly their only "victim" in this regard.
Basically, they imagined the worst that could possibly happen, but when it didn't happen, they pretended that it did anyway.
This is kind of like saying "we reviewed your iPhone app. Because apps can crash, we wrote a review describing all the way your app crashing ruined various real-life activities we had, even though your app never actually crashed."
Second, as another reply points out, they did not really point out genuine shortcomings but rather fabricated events and used strawmen. If you analyse existing usage of sports cars, you will probably find the vast majority are used for short and medium distance driving on the road, not cross-continent or highly intensive race track driving. Hence the design and marketing of the Tesla.
As far as I'm concerned, the Top Gear guys are hucksters.
This is a show that will [jokingly] talk about how much they don't like a new $250,000+ hyper car.
Mother of god.
What have I been doing with my life.
I don't need nuanced predictions, just reasonable conjecture.
I haven't seen the actual roadmap for that anywhere, but I wouldn't be shocked to learn he has one.
Shared office in a big building. Neither is really a viable option to get a charging station added.
Don't live in a building with onsite parking? Parking lots offering charging spaces will begin to spring up. That's the nice thing about capitalism: if there's an opportunity to make a buck, someone will jump on it.
It could take quite some time until market demand for power outlets will become significant.
Over time I expect that many street parkings will have power outlets kind of like park-meters.
And yet, this is at the top of Hacker News.
This was posted on HN a few months ago, but I really thought this interview with him was exceptional: http://www.wired.com/science/space/news/2008/08/musk_qa
What's most impressive to me is that this interview was almost 4 years ago, and he's done exactly as he said. He's focused on results and he's spending his considerable capital on things likely to make an impact on the world, not on frivolous applications like social networks.
Wired.com: At the end of the day you're still zero for three; you have so far failed to put a rocket into orbit.
Musk: We haven't gotten into orbit, true, but we've made considerable progress. If it's an all-or-nothing proposition then we've failed. But it's not all or nothing. We must get to orbit eventually, and we will. It might take us one, two or three more tries, but we will. We will make it work.
Wired.com: How do you maintain your optimism?
Musk: Do I sound optimistic?
Wired.com: Yeah, you always do.
Musk: Optimism, pessimism, fuck that; we're going to make it happen. As God is my bloody witness, I'm hell-bent on making it work.
Compare Paul Graham:
"I now have enough experience with startups to be able to say what the most important quality is in a startup founder, and it's not what you might think. The most important quality in a startup founder is determination. Not intelligence-- determination."
By offering a compelling vision, Elon has sucked up much of the top talent in the space industry who had just been waiting for someone to come along with an uber-cool program for them to work on. His vision is so cool, in fact, that they are willing to work for much lower wages than they would make at a big defense contractor.
Similarly with Tesla, there was a large pool of talented engineers who are passionate about electric cars, who had just been waiting for the right company to come along and rescue them from dead-end projects at the big car companies.
Seriously -- it's not glamorous but it could really use an innovator.
(Then again, who would have said an electric car could be glamorous?)
Elon: "It's important enough to be on the scale of life itself, and therefore goes beyond the parochial concerns of humanity," Musk says of our interplanetary destiny. "We're all focused on our little things that are of concern to humanity itself. People think of curing AIDS or cancer as being very important, and they are—within the context of humanity. But curing all forms of cancer would improve the average life span by only two to three years. That's it."
"In other words, while eradicating disease is a worthy pursuit, and would extend the lives of individual human beings, my life's work is extending the life span of life itself."
Elon did talk about some projects he would like to do if he had the time. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FESP1h7IZM
1. VTOL supersonic electric jet: fast, quiet, low-cost to operate (what he jokingly referred to in Iron Man 2, IIRC)
2. Prefabricated metal sections for creating a double-decker/box highway, that could be dropped in place like a lego system with minimal disruption to traffic.
3. Fusion problem, magnetically-confined fusion, gets easier as you scale it up.
He also talked about the greatest factor of his success:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hedxehSr-I A really high intrinsic drive.
You can really see the determination in his eyes. Just 3 months ago, Elon was visibly quite disappointed in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJnW7vtqaf4&feature=relat...
2 months later, the Dragon successfully docked with the space station. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjuvIlskUf4#t=7m20s Just look at Elon's excitement at the 9:36 mark of this video as well as all of SpaceX employee's enthusiasm. Amazing. :)
Wired.com: So what have you learned so far?
Musk: Patience is a virtue, and I'm learning patience. It's a tough lesson.
He's also comfortable being honest, as in that bit about optimism, and other comments in other interviews.
I think many startups actually do have a grand vision - it's just that their initial money-making product is a small executable idea. e.g. the article dismisses google as just a "better way to search the web", but they had a vision of accessing the world's information (all human knowledge). It's also long seemed to me they are really about strong AI, but they don't talk about that...
Elon Musk does the same thing. He has a vision, but pays the bills with satellite launches. He's not going direct to a Mars colony. Similarly for Tesla, the first model was very niche. Even with the sedan, it's still a tiny tiny fraction of Toyota's output.
This is the way you accomplish great things: one step at a time.
I have seen a few of his talks and he makes it look really easy.
It's probably well known already, but in case you missed it, Iron Man's character in the movies is based off of him to some degree.
Most likely, the Iron Man movie team -- including Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. -- just finds it helpful to reference Musk as a modern Stark-archetype. (Starketype?) The original Stark drew from Howard Hughes, but Hughes isn't as familiar to the movie's modern audience. And, our other modern billionaires, like Gates and Jobs, don't quite have the same rockets-and-motion pedigree as did Hughes and now Musk.
A lot of attention is focussed on Hughes' later years when he turned basically insane, but in his productive years he pushed forwards the design of the airplane and motion pictures.
If anyone is unfamiliar with his work, I'd recommend picking up a biography and giving it a read.
If you don't count his earlier internet work, he's still active in 3 difficult industries. He's also chairman of SolarCity, a solar panel installer with some innovative financing options. I think he had the idea for the company and provided funding, and his cousins (?) are running it.
He has invested a considerable amount of money in SolarCity and oversees the board; both are indispensable as the former allowed SolarCity to scale (which was the main problem with lowering installation costs outside of material procurement) and the latter has provided the Rives guidance when they needed it.
But as Musk has said, his main role at SolarCity is showing up to the board meeting and hearing the great results.
While I agree that the guy is awesome, his projects are inspiring and I dislike this social everything wave as much as you probably do, social networks do make an impact on the world, probably even faster and more direct than space ships.
"It has always appalled me that really bright scientists almost all work in the most competitive fields, the ones in which they are making the least difference. In other words, if they were hit by a truck, the same discovery would be made by somebody else about 10 minutes later."
-Aubrey de Grey
If the US wants to pay off it debts, maybe the first thing to do is reduce the amount spend on, for example, the military. The US spends $700+ billion dollars (or 4% of GDP) on its military, on something that is even less of a net benefit to humanity: killing people.
Surely the $20 billion currently spent on NASA pales in comparison to that, and the benefit to humanity of non-military technological improvement is far larger. (Clearly, DARPA et al. fund technological improvement too, but the purpose, and first use, of these technologies is normally quite saddening.)
P.S. It looks like a Falcon 9 uses about 25000 gallons of kerosene. Assume everyone drives Priuses and gets 50 mpg while driving a reasonable 18000 miles per year. A Falcon 9 launch burns less fuel than less than 100 people do in a year of just living their boring old lives.
Rocket launch pollution is pissing in a metaphorical ocean.
(And of course LOX/LH2 burns to produce water...)
Regardless, people like you are actually the reason I am thankful that SpaceX exists. It really doesn't matter to them what people like you think, thank FSM...
Study: Patent Trolls Cost Companies $29 Billion Last Year
It sad that people still believe Space Colonization is so pointless.
No, and I didn't imply that either.
With due respect for electric cars and their great possible environmental impact, SpaceX is what is important of Musk's projects. It is what might make his name remembered in a few hundred years.
Elon's "projects" are all changing the world, while my "projects" have me standing in the middle of Home Depot staring at concrete sealant, dumbfounded as to why one costs 2x the other.
What a depressing dichotomy.
Low cost and high reliability come from volume production, which creates a chicken and egg problem. Elon started with the very high end, and is working his way down as a method to gradually build volumes and develop experience and technology to eventually build high volume low cost cars for everyone.
Contrast that to the "expensive fat econobox" approaches the other carmakers tried and abandoned.
- Very high cost, very low volume car to start off with.
- Moderate cost, moderate volume car (Tesla S).
- Low cost, high volume.
As we can see, they have achieved the first two targets (with surprising success).
If you consider the 'rich people' argument, SpaceX customers are still going to be fewer than Tesla's for the near future at least. (Although, that is not to say the businesses borne from using SpaceX like bringing better satellite based services etc won't affect a LOT of people.)
(Tesla itself is probably headed downmarket as well; the announced strategy has always been to do prestige models first and then ramp up the volume.)
Also, do you mean worldwide or U.S. consumers in particular?
Of course, its also likely that starting fewer wars would lead to a more stable world and fewer problems with the oil supply. But that would not allow conquest and ego and the sale of hundreds of billions of dollars of armaments.
Hopefully, this will lead to a bit less violence over fuels.
In other words: No, the scenario you describe won't happen.
Solar panels seem to keep getting cheaper; distribution via the power grid does not. This may lead to property owners with enough land eventually finding an economic incentive to get most of their power from solar panels on their land instead of using the grid.
With electricity, it doesn't matter what the source is. If your electricity comes from wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, nuclear, whatever.. You can generate it where you are. Or you can use local coal/gas/biomass/biogas resources. But electric cars can be run on whatever, while gasoline cars can only run on oil (first generation biofuels used now are now very energy positive, if at all, so they don't count).
I guess a good real-world example of what I'm saying is: Right now, we're not really seeing big crises and wars about electricity, and I expect that it will continue in a similar fashion in the future, with or without EVs on the grid.
To drastically lower the costs of space launch so that Mars(!) expeditions can be done by "just" billionaires is new. Just add what is happening in drones and the solar system will finally be ours.
[Edit: If it isn't clear:
Electric cars seems to obviously be arriving, if two conditions are fulfilled: (a) better batteries (metal-air, etc) and (b) that solar cell costs continue go down and/or more nuclear power. The time has come, it is so simple...
People have been talking for at least four decades about lowering launch costs, but it has gotten nowhere. Maybe that time has come now, when NASA doesn't have a shuttle to protect and hence no motivation to knife all competition in the cradle by their political clout? Maybe, I just note that this dream finally is successful.]
Spaceflight is immensely cool. Much cooler than cars. But cars had a much bigger impact on humanity than spaceflight. I would predict that trend will continue for quite a few decades.
I did not mention "cool", I mentioned lower launch prices. That is more important.
The usual argument, since decades, is that with low launch costs, there will be new use cases and new markets -- the first private projects has been announced for mining and detecting "dinosaur killers", etc.
(I am not certain if I'm trolled here. Or if I was unclear in the GP?)
If everything he plans works out (and I hope it does) it will be very important and very cool – but cars are the much more pressing issue. Put another way: there is much more potential for doing good there.
If you wanted to do a serious counter arguments, you'd have asked for sources, or something. You're a troll using a new account. Good bye.
I’m also not sure why making electric cars work in the market is any more obvious than slightly cheaper space launch vehicles.
For decades people said they can make electric cars work in the market. They couldn’t. Maybe Musk will.
For decades people said that space launch costs will decrease. They didn’t. Maybe Musk will.
The difference between those two isn’t so big and transportation has the bigger immediate impact on humanity. I mean, both SpaceX and Tesla have many competitors.
(I’m also not sure what sources can tell you here. Comparing two so completely different things is a bit of a fool’s errand, a single source will hardly be valuable. You would have to cleverly combine date to make this somehow work – and much of this is open to interpretation.)