Is Elon Musk crazy?
Elon Musk - crazy rich man or visionary?
It sounds like something out of a movie. A young man makes a big fortune with the help of an internet company and 20 years later he sends one of his cars into space with his own rocket. A lot of what Elon Musk does doesn't make a lot of sense at first, but it looks like there's more to it than that. So what is Elon Musk? A madman who throws around with start-ups or is he a visionary who starts a revolution?
The Boring Company
Let's start with the most absurd company. In December 2016, Elon Musk was stuck in a traffic jam. He shares his solution on Twitter:
On the same day, "The Boring Company" (the boring company) is founded. What sounds like a bad joke today is a working test tunnel in California, a project under construction in Las Vegas, and some planned projects in Los Angeles, Washington, and Chicago. The whole thing is financed, in addition to shares, through the sale of merchandising. The sale of a limited edition baseball cap and flamethrower brought in around 11 million. Marketing a flamethrower called “not a flamethrower” as merchandise is at least as unconventional as the rest of Musk's projects. The fact that the non-flame thrower was sold out within 5 days, however, proves him right. (Source: Auto-motor-und-sport.de)
The products of his most famous company can now be seen on the streets around the world. Tesla's luxury electric cars have also hit the streets of Switzerland. Again, it's not primarily about cutting a piece of the pie of the auto industry. After all, Tesla has never been able to show an annual profit. The intent behind Tesla is much more to pressure the rest of the competition. The auto industry has relied on similar technologies, high-emission technologies, for many years. Tesla is now able to sell cars in large quantities. Now the rest of the manufacturers have to go along with them and develop innovative technologies themselves in order to remain competitive. Given that the long-established brands such as Audi and VW are now investing in e-mobility, the plan is working quite well. For Musk it is clear that without such innovations the world will run into a dead end. So he gets the ball rolling and the rest seems to pull along. (Source: Lecture by Tim Urban)
Recently, however, another Elon Musk company made the headlines. With his space company Space X, 2 astronauts were transported to the ISS at the end of May. The special thing about it, the rocket came back to earth after the flight and landed safely on a platform in the sea. No nation or aerospace company has ever succeeded in doing this. With this method, Space X can operate space travel much more cheaply. There is the point behind which there is more than just flying satellites back and forth. Space X wants to make space travel so cheap that it will be possible to send people to Mars by 2024. The goal of Musk is to make mankind a 2 planet species. In this way, mankind can protect against an event of mass destruction such as a meteorite. The goals seem very ambitious, but with the experts and resources Musk has available, nothing seems impossible. (Source: TED Talk with Elon Musk)
All in all, I would answer the introductory question with “both”. Elon Musk is a bit of a crazy visionary, but I think that's exactly what the world needs now. Elon Musk dreams of almost impossible things. This makes him seem a little crazy at times. But he also makes these dreams come true. This makes him perhaps the most important visionary of our time. So he brings technology and ultimately humanity to develop a little faster.
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