Author Topic: Elon Musk...human?  (Read 49292 times)

maxprogram

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 113
Re: Elon Musk...human?
« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2015, 10:17:34 AM »
The explanation for that is risk tolerance.  If you have a brilliant mathematical mind you are almost certain to do well as a quant on Wall Street, but starting your own rocket company is not exactly going to be a sure thing. In fact if you are that mathematically capable you are more likely than the average person to know the difference in the odds between the two.  Like I said Musk has a shit load of guts.  He isn't just shooting for the Moon, he's shooting for Mars.

This is what I was trying to say. If was just "brilliance" however you define it, there would be a lot more Elon Musks in the world. It's a combination of a lot of things. And unfortunately that combination doesn't pop up enough in the world.
Twitter: @maxolson @explorists


Liberty

  • Lifetime Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9293
  • twitter.com/libertyRPF
    • twitter.com/libertyRPF
Re: Elon Musk...human?
« Reply #21 on: January 20, 2015, 11:40:24 AM »
I think even the "risk tolerance" and "working in the most fertile areas" aspects underplay things, though they are obviously part of the mix.

Genius is often about doing things that other people simply can't do. It's making leaps and connections that wouldn't come to other people, looking at things in new ways, persevering way past the point when everybody else would have given up, etc. It's not just about having a high IQ.

I'd bet that almost all the otherwise incredibly smart people out there who don't even try to think big right now, if you gave them unconditional, unlimited resources (lottery winnings, whatever) and a way to hide their failures so there's no social stigma (do your work outside of the public eye rather than publicly like Musk, so if it doesn't work, nobody knows, but if it works, you get the glory) and could make them work in the most fertile areas for big discoveries, they still wouldn't be the people who's names end up in history books. Some might, and on average their contribution to our civilization would go up no doubt about it, but I'm just trying to say that I don't think those two things are the only missing ingredients for most brilliant people to operate on the level of those rare people who change the course of history through the sheer force of their personality and talents.
"Most haystacks don't even have a needle." |  I'm on Twitter  | Watch this, please

rkbabang

  • Lifetime Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3566
Re: Elon Musk...human?
« Reply #22 on: January 20, 2015, 11:53:55 AM »
I think even the "risk tolerance" and "working in the most fertile areas" aspects underplay things, though they are obviously part of the mix.

Genius is often about doing things that other people simply can't do. It's making leaps and connections that wouldn't come to other people, looking at things in new ways, persevering way past the point when everybody else would have given up, etc. It's not just about having a high IQ.

I'd bet that almost all the otherwise incredibly smart people out there who don't even try to think big right now, if you gave them unconditional, unlimited resources (lottery winnings, whatever) and a way to hide their failures so there's no social stigma (do your work outside of the public eye rather than publicly like Musk, so if it doesn't work, nobody knows, but if it works, you get the glory) and could make them work in the most fertile areas for big discoveries, they still wouldn't be the people who's names end up in history books. Some might, and on average their contribution to our civilization would go up no doubt about it, but I'm just trying to say that I don't think those two things are the only missing ingredients for most brilliant people to operate on the level of those rare people who change the course of history through the sheer force of their personality and talents.

I agree, I called it "creativity" and "vision" above, but it is hard to describe.   I you gave me a Billion dollars on the condition that I use it to change the world, I wouldn't even know where to start.  (Maybe I'd give it to Musk).  Whatever it is, Musk has it and most people don't.

Pretium

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Re: Elon Musk...human?
« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2015, 08:19:39 AM »
I think the tone of this thread has changed a bit. Initially the question was "Is Elon Musk Human?", with a link to his idea for a Space Internet. In all of history there are a few great minds that have transcended traditional human capabilities. Einstein, Newton, Da Vinci, Hawking, Galileo, Beethoven, etc. One might talk about these people as extraordinary, superb, one-of-a-kind...almost non-human. I took this question to mean, does Elon belong on this list? Personally I always grouped Elon with Benjamin Franklin. Franklin was a pure entrepreneur, superb socializer and negotiater, and also a scientist.

Let's not forget that Tesla started with a $465m loan from the government. It also relies on $7500 subsidies when selling its cars. SolarCity relies on government tax breaks as well. Is it genius to create companies that aren't economically viable in the free market?

Let's suppose that xyz billionaire replicated Musk's SpaceX path. He gathered the same people, under the same roof, for the same mission and thows in the same amount of money. Does SpaceX still succeed? Or does it only succeed with Musk? I'd say the latter, but still interesting to think about.

When Apple threw out Steve Jobs as CEO it went down the drain. No doubt they still had smart people there, but where was the vision? Is someone soley with vision a genius?

Is Steve Jobs a genius? (Or non-human)?

I'm only trying to play devil's advocate here. I am a huge Musk fan and have watched nearly every interview he has given and taken studious notes.
"A person is smart, people are dumb... 1500 years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. 500 years ago everybody knew the Earth was flat...imagine what you'll know tomorrow" - MIB

Picasso

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2008
Re: Elon Musk...human?
« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2015, 09:34:13 AM »
Tesla didn't start with the DOE loan.  They did several rounds of private funding with about $100 million coming from Elon.  Daimler then made an investment which opened up the way to the DOE loan.  Also the subsidy issue is sort of weird in my books because the oil industry is heavily subisidized in different forms so the price you pay for oil isn't the full price, especially when you ignore the enviromental costs.

I think what makes Elon Musk superhuman is his tenacity and ability to cut through very daunting problems.  If you wanted to start a viable rocket company from scratch where would you start?  A profitable electric car company? A dominant online payment system?  A normal person would not know where to even begin but Elon is very good at breaking down why they are difficult problems and identifying whether success is a possible outcome.  He then has the tenacity to solve those problems to the detriment of his personal life and financial health.

You start to take out a couple small elements of Elon Musk and you end up in the bin with 99% of the other failures we never heard about.

Liberty

  • Lifetime Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9293
  • twitter.com/libertyRPF
    • twitter.com/libertyRPF
Re: Elon Musk...human?
« Reply #25 on: January 21, 2015, 09:47:27 AM »
Let's not forget that Tesla repaid the loan 10 years ahead of schedule:

http://money.cnn.com/2013/05/22/autos/tesla-loan-repayment/

I'd be fine with electric cars and solar companies getting not help from the government if we removed all fossil fuels subsidies, direct and indirect (ie. military expenses to protect oil interests), including retroactively. I think that would be a gigantic boon to EVs and solar...
"Most haystacks don't even have a needle." |  I'm on Twitter  | Watch this, please

rkbabang

  • Lifetime Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3566
Re: Elon Musk...human?
« Reply #26 on: January 21, 2015, 10:26:15 AM »
And don't forget any electric car manufacturer can take advantage of the $7500 per car subsidy, yet there was nothing like the Tesla Roadster and Model S before Tesla, nothing since Tesla, and nothing I've heard about coming down the pike from any other auto manufacturer.

Companies who have been making cars for 10's or even 100+ years seem to be unable to produce a comparable product, both now and in the foreseeable future.  And they all could take advantage of the $7500/vehicle subsidy.

Otsog

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 258
Re: Elon Musk...human?
« Reply #27 on: January 22, 2015, 12:00:25 AM »
I had a friend ask me "Why hasn't Bill Gates done some of the amazing things Elon Musk has?" The answer I don't think has anything to do with brilliance (Gates would easily hold his ground against Musk) but with the ambition & risk appetite (aka mild insanity).

I think the answer is that he has.
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.

rkbabang

  • Lifetime Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3566
Re: Elon Musk...human?
« Reply #28 on: January 22, 2015, 06:21:48 AM »
I had a friend ask me "Why hasn't Bill Gates done some of the amazing things Elon Musk has?" The answer I don't think has anything to do with brilliance (Gates would easily hold his ground against Musk) but with the ambition & risk appetite (aka mild insanity).

I think the answer is that he has.

I don't want to take anything away from what Gates has accomplished.  To say that he's been successful is quite an understatement.  But he bought DOS, copied the Mac, created a video game system, ...  Sure he has been more successfull than anyone else doing these things, but I'll quote Liberty from his previous post on this topic:

Quote from: liberty
here's a great quote by biogerontologist Aubrey de Grey on this:

"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."

If Bill Gates had been hit by a truck in the mid 80's we might not have Windows or the Xbox, but we would still have personal computers with graphical user interfaces and video game systems today.  He hasn't used his money nor his genius to create something that no one else would have even thought to try for decades.

Liberty

  • Lifetime Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9293
  • twitter.com/libertyRPF
    • twitter.com/libertyRPF
Re: Elon Musk...human?
« Reply #29 on: January 22, 2015, 06:51:02 AM »
Personally, almost everything that makes me respect Bill Gates is the stuff that he has done, and is doing, after leaving the Microsoft CEO role and creating the Gates Foundation.
"Most haystacks don't even have a needle." |  I'm on Twitter  | Watch this, please