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Elon Musk's Wild Ride
"... Just on technological merits, Musk's companies have already impacted the world in lasting fashion. To the extent that the electric car is a reality, it's largely thanks to Tesla selling tens of thousands of high-priced vehicles, pressuring BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Volkswagen, and others into a response. Tesla's software has also made the automotive industry interesting again. All automakers have been forced to modernize the software inside their vehicles and accelerate their self-driving programs.
While it receives less attention, SpaceX may be Musk's greatest achievement. You would be hard-pressed to find a more patriotic tale than a South African immigrant using his own money to revitalize the U.S. aerospace industry.
Before SpaceX, it was considered daft for an individual to try and compete against nation-states with decades of experience and billion-dollar budgets. Now a handful of rocket companies have cropped up, seeking to undercut SpaceX on price. As the price of getting to space has dropped, dozens of other startups have come running with new kinds of satellites that promise to change technology ranging from imaging to medicine.
Wall Street and casual onlookers often find Musk's approach abhorrent, and this makes perfect sense. They want consistent earnings-per-share figures and straight talk, while he's in an inventive fugue state more concerned with trying to save mankind from oblivion. Musk lives in a way that few of us would choose and has a tolerance for risk that would drive most of us nuts. It's precisely because Musk has operated his companies on the edge of what's possible that he has achieved so much. ..."
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