If you missed it, Elon Musk did an awesome AMA on Reddit the other day. Oh, and he just announced that he’s going to build a test drive for his entirely new made up form of transportation called the hyper loop.
Will be building a Hyperloop test track for companies and student teams to test out their pods. Most likely in Texas.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 15, 2015
I love Elon, not only because MARVEL decided to base the Tony Stark movie iteration off of him (billionaire, genius, playboy philanthropist), but because he is constantly thinking big. Not run of the mill, big, but freaking out of this world big (seriously, the dude is going to mars).
In other words, he’s built a worldwide payment processor, an electrical car company, a solar energy company and a rocket company. In between revolutionizing current transportation standards, he uses his free time to come up with completely new ones (the hyper loop).
— Joel Runyon (@joelrunyon) January 15, 2015
So yeah, if Elon talks, then you should listen. You can read the full AMA here, but here are my favorite takeaways from the whole thing:
If You Want To Get To Orbit, Use Rockets
Table of Contents
SpaceX’s current strategy revolves mostly around old style Rockets, even if they are now approaching complete reusability (Grasshopper rocks). Has SpaceX looked into Hybrid craft like the SABRE program happening in the UK, or look into the possibility of a space elevator (Even at a thought experiment stage) in the way that Google and NASA have done?
Thanks for doing this AMA
If you want to get to orbit or beyond, go with pure rockets. It is not like Von Braun and Korolev didn’t know about airplanes and they were really smart dudes.
Okay, this is a bit metaphorical, but I think it actually applies to a lot of things. If you want to get to orbit don’t bother with moderation. It’s not that healthy for you anyways. Moderation isn’t gonna get you there. You gotta go all out. Use rockets.
If You’re Going Through Hell…
My question: You seem to have had to deal with a tremendous amount of adversity in a few of your ventures. Do you have any advice for those dealing with seemingly insurmountable adversity?
There is a great quote by Churchill: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
I’ve written this a bunch of times, but half of the reason for people’s success is that they don’t quit.
Most people don’t really fail, they just give up too soon.
You Can Learn More Than You Think You Can
tl;dr: How do you learn so much so fast? Lots of people read books and talk to other smart people, but you’ve taken it to a whole new level.
It seems you have an extremely proficient understanding of aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, software engineering, all various subdisciplines (avionics, power electronics, structural engineering, propulsion, energy storage, AI) ETC ETC nearly all things technical.
I know you’ve read a lot of books and you hire a lot of smart people and soak up what they know, but you have to acknowledge you seem to have found a way to pack more knowledge into your head than nearly anyone else alive. Do you have any advice on learning? How are you so good at it?
I do kinda feel like my head is full! My context switching penalty is high and my process isolation is not what it used to be.
Frankly, though, I think most people can learn a lot more than they think they can. They sell themselves short without trying.
One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree – make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.
Most people put artificial limits on themselves & live up exactly to those limits.
DON’T DO THAT.
Don’t put limits on yourself. Don’t listen to conventional wisdom. If there’s something you want to go after, stick your nose in a book and go after it. Then don’t stop.
Bribe Yourself To Success
I’m a teacher, and I always wonder what I can do to help my students achieve big things. What’s something your teachers did for you while you were in school that helped to encourage your ideas and thinking? Or, if they didn’t, what’s something they could have done better? thanks!
The best teacher I ever had was my elementary school principal. Our math teacher quit for some reason and he decided to sub in himself for math and accelerate the syllabus by a year.
We had to work like the house was on fire for the first half of the lesson and do extra homework, but then we got to hear stories of when he was a soldier in WWII. If you didn’t do the work, you didn’t get to hear the stories. Everybody did the work.
Want to succeed? Set up your reward structures to ensure this. That’s what BlackMail Yourself is all about. Set up incentives so you essentially guarantee yourself success.
Leave Something To The Imagination
Hi Elon, I’m already saving up for my Model 3. Can you share anything about the Model 3 that we don’t already know?
It won’t look like other cars
Follow-up question: How much do you sleep per night, on average?
I actually measured this with my phone! Almost exactly 6 hours on average.
Don’t skimp on sleep (I’m still trying to get the hang of this one).
Your Daily Habits Are Key
What daily habit do you believe has the largest positive impact on your life?
Lesson: Shower. Seriously. That’s where all the best ideas come from.
1) What is your favorite airplane?
2) What is your favorite video game?
3) What is your favorite food?
4) If you consume alcohol, what is your favorite alcoholic drink?
Hard to pick a favorite. I tend to like FPS with a story, like Bioshock, Fallout or Mass Effect, but was also a big fan of Civ and Warcraft.
French and BBQ
Whiskey is always a good choice.
If there’s one person on earth that forces you to re-evaluate the limits you put on your own life, I think it’s Elon Musk – who constantly makes HUGE bets on himself over and over and over again.
Elon Musk: "My proceeds from PayPal were $180m. I put $100m in SpaceX, $70m in Tesla & $10m in Solar City. I had to borrow money for rent."
— Dan Martell (@danmartell) December 26, 2014