Elon Musk has been very busy in the past few weeks by opening Giga Berlin, Giga Texas & TED 2022. How has he turned fiction into visions to make the future exciting?
I did not learn the value of history at school because the game is to remember as many facts as possible. As time goes by, I learned to appreciate the value of understanding why & how changes unfold in historical stories. Sapiens is such a book with the key changes shaping Homo sapiens civilization and sends some light on the future of mankind.
Sapiens tells the stories how “an animal of no significance”, Homo sapiens dominate the planet of earth. “The knowledge tree story” suggests creating & believing fiction are key secrets to large scale collaborations. And therefore, the civilization progresses from a generation to the next. Today, tens of thousands of employees work for a company. And, hundreds of millions are governed by a country. Company, country, money & many more fictions are useful not because they are “real-real”, but because people believe they are.
A startup has a better chance to success when co-founders can create a “real-fiction” to inspire a team to make the world better. Most of them may still fail. But the experience may still be better and even more valuable than those only in for the money. Even if you don’t want to be a co-founder, you may try “see the matrix”. So that you may bend the reality to pursue “a future worth getting excited about”.
It’s not possible to tell if someone is visionary by looking forward because the market only validates one by looking backward. Now with the unprecedented success of Tesla, Elon Musk earned the title by ramping up Model 3 volume production without going bankrupt. Even Warren Buffett has changed from some reservations on Musk in 2018 to a compliment in an interview on 04/14/2022. He praised Elon on winning against GM, Ford & Toyota, who’ve got all the stuff.
Now, these innovations may look easy because Tesla has done them. But, they were not back then when no one was crazy enough to try. To name a few:
- Mega Casting the body of cars is a step-change in manufacturing according to a Model Y teardown analysis.
- Tesla’s Giga factories keep reinventing the way machines make machines. This Mar., Giga Berlin is going to be 3x more productive than VW’s. VW plans to catch up by building a new state-of-the-art factory by 2026.
- This Apr., Giga Texas has everything streamlined under one roof. Many people dream about a factory with raw materials in & products out. But only Tesla has achieve that for a such complicated product at scale so far.
These hardware & manufacturing tech may be easier to copy than that of software & system integration. But carmakers will take at least 3 years to reach a parity because of their established factories & fundamental redesign of cars.
“…you solve real-world AI for a car. Which is really a robot on wheels. You can then generalize that to a robot on legs as well.” — Elon Musk TED Tesla Gigafactory interview
By working forward, a smart one may do 10% better. Only craze one could reach 10x better by working backward. It may not be “rational”, but I feel “lucky” because the market rewards Musk as the richest person in the world with a net worth of $273B. I cannot wait to see what Musk will change the world for the better next. A few exciting stuff on the horizon:
- Tesla’s Full Self-Driving beta has reached 100k users. It was only 60k at last quarter when others are struggling to catch up already. Now, Tesla’s Robotaxi is coming soon. The commercialization of Self-Driving is within our reach.
- Tesla can build robots with similar tech: cameras as digital eyes, silicon brains & the renewable ML soul. Such a “platform” strategy is easy to say, but difficult to do. But Tesla seems to get “lucky” more often than others. And when it does, the age of abundance may not be too far away. First baby step can be Star Trek Utopia: 4 Day Work Week, right 😉?
The opinions stated here are my own, not those of my company. They are mostly extrapolations from public information. I don’t have insider knowledge of those companies, nor a whatever expert.