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Is Elon Musk the greatest visionary or the greatest snake oil salesman of our age?

tim

EXPLODED TIM! (Help me!!!)
I used to think that Branston was an overrated braggart, but Musk has his own space programme his overrated motor cars, his giant solar powered shed and now has visions of drilling tunnels at minimal cost and great speed under Los Angeles. Investors seem to love him and throw money at his projects. I think it will all end in tears.

Ted 2017: Elon Musk's vision for underground road system - BBC News
 

coley

Well-Known Member
He's got every major car maker scrambling to develop BEVs, he can launch rockets at a fraction of the cost that NASA could.
The only real question is, can he keep this pace up?
 

wiskey

Albatross Admirer
I quite like the fact he's a rich crazy fool, I find his ruthless ambition endearing because it (afaik) doesn't crap on other people from a great height ... unlike Branson.

That's not to say that working for spaceX etc is all roses, I'm sure it's very pressured.
 

Yossarian

free shrugs
I like Musk more than I like that Amazon wanker - but it's probably all going to come crashing down for him at some point, I don't know how companies like Tesla - and Uber, Twitter, etc. - can go on for so long burning through other people's money and not making a profit.
 

Supine

Rough Like Badger
He's super rich and spending with panache. I quiet like his style.

His acting is wooden though :D
 

Sprocket.

Worn out, few teeth missing....
I think Musk has mastered the appearance to be worthy to stand alongside all the innovators who have been before him, as someone who wants to inspire others and share his visions and also ensure his own place in history whilst making money.
Is he any different to Michael Faraday, James Watt or Brunel, in their time?
The attention and exposure in these days of instant information have probably given him the fame in a few years that took others decades to achieve and the world as it is now, revolves around financial incentives. His ability to bring his latest ideas seem to be perfectly timed. Perhaps he his riding a crest, it is the way he treats his workforce and people in general that will be the make or break of him, though his popularity seems to be growing.
I heard he has even managed to appear in a cameo on the Big Bang Theory.
I shall wait and see how this goes.
 

Pickman's model

every man and every woman is a star

FridgeMagnet

Administrator
Despite all the "living in a simulation" stuff I don't think he's particularly crazy - despite being the CEO of Tesla he's about 1% as eccentric or visionary as Tesla was, or even much of an inventor (he does have four patents but they are not exactly astounding ones).

He entered Silicon Valley aristocracy from getting in early with PayPal and now he can pretty much get money for anything. It's not like it's his personal genius that powers any of these companies - they're full of engineers that do that - but he is definitely a good businessman and entrepreneur, for what that's worth, which is a lot of money for him.
 

EastEnder

Brixton Barnacle
I'm ambivalent regarding Musk. Part of me wants to hate him simply for having a stupid name, but that would be churlish. Part of me admires what he's done & is seeking to do - yes, he's an exploitative, mega rich totem of a capitalist system, but then so is Philip Green, and I know which of the two I'd rather have tarred, feathered & dropped into a hornets nest.

People like Musk might be the future, they might drive society forward in a way that governments & aged monolithic corporate concerns are unable to do. But ultimately I think any such progress is driven more by their own personal desire for greatness & legacy. Is that a problem though? Maybe, maybe not, depends what the rest of society gets out of it.

My biggest problem with Musk is his extremely annoying tactic of periodic press releases that promise the unachievable. Creating the impression that hyper fast public transport or landing men on Mars is only a few years away. It's a bit like if a drug company puts out press releases saying they were on the verge of curing cancer, purely because they've done a bit of interesting research. I find it tiresome & transparently publicity driven, far more about currying favour with easily impressed investors than anything genuinely tangible.

Overall I think he's a knob, but one who might revolutionise areas of technology & advance society, or might just turn out to be an overambitious plutocrat who promises more than he ever delivers. Only time will tell.
 

lefteri

Well-Known Member
He entered Silicon Valley aristocracy from getting in early with PayPal and now he can pretty much get money for anything. It's not like it's his personal genius that powers any of these companies - they're full of engineers that do that - but he is definitely a good businessman and entrepreneur, for what that's worth, which is a lot of money for him.
I'm not sure this is true, from what I have read he is more than capable (even if articles about him are exaggerating) of keeping up with his engineers, he is meant to have an exceptional mind for scientific detail
 

SpookyFrank

Self-cleaning oven, the whole bit.
The morally neutral, polymath billionaire saviour figure is a common trope in sci-fi. Musk's persona seems more suited to fiction than to real life, not unlike most of his miracle technologies.

Even his name is better suited to a character in one of those hamfisted Ben Elton satires than to a real person.
 
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