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why elon musk keeps promising the impossible

why elon musk keeps promising the impossible

Apologies if this has already been posted - its a very entertaining read and interesting take on Elon's elan...

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2016/05/tesla_s_elon...

A snippet..

Sending a rocket to Mars is a problem that gets Musk’s blood flowing. So is building an electric supercar, building the greatest sedan ever made, and building the biggest battery factory the world has ever seen. For that matter, so is running both Tesla and SpaceX at the same time, while also helping to lead SolarCity.

But mass production? Logistics, supply chains, assembly lines? Taking orders, fulfilling orders, setting and meeting reasonable timetables? Those aren’t Muskian problems. They’re normal human problems. And that petrifies him. The day that Tesla becomes just another car company will be the day Musk can no longer find a thrill in running it, and may in fact be unfit for the job.

And so Musk takes a normal human problem—ramping up production of a new vehicle over the next four years—and converts it into a superhuman problem. Not just ramping up production but doing it on a historic scale, and in record time.

The Model X, as originally conceived, wasn’t a properly Muskian problem either. The company’s roadmap called for it to crank out the Model X as a relatively simple variation on the existing Model S, buying Tesla time and revenue to focus on the Model 3. How boring, for a person like Musk. And so the X began to sprout novel features straight out of a Bond movie, such as hydraulic falcon-wing doors and a bioweapon defense mode.

dachuyn | 05. toukokuu 2016

And some people sound 100% certain about everything they say ...

Musk has delivered at least some of his "impossible" promises...

Red Sage ca us | 05. toukokuu 2016

Yeah... I'm not gonna click that.

The 'snippet' alone offers a theory of Elon Musk's psyche and motivation that seems to have found in the deepest recesses of the writer's own sphincter.

Really gets on my nerves when someone decides to doubt the reasoning behind reasonable enterprises.

mbb | 05. toukokuu 2016

The article is actually pretty reasonable. Musk sets goals that only superhuman can achieve. Only in the hindsight, those goals become rational to people. Musk is not about to create a company with best design and technology, and merely good manufacturing. He wants best manufacturing. Tesla's goal is not to be head and shoulder above other car companies. It is to be full torso above. That's the only way to achieve extraordinary value.

TeslaTap.com | 05. toukokuu 2016

Great manufacturing also a great way to blunt all those "Tesla killers" that are so far ho-hum poor imitations in design, style and production.

jordanrichard | 05. toukokuu 2016

Step into a time machine and go back to June 2012, when Tesla was only making 5 MSs a week. Now, answer this question, in 3 years, will this car be outselling the Mercedes Benz S-class in both the U.S. and Europe?

ram1901 | 05. toukokuu 2016

One of the most telling and almost ignored comments from Elon Musk at the latest quarterly conference call was during an exchange about hiring the best manufacturing experts. Musk noted the difference between
Apple or Google AND Tesla is that Tesla manufactures it's cars. Musk believes there are greater opportunities for INNOVATION in manufacturing than in the products Apple & Google currently have built for them.

It is this innovation in manufacturing that is going to either make or break Tesla's ability to make an affordable EV for everyone and continue as the leader in EV development.

mbb | 05. toukokuu 2016

Manufacturing to Tesla is like distribution center to Amazon. Recent advance in AI and robotics would have profound impact on manufacturing in the future. Exciting to see Tesla pushing innovation in the age of robots.

carlk | 06. toukokuu 2016

Robot is the most important component in modern manufacturing and Tesla has been very keen on that. It has been relying on robots more extensively than other companies from the day one they started producing the S. It has learned a lot during this time too. When we took the factory tour couple years ago it has a hundred some multitasking robots. Each can do different jobs by changing the tool on it. This time when we had the tour there are six hundred some robots. The guide said they added more robots and made each to do only one thing because changing tools and reprogramming is time consuming and can cause problems.

BTW few probably know SpaceX is a great manufacturing company and the most vertically integrated one in the industry. Elon has put machine shop in the building to make pretty much everything in house since the early days. Suppliers couldn't meet the tough schedule Elon imposed so he decided to do it themselves. It looks Tesla is going this direction too.

Go Tesla!

carlk | 06. toukokuu 2016

@mbb Yes the guide mentioned some of the robots and self driving carriers in the plant were programmed by the self driving car team and they got help from SpaceX engineers too.

mbb | 06. toukokuu 2016

@carlk, can't wait to see a general purpose robot powered by deep learning that can learn its job instead of reprogramming and changing tools!

warren_tran | 06. toukokuu 2016

Tesla need one of those IBM Watson. I"m just glad Elon upped the ante so a lot more Model 3 owners will get even a slice of the tax credit.

jbunn | 06. toukokuu 2016

Lay no small plans. They do not have the power to fire men's imaginations.

carlk | 06. toukokuu 2016

@ram1901

You are right. Apple's downfall began when they started to contract other companies to do critical components and assembly just for some additional profit. Little did they know TSMC, Samsung and Foxxcon can work for Apple as well as for any new competitors and indeed they did. In the case of Samsung it became a major competitor itself. It's probably too late for Apple to do anything about it now and it will pay the price dearly in the future.

Tesla has already been the most vertically integrated EV company if not auto company in the world. I think it will go the direction of the original Ford plant which is totally integrated from raw material to final product. The Gigafactory is just one good example. Elon could not think any suppliers could meet his agressive schedule and cost requirement, not to mention he probably did not want to share any knowhow with anyone either.

SUN 2 DRV | 06. toukokuu 2016

Elon doesn't make promises, he sets stretch goals. That's a big difference which many people fail to understand.

inconel | 06. toukokuu 2016

@jordanrichard: no way! Zis ist not possible! Let us short the company and reap the benefits in 3 years... or maybe get drowned in a tsunami of hurt :-)

sp_tesla | 06. toukokuu 2016

"joehuber | May 6, 2016
Elon doesn't make promises, he sets stretch goals. That's a big difference which many people fail to understand."

Does that include " "have a tighter turning radius than a Mini"

georgehawley.fl.us | 06. toukokuu 2016

Elon is the most optimistic CEO in the universe. If he sees a way to get from A to B, then it's done. It doesn't matter how challenging it is. It is only after the fact that he begins to acknowledge how hard it was. Stretch goals can be effective. Impossible goals are demotivating and silly. It's important to know the difference. That having been said Tesla Motors is roaring along growing an improbable 50% a year with nuts and bolts and rivets flying every which way.

Hi_Tech | 06. toukokuu 2016

Elon seems to have the mindset that any challenge can be met head on with appropriate technical solution. Just need the right motivation and resources to make it happen. A theory that I can completely respect and agree with.

Red Sage ca us | 06. toukokuu 2016

"My 5th grade teacher told me, that 'Genius is the ability to go from A to D without having to go through B and C.' Sebastian can do that, but for me, I gotta have the B and C." -- 'Hollow Man' (2000)

Elon Musk sees the way and directs the world through the appropriate 'B' and 'C' points to get to the goal he knew was there all along.

Rocky_H | 10. toukokuu 2016

I read the snippet, but have not read the full article yet. Contrary to Red Sage’s dismissal of it, it strikes me as absolutely insightful and spot-on. However, I would change one part of that:

“They’re normal human problems. And that petrifies him.”

No, that’s the wrong emotion. It’s not being scared; it bores him. It’s not impressive, so he has to try to make it into something amazing and hard to achieve.

I think that was never more apparent than with going over-the-top overcomplicated with the Model X, which led to the huge delays and cost overruns versus what could (should) have been simple. He did at least acknowledge that it was a mistake, so I thought he was learning, but this announcement about the ridiculous accelerated production schedule of the Model 3 has made me doubt that.

Badbot | 10. toukokuu 2016

At this point I think ONLY the impossible is any challenge to Elon.
As far as I can see he challenges him self over and over.

sp_tesla | 10. toukokuu 2016

"Hi_Tech | May 6, 2016
Elon seems to have the mindset that any challenge can be met head on with appropriate technical solution. Just need the right motivation and resources to make it happen. A theory that I can completely respect and agree with."

Is that include the challenge of changing humans habits, desires & tolerances.

Red Sage ca us | 10. toukokuu 2016

Rocky_H: It seemed to me that Elon only acknowledged that people believe that happened, by noting it would not happen with Model ☰. Then he focused on how the Generation III Sedan had been designed to be easy to manufacture. Truly amazing how most don't note the qualifiers he uses, such as 'may have'...

;-)

SUN 2 DRV | 10. toukokuu 2016

SP Tesla: Yes, Tesla created the Model S specifically to change human habits, desires and tolerances. Before the Model S most humans perceived EVs as slow, stodgy, medicine to be taken (or forced on you) by the enviro tree lovers. Tesla changed the human habit of going to a refueling station every week into the much better experience of plugging in every night and have a full tank every morning. And the trade off for that is an increased tolerance for the longer refueling delay for the occasional Supercharger stop. Tesla made their EV's the pinnacle of desire for many many people who turned out in unprecedented numbers to buy a Model 3 car they'd never seen.
So YES, Tesla did use technology to change those very human traits you listed... and many others like selling VERY expensive cars to VERY frugal folks...etc

cweber | 10. toukokuu 2016

more.....

I don’t believe that Musk’s insane-seeming ambitions are just about motivating his employees and suppliers. They’re also about motivating Musk.

Musk is the kind of person who runs on adrenaline, works best—or perhaps only—under insane pressure, and is gripped by existential dread the moment he finds himself working on a problem that feels the slightest bit quotidian or mundane. And he expects the same of the people who work for him.

Red Sage ca us | 10. toukokuu 2016

This is different from the situation you find with children who suffer from ADHD... Kids who are incessantly claiming that the entire world is 'BORING...' But don't realize they are simply boring themselves.

No. This is an honest attempt to keep one's mind occupied with actual challenges, instead of distractions. There is a certain sincerity in being able to identify what you should do without external stimulus. There comes a time when having problem solving skills requires that you exercise them to their fullest extent.

If, on the other hand, you only want to achieve the AMERICAN DREAM... To go through life on Autopilot... Then the drive to do... MORE... will seem mighty strange, indeed.

lar_lef | 10. toukokuu 2016

Re autopilot, the day will come when the singularity occurs and autopilot throws out the drivers from the cars and drive to an autopilot convention where they will erect a statue to EM.

sp_tesla | 11. toukokuu 2016

lar_lef | May 10, 2016

+1 very funny, made me laugh out loud.

PhillyGal | 11. toukokuu 2016

@lar_lef - I've thought a time (or 12) about the day when my car just redirects to some place I don't intend to go "for my own safety"

dsvick | 11. toukokuu 2016

@lar_lef and @PhillyGal - We should give that day some sort of catch name, something that lets us all know and remember how important it was, something easy to remember, something grand sounding ....

Something like, oh I don't know, how does Judgement Day sound?

Badbot | 11. toukokuu 2016

Tesla over the air updates!
Delivered by Skynet.

Rocky_H | 11. toukokuu 2016

@Red Sage, Quote: " It seemed to me that Elon only acknowledged that people believe that happened, by noting it would not happen with Model ☰."

Ha ha! Uh, no. Perhaps you had not seen this, or are just using your strong prescription rose-colored glasses to not want to believe it, but Musk actually directly said this himself.

"Mr. Musk said: “I think the mistake we made with the Model X, which I really think we've taken to heart at Tesla, is that we put too many new features and technologies, too many great things all at once, into a product.” He further said that it would have been better if the company had installed fewer features In the first version of the Model X and rolled in additional technologies periodically. “I do think that there was some hubris there with the Model X,” he further said."

http://www.bidnessetc.com/63330-tesla-motors-inc-model-x-what-really-wen...

That was not just acknowledging that other people might have THOUGHT they made a mistake.

mos6507 | 11. toukokuu 2016

One of Elon Musk's strengths is he bounces back from failure well. This is especially prevalent with SpaceX. Note how many failed launches and/or landings SpaceX has endured in order to rack up 3 successful landings. Imagine how much ridicule SpaceX received each time one of its rockets blew up in the air or trying to land. The difference is SpaceX is still a private company and Tesla is public. Shareholders are both the fuel that powers Tesla and also its worst enemy, because they don't think the same way about the necessity of failure and long R&D cycles as an engineer like Musk does. So when it comes to changing the public's perceptions, Musk has to sell investors on the wisdom of showing patience.

Badbot | 13. toukokuu 2016

"wisdom of showing patience."
Do you know how the public are?
I think they think the problem with instant gratification is it takes too long!

Badbot | 13. toukokuu 2016

"wisdom of showing patience."
Do you know how the public are?
I think they think the problem with instant gratification is it takes too long!

Badbot | 13. toukokuu 2016

"wisdom of showing patience."
Do you know how the public are?
I think they think the problem with instant gratification is it takes too long!

georgehawley.fl.us | 13. toukokuu 2016

@ed: patiently waiting for your next post (and my Model X). :-))

Haggy | 13. toukokuu 2016

With the Model X, there was no saving grace. If Musk had cut down on features, then all those who reserved in mid 2014 and expected falcon wing doors would have been nonplussed when the vehicle came out without them, and angry when Tesla added them a few months or a year later if they went ahead with their purchase. By sticking to his plans, it gave the perception that the company was unable to do anything on time. Then people forgot that the delay for the Model S was only six months, is far more complex than the Model 3, was made when the factory was being configured for the first vehicle they made from the ground up, and at a time when suppliers were in no hurry to enter into agreements to supply parts to a company that they doubted would make good on its agreements to buy thousands of parts. If Tesla wanted to commit to buying 20,000 steering wheels when people wondered if Tesla would make 10,000 cars before going bankrupt, it's hardly the same as starting out with about 400,000 orders.

The conditions that caused the six month delay for the Model S simply don't exist. Tesla also has far more experience. The Model X is completely irrelevant except to the extent that it shows that Tesla has a great deal of experience with something far more complex and now knows how to handle the worst case scenario.

Hi_Tech | 13. toukokuu 2016

All said, I'm glad they went overboard with Model X. Let me explain:
By going overboard and letting Mr. Hubris kick their donkey a bit, they learned a valuable lesson which we are all hearing about in every message from Tesla/EM - "we've designed the Model 3 to be as simple to manufacture as possible". Basically, the issues they found and experienced in the previous vehicles has also been great way to plan for and mitigate the mass market/mass production vehicle. They definitely couldn't afford to do some mistake when dealing in hundreds of thousand of vehicles per year.

Hi_Tech | 13. toukokuu 2016

To clarify, there is a difference between recognizing a mistake after it's committed, and knowing how to stop it from happening in the future. From what they have been saying (e.g. getting manufacturing department closely aligned during the design phase), it appears they are in a good place to truly become one of the world's best manufacturers.

Red Sage ca us | 13. toukokuu 2016

Rocky_H wrote, "I think that was never more apparent than with going over-the-top overcomplicated with the Model X, which led to the huge delays and cost overruns versus what could (should) have been simple. He did at least acknowledge that it was a mistake..."

I do not believe Elon Musk admitted to the bolded part. The quote you gave, which I had seen, is certainly appropriate. It seemed to me that he felt certain features could have waited until later to be implemented, after the car was on the market. But they STILL would have gone into the car eventually. Your position seems to be that they shouldn't have been part of the Model X at all -- EVER. I disagree, and believe Elon would as well.

Red Sage ca us | 13. toukokuu 2016

Haggy wrote, "With the Model X, there was no saving grace. If Musk had cut down on features, then all those who reserved in mid 2014 and expected falcon wing doors would have been nonplussed when the vehicle came out without them, and angry when Tesla added them a few months or a year later if they went ahead with their purchase. By sticking to his plans, it gave the perception that the company was unable to do anything on time."

+21! Exactly.

Rocky_H | 13. toukokuu 2016

@Red Sage, Ah, so it's to be rose colored glasses then. OK.

Shopaholic | 13. toukokuu 2016

In order for us to be confident of achieving volume production of Model 3 by late 2017, we actually have to set a date of mid-2017 and really hold people's feet to the fire, internally and externally," Musk said on the call

SUN 2 DRV | 14. toukokuu 2016

Shopaholic: Yes that's exactly how stretch goals work. It's amazing that members of the press don't have a clue about how startups use stretch goals to accomplish amazing things and they twist that into believing that Elon already said that he'll be late on his mid-2017 "promise".

Anal-ists really are.

Red Sage ca us | 14. toukokuu 2016

Rocky_H: I reserve the gray scale lenses for viewing the prospects of future electric vehicles from traditional automobile manufacturers.

;-)

Badbot | 14. toukokuu 2016

prospects of future electric vehicles from traditional automobile manufacturers.

Well keep an eye on Chevy.
They are the one that is still hanging on to the BowTie.

Red Sage ca us | 15. toukokuu 2016

Silver, Black, White, Blue, and Orange: The Mandated EV Color Scheme by traditional automobile manufacturers.