Before Elon Musk there was Robert Zubrin just as passionate about taking mankind to Mars (I quoted him in my book “The Time Rivers” published back in 2003). And here’s what he had to say about Musk in an recent interview:
Since I am well acquainted with [the earlier, failed private space ventures] as well as Musk, I can tell you why he [Musk] succeeded and why they didn’t. He didn’t just throw some money at the problem and quit as soon as it got tough. He put not only his fortune but his heart, mind and his soul into it. He learned rocketry himself, and he didn’t give up when his first three launches failed. Fortune favors the brave, fortune favors the tough and fortune favors the smart, and he had all three. He attracted a really superb team of committed people who began to see that this could really happen, that they could really make history by doing this, and they’re doing it.
I’m quoting that here because too many people don’t realize – thanks in part to the media and propagandists’ anti-Musk campaign – that Elon Musk is NOT one of those billionaires who just pay other people to make things happen. Musk designed and built his own rocket, and succeeded. Read that again and let it sink in. And he initially became rich by programming software, on his own, living in an office space that didn’t even have a shower (he had to go to a nearby gym to shower), first an internet city guide called Zip2 which was sold to Compaq for more than $300 million (Elon got $22 million) and second, an online financial service company that would turn into Paypal.
He is a rocket engineer and a computer programmer (and many other things). Even at Tesla he is not just CEO but its very hands-on “product architect”. This is why Musk has been compared to Tony Stark and deservingly so.
Musk’s SpaceX single-handedly created what is now called “New Space” (commercial space industry); Musk’s Tesla single-handedly has made electric cars cool and practical, triggering a major shift in the car industry. Space and cars are two of the most challenging industries to succeed in, so much so most won’t even try. Musk chose to enter these industries, when he could just retire to some tropical island and party the rest of his life away. Instead, he risked everything doing space and cars, and succeeded in both. He did this obviously not for money, like most other people, but because of his sincere desire to help people and mankind in general. (His recent decision to try to assist the Thai cave rescue was a reflection of this simple motivation; and how did the media and many people react? They attacked him for trying to help and being a good human being. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )
But you wouldn’t know all this from reading all the recent ridiculous and criminally unfair hit pieces against him. What we are seeing is the dying Old World attacking the emerging New World, prominently personified by Musk at this time. Don’t be fooled by propaganda and mis/disinformation campaign. Those who are attacking Musk are not on your side.
See New Space, New World for my view on the entangled destiny of Musk and mankind.
You can learn more about Elon Musk by watching the following Youtube videos: