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    • I don't think Reed Hastings at Netflix is a jerk. I was pretty sure David Packard and Bill Hewlett were great during their long run with HP as an iconic company. I think Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger are great.

      As far as combining empathy with ruthlessness, that sounds like Bezos. Empathy for execs at the top of Amazon and their customers, ruthless with the labor force, suppliers and the government.

    • I absolutely agree with this: "with a bold, clear vision that matters". After watching this video

      I couldn't help but think how the employees that work for SpaceX are probably as interested in shaping the future of humanity as they are in making a paycheque. Of course we all have to have food and shelter but having something inspiring to work on is a huge driver. SpaceX and rocket science is very risky and of course stressful. The stakes are so high it'd be hard to imagine someone could act like Mr. Spock when things are going wrong.

      Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Company and Hyperloop are risky businesses and it only makes sense that things would be a roller coaster ride.

    • We need bold people who are not aware of the limits or refuse to accept them. Elon Musk, for all of his faults is a hero to me. Who else presents a bold vision of a better future and says lets all do this together?? I mean who say to their competition he hopes they succeed and do great things? He does and he means it.

    • As far as combining empathy with ruthlessness, that sounds like Bezos.

      The article about gig economy workers was Interesting. It would have been helpful to get a sense of the hourly rates in the Midwest, where $18 an hour would be worth more, as well as what the working conditions were like delivering in the suburbs where you don’t have to climb nine flights of stairs for each residential customer. Also, the opening story made me wonder, why didn’t he bring a dolly with him in his car? Not every commercial building or appartment building is going to have an elevator. It would’ve avoided this.

      I’m sure I looked comical as I staggered down a downtown San Francisco street on a recent weekday, arms full of packages—as I dropped one and bent down to pick it up, another fell, and as I tried to rein that one in, another toppled.

      Did the training videos fail to mention this idea or did the deliverer forget to bring one?

      I used to just read articles and absorb them, allowing a journalist’s slant or point of view to wash over me and accept their conclusions without challenging them. But then I joined Cake and read about how people just accept the truth of anti-vaxxer videos. And now after two months on Cake, I feel that I’m starting to notice when an article is incomplete. Where there isn’t enough information to agree with the conclusion they’re trying to lead me to. And now I’m starting to question more.

      See what you’re doing to us, @Chris !!!

    • I'm always fascinated by stories of successful entrepreneurs who have one or more failures, and then finally hit it out of the part as Jobs did with Apple. NeXT was indeed a failure, and then... Since you were close to this, what was it that Steve did differently when he got back to Apple. What did he learn from the NeXT experience, that helped him be so successful later?

    • We need bold people who are not aware of the limits or refuse to accept them.

      Yes, and respectfully not to challenge the statement, but think how Hitler too was bold. I am an admirer of out the box thinking and non conformism, but my idea is those who promote it should be allowed to do so solely based on values they bring and somehow perhaps have less of a sacrificial attitude or the arrogance to claim priority over other society rules or needs. Is it a paycheck then it's a business and profit trumps everything, let's not fool ourselves with delusions of warm and fuzzy world progress, when in fact we have so much to fix concerning life's basics.

      As a side perspective, think how Nikolas Tesla ended poor after a life of research dedicated to science which he selflessly offered to the world. I do not know much about Musk's technical contribution, and because of that I could be wrong, but to me he appears allot more a business man with ambitious vision, than an inventor.

    • Certainly we don't have to allow illegal or immoral things to occur by someone merely because they have a grand vision of betterment. I think laws, voting, quitting and protests do a reasonable job of handling this.

      I think Musk knows that in order to carry out his vision he has to be successful financially first and foremost. Tesla got that wrong but maybe he was successful in a different but I'm not going to get into that conversation.

      Is Musk creating anything new by wanting to go to Mars and establish a colony? No. Is he creating something new by wanting a greener economy and to tackle climate change? No. Original is going down instead of up to solve traffic jams? Maybe somewhat. He's not an originator of wanting or envisioning any of this stuff but he certainly has revived the movement and taken direct steps to move towards a more positive future. I think his ambitions go well beyond wanting to be rich and powerful. Should we hold him accountable for being a dick? Heck yes.

    • Is Musk creating anything new by wanting to go to Mars and establish a colony? No. Is he creating something new by wanting a greener economy and to tackle climate change? No.

      Not sure how you can say both things.

      SpaceX built the first reusable rocket since the Space Shuttle. That's something new.

      Tesla is the first truly mass-produced electric car and the first one to be a commercial success. That's something new.
      "Tesla is now selling more Model 3s in the U.S. than all other brands of electric cars combined. In the luxury sedan segment, the Model 3 has lapped the best-selling cars from Mercedes and BMW. In the third quarter, the Model 3 outsold all but a handful of Toyota and Honda cars."

    • Great questions. I've pondered them for years. Jeff Bezos told me that a certain planetary alignment has to happen for success, not something you have full control over.

      With Steve ==> Apple, I believe the big factors were:

      1. Ed Catmull. He is the steady forever CEO of Pixar who stuck with Steve through years of awful failure, and I think he helped Steve de-personalize pushback.

      For example, Mike Slade was VP of Marketing at NeXT, my boss, close to Steve for years. He finally had enough and quit. In his resignation letter, he listed three reasons why. Steve stopped speaking to him. Two years later, Steve called him back to say he re-read Mike's letter, and Mike was right. That had never been in Steve before.

      So Mike started acting as advisor to Steve but after 3 years of laying people off at Apple plus simplifying and refreshing the product line, Apple's sales were still in decline. Mike went to CES, heard Bill Gates speak about Windows everywhere, and during an offsite with Steve and his direct reports, asked why they couldn't do that with Apple? Maybe they could start with a music player.

      2. The planets. One reason we had trouble selling machines at NeXT is they were built on Unix and it was so resource-hungry our machines were too expensive and slow. Apple had tried the same with AUX and failed. By the time he got to Apple, machines could finally power the operating system we had built without choking.

      Also, NeXT was asking people to introduce new machines into their mix when they already had Windows, Mac, and Unix. Hard ask. But at Apple, he was reviving their current investment in Apple, a whole different ask.

      3. Being incremental. Steve told us all many times that the worst mistake of his life was too many innovations at once with NeXT. He didn't need a magneto optical drive, which ruined the first product intro.

      Notice how he got into phones incrementally. First the iPod. Then a phone without third party apps. Then the App Store. All powered, ironically, by NeXTstep. No need to invent a new operating system.

    • First reusable rocket SINCE the Space Shuttle. That's not new (the reusable boosters though are). Yeah there are parts of each of his technologies that are new or will be new but that's not my point. My discussion about whether something new was created by him was more of a reaction to another person's comment and not so much something I'm interested in or willing to defend at length. My main interest is in how Elon Musk backs a vision with action. Action that is successful and seems to be creating a better world. It's also driving others to work towards the same vision he has. It needn't be his original vision or his orginal product that does finally succeed in changing the world but maybe more important is how he is leading other people to believe it can and will be done and to join in doing it.

    • Not sure how you can say both things.

      Please allow me to expand on my intent which caused this subsequent direction in our conversation; what I pointed to was the fact the he as a person did not (or - may have not - since I am not full certain informed) invent thus far technically speaking any of the technologies or products that are purported to facilitate this so called revolutionary progress in our society. And to make the question simpler I'd ask if he is a business man first and foremost, or just partially doing the business part so aggressively to help the world get better. I certainly do not know the man personally and think only studying him and knowing alot about a person at more closer level one could draw useful conclusions as to his real intentions, and more importantly why he pursues them. Otherwise all I sense we see in the news and media are swings of tweeting power battles raging full of personality, followed by cohortes of both sides, supporters vs. naysayers. But if he is not an inventor, then he is a businessman, and to my mind heroism has different flavors in each case. The truth may be a mix of the two, perhaps, but still further research may indicate what drives the man to be as he is. After all, he could relax having succeeded enough thus far to not worry for himself. Same is probably true for many others of his kind.

    • Thomas Edison often gets the credit for inventing the light bulb but was he an inventor? Not really. I think Musk is something like him though as you've said it's complicated and at this time we can only speculate on the limited amount of information we have about the man. I do think however that there are a heck of a lot of Musk interviews and if we are to assume he's not a compulsive liar, then he clearly has a vision that drives him as much or more than the financial success. You're absolutely right that people like him who are very rich are often always looking forward to more success and never really just retire at least I'm not aware of any who have. I guess they could turn over some of their businesses to be run by managers but most are driven to keep going.

    • 1324 characters. That’s how long one of the replies was in the above spirited discussion on Musk’s inventiveness versus derivativeness versus busissmanism. 1324 characters translates to 5 tweets on Twitter to communicate, explain, clarify and expand one’s thoughts in a discussion. I was trying to convince someone with a gazillion followers to move their maths discussions to Cake and they balked because their followers lived on Twitter. Inertia is a difficult thing to overcome, I guess, even when better alternatives exist.

      Do you think that Tesla will eventually license it’s technology to a competitor?


    • Thanks.

      I thought it gave back, ironically, some humanity to the man. That article, and a few budding psychiatrists here, seem to prefer the darker reasons for an unusual man.

      To quote Garth Zietsman, a person who probably matches Musk for IQ, "Only one in a million people are this intelligent. They are seldom understood or appreciated. Most feel profoundly isolated from society - even when they are appreciated. A large proportion of this group opt out of society and never make revolutionary contributions in the standard academic fields or professions. It seems to be very difficult to motivate them to play the academic/scholarly/professional game because they regard even the most venerable of traditions and institutions as absurd or silly. Consider that even the mind of the average professor appears to them like the mind of the average bricklayer would appear to the professor."

    • It might take years to find that problem, because you have to explore different bodies of knowledge, collect the dots and then connect and complete them.

      That’s the other side of the coin in being hyper-focused on one field of study. If you don’t expand your reading and knowledge acquisition strategy to unrelated fields, you may lack the building blocks to make those connections and insights.

      It always amazes me when I learn the breadth and depth of successful people’s reading lists.

      I mean, how do they find the time to watch all the top shows on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime when they’re reading all those books(!)?

    • Fascinating, Andrew. I used to work for Steve Jobs and I know how many people, looking at him from a distance, would simply say asshole. After the miracle turnarounds of Pixar and Apple, most people said genius.

      But to me and many of my friends who actually worked for him, he was one of the dumbest people we could think of who couldn't see the obvious that everyone else could see. Except when he could see what none of us could see, such as high-end stores in expensive areas was a good way to sell computers, for example.

      What I saw in him was complete fanatical obsession at a level no one else had for making insanely great things. That obsession took complete control of him at times and he'd do anything to achieve it. Which could leave him pretty lonely at times.

      God I miss him, but Elon.

    • It always amazes me when I learn the breadth and depth of successful people’s reading lists.

      The New York Times just published Barack Obama's favorite books of 2018:

      “Becoming” by Michelle Obama 
      “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones
      “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
      “American Prison” by Shane Bauer 
      “Arthur Ashe: A Life” by Raymond Arsenault
      “Asymmetry” by Lisa Halliday
      “The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die” by Keith Payne
      “Educated” by Tara Westover
      “Factfulness” by Hans Rosling
      “Feel Free” by Zadie Smith
      “Florida” by Lauren Groff
      “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom” by David W. Blight
      “Futureface: A Family Mystery, an Epic Quest, and the Secret to Belonging” by Alex Wagner
      “A Grain of Wheat” by Ngugi wa Thiong’o
      “A House for Mr Biswas” by V.S. Naipaul
      “How Democracies Die” by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt
      “Immigrant, Montana” by Amitava Kumar
      “In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History” by Mitch Landrieu
      “The Largesse of the Sea Maiden” by Denis Johnson
      “Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” by Max Tegmark
      “Long Walk to Freedom” by Nelson Mandela
      “The New Geography of Jobs” by Enrico Moretti
      “The Return” by Hisham Matar
      “There There” by Tommy Orange
      “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe
      “Warlight” by Michael Ondaatje
      “Washington Black” by Esi Edugyan
      “Why Liberalism Failed” by Patrick Deneen
      “The World As It Is” by Ben Rhodes

    • Yesterday I was watching a Youtube video of 3 Youtubers who evaluate products. Mostly technical gadgets for cycling and exercising. Things like power meters, smart watches, GPS trackers and such. They were talking about how they change their content to match their follows/viewers on the various media platforms they use. I had no idea it'd be that nuanced and variable. Maybe that's one of the roadblocks rather than just merely using a new platform.

    • I love DC Rainmaker. Back when we started SmugMug we had in mind who the customer was and try as we might we couldn't get them to sign up. Instead we had to get to know our early customers, concentrate on finding others like them, we had to become them, and build the site around their needs.

      I feel like the same thing is happening with Cake.