Over the years I have read many (auto)biographies mainly because of my interest in people and their life stories. One of my recent discoveries was Ashlee Vance his autobiography about Elon Musk; Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future. Like most others I didn’t hear of Elon Musk until the moment he sold PayPal to Amazon. PayPal nowadays is often associated with the PayPal mafia, a group of former PayPal employees and founders, including Peter Thiel, who seem to rule Silicon Valley. Elon really intrigues me though.
With the money Elon gained from selling PayPal he took time to think of what would be his next step. His personal interest has always been space. Having a big pile of money to invest, he started to dream BIG and seriously explore the idea of space travel and life in space. In one of his rare television appearances recently at the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, he reveals his insane but well thought idea of life on Mars.
All the PayPal mafia members turned out to do awesome stuff but the way Elon approaches each project makes him truly unique. All the work he does hold a social aspect that reflects his vision. A sense of social responsibility to create things that change the way we experience life.
With Elon backing Tesla driving a full electric car became suddenly a fashion and with Space X space travel is suddenly within reach in this lifetime for ‘everyone’. Just like driving a car became possible with Henry Ford’s T-Ford. Making space journeys "affordable” is one of the biggest USP’s from Space X. The potential of moving life from earth to Mars has never been so real. Elon Musks is both trying to safe this planet from deploring it’s energy resources and he is trying to move humanity into a multi planetary race to ensure survival. This truly shows his vision, boldness and motivation to really make a difference.
The Hyperloop is one of his other projects that might be a game changer on the long run. A new transportation type where a pressurized capsules travels through tubes where speed can get up to 1200 km/hr. A white paper has been shared on the SpaceX website. Musk has made this an open source project where anyone can contribute in sustainable high-speed transport.
Another significant project that more obviously shows Elon his social face is Solar City. Solar City is a startup company from Elon and his cousins providing sustainable energy services such as solar power systems. With the knowledge from Tesla battery packs Solar City is now planning to sell affordable power walls. Basically battery backs mounted on walls connected to solar panels proving sustainable energy even to remote places in the world. Pilot projects recently started and look promising for the future of sustainable energy.
Almost all of Elon his projects seem to be build upon technical innovation and bold transformative ideas. His high intelligence, combined with limitless thinking and the guts to take significant risks allows him to make progress where others are failing.
How does Elon affect our lives at aFrogleap? Although Elon is working his magic in another league I see lots of similarities. With aFrogleap we try to do things differently as well. By creating omni-channel experiences for our clients we try to help end-users in their day-to-day life. Long-term user engagement through apps that quite often have that same sense of social responsibility.
Space might just be the next topic of one of our apps ;)