How does Elon Musk do what he does? How does one guy start 4 billion dollar companies that are all disruptive? What kind of mind does these kind of things and where do we find more of them? How do we clone Elon Musk?

Besides starting PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla Motors, and SolarCity, Elon has 2 more notable ideas that he just doesn’t have time to work on. He would like to design the Hyperloop, a transportation system that could get people from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes. And he wants to design supersonic electric jets. He can do it but he just doesn’t have the time.

Elon tells us a lot about how he thinks and maybe we should be listening and learning to channel Elon Musk? Elon talks about thin king from “First Principles”. The idea being that instead of looking at a problem from the perspective of the way people always have, wipe the slate clean and look at the fundamentals.

For example, making batteries for electric cars. People say, “Batteries are way to expensive so you can’t build electric cars that are cost effective.” But Elon says, “What is a battery made of and what do the raw materials cost?” From that he concludes that batteries can be made far cheaper than they are today if produced in high quantity. So – he’s building the gigafactory, the biggest battery factory in the world.

So – the world needs more Elons, but the technology to copy him isn’t there. So how do we reproduce his abilities so that Elon can spend more time with his 5 kids? How do we learn to think like Elon and teach our children how to think like Elon? How do we make “Thinking like Elon” a college course?

In a lot of ways I think like Elon, but not at his scale. So I’m going to throw out some ideas and let’s come up with new ideas in the mode of “Thinking like Elon”.

I remember 25 years ago being at a Republican political event where I was talking to some state representative about politics. I made this suggestion, “Instead of Republicans and Democrats fighting over who gets the blame for doing the wrong thing, why don’t you do the right thing and fight over who gets the credit?” The guy said, “That’s a brilliant idea!” It never happened, but it was a brilliant idea.

Another example, “Why don’t we start a religion based on believing in everything that is real and then we can tackle the big questions like “Meaning of Life” and “Purpose of Humanity in the Universe” from a totally scientific perspective? That’s my Church of Reality idea.

Today I’m meeting with the Humanists in Palo Alto who are figuring out who they are and what they are doing today. I’m going to suggest a new definition for Humanism as a reality based religion and that we should compete in the religious space to “Win souls for Darwin”.

But – enough of my ideas. The question here is – how do we clone Elon? I want you to share your first principle ideas here giving examples like I have and discuss ways to get more people to do what Elon does so that I can fly in an electric jet.


  1. Revlon says:

    Elon Musk — The only beaver anal gland scent based parfume certified not to fowl the CO2 scrubbers on Phobos-8

    • bobbo, we think with words, and flower with Ideas says:

      That is funny. Keep up the good work.

  2. bobbo, we think with words, and flower with Ideas says:

    The Apotheosis of Elon Musk? How is that going to fit with the Church of Reality?

    A bit of confusion, false equivalency, CONFLATION, going on here: equating the RICH and successful with some kind of God Status. Its what silly hoomans do. Howard Hughs. Michael Jackson. Ha, ha….Jebus in the Combover Donald Trump????? RICH with interesting hobbies.

    All just big brained apes. How much self awareness when taking that selfie? When shaving in the morning: who am I?

    Criag Venter, Dean Kamen, Kurzweil==all smarter, just not as RICH, minor millionaires.

    What has Musk done except throw a lot of money at particular issues? What was Pay Pal except bone stupid obvious and the winner in the lottery called capitalizism in the first wave of new technology? Tesla–a lot of money at established battery tech–not yet disruptive. Can lithium battery tech ever be disruptive? I don’t think so, but I’m no Kurzweil to assess with any certainty.

    Space X?==my view, waste of time, play things for the RICH, his own NeverLand Ranch. Silly to equate the playthings of the RCIH with crumbs off God’s Table. Space Elevator?==now were talking.

    Solar City. Yes, excellent move showing what a private entrepreneur with $$$ can do, supported by the Gubment don’t ya know. You know: the numbers work, or they don’t. What exactly is the innovation or the disruption???

    I admire all the boys. Each on their own merits. Some better/more than others.

    Its all part of the mix.

    • Tim says:

      “”Space X?==my view, waste of time, play things for the RICH, his own NeverLand Ranch.

      I surmize you are correct, sir. We’re to be laid down in the ground and die {order not required}. We’re not to go into the stars. We are a threat. But, it’s fun to watch infomertials and people bitching about racism on the way.

      • bobbo, we think with words, and flower with Ideas says:

        Aint that a bitch?

        ………..when our imaginations exceed our realities? The latter to be expanded only by the former????


      • Marc Perkel says:

        So we should pay the Russians $60 million a seat to go to space?

        • Tim says:

          Face it, Marc. If you, or I, or anyone else but Elon Musk try to independantly go into space then we’d be tortured whether we survived the shootdown, or not. — Elon is allowed to give us a show.

          The movie sux, but it’s in the spirit of the thing:

          An Astronaught Farmer:

    • Pope Adeodatus II says:

      now bobbo, this is not about whether or not Christ had a purse — and i think you know that.

  3. bobbo, we think with words, and flower with Ideas says:

    I am starting to think SnotA “is” a bot. Just don’t know enough about those things…… but we have the quack and the waddle. How much more need be known?

  4. Sunday School Sermon says:

    Why do you think you need to clone this guy (Elon)? (It’s a rhetorical question to anyone who may be feeling a need to reply here.)

    With such a ridiculous religion as “believing” in reality, as opposed to just accepting it, I’m pretty sure the idea of cloning Elon Musk is also wrong. I’m not trying to bash the underlying motive of spreading or “cloning” success / happiness, but let’s get real and try to think.

    It would seem that Elon Musk has never really experienced the world taking the fun out of life (just yet). Either that or for whatever other reasons, he hasn’t allowed it to.

    Most of us who envy Elon and think he’s some kind of genius too. But there’s no real genius here. Elon simply has a slightly different outlook on things and is now able to work on a larger scale now that he has earned some capitol. So are you sure you aren’t envying him just because he now has/makes a lot of MONEY?! How much of a living idol can you make out of this guy for doing what so many other people throughout history have done? Think about it.

    Thomas Edison — another rather “successful” guy — already gave us all the insight we need into what it takes to be successful when he said, “it’s one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” And I don’t exactly see people like Elon Musk sitting around very much — and if people like him do sit around, the WORK they are doing does seem to be a hell of a lot more focused!

    I could be wrong (and you can watch the comments if you’re in doubt) but I’m pretty sure Elon’s so called “success” is simply one of luck. Without specifying the kind of luck I’m referring to I’m sure most people would assume I mean his luck in business which has allowed him to amass a lot of money — no! He was lucky to have had formative years and/or a genetic disposition that allowed him to keep his unique outlook. His luck may also have been that he never – or rarely – ever allowed any negative bullshit to keep him from doing what he thought was right. He may have even been lucky enough to have been schooled/raised in an environment that was overall a lot more positive too. Basically, he was lucky enough to have been able to remain positive and HAPPY!

    And one other thing I’m also pretty sure of is that what works for one person is not exactly a recipe for success for all people. And the little bit of “reality” that backs that up is the fact that all people are DIFFERENT! So to clone him? I say no.

    But back to that success thing. Consider this! One person’s definition of success may be boat loads of money while another person’s definition might be happiness. So my advice would be to be very careful of what you think “success” is since the majority of opinions do seem to favor one over the other. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that money somehow allows a person to be happy either. One only needs to recite some common wisdom that money can’t buy happiness. Though it is hard to ignore the THINGS money can buy like food, clean water, shelter, etc. — things that a NON FREE people can’t provide for themselves.

    Also consider all the warnings and warning signs we have had throughout history when a society ultimately favors one definition of success over the other too. You might even want to consider how many people there are and the overall level of stupidity. Then see if you can guess which is good and which is bad or which is positive and which is negative and possibly where those societies ultimately ended up.

    You want the meaning of life? Here it is, DEATH!!! Because without death, life has no meaning. And what you do in life will have a (large or small) echo after you’re dead. So the question each of us really has to answer is what kind of echo do we want to leave behind. Even more important (something people like Elon seem to get) is want kind of echo we want to live with. Good or Bad? Positive or negative? Happy or sad?! UP OR DOWN?! Call it “energy” if you like since we already know that definition.

    It would seem that people like Elon Musk have also been lucky in another sense — they are now able to see their life’s echo without having died which may give them a unique ability to tweak it a bit too. But then, don’t we all have that ability? In my opinion, Elon’s attempts towards a good life’s echo are far more honorable and positive than that of people like Bill Gates — and probably even most of YOU! And it really comes down to values!

    If you ask me, Bill Gates is still primarily a bad guy. One only needs to look at Mister Gates’ thinly veiled attempts to look like a good guy when he claims to be helping humanity in one specific geographic region or one specific race of people when he COULD be doing so much more. You don’t see Mister Gates helping his own countrymen out very much by keeping them employed or giving them price breaks on any of his stolen products or generally providing a better path towards happiness — his is just one of survival. And you can almost directly see the correlation of money here too which I say will ultimately give Mister Gates the same life’s echo of that of Andrew Carnegie or even Henry Ford whom, other than the money aspect, I despise! (I love the steel and the cars, but the men who made it possible really were some horrible bastards.)

    … But I’d bet the majority of thoughtless Hollywood mind-washed souls out there do see it a bit differently — even the “real” ones who have a twisted fixation on things like money and power.

    • bobbo, we think with words, and flower with Ideas says:

      I don’t think Elon has any fixation on $$$. I do think he is “having fun.”

      There are 1000’s “like” Elon, but one Elon. Its the lottery of success. Yes, you gotta want it, work for it, overcome failure and obstacles…but still a huge factor of luck. Elon didn’t build that.

      Nice read. I could quibble further……but I don’t want to sound like a bot.

      • Dolly Double Easy Clone Cloning Machine says:

        “”There are 1000′s “like” Elon, but one Elon.

        is it because we don’t have belly buttons?

        • bobbo, we think with words, and flower with Ideas says:

          No Four Tits===there are 1000’s of Elon’s. You might be one, Timmmmmmay might be one. I, of course, don’t have the technical expertise and “writing code” is anathema to ME, so I am not one of the 1000’s of Elons.

          NO YOU DIPSHIT: “the” Elon simply won the capitalist lottery. That is clear from what I posted. Your confusion, only worship of the $$$$$$.

          Four Tits, but still a silly hooman. Kinda like Timmmmy screwing that blow up doll of a cat. …….. Who would do that????—and then TELL everybody????

          Ha, ha. I do crack myself up…..youze guys!

  5. bobbo, we think with words, and flower with Ideas says:

    My Browser Tab Label sticks out: “Reasoning from First Principles.” Irksome.

    Marc—shouldn’t you identify what your “First Principle” is?

    I read again. Shirley you don’t mean clone Elon? How many first principles do you have and which is first among firsts? Does Cloning Elon have priority before or after having the political parties claim success rather than blame?

    I wonder, Marc – this obsession with religious framed ideas. Is it a positive or negative? Does it help or hurt establishing the reality underneath the marketing rhetoric?

    If you are still thinking/emoting that Logic and Science started only 200 years ago, maybe you don’t know what First Principles means either?

    haahahahahaha. Yeah===first requirement of a bigot or any other true believer is a lack of history.

    • Peter O'Toole says:

      mom doesn’t let me clone anybody, anymore. Mostly because I forget the ph in electrolyte balance and then just flick the precursurs into the neighbors’ yard…

      I did that on purpose. He’s a tool.

  6. Mr Diesel says:

    What the hell is with the crap postings from some of the posters? NotSA WTF is up with that idiot?

  7. bobbo, we think with words, and flower with Ideas says:

    Feet of Clay. Its hard to have one personality combine business accumen with inventive genius. Two different magisteria at work. Here, Elon Violates a First Principle and doesn’t follow the law by having a layoff without proper notices.

    • IM72 says:

      Bobbo, don’t use NotSA as an example for your posts. Ignore him and your posts will go back to making sense.

  8. Mr Diesel says:

    My goodness, in maybe 15 or so years of reading this I have never seen as much bullshit posts as from NotSA.

    • bobbo, we think with words, and flower with Ideas says:

      Ha, ha. Mr D… tend to nurse a grudge against those who directly respond to you in any but the most adoring of ways.

      ……………….nonetheless…..correct you are……….I do see a few dots………….all of my own creation though, so they don’t count.

      Not that hard to make a straight line into a tangent. Thats why deleting his irrelevant posts would be a tonic. Banning for completely different issues and always because that is easier for lazy Monitors to do.

      Course……even lazier……….is to do nothing at all.

      Still: pros and cons to all we do.

    • IM72 says:

      Ditto. Sooner or later NotSA posts will be deleted. In the meantime I suggest simply ignoring them.

  9. Tim says:

    Today I’m meeting with the Humanists in Palo Alto who are figuring out who they are and what they are doing today. I’m going to suggest a new definition for Humanism as a reality based religion and that we should compete in the religious space to “Win souls for Darwin”.

    And this after all the passionate writing noting ‘Elon’ only 16 times before.

    Dude! Have a seat here by the fire. There. Comfy? You know how when your eyes are all pinpointy like that?? Yea. Don’t play behind a mosquito spray truck because the organophospate will go ahead and potentiate that shit over the edge…

    Bromance. Everybody has one. But, Dude? Did the squirrel leave you and take the kids again??

    just brayin’

    • Tim says:

      Hell. I wore my palm out over Branson until they started preening over copywrite. Now, I’m just not gay anymore.

      • bobbo, we think with words, and flower with Ideas says:

        Hey Timmmmmmmaaaaaaaaaay: I didn’t know what to say after your double posting on point. “I’m motivated” because I use to run behind those mosquitoe trucks like all the kiddies did as our parents looked on and smile? …….. Who knew?

        But……………..Branson? What is “he” but only and simply “rich.” What……….you like R&R so much you allow the passing of vinyl into the digital age?

        Being gay isn’t the worse thing in the world…….. that you have copped to/evidenced.

        What do you “THINK”——and why? What is your check and balance…….or is it all your palm.

        Joke: “Your first friend in a thong.”>>>its a pick of a thong stretched between pinking and thumb. Doesn’t work size wise, but the idea is there. Writ both small and large.


        What is life/what we think………but a laugh?

  10. NewFormatSux says:

    When will they actually deploy those fast battery swap stations for the Tesla, for which they have pocketed 100 million in subsidies. From the looks of things, that is one giant fraud.

    • Marc Perkel says:

      Charging stations have been deployed. There’s one 2 miles from here. Tesla got loans and the loans have been paid off.

    • NewFormatSux says:

      Not a charging station. They got credits under CARB for a battery swap, on the grounds that it is a fast charger.

      • Tim says:

        Ohh, let me guess…. … just a minute… They faked it.

        No. They flubbed it. Some ‘tards have never heard of plausible deniability.

  11. What? The moth is always drawn to the flame? says:


    Where do I start?

    Electric jet is not going to happen. A jet works because fuel, kerosene, has a high energy density, and burns nicely in our air. Burning increases the volume of the, previously liquid, kerosene, and the air that was, formerly somewhat cold, compressed, upstream, by the jet’s compressor. The burnt air+kerosene, being a now greater volume, but at the same, compressed, pressure pushes on a larger area inside of the engine, larger than the exit area of the compressor, making everything go forward.

    An electric “jet” would have to use batteries, and resistive heating elements, like an electric stove, to heat the air coming out of the compressor. This is an insane idea that a poser would think makes sense.


    • Tim says:

      “”An electric “jet” would have to use batteries, and resistive heating elements, like an electric stove, to heat the air coming out of the compressor

      Umm. No. An *electric jet* would be propelled by Electromagneto hydrodynamics { like the Red October}.

      Once a craft has gone hypersonic, the air along and ahead of it is ionized {can be facilitated futher with uv illumination} and can conduct an electric current. Fillamentary currents contract and the pressure rises in toward the skin of the craft — This is your ‘propellant’ so don’t worry too much that it is already on fire. Now add electric current and a magnetic field <–(granted, magnets that slaves know about are still heavy today).

      I like this craft better because I don't know fuckall about JP-40.

      • Marc Perkel says:

        No – an electric jet just turns fans. It’s just an electric motor.

        • Tim says:

          Now, that will get the kids’ imaginations fired up for physics.

          O.K. But, at least Dyson Bladeless fans like this?? –>

          • What? The moth is always drawn to the flame? says:

            That is a bladeless propeller, not a jet.

          • What? The moth is always drawn to the flame? says:

            Correction, the Dyson Thing is just a bladed propeller fan (blades hidden in base).

        • bobbo, we think with words, and flower with Ideas says:

          Jet: a rapid stream of liquid or gas forced out of a small opening

          a nozzle or narrow opening for sending out a jet of liquid or gas.
          “Agnes turned up the gas jet”

          an aircraft powered by one or more jet engines.

          There are fan-jet or turbo-prop engines where a (true) jet engine has a standard jet engine but in front of the engine standard propellor blades are attached. Such engines are more efficient (gas per mile traveled) at lower altitudes.

          I just assumed by jet you actually meant airplane. simple in this day and age of most commercial aircraft being jet powered….. but to disagree after having the correct explanation given to you is ………….. quite remarkable.

          What is this building on First Principles again?

          • What? The moth is always drawn to the flame? says:

            Exactly, “First Principles” is marketing hogwash to liberate gullible VC money.

            Next he’ll be telling us about Electric Rockets (not exoatmospheric ion thrusters, but rockets that lift off from sea level using battery power).

          • Tim says:

            laser ablation propulsion {electric rocket}

      • What? The moth is always drawn to the flame? says:

        That is a bladeless propeller, not a jet.

  12. High Speed Travel is Overrated and Dangerous says:

    And getting people’s physical butts from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 30 minutes is important because…?

  13. bobbo, the pragmatic existential Anti-theist and Junior Culture critic says:

    I wondered if that was a picture of Gwenyth Paltrow so I image searched on Google and found it was a still from Iron Man 3 so that must be Robert Downey as well.

    Horrible miserable film as all the comic book features are. Thats “culture” in america.

    It really is turtles all the way down.

  14. spsffan says:

    Does anyone see parallels with Musk and Howard Hughes? Keep an eye on his fingernails!

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential Anti-theist and Junior Culture critic says:

      I had that passing thought. You track the fingernails, I’ll track the germ phobia.

  15. NotSA says:

    Capicola landjaeger bresaola prosciutto. Pork kevin brisket chuck ham venison. Filet mignon biltong hamburger t-bone, corned beef pastrami doner pancetta pork loin swine brisket chuck ham hock jowl short ribs. Pork sirloin shankle leberkas tail spare ribs capicola bresaola pork belly flank beef ribs. Boudin biltong prosciutto tail sausage chuck bacon kevin spare ribs short loin turducken pork belly swine. Porchetta drumstick ground round sirloin, chuck jowl tongue beef ribs doner shank ham. Hamburger boudin bresaola landjaeger fatback ball tip shoulder.

    It proves I’m a dumbass.

  16. Mr Diesel says:

    Finally, the idiot bot speaks something remotely worthy of reading.

  17. smooth the image until it looks like creamy shit says:

    if you scroll up and down on the party pic, it looks like Elon is fond of inter-conversational pocket pool

  18. Matt Jackson says:

    Turns out there are seemingly countless examples of this first principles of analysis, especially in industries that have existed for a while and have well-established incumbents dominating them.

    First principles analysis (I learned it has fundamental principles, but it’s the same thing), allows business owners to get to the heart of how a business model works, and if new technology has rendered incumbents vulnerable for disruption.

    Another example is in Adhesives, where you have a variety of well-known well-established incumbents selling product with very high markup. First principles analysis, unfolds the envelope to share how much margin is actually possible, thus clarifying the challenge of a new entrant to that of a marketing challenge.

    Turns out, about the only limit to disrupt markets right now is one’s own time, energy, and the ability to take those first principles and then communicate your discoveries and ideas to customers and investment partners by using analogy (which ironically tends to prevent first principles thinking to begin with).

    So, the punchline: think in first principles, communicate by analogy.

    • Tim says:

      “”think in first principles, communicate by analogy.

      That’s the quandary of quantum physics. Metaphore and analogy with relatable personal observation and experience seem elusive. I’m not comfortable with a world which is non-metaphorical. Ohh, you’ll hear “Bell’s inequality is *like* the Eigen commutation operator but with an extra wingding… I suspect it’s total gibberish, but still wonder what this type thinking may lead to…

  19. Hugh says:

    There is no sweeter tit then that of the taxpayer. Something Elon has learned well as neither of his two present companies would exist without US taxpayer picking up the tab

    • NewFormatSux says:

      Shh, you’re criticizing Perkel’s God.

      As Steve Rogers said, “There’s only one God, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that.”

      • NewFormatSux says:

        My concern is that Marc Perkel is going to be less than clearheaded on reporting on his solar experience. If it does well, he will report that. But if it doesn’t, will he be so unwilling to criticize his new god that he will make excuses, or just not report the problems?

        • Tim says:

          Really?? I’d rather thought he’d go ahead and eat the contract, kicking them to the curb for thorium.

  20. NewFormatSux says:

    “Batteries are way to expensive so you can’t build electric cars that are cost effective.”

    Who says that? The critique for more than 100 years has been the storage capacity of the battery.

    • bobbo, I'm not a science guy, but I can read says:

      Who says that? The critique for more than 100 years has been the storage capacity of the battery. /// Still correct. Now add in the requirement to shrink that storage capacity so it can be used in a car with adequate range ……

      now, what do you think the issue is?

      You know: First Principles: reasoning from what you already think.

      Heh, heh.

  21. bobbo, I'm not a science guy, but I can read says:

    Speaking of reality, heres a nice confirmation of what I posted… (above?)==somewhere about reality, but “listening” to yourself as well.

    I’ve never had this inner voice….. but it must be close to dreams? I awake in awe to some of the dreams I have had. A nice alternative universe. I need to get that rem sleep activator to allow active dreaming. I did it for about a year by accident. $150 the best money I could spend if it works.

    New Scientist–the free subscription is worth the registration:

    • Tim says:

      eww. paywall fail.

      Anyways, I’d guess you are talking about *lucid dreaming*.

      A simple regimine is:

      magnesium about 3 hrs before bed
      melatonine about a half hr before
      passiflora incarnata
      valerian root
      Choline {<– very important.. should be used with inositol}
      Hydroxyzine* {if you can get it — legal over the counter in every country but usa because it is safe and effective — does not potentiate with other sedatives}

      *Hydroxizine has a tendancy in some to induce a SILD {sexually induced lucid dream}. So, if that's not your thing…

      If one is trying to learn the practice by trying the WILD (wake initiated lucid dream) technique then keep in mind that there *may be* some potential for sleep paralysis, which can be terrifying. So, again; use caution with that if getting it on with MothMan is not your thing.

      Scene from Waking Life


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