The future of civilization does not depend on Elon Musk Denying Himself Sleep

Regardless of whether Tesla succeeds or fails, Musk has changed the auto industry more than anyone since Henry Ford.

20, 2018

Read 5 min

Arianna Huffington has tried, in the most friendly prose, to convince Elon Musk to go to bed.

"You've encountered incredible challenges and you've met them by becoming increasingly stricter and more determined about applying the latest science," Huffington wrote in an open letter to Musk in response to his New York Times interview in which he admitted being exhausted working 120 hours per week. "But at the same time you are demonstrating an enormously outdated, anti-scientific and horribly inefficient way to use human energy."

The letter is clearly from a friend to another friend she admires, but it is also in a way a letter from everyone on earth, shocked by the existential problems in the world that are rooted for the excessive ambitions of Musk to all of them to solve. "Tesla – and the world (not to mention you and your beautiful children) – would be better off if you regularly have the time to refuel, recharge and reconnect with your exceptional reserves of creativity and your ability to innovate ", wrote Huffington. "Working in 120-hour weeks does not use your unique characteristics, it wastes them."

Related: Elon Musk sounds very unhappy and assumes that his life will get worse

Sadly, Musk seems to have much too close contact with his exhausted inner child to take Huffington's advice and told her that in a tweet that was posted Sunday morning, while most of humanity is not sent to the rocking shift. , sleeps.

Superlatives are nowadays used a lot – everything is "amazing" or "incredible" and anyone whose name you can remember is an "icon". Musk, however, can really be an icon. But from what? Works 120 hours a week (important fact: there is only 168 hours a week), the icon of productivity, or simply the best workaholic in the world? Does the scale of his ambitions – Mars colonize, save the earth from the climate catastrophe, inaccurate traffic jams with tunnels and vacuum tubes, radically the economy of space flights, etc. – make him an enterprising icon, or just someone brilliant who can not focus?

Strongest of all, is Musk an icon of success? He certainly did not seem like he saw himself a great success in his recent times New York Times interview, in which he described a life with almost no room for the rudimentary pleasures of family and friends, human connection and, as Huffington inevitably remarked, sleep. (Can anyone remember what Arianna Huffington was known for before she was a slumber crusader?)

"Success" is a smooth and malleable term. Consider Musks own icon, Nikola Tesla. He died a dark and penniless eccentric who loved the pigeons of Bryant Park more than any person in his life, but at his highest point he influenced the civilization with alternating current and the basic design of the electric motor. Was he a success, a martyr or a combination of the two?

Musk is revered by entrepreneurs, but he does not have much in common with the typical entrepreneur who has a company that only employs him / her or the famous entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos, who is fantastically rich because he is the most successful of millions of people on the world selling stuff on the internet. We would probably all shop online, even if Amazon has never been created.

Musk is perhaps more like Steve Jobs, but even here the comparisons are limited. For all the gleam of Jobs, the world would not be fundamentally different if we did not have the Apple version of computers and mobile phones. Tesla, the company, is not really about making a fortune with the sale of a cooler car, although that is really the focus right now. Tesla is about Musk's fundamental ambition to make the global automotive industry electric cars that are fueled by renewable energy, because endlessly lit gasoline in billions of cars has to be terminated or earthly risk & # 39; become Venus.

This measure makes it possible that Musk has already succeeded. It is four years ago that Musk explicitly pointed to the urgent need to stop the production of cars with petrol, made all Tesla patents public.

Related: Tesla Motors patents now available to everyone

"Tesla Motors was founded to accelerate the arrival of sustainable transport," Musk wrote in June 2014. "If we clear a path to creating convincing electric vehicles, but then leave intellectual property mines behind us to obstruct others, we act in a way that is contrary to that goal. "

While the sleepless Musk itself and Tesla continuously flutter to achieve production goals, the global automotive industry produces about 100,000 electric vehicles per year. Fueled by $ 150 billion of investment, the automotive industry is on track to produce 13 million electric vehicles annually by 2025. Like the genius for which he has named his troubled car company, Elon Musk may eventually be remembered, and possibly respected, not for the fortune he has made, but for the history-changing knowledge he has given to mankind.

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