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comment by thenewgreen

    And just so we're clear - you invoked supply-side economics as if it were a winning argument. Did you mean to do that?
I did. I was definitely poking the bear with that one. You make some good points. I suppose my overarching argument would be this, in a vacuum of leadership where solutions are rare and take decades to come to fruition, motivated, smart people will fill the void. I’m okay with that.

kleinbl00  ·  428 days ago  ·  link  ·  

That's because you're convinced this is a solution.

I want you to read this book. It's the heartwarming tale of a rogue innovator who saw an industry ripe for disruption so she asked forgiveness rather than permission and revolutionized the testing industry for the betterment of all mankind.

Except it's not. It's the story of a girl who grew up wanting to be rich who lived next door to a venture capitalist and when she realized college was hard she batted her eyes and said "I want a patent for a patch that both diagnoses and treats disease and the fact that I didn't finish three quarters of Chem 101 is inconsequential" and her neighbor got her millions and nobody ever stopped to ask anyone who knew fuckall about blood chemistry whether or not anything Theranos claimed to do was even physically possible because they were too busy clapping each other on the back for finding the next Black Turtleneck and she happened to be a girl.

The narrative around Musk is that he can do no wrong and every idea is good. This is despite the fact that he's a horrible human being whose modus operandi is to beat the shit out of people until they quit and then be hailed as a genius.

Pretend Mike Milken decided he was going to fix traffic by drilling 1-car-wide tunnels under LA. Would you give the first shit? Did you even know that Mike Milken has done nothing but philanthropy for the past 25 years?

Anybody else who opens a side business selling flamethrowers would be considered a sociopath. Musk? He's a darling because he's Musk. But at the end of the day this is a single-occupancy tunnel.

thenewgreen  ·  428 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You’re drawing equivalency between Musk and Holmes? Lol. One hiodwinked the VC world with a product that never worked. The other has built an electric car company, so far as I know the cars work. I’ve driven one. Lovely ride. He also built a rocket company, so far as I know he’s been able to launch and LAND a reusable rocket. Yep, works. There couldn’t be a more disparate comparison.

Flame thrower company? Lol. He did a limited run of some flame throwers as a joke and a way to raise $10m for boring company. If mk did that for Hubski, we’d all think it was awesome. We wouldn’t think he was a sociopath (even though he is).

People root for Musk because he has accomplishments where others said he would fail. He’s no Elizabeth Holmes. Also, please never mention Theranos to me again. Try raising a round of funding for a biotech company right after she is exposed. Not fun. Fuck her.

mk  ·  428 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm a sociopath like Musk.

thenewgreen  ·  428 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Truth in jest, if ever there was :)

kleinbl00  ·  428 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I am absolutely drawing equivalency between Musk and Holmes. At the end of the day, Holmes shoved an off-the-shelf assay device into a box and called it revolutionary. Musk:

- moved payments networks on the Internet prior to regulatory permission and was forced out when regulations became an issue

- Out-soviet the Soviets while looking for cheap launch capabilities and undercut the existing players through rock-bottom pricing enabled by tech lust and a lack of pension or healthcare overhead

- Created a solar company driven out of Nevada for banking irregularities and illegal tax schemes

- Operated a car company at tremendous loss for years through the largesse of the speculative market

- Dug a hole in Hawthorne

You know something about bloodwork. Thus, Elizabeth Holmes makes your blood boil. I know something about engineering. Thus, I can admire what Elon Musk has done: cut profits and expenses to the bone in the interests of disrupting markets. Slides 8 and 9: ULA comes in at around $9k per kilo for an Atlas V while SpaceX comes in at around $3k per kilo for a Falcon 9. This is an awful lot like, but not exactly like, the operating costs of legacy carriers vs. the new carriers like Southwest and Jet Blue:

The argument with SpaceX is "he's doing it cheaper" which is accurate. The argument with Tesla, on the other hand, is "he's losing more money" which a great strategy that nobody but Musk is allowed to practice. Here we are talkin' tunnels, though, and somehow the Internet has decided that the ability to dig a one-car-wide tunnel under Hawthorne is revolutionary.

Elizabeth Holmes took a standard Siemens blood analyzer, diluted its samples four to ten-fold and sold that shit to Safeway and Wallgreen's. Elon Musk loses money on electric cars and his market cap is higher than Ford's. You know a little bit about blood analysis. I know a little about cars. I've built cars. I've built electric cars. But I doubt anyone would let me lose $30k per car for five years, let alone celebrate my doing it.

thenewgreen  ·  428 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I doubt anyone would let me lose $30k per car for five years, let alone celebrate my doing it.
Depends on how many cars we are talking about. If it's millions of cars, then hell yeah... I would. If those cars come with future revenue streams, brand loyalty, etc. If over time you can show me that you will increase efficiency and be able to maintain price point. Sure, I would invest. Do it, KB. It's not a practice only Musk gets to practice btw. It's extremely common in SV. We can get to 1000x growth and then figure out how to make money later. Happens all the time. You know this. Shit... just keeping to the forum we are on, think reddit/twitter. Which comes first the users or the profit? Often it's the users.

Your comparison to Holmes and Musk falls flat, for the reasons I mentioned before. His products work. Hers didn't, but she falsified that they did. It's that simple. He delivers the product. She didn't. I never said he delivered them at a profit. You make good points about poor people being left out. I, like many others I suspect, just enjoy seeing someone doing things. The world needs dreamers, and doers.

kleinbl00  ·  428 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yeah doesn't work that way. Know who founded Tesla? This guy.

And this guy.

They took one of these

And converted the batteries from lead-acid to lithium (making it crazy-expensive in the process). Then the guy with the lead-acid batteries told Elon Musk about the guys trying to make a lithium sports car, then Elon Musk invested, then Elon Musk forced those guys out, and then he put lithium batteries in a Lotus Elise.

Tesla went to the 2007 LA auto show. I was there. They were relegated down to the annex with all the other SEMA rejects because they were showing a kit car. It was a Lotus Elise with batteries and an electric motor - there was less innovation there than GEM.

But it was Elon Musk. Who swore to never go to the LA Auto Show ever again because they refused to treat him like a rock star.

This is my broader point, which you keep dodging around: rich people get to play by different rules, all the time, primarily because we give them a bye for being rich. People love to talk about how Elon Musk came to the US with only $2000... they hate to hear it's because he was on the outs with his dad and avoiding the draft and that he was the first kid in South Africa to get a computer. We make these myths because they help us make sense of a senseless world where a guy putting liens on peoples' houses in exchange for solar panels is a visionary rather than a thief. We pillory GM for losing money on an electric car and cancelling it and celebrate a man who launches "autopilots" with no testing or oversight (while losing tens of thousands per car).

I refuse to celebrate rich people breaking the rules because they can. Maybe that makes me a communist. But fuckin' hell Hawthorne needs the apartments Musk shut down more than it needs the tunnel he dug.

Elizabeth Holmes was a dreamer, and a doer. And she dreamed and did whatever her heart desired because everyone around her refused to see her for what she was.

user-inactivated  ·  428 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The solution is election reform, campaign finance reform, legal reform.

But those are hard to even talk about much less work to get moving through a system that profits on disfunction.