Yes, I’ve got some thoughts, but my last few headlines have been about thoughts so wanted to do something different. Fact is, I was on a panel with Elon about space commercialization years ago. It was not a pleasant experience because of Elon.
Elon is intelligent, how much so a subject of some debate and discussion. What I will say about him is that he seems get engineering and R&D on a level that few others do. Is he Kelly Johnson reborn? No, different type of genius and one who is smart enough to hire modern Kelly Johnsons and — mostly — listen to them on critical issues. I’ve heard over the years, however, that he can have a tendency to get so wrapped up in his concepts/plans that he doesn’t listen, not unless reality hits him hard with a cold douche.
Whether it’s because he’s spectrum or something else, he is not a people person. He doesn’t always get others, or seem to realize that disagreement does not automatically equate to enemy action. Or that less than 1,000 percent enthusiasm for project doesn’t mean you are against it. I think I said a while back that Elon was his own worst enemy when it comes to turning those who could or should be his allies into enemies. For some reason, he seems driven to do that, to be an ahole for no good or discernible reason.
That panel was a case in point. I was the NASA rep, working with the Space Product Development program, and simply because I (a mere contractor) was representing NASA, I was the enemy. That he saw NASA as the enemy at the time was not unfounded in many respects; but, the way he handled it set commercialization efforts back. Frankly, he was a rude, boorish, and nasty POS that night. Some of his comments apparently didn’t go over well in parts of NASA. As for me, what I witnessed along with things heard over the years (water cooler RUMINT), I would not want to work for him though I would love to work at a couple of his companies.
Fact is, before I got hit by lightning, I would have loved to work for Space X because they are doing, not talking. So long as it was down a few layers from the top so I was insulated from the storms that seem to hit Elon from time to time. He’s got a lot of good people working for him, and I would have loved to work with them. I think that right now they are the best shot we have at getting off this mudball and creating a permanent human presence throughout the solar system. I think that important and needed, especially as we seem determined to go the path of endless wars and escalation of same. Earth is the cradle of humanity, and it would be a shame if we became a case of crib death writ large.
I bring this up because over the weekend, Elon had one of his patented tantrums on Twitter (X, whatever) over removing the block feature. Elon wants to do it, and the peasants just don’t understand his grand plan and how this will make things better. He started blocking people who disagreed with the idea, told major accounts to delete themselves because they disagreed, and thought it was all funny. I thought it was fun (and funny) to block him so I may not be on Twitter much longer. We’ll see. The interesting thing is that with X/Twitter, the world gets to see the behavior on a large scale.
As for the block feature, I think it flat out stupid to remove it. First, various app stores (on which X depends) have rules that would seem to say no to this. Second, there are serious safety concerns for people who block because of domestic, terroristic, and other threats. I actually did try to point out the latter to Elon and others at X, don’t think it went anywhere. To my mind, it’s a liability issue with a capital L and a lot of dollar signs attached. Third, it’s my timeline and I like having the ability to block bots and others who do not have my best interest at heart.
I made the decision a while back to hang on and see what happens on/with Twitter/X. I don’t like a lot of what I see going on lately, but then again I’m not a multi-business billionaire with a track record of (mostly) success. I’m not part of the flounce brigade that every time he’s made a change has flounced to other pastures in protest (and mostly come immediately back). I’m going to let things play out for now, as Twitter is still the best platform for getting breaking news and intel.
I would love to see it more a true free speech platform, at least within what is allowed by our government, the EU, and others who hate free speech. I would like to have no filters, or at least visible filters and options, and curate who I follow, how, and why. Elon seems to want to make it a garden of nice, or at least nice as he sees it. Having survived the destruction of the blogosphere when we were tempted into the warm walled gardens of Facebook and other social media, which rapidly turned into thought prisons, I don’t trust promises of gardens that, really, trust us, this time are going to be nice and free.
Meantime, understand Elon is not your friend, a savior, or anything else other than a flawed human like the rest of us. He is an erratic genius, where it’s not the genius that is erratic but his behavior. I want to be fair and note that I have heard that he is not having a tantrum/being an ahole, he’s actually nice and even fun to be around. I’ve just never personally seen that side of him.
Because of him, a lot of good things are happening. To my mind, it’s worth dealing with the ahole component to get the good things. Not necessarily pleasant, but until some real competition comes along, he’s pretty much the only game in town on several fronts. When there are other realistic options, I will review and revise as warranted. If he goes completely off the rails in regards Twitter/X, I will leave with little fuss or muss. Meantime, I’m just going to sit back, watch, and probably shake my head a lot.
Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.