TeslaMondo will close out the year not with myopic chatter about delivery numbers, but with an invitation to step back and think a bit harder. Did Tesla or SpaceX inspire you to try something new this year? Did you reject naysayers, even the naysayer in your own head, and press forth with something you hadn’t dared before? What about 2016? What’s on tap for you, self-improvement-wise?
In TeslaMondo circles, Tesla inspired someone to take up guitar in 2015. “If Elon Musk can run two companies, I can learn how to play a guitar.” Tesla inspired someone to better organize his house in 2016. “I really thought about how much time I waste by struggling with messes. I have to get things sorted out and working efficiently.”
Industries of all stripes feel the Musk effect. Today we read about a washing machine engineer who has long-wrestled a very old problem. Washers use about 30 lbs of concrete at the base, to stabilize them during the rigorous spin cycle. A startup company is trying to skip the concrete as part of a new-think approach. “If Elon Musk can land rockets backwards,* then we have a way to stabilize a washing machine without concrete.” So says Glenn Reid, the head of Marathon Laundry, which is trying to break into an impenetrable industry resigned to permanent lockdown by a few immovable brands. Sound familiar?
It’s been a year and a half since Tesla went open-source. To date, nobody has openly borrowed the patents. Or at least nobody has told the press about it. It seems no company wants to humble itself by borrowing from Uncle Elon. And yet we’ve read copious articles about Big Auto having Big Epiphanies to spend Big Money on a Big Shift toward zero emissions transport. So Tesla’s mission to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport certainly bore fruit in the form of these new year’s resolutions, if you will, from auto execs.
When you factor in SpaceX, Elon’s companies doubly inspired a lot of people do try a lot of things. Tesla and SpaceX assaulted some hardened concepts — such as the way cars are made and sold, and the way rockets work, and even the insurmountability of space itself — and softened them just enough to make us wonder why we’ve accepted so many limitations in our own lives. Everything seems a little more reachable.
It seems likely that many new year’s resolutions for 2016 will sound like this: “If Elon Musk can _____, then I can _____.”
*Update: Musk has just tweeted that Falcon 9 has zero damage from its groundbreaking landing and is “ready to fire again.” A re-launch with the same rocket? A first, if it happens, and arguably just as important as the landing. When it’s on the pad for re-launch, perhaps the countdown announcer will use economy of language and simply say, “Ditto.”