How many impossible things have you done? Lewis Carol’s Alice once said: “One can't believe impossible things." To which replied The Queen of Hearts: “I daresay you haven't had much practice . .. When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
Douglas Adams, a man Elon Musk must surely have read, and no doubt ravenously, once wrote: “If you've done 6 impossible things this morning, why not round it off with breakfast at Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe?”
By contrast, Elon Musk merely settles for trying to colonize Mars, creating an interface between the human brain and computers, a ground-based transport system that can travel at over 700 miles per hour, solving traffic congestion by boring holes in the ground, and solving the global energy crisis by revolutionising the battery industry.
Oh yes, he has unveiled an electric truck and a mass production electric roadster that is capable of 0-60 miles an hour in 1.9 seconds.
And one more thing, until very recently he was targeting making 10,000 Tesla 3 cars a week by the end of 2018.
Well, if you promise the impossible, you do occasionally have to deliver.
His motivation seems sound, to save humanity from itself, climate change, AI, and if all else fails, create a back-up in the form of colonies on another planet.
And given that it seems to be in everyone’s interests for him to achieve these targets, it may not be unreasonable to forgive missed targets, and while he may apply an awful lot of enthusiasm to the time frames he presents, maybe if he didn’t, he would find it a lot harder to raise the money required to realise not only his dream, but the dream most people who care about the future of humanity share.
He could of course say; “I hope that at some point in the future the Tesla 3, that has the potential be a really good car, will be manufactured at the scale of 10,000 units a week,” but if he said that, investors may not be quite so keen. His targets may seem like b******t, but in fairness, the investors get this. They want him to suceed, but know that for this to happen, lots of investors must adopt their approach, and to achieve this, it may not be in anyone’s interest to point out that hitting impossible targets is in fact impossible. You can accuse the emperor of not wearing any clothes, but if, with the help of the people, he can make it to the clothes shop, it may not be in anyone’ interest to point it out.
The target of 10,000 Tesla 3s a week in 2018 has been turned into something a good deal more vague.
But, he has managed to do one impossible thing, or so its seems.
Tesla promised to produce the biggest, most powerful battery ever for the Australian government for use in southern Australian outback, within 100 days of signing the contract. Mr Musk even agreed a wager, estimated to have been $50 million, that it he was unable to deliver by December 1 2017, he would forgo the cost of the project. Well, last week, it emerged he made it.
So that’s one impossible thing in 2017, how many impossible things can he do next year?