Elon Musk had quite a day yesterday

A new special about Elon Musk and Space X premiered on Netflix yesterday and it was probably only the third best thing that happened to Musk that day. The documentary producers behind the show had some good things to say about Musk in an interview with Salon.


Vasarhelyi: That’s Elon’s genius, his lateral thinking. He has brought disruption to all these industries — PayPal, and Tesla, and the energy industry. When people talked about him as a boss, they said he always sees the problem — that’s a very interesting type of leadership.

Chin: It keeps you thinking, because you are always trying to anticipate the problem that he sees, which is usually probably fundamental, and they are often hidden in the obvious. That’s what great leaders do and see. That’s why we trust them to lead or captain the ship.

That’s nice but it probably didn’t compare to Musk’s visit to the Air Force Academy.

According to the USAFA, Musk greeted the cadet wing from the staff tower at the Mitchell Hall Dining Facility and seated the cadets for lunch.

From there, he served as the distinguished speaker for the Academy’s Ira C. Eaker Lecture in Arnold Hall.

While taking questions from the cadet audience, Musk shared his problem-solving philosophy, addressed the connection between military and commercial space interests, and discussed the challenges of space debris.

The Air Force Academy released this photo of Musk’s speech which looks pretty sedate and orderly.

What the story and the photo don’t convey is the excitement of the cadets. Here they are in the dining hall when Musk was introduced.

Here’s another angle showing Musk only made a few remarks concluding with “Wing, take seats” which is the order to begin the meal service.


And that still wasn’t the real highlight of Musk’s day which came later when he hosted the “Cyber Rodeo” opening of his new Giga Texas factory. The livestreamed show started with an impressive display of drone-created images over the factory. Here’s a portrait of Nikola Tesla appearing in the sky.

The drones then assembled themselves into a Model 3:

After all of that, Musk entered the factor in one of the original Tesla roadsters, wearing a cowboy hat and sunglasses.

The livestream camera panned around and there were women crying like the Beatles were back together. Musk gave some prepared remarks along with a slide show. If you’ve seen Musk talk before, he’s not really a good speaker in any normal sense. He stammers a bit. His thoughts don’t always seem to build so much as leap around. Last night he was clearly a bit distracted as people in the crowd were shouting things at him. It was the opposite of a smooth delivery.


But it really didn’t matter. Because Musk and the crowd were standing in a factory three times the size of the Pentagon which Musk said was the largest car factory in the world. It wasn’t a pipe dream it was reality and the 2nd one he’s opened this year.

Here’s an 8-minute supercut that sums up most of Musk’s presentation. As you’ll see, he promised there was a lot more coming which he didn’t want to spoil. He did say the company’s current factories were just the start of moving toward “truly massive scale.”

Time will tell if he’s right about Tesla doubling and quadrupling in size and becoming one of the world’s leading manufacturers. What’s not in doubt is that yesterday he had a very, very good day.

How is today looking for Musk? Pretty good so far.

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