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The Engineer

410 Pages · 2014 · 1.45 MB · English

  • The Engineer

    The Engineer


    Follow Elon Musk on a journey from


    South Africa to Mars


    Erik Nordeus


    Thisbookisforsaleathttp://leanpub.com/theengineer


    Thisversionwaspublishedon2014-08-19


    ThisisaLeanpubbook.Leanpubempowersauthorsand


    publisherswiththeLeanPublishingprocess.Lean


    Publishingistheactofpublishinganin-progressebook


    usinglightweighttoolsandmanyiterationstogetreader


    feedback,pivotuntilyouhavetherightbookandbuild


    tractiononceyoudo.


    ©2013-2014ErikNordeus Contents


    Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1


    Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6


    SandHillRoad . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10


    LostCities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16


    BoredomLeadstoGreatThings . . . . . . . . . . 35


    WhatDoIDoNow? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52


    TheMeaningofLife . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61


    TheOutsider . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82


    JoiningtheMafia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95


    IDon’tNeedTheseRussians . . . . . . . . . . . . 113


    LaunchingaTruckIntoSpace . . . . . . . . . . . 136


    TheElectricStars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147 CONTENTS


    YouCan’tSellaCarThatLooksLikeCrap . . . . 170


    Tesla’sMacintosh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187


    TroubleinParadise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196


    Iceberg,RightAhead . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211


    AnotherIceberg,RightAhead . . . . . . . . . . . 219


    Revenge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237


    HalfwaytoAnywhere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 254


    TheLeaningFactories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 270


    ABurningMan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 290


    JoiningtheThrillionaires . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 309


    IdeaOverload . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 323


    EndoftheBeginning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 335


    Timeline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 342


    ElonMusk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 342


    TeslaMotors. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 343


    SpaceX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 351


    Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 354 Preface


    The history of The Engineer - Follow Elon Musk on a


    journey from South Africa to Mars began in 2006 when I


    read a book about peak oil. The idea behind peak oil is


    that the world sooner or later will run out of oil because


    oil is a finite resource. Most books written on the subject


    arewithinthedoomsdaycategory.ThebookIreadargued


    thatwhenthere’snomoreoilwewouldbeforcedtoreturn


    toa19thcenturysociety.Horseswouldbethemainmode


    of transportation because the alternatives, such as electric


    cars,wouldn’tmakeadifferencebecausetheyweren’tgood


    enough.


    Peak oil terrified me. The first night I had nightmares


    abouthowtheworldwouldlooklikewithoutanyvehicles.


    Howwouldwedeliverfood?Howwouldwebuildhouses?


    Howwouldwetransportinjuredpeople?Iwatchedevery


    dayhowthepriceofoilclimbedtorecordlevels.Butwhen


    the2008creditcrisishittheworld,thepriceofoildecreased


    from $150 per barrel, and nightmares about derivatives


    replacedmynightmaresaboutpeakoil.


    Fast forward to late 2012. One dark autumn night I


    watchedavideoonYouTubewheretheentrepreneurKevin


    RoseinterviewedaguycalledElonMusk.Ihadneverheard


    ofhimorhiscompaniesbefore.Attheendoftheinterview,


    Elon mentioned that he worked with the Hyperloop - a


    fifth mode of transportation, where the other modes are Preface 2


    train, boat, road, and aircraft. This sounded interesting to


    theengineerinme,soIneededtolearnmoreabouthim.


    After reading a few articles, I realized that Elon was


    wellawareofpeakoil.Hehadevendesignedanelectriccar


    thatcouldreplaceagasolinecar.ThebookIhadreadabout


    peak oil was wrong! To learn more about Elon, I searched


    for if someone had written a biography. The only books I


    foundwerethosebiographieswheretheauthorhascopied


    onlywhat’savailableonWikipedia.Ibeganreadingmore


    articlesandwatchingmorevideos,andIrealizeditexisted


    somuchinformationImightaswellwritearealbiography.


    But this is not just a book about Elon as it has several


    other purposes. Elon himself said, “I think you have to


    enjoy what you are doing. Otherwise, it is hard to do


    it. There are three things you look for. You have to look


    forwardinthemorningtodoingyourwork.Youdowantto


    haveasignificantfinancialreward.Andyouwanttohave


    apossibleeffectontheworld.Ifyoucanfindallthree,you


    havesomethingyoucantellyourchildren.”


    I believe this book may have a positive effect on the


    world.Thefirstpurposewiththebookistomotivateyoung


    people to become engineers. It has been estimated that


    Europe will lack 500 000 engineers by 2020, and I believe


    thesolutionisinspiration.


    During my first year in engineering school, each stu-


    denthadtoreadabookontheNobelPrize.Idon’trecallthe


    purpose;maybesomeonethoughtwewouldbecomemore


    motivated?Butthebookhadalmosttheoppositeeffect-we


    becamelessmotivated.Thecharactersinthebookwereno Preface 3


    role models we could find any inspiration from. Elon, on


    the other hand, is a true role model. Will Elon ever get a


    NobelPrize?Ifhedoesn’tgetit,willhebesadaboutit?He


    might, but then he jumps into his Tesla Roadster, drives


    to the airport, boards his private jet, flies to the nearest


    spaceport where he enters a rocket on its way to a new


    civilizationonMars.That’sinspiring.


    The second purpose with this book is to motivate


    engineers to become entrepreneurs and tackle the larger,


    moreexpensive,anddifficultproblems.Ibelievethereare


    professionalengineerswhohavegreatideas,buttheydon’t


    know they can build a company from those ideas. If Elon


    canbuildtwoInternetcompanies,arocketcompany,acar


    company,andasolarcompany-whycan’tyou?


    Another purpose is to explain the why of things. The


    problem is that not everyone understands Elon and his


    companies. How can you convince someone to buy an


    electriccarifheorsheatthesametimebelievesthesupply


    of oil is infinite? Elon himself said, “If you could explain


    the why of things then that makes a huge difference to


    people’smotivation.”353Sosomeonehastoexplainwhywe


    needtomoveawayfromasocietydependentonoil.Why


    do we need to build rockets and colonize Mars? Elon has


    triedtoexplaineverythingbygivingcountlessinterviews,


    butit’sdifficulttounderstandthebigpicturefromarticles


    and videos. I hope that you who read this book will soon


    understandthebigpicturebehindElon.


    I also believe the author of a biography on Elon has


    to be an engineer. I’ve read articles by non-engineers (I Preface 4


    suspect) that confuses different topics. One example is


    thatseveralarticlesarguedthatElonbecameinterestedin


    electric cars to save the environment. But that’s not true.


    Elon became interested in electric cars because the world


    isrunningoutofoil.Duringoneinterview,hehadtohang


    up the phone because the journalist couldn’t understand


    thedifficulttopics.Butdon’tworry-youdon’tneedtobe


    anengineertoreadthisbook.


    I’veused457sourcestowritethisbiography.Thegoal


    is that everything in the book is as truthful as it can be


    in an unofficial biography. But since it’s after all rocket


    science,somefactualerrorsmayexist.Ifyoufindanerror,


    I’mhappytocorrectitassoonaspossible.


    SeveralconflictshavehappenedthroughoutElon’slife,


    includingdivorcesandangryemployees.Whendescribing


    these conflicts, I’ve tried to be as neutral as possible by


    includingtheviewsfrombothsides.


    I’m not sponsored by and have no financial interest


    in neither Tesla Motors or SolarCity. This book is for


    informational, educational, and discussion purposes only.


    Even though topics may be discussed in this book that


    involve legal or investment issues, nothing in this book


    shall be deemed to constitute the practice of law, legal


    advice, or investment advice. If any reader takes action


    ormakesdecisionsbasedsolelyontheinformationinthis


    book,thereaderdoessoathisorherownrisk.


    ErikNordeus,M.Sc.


    erik.nordeus@gmail.com Preface 5


    Stockholm,Sweden


    August2014 Introduction


    “Ithinkwe’regoingtotheMoonbecauseit’sinthenature


    ofthehumanbeingtofacechallenges.It’sbythenatureof


    hisdeepinnersoul.Yes,wearerequiredtodothesethings


    justassalmonswimupstream.”


    NeilArmstrong


    “Allourdreamscancometrue,ifwehavethecourageto


    pursuethem.”


    WaltDisney


    Adictionarydefinesanengineer:“Aprofessionalprac-


    titionerofengineering,concernedwithapplyingscientific


    knowledge, mathematics, and ingenuity to develop solu-


    tions for technical problems. Engineers design materials,


    structures, and systems while considering the limitations


    imposed by practicality, regulation, safety, and cost. The


    wordengineerisderivedfromtheLatinrootsingeniare[to


    contrive,devise]andingenium[cleverness].”391


    This is a book about the beginning of a journey. Elon


    Musk is the main person in the journey through a roller-


    coasterlife.HisjourneyincludeseverythingfromWinston


    Please note: To fully download this free PDF,EBook files you need know All free.
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