Slightly amazed but not surprised to watch the news coverage of the Hyperloop and seeing it run about 75% negative so far – people calling it “out there” and questioning the cost projections, the safety, and everything else that was detailed.
The skeptics and the talking-heads that are out there mocking it, are frankly representative of a relatively new type of attitude that seems to want to kill big ideas and dreams before they even have a chance.
I spoke to a retired physics professor a few months ago and he said the biggest difference he saw in students in the 60s and 70s VS today was that the moon shot and other big projects gave people the confidence that any idea was possible. And that today there was a quicker instant-default-reaction of cynicism and doubt to anything really big or seemingly “far fetched”.
I personally have no idea if the Hyperloop will ever succeed or even get a green light to be built.
What I do know is that I’m super excited that someone with a pretty amazing track record (PayPal, Tesla, Space X) is tackling transportation and looking to leapfrog the current train system which is dated, expensive, and just not that exciting. And we should give these people a chance to take a few swings and see what they can come up with before every arm-chair expert chimes in on why it’s not possible. From the conference call follow-up that he held, sounds like he may now build a mini-prototype just to show everyone that it can work.
So my humble $.02 is that we need more people thinking like this, not less — and we need more aspirational projects that open people up to the near limitless possibilities of what we can build and solve.
I’m also a big believer that teams in Silicon valley will have a much better chance of tackling these problems than the traditional companies in the transportation industry that have been relatively stagnant for years now, mainly focused on cost reductions. Reminds me of a Steve Jobs quote:
“The people who built Silicon Valley were engineers. They learned business, they learned a lot of different things, but they had a real belief that humans, if they worked hard with other creative, smart people, could solve most of humankind’s problems. I believe that very much.”
And I always keep this quote in mind:
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” — Mahatma Gandhi
If you haven’t listened to the Elon Musk conference call outlining it all, here is the clip: