Elon Musk, Hyperloop, and Humility


Elon Musk, serial entrepreneur and one of the most successful business people and investors of our era is embarking on a new transportation initiative: Hyperloop. While Musk has before alluded to his interest in a means of alternative travel at speeds exceeding our present capabilities. Now, the stage is finally set for the construction of an experimentation site and test track and for Hyperloop.  

The Technical

The current Hyperloop design and construction utilizes reduced-pressure tubes in which pressurized capsules ride on an air cushion.

The pressurized capsules are driven by linear induction motors and air compressors working in tandem.

The initial “maiden” route designed by Musk is from Los Angeles to the San Francisco and would run primarily alongside Interstate 5 corridor. Traveling at an average speed of 598mph(962km/hr) the 354mile(570km) trip would take only an estimated 35 minutes.

The Reality

The high cost, low estimates put the LA-San fran connection at between 6.5-8 billion while many industry experts and economists say it could be a project four times this estimate.

Additionally, powerful competition looms. A recent billion dollar contract to construct a high speed train was secured by Perini-Zachary-Parsons in the three-firm consortium selected by the California High Speed Rail Authority. A notable major shareholder of Penini-Zachary-Parsons is Richard Blum, Senator Diane Feinstein’s husband.

With highly influential people, capital cronyism, and government collusion: every mile of the the high speed train will cost $35 million pre construction estimate with those costs guaranteed to rise once ground breaks as all government infrastructure projects do.  

Those already involved in the massive project have nicknamed the high speed rail: “the half-fast”(which when said with moderate speed can also sound like “the half-assed”) because trackage will still be shared with the existing commuter trains reducing average speeds significantly. Additionally, estimates indicate the California High-Speed Rail System will lose between $124 million to $373 million a year.

The Humility

Elon Musk does not seek attention or limelight for himself. He is incredibly wealthy due to sound decisions, smarts, foresight, work ethic, and as we say in the Jewish faith, in yiddish “a gut mazal!”

He wants to do these things for a better world, a better humanity, a better way of living with foresight, conscience, and credibility. Elon Musk wants to blaze a space for the next big thinker and entrepreneur and revolutionary.

Anyone who has read about him or heard him speak or collaborated with him in business laud him for always seeking to improve himself, for seeking criticism and critique and ways to perform and function better and higher. Most people seek to prove and affirm the way they are doing things, their process and protocols are correct and best. Elon Musk seeks to prove himself wrong: “You should take the approach youre wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong.”

Elon Musk might be overreaching, or bold, or zealous, or he might even be wrong. Gasp.

Yet, he doesn’t stop. He continues. He pushes on. He doesn’t let obstacles or failure create doubt or delay:

“If something is important enough even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.”

I’d love to see this headline across breaking Israel news soon:

“Hyperloop Comes to Israel!”