Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Private Sector Leads The Way (Again)

Elon Musk
This summer I spot light individuals from the private sector leading with scientific breakthrough discoveries that will literally change our lives. First up: Elon Musk.

Just who is Elon Musk? Musk is an engineer and entrepreneur who builds and operates companies to solve environmental, social and economic challenges. 

Musk is South African American entrepreneur with a degree in Economics and another in Physics. He co-founded PayPal, turned it into a global payment system, then sold it to eBay for $1.5 billion. But he didn’t retire and stop there: 

Tesla: Musk is a co-founder and currently head of product design at Tesla Motors. Tesla Motors first built an electric sports car, the Tesla Roadster. The company also has  a sedan for sale and an SUV/Minivan on the drawing boards. 

Electric Charging Station
Musk  is instrumental in building charging stations for electric cars across the country.   Very cool!!!

Space X: At SpaceX, Elon is the chief designer, overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft for missions to Earth orbit and ultimately to other planets.  

Now That's A Rocket!!
In May of last year, SpaceX made history as the world's first privately held company to send a cargo payload, carried on the Dragon spacecraft, to the International Space Station. The capsule then brought back more than 1 ton of science experiments and old station equipment. It's the only supply ship capable of two-way delivery. 

NASA is paying SpaceX more than $1 billion for a dozen resupply missions. Space X can reuse their  
SpaceX has signed contracts with private sector companies, non-American government agencies and the American military for its launch services. Check out my A to Z link for more info on SpaceX

This Makes Too Much Sense
Hyperloop: Last week Musk revealed a radical transportation idea called the "Hyperloop," which he describes as a "cross between a Concorde, a railgun and an air hockey table." It's basically an underground bullet train that, freed from pesky terrestrial concerns like weather, farm animals, and friction, would zoom people across the country in hours instead of days. 

Of course, politics is the biggest challenge.  It's taken New York City a generation to break ground on its latest subway line, and will probably take another to finish it. This nation is terrible at new infrastructure. 

But leave it to the private sector to find a way. Forget about any government to lead us into the 21s century. Private sector will lead the way or we simply won't move forward. It takes a driven genius like Musk to make things happen. He has performed so far. Stay tuned! 

Question: Do you think the private sector will need to take the lead for us into the 21st century?


  1. Give that man some more money and let him keep inventing things!

  2. Certainly, sounds like he is an invention genius. We have a friend here who is part owner of a business selling computerised environmental solutions all over the world, Lakes Environmental Software. Definitely a world leader.


  3. Most interesting Stephen, I think the private sector will win hands down on any situation be it space, medicine.


  4. Governments never seem to have enough money for these far-seeing and far-reaching projects. I love that the private sector is willing to stretch so far! What a talented, inventive man! Thanks for sharing :)

  5. I do believe that the private sector will have much to offer for the future. What they do in space will be especially interesting. The Hyperloop train concepts sounds pretty cool, but very expensive to build. But considering the cost that California has been proposing and putting into our bullet train, maybe Musk's version won't be that bad.

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  6. It comes down to money. Governments are too corrupt and inept and greedy to make projects on this scale work. Obviously I am free market and small government. Its the only way to get things done and move forward.

  7. That's all very cool info. The underground train idea doesn't seem plausible to me b/c of geological activity and g-forces. But what do I know? Nuthin'! lol

  8. The Hyperloop sounds amazing. Makes me wish I could live long enough to see it.

  9. So long as they remain accountable to someone! LOL!! Money can certainly move mountains! Take care

  10. This country could really benefit from such a rail system. We have such lousy public transportation here.

  11. Oh my word, Elon Musk. Brilliant. You rock. You too, Stephen. :)

  12. PEople said for thousands of years man would never fly, let alone travel to the moon and beyond. So a simple little ol' hyperloop is certainly possible. At least in the private sector.

  13. Well, from my economics background, I say yes definitely. Things don't advance when you have a bureaucrat in control. Ever.

  14. It just boggles the mind how engineers and scientists can develop such complex things, all pulled from the possibility of what could be and never limited by what hasn't been done. Hmmm.. we writers could learn a few lessons here.

  15. I don't know if the private sector NEEDS to lead the way, but I think it should, because that's where innovations and groundbreaking discoveries arise. Best thing the government can do is encourage private R&D and get out of the way.

  16. Elon Musk is an amazing man! However, I don't believe for a second that he does these things for altruistic reasons. He is in it for the money and is a billionaire several times over.

    In a general sense, the "private sector" is only going to lead the way if there is a fortune to be made by doing so. Obviously, this isn't always the case, but most times it is. Even if the government does "lead the way" the people they contract to do the work get rich. Our system is all jacked up. Great post about a true modern day genius...

  17. Interesting post. The Hyperloop sounds like an interesting idea, but I think there will be plenty of challenges with seeing to come to fruition.

  18. Misha, I totally agree!

    Julie, its inspiring me to outline a few short stories.

    Susan, you bring up a great point! Governments need to do far more in encouraging and backing more R&D.

    Pat, of course money is a main driver. It should be. Musk deserves every penny he earns. And its people like Musk who provide an incredible amount of great paying jobs that contribute to the development of civilization and keep us moving forward.

    Susanne, there will always be challenges. Government bureaucracy will always be the main challenge.

  19. Hi Stephen ... I didn't know Elon Musk's name .. but am sure I'd seen the link with PayPal and the Tesla before .. but certainly hadn't spotted all his other projects ..

    Looks like we'll be relying on the private sector .. but I'm sure Governments will come up with some clever accounting somewhere ... and they must be able to claw back some of the corporate tax that never gets paid over, as it's siphoned off to tax havens .. still that creates funds for new projects ..

    Interesting ... our Cross Rail and refurbishment of part of the Underground - they've planned for future expansion, even if it's not authorised or approved by Government .. once the work does start - they'll have the links ready to go ...

    It'll be interesting to see what does happen ...

    Cheers Hilary