Dear Elon Musk,
Don’t freak. Sure this might be titled as a love letter, but it is just a way of formalising my own thoughts; what I like about your work and how it influences my own. The whole love letter thing is just something inspired by an industrial film directed by Van Neistat. Yeah, he has his own love letter too.
You genuinely give a shit about humanity.
It is more than one of those passing “oh yeah climate change, we gotta do something about that” thoughts. It seems to be more akin to “I’m going to put everything on the line and bloody help”.
You founded Tesla to accelerate the transition toward sustainable transport with their electric cars. You also founded SpaceX to reduce the cost of rocketry to the point where it is viable to create a colony on Mars. A backup of humanity.
Sometimes I joke that Tesla is an extremely over-engineered carbon-offset program for SpaceX. (Hey, this couldn’t be all serious, otherwise I would end up in fawning love letter territory.)
Anyway, 2008 really knocked you around. It sounded like you faced the perfect storm: an imploding US economy, Tesla on the verge of bankruptcy and SpaceX burning millions on getting a rocket into orbit. I think it was in the Vance biography where you talk about some of the stress you faced, and the fact that you probably had burnt out a few circuits during that time. But your resilience and determination never faltered. You put everything on the line and kept pushing to the end.
In many ways it reminds me a little of that infamous Winston Churchill speech:
“We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”
You were never going to give up on Tesla or SpaceX. You were going to keep trying, right down to the last dollar. Because you genuinely give a shit. Because you see both Tesla and SpaceX as critical to humanity becoming sustainable. Perpetual.
I have a daughter; she is three. So thanks. Really. Thank you for putting it all on the line for her, for everyone. This stuff is important, and in the sea of horrors that is the unfolding climate disaster it gives me hope.
P.S. My daughter and I watch SpaceX launches like many would watch their favourite sports on TV. I’m really looking forward to the night were I get to wake her in the middle of the night so we can watch humans set foot on Mars.