And he shall be Elon, and he shall be a good man

Tesla fanboys think the world of Elon Musk. Not everyone, however, is a Tesla fanboy:

Name a wealthy millennial supporter of Elon Musk and Tesla and I can bet you any amount of money they have not looked at Tesla’s balance sheet or cash flow or the details of its global demand trends. They have not thought about its dealership strategy or manufacturing strategy and the cash flow implications of these. They just like what Elon says. It sounds big and visionary. They buy into Elon’s formulation that he is saving the environment and everyone opposed to him is in a cabal with big oil (ignoring the fact that Elon routinely uses his Gulfstream VI to commute distances less than 60 miles). So saying that rich millenials adore Elon is effectively saying that they want to be associated with the same things Elon says he is for — the environment and space travel et al.

Elon Musk is Ferdinand DeLesseps. He is P.T. Barnum. He is Elizabeth Holmes. He is the pied piper. He is fabulous at spinning visions and making them sound science-y. But he is not Tony Stark. There is a phenomenon with Elon Musk that everyone thinks he is brilliant until they hear him speak about something about which they have domain knowledge, and then they realize he is full of sh*t. For example, no one who knows anything about transportation or physics or basic engineering has thought his Boring Company and Hyperloop make any sense at all. His ideas would have been great cover stories for Popular Mechanics in the 1970’s, wowing 13-year-old boys like me with pictures of mile-long cargo blimps and flying RV’s. He is like a Marvel movie that spouts science that is just believable-enough sounding that it moves the plot along but does not stand up to any scrutiny.

Now there’s an image: a mile-long cargo blimp.

Speaking of blimps, I was driving southward from central Los Angeles one day half a lifetime ago when I saw what looked like the Goodyear Blimp, except at ground level. A little closer, and — well, whaddaya know, it was the Goodyear Blimp, mostly deflated. Goodyear currently has three bases for blimpage, one of which is, and was, Carson, California.

And to tie all this together: some Tesla fanboy on Quora was asking if he had to order special Tesla tires for his Model X, or if he could just go down to Goodyear. (The latter, in fact.)


  1. Dan T. »

    30 May 2019 · 10:24 pm

    I see the Goodyear Blimp all the time in south Florida, since they have another of its bases here.

  2. Jean »

    30 May 2019 · 10:58 pm

    Pshaw. Goodyear blimp went over out house today. Again.
    We live in Akron, after all.

  3. hollyh »

    31 May 2019 · 8:20 am

    ” He is P.T. Barnum. He is Elizabeth Holmes…..” Speaking of Elizabeth, I just finished the book about her scam, “Bad blood : secrets and lies in a Silicon Valley Startup” (2018) by John Carreyrou. A real page-turner, I couldn’t put it down. What’s fascinating is how difficult it was to bring down this talented con-woman. Lots of big names got suckered by her, including Rupert Murdoch.

  4. fillyjonk »

    31 May 2019 · 11:44 am

    I used to live not-far from Akron, Ohio, another one of those Blimp Centers. The giant hangar type of thing where it was kept was not far from the football stadium of the university my dad taught at.

    And fwiw, I am inclined to agree with the quoted writer about Musk. As we say down where I live: all hat, no cattle. Or at least, very few cattle.

  5. Jean »

    31 May 2019 · 11:31 pm

    I graduated from U of A 1974.

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