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Comments on a former employee and burnout

Discussion in 'SpaceX' started by 4SUPER9, Jun 17, 2015.

  1. 4SUPER9

    4SUPER9 Active Member

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    #1 4SUPER9, Jun 17, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 17, 2015
    (mod note: moved from SpaceX Factory tour)

    I used to have a connection. He quit SpaceX because he didn't believe in the vision. Good riddance! I don't miss him one bit.
     
  2. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    How odd. The SpaceX goal and vision has been clear from the beginning. Did he come to feel that the goal was not obtainable, or did he just burn out from the workload?
     
  3. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    If you have read Ashlee Vance's bio of Musk, it should be pretty clear that a lot of otherwise capable employees burn up, either during re-entry or elsewise.
     
  4. 4SUPER9

    4SUPER9 Active Member

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    Ouch!
    No, while there was a lot of pressure, he was more of the belief that we need more regulation in this country, not less. When I was sitting there listening to his rants about what he did not like about SpaceX, I realized how lucky they are that he was leaving.
     
  5. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Okay...but I don't fully understand what that has to do with SpaceX. Does he consider SpaceX's activities "under-regulated" and somehow irresponsible and dangerous?
    I did read the new Musk biography a few weeks ago, it was fascinating, and that is why I mentioned the possibility that the SpaceX employee in question may have just burned out. But it sounds like that wasn't it.
     
  6. 4SUPER9

    4SUPER9 Active Member

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    Exactly. You hit the nail on the head. He felt that SpaceX was pushing the envelope too far and was under-regulated and potentially dangerous. I would not waste my time talking about him anymore. From my sense of things, listening only to his point of view, I became more enamored with SpaceX, not less. Let's leave it at that.
     
  7. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    He thought SpaceX was "potentially dangerous?" Yes, they pose a danger to the established fat cat rocket companies, and they pose a danger to those countries that want to get to Mars first and attempt to exercise some degree of hegemony over that planet (and of course it remains to be seen if SpaceX will ever try to do that), but I don't have a problem with those aspects of SpaceX's ambitions.
    But as far as what Space X has managed to accomplish so far, I see nothing that is dangerously "under regulated". In fact launching rockets in the U.S. is a highly regulated activity. Though reading Vance's Musk biography and the description of test launches at Kwajelein it seemed pretty loosey goosey.
     
  8. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    #8 TEG, Jun 17, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2015
    They basically reinvented the wheel.
    The "first principles" approach meant retesting all of the learned notions that rockets had to be built a certain way.
    They came up with a simpler / cheaper solution based on not using established assumptions.
    Sure, you will have had all sorts of naysayers thinking it is crazy to re-invent something that has such a history.
    But the proof is in the results. Their reliability seems good, and they have cut costs dramatically.
    Naysayers are always trying to stop the disruptors. Not everyone has the stomach for it.

    If rocket #4 hadn't made it to orbit, the whole thing could have been written off as completely misguided.
    Determination and perseverance seem to be a key part of the formula.
    I think there is a basic philosophy "there always has to be a better way."
     
  9. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    As well as deep pockets or luck. My understanding is that the SpaceX story includes both.
     
  10. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    "Deep pockets"? Not really. At the end of 2008 SpaceX was essentially broke.
     
  11. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Deep pockets got them that far, is what I meant (failed launches but still alive). Luck got them the final step (successful launch).
     
  12. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    I suspect Musk drives people pretty hard; I'm sure burnout is a real possibility. But if I were young I'd absolutely do a stint at Tesla or SpaceX, for maybe 5 years or so. It would be exciting and a a challenge, and also a good thing to have on your resume.

    I've been getting some vibes that Musk may also be hard on people who make decisions or take actions that he disagrees with. That's the sort of thing that can generate a "culture of fear", which is not positive. On the other hand, he's got a vision and can inspire others. So yeah, it would be a great place to get some experience and then eventually move on. Just don't stay past the burn-out phase.
     
  13. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Yes, understood that SpaceX needed a lot of money to get to the end of 2008, but I would not describe the successful fourth launch as being due to "luck". I would say a lot of very smart people busted their asses to make it work.
     
  14. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    I have to agree. I think it fair to assert that 100 percent of SpaceX employees at the time would take great umbrage over any suggestion that luck played any part.
     
  15. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Success = skill + sweat + money + luck. Always.

    When you're doing a one-shot-deal like a rocket launch, there is always an element of luck involved. No matter how hard you prepare, the unexpected can happen.
     
  16. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    Yeah, I took brianman's comment not to mean it was all luck, but it was lucky that attempt worked right before they ran out of money. Any number of things could have gone wrong.
     
  17. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Speaking only for myself, I don't believe in the concept of "luck" other than there being an inherent level of randomness in the physical universe.

    What is interesting is that the first three rockets failed, for a variety of reasons, and since then they have had no failures. That speaks to hard work, skill, accumulated knowledge and an ability to learn from their mistakes.
     
  18. the dude

    the dude Member

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    I think there was plenty of luck involved in both spaceX and Tesla, there have been plenty of other people who wanted to build electric cars and reuseable rockets but they failed for different reasons, and Musk himself came very close to failure too, also with the number of launches they plan on doing, its only a matter of time before spaceX lose another rocket, thats just the nature of the business IMO
     
  19. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    I prefer to think of luck as a byproduct of hard work, especially in the case of SpaceX. The hard work created the environment, but without a little luck, things could have turned out quite differently. If the hard work hadn't been done & in place, all the luck in the world wouldn't have made a difference.

    When we look at our own lives, I think most of us (maybe not all) can say the same - I know I've worked extremely hard in my life and definitely was never given a handout. But by the mere fact of being born here, I was lucky enough to receive a good education and other benefits that have served me well.
     
  20. purplewalt

    purplewalt Active Member

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    In a lot of ways, I have been blessed and am grateful (everyday) for the opportunities that simply being born in this country has afforded me.
    So there is that huge amount of luck involved.

    While I have worked very hard, I had devoted and nurturing parents, challenging siblings, loads of cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.
    So I am lucky to have had them to push me along.

    Just having an skill or education is not enough: one has to have a "fit" where the talent, skill level, attitude and need all come together.

    Michelangelo simply does not get as far without the Pope(s), Medicis and other patrons funding his various projects, while Van Gogh struggled his entire life with virtually no support except from his brother.
    So yes, there is such a thing as luck.
    And talent.
    And timing.

    Space X would not stand a snowball's chance to develop and grow if this was pre-1958 or if NASA would not even been founded, or it was fully funded with deep pockets.

    Designers create problems, engineers solve them.
     

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