Today I was listening to an Elon Musk talk on YouTube and heard him say the following sentence.
“Designing the production system of a new product is at least an order of magnitude (or two) harder than designing the initial prototype.”
This is something that I had never considered.
This blog post is not about that particular sentence. It’s about the concept of standing on the shoulder of giants – and growing as a species.
So what’s the obvious thing I’m noticing here?
I’m noticing that:
- Elon Musk qualifies as a ‘giant.’
- It is safe to assume that he believes that sentence (above).
- It is safe to assume that he has arrived at that observation through personal experience (designing, building many prototypes, and many production systems)
So, if I just take this idea into my brain and choose to believe it – the idea that creating a prototype is hard, but creating the production system after the prototype is 10 times or 100 times more difficult – then I’ve saved myself the time and energy of going through what Elon went through before he learned it.
Of course, if I’m smart, I would question two things:
- Does Elon really believe it?
- What biases are influencing him as he talks about this?
After answering those questions, I would make a decision on whether I will place it into my long term memory.
That is standing on the shoulders of a giant.
Imagine doing that with more giants.