Standing on Elon’s Shoulder

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:

  1. Elon Musk qualifies as a ‘giant.’
  2. It is safe to assume that he believes that sentence (above).
  3. 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:

  1. Does Elon really believe it?
  2. 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.