Simple Math Is The Reason Why Elon Musk Does Things That Seem Impossible To Others


Short Bytes: The reason behind the success of Elon Musk and his companies is quite simple. The CEO of Tesla Motors has always focused on the fundamental side of an idea, and he improves his approach by adding some basic math. All of this leads to increased productivity and creating something that sounds difficult to most people.

Most of the tech Elon Musk’s companies are inclined upon seem to be far from reality until Musk finally presents them in front of the public. Building an electric vehicle is pretty reasonable in comparison to putting humans on Mars and building long tunnels beneath the cities to enable faster transportation, that too at 1/10th the cost.

However, there is a more important point to take into consideration. The approach that’s being applied to create these rather difficult if not impossible things. Michael J. Coren of Quartz compares Musk’s, and his companies’, approach to that of the Nobel prize winner physicist Richard Feynman.

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Feynman believed that “we need to build our grasp of science and technology from the ground up if we are to master it, not to mention reimagine how it works,” Coren writes. The physicist repeated the very basic experiments of physics in order to build a fundamental foundation of the subject.

When it comes to Elon Musk, he also sees things from their rudimentary aspects and loves to talk about the basic math behind them. For The Boring Company, his tunnel digging venture, the cost-saving idea he outlined at a recent TED Talk can be summarized in three simple steps: dig a smaller tunnel, speed up the process by tunneling and reinforcing simultaneously, and the last, drill faster by using efficient machines.

Also, he feeds his approach with numbers and math equations as simple as pi x radius^2. Reducing the area of the tunnel would also bring down the costs.

It’s no denying the fact that building such a thing would require technology more advanced than what we have at our disposal. But an important aspect is finding unexpected solutions that require an uncommon clarity of mind.

Be it the Gigafactory or SpaceX, Musk has always deployed simple strategies with a focus on productivity. “I do my favorite thing which is apply physics first principles,” Musk said. “It’s like the best tool possible.

In the case of the Gigafactory, he insisted on stuffing more machinery in the factory’s volume which would lead to more battery production, and reach their goal of 500,000 cars per year. Paying attention to the factory’s design could yield better results, according to him, than making changes to the car.

“Once you explain this to a first-rate engineer, the light bulb goes on. A lot of engineers don’t realize this is possible,” he said.

“They think there’s like a wall. They’re basically operating according to these invisible walls and we’re in the process of explaining those walls don’t exist. And I think it’s going to be pretty amazing.”

Musk’s approach also goes shoulder to shoulder with the brilliant piece of advice he gave during the same TED Talk. Here is it in one sentence.

If you have something to add, drop your thoughts and feedback.

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Aditya Tiwari

Aditya Tiwari

Aditya likes to cover topics related to Microsoft, Windows 10, Apple Watch, and interesting gadgets. But when he is not working, you can find him binge-watching random videos on YouTube (after he has wasted an hour on Netflix trying to find a good show). Reach out at [email protected]
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