There have been several world-changing entrepreneurs. Henry Ford and John D Rockefeller created industries that were critical for the second industrial revolution. The US had large-scale urbanization from 1820 and 1860. From 1870 to 1914, innovations in transportation (roads, steamboats, the Eerie Canal, and most notably railroads) linked distant, previously isolated communities.
Rockefeller enabled the oil industry to scale up. US Oil production went from 14,000 barrels of oil per day in 1870 to 728,000 barrels of oil per day in 1914. It went up 52 times.
In 1908, the highly successful Model T was introduced. In 1914, Ford produced more cars than all other automakers combined. Ford did not purchase any advertising between 1917 and 1923. Over 15 million Model Ts were manufactured in all, reaching a rate of 9,000 to 10,000 cars a day in 1925, or 2 million annually.
In the modern era, we have Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Google founders- Larry Page and Sergey Brin and Steve Jobs. Now we have Elon Musk.
Huawei has a study of the global digital economy. In 2016, the digital economy worldwide was worth US$11.5 trillion, or 15.5 percent of global GDP. This is the IT industry, cloud computing, smartphones and the consumer-driven Internet. By 2025, the industrial Internet is predicted to experience massive growth. They project the digital economy to grow to 24.3 percent of global GDP by 2025.
Bill Gates out-competed Steve Jobs during the PC era and successfully launched more business software. Bill Gates has since gone to transform philanthropy. He has gotten more billionaires to pledge to donate more of their wealth when they die. Bill Gates has dabbled with climate mitigation businesses and anti-poverty disease businesses. The main notable impact has been with Malaria.
Bill Gates has tried to fund interesting wide range of ideas like the traveling wave nuclear reactor. This has not gathered the commitment from Bill Gates to lead and fund a successful nuclear energy production business. Bill Gates has worked on various solar energy and other innovations. There has not been the follow-through so that they become highly profitable engines of world-changing growth.
Jeff Bezos has created the most valuable e-commerce business and has the world’s most profitable cloud computing business. Jeff has tried to create a space launch and tourism company but has not succeeded up to this point. The e-commerce, cloud and perhaps his logistic businesses are highly profitable engines of world-changing growth.
Steve Jobs launched world-changing technologies and several major companies. He launched and scaled the first Apple Computers. He launched the graphical user interface and embodied them in the MacIntosh computers. He launched laser printers.
Steve launched the iPod, iPhone, iPad and iTunes app store. The final decade of innovation was the reinvention of the cellphone into the smartphone that was also a multi-trillion business. Cellphones were important and gave most people in the world personal communication and it created companies like Nokia that were worth over $100 billion. Steve led the creation of an integrated business model that reached trillions in corporate value. The iPod, iPhone, iPad, Macbook, Apps and the iTunes app store and more services are part of massively profitable technological ecosystem of hardware, software and services. It was a new highly profitable engine of world-changing growth.
Elon Musk seems destined to go beyond the other modern worldchangers. He is changing the industrial and digital layers of the world economy. Henry Ford created mass production and mass consumer cars. Elon Musk and Tesla are creating the mass consumer electric car but also reinventing the factory and production.
Tesla is using megacastings to massively reduce the parts. This required developing new alloys to enable the megacasting process to work. Tesla is developing new alloys and chemistries for many of their processes. They are changing the magnets and the housing of the parts. The details of some this work was discovered revealed by teardowns by Sandy Munro.
Tesla is impacting all aspects of vehicles and the vehicle industry and its supply chain and spinoff industries. Tesla is creating AI software, AI chips, AI training supercomputer chips, data driven insurance.
SpaceX is mass-producing rockets and satellites.
Boring Company could make city infrastructure multiple layered. We could drive on the surface or raised highways but also in multiple underground layers of tunnels.
After Henry Ford factories were a hundred times larger and much more productive. Oil, cars, trucks caused roads to get paved and then highways to be built. This enabled day to day movement and logistics to speed up to ten times. People and things could move 300-500 miles in a day instead of 30-50 miles.
Self-driving vehicles will be able to move 3000 miles in a day.
Single-stage Starships will be able to fly anywhere on Earth in one hour.
Tesla self-driving AI system will be applicable to all vehicles and robots. Tesla will have an AI day in July 2021. This will likely reveal a broader vision of AI for Tesla.
What would be after a $25,000 self-driving car? Tesla could have ten times fewer batteries for self-driving robot with a 2 kwh battery system. The cars can scale up or down into highly functional robots at various sizes.
Apple had the great innovation of the hardware products, app, services and iTunes ecosystem. However, Apple has minimally innovated on the chip level and has left the factory work to Foxconn. Elon is going to innovation at materials, chemistry, supply chain, factory machines, machines that make the machine, chips, and the hardware and software.
United Launch Alliance and Ariane built and launched rockets. SpaceX has displaced them but SpaceX has gone beyond the 3-5% of the Space Industry represented by launch. They have to the satellites. Space Launch is about $10 billion per year but the Space Industry is $330 billion per year. A lot of it is Satellite TV and Satellite internet. Hundred of Thousands of SpaceX Starlink satellites will enable satellite internet to compete against fiber and traditional cellphone towers. GPS will go from meters of accuracy to millimeter accuracy.
Energy Grid, Energy production, all aspects of transportation and logistics, AI, computer-brain interfaces, factories, production, materials will all be massively changed. The massive vertical integration and business model innovations means that Elon’s companies will enable the change but also capture the value from more of the gains.
SOURCES- History Channel, wikipedia, Huawei, Washington Post, EIA, Brian Wang’s analysis
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com (Brian owns shares of Tesla and SpaceX)
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.