Elon Musk, Spaceman; Goodbye Mr

June 18, 2018 – 06:37 pm
Mr. Burns, left, and his assistant Smithers Fox/Associated Press

Every week, CIO Journal offers a glimpse into the mind of the CEO, whose view of technology is shaped by stories in management journals, general interest magazines and, of course, in-flight publications.

When Elon Musk, fresh from making a fortune on the 2002 PayPal Inc. sale, talked to a close friend about space, the friend thought he meant “office space like a real estate play.” Mr. Musk, of course, was talking about space-space. Within years he would start SpaceX a made-in-the-U.S.A. venture, and Tesla Motors Co., an upstart electric automobile company. Both struggled mightily in the early years. But “Elon has always been optimistic, ” an early SpaceX recruit tells BloombergBusiness’s Ashlee Vance. “That’s the nice word. He can be a downright liar about when things need to get done. He will pick the most aggressive time schedule imaginable assuming everything goes right, and then accelerate it by assuming that everyone can work harder.” Coming up: Mars.

Why can’t America have great trains? In a National Journal story written prior to this week’s accident on the Northeast line, Simon Van Zuylen-Wood asks why Amtrak remains “a poorly funded, largely neglected ward of the state, unable to make its own decisions.” Its fate may have been determined at its 1970 formation, when President Richard Nixon nationalized the rail service as a for-profit corporation. Why not just go completely private? In 2011, Robert Dove, a managing director at the Carlyle Group, proposed just that. But first the government would need to invests over $100 billion in improvements. “You will not find the private sector willing to come in at the construction stage or the development stage, ” he warned. Oh well. Until then, train lovers will continue to look abroad. “If you ever go to Japan, ” former Amtrak board member Mike Dukakis tells the author, “ride the trains and weep.”

Not so ‘excellent’: The voice of Mr. Burns is leaving The Simpsons. There is no joy in the executive washrooms this week. Harry Shearer, the voice of billion-dollar tycoon Charles Montgomery ‘Monty’ Burns, announced he was leaving the show, MarketWatch reports. Mr. Burns, a Yale graduate, Skull and Bones member, veteran and owner of a teddy-bear named Bobo, will be missed.

Source: blogs.wsj.com

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