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Secrets to Success From Elon Musk, Steve Martin and Mike Bloomberg | TIME

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This was an especially good one Eric! I particularly enjoyed the story of how they jacked up the entire city of Chicago, building by building. These days everyone is so TIMID when it comes to public works... good to remember what people were able to do with sheer force of will, backbreaking labor, and lack of lawsuits. :p

Thank you for pointing that out! The story of Chicago is amazing:

When the going gets tough, the tough get creative. 

Isn’t accomplishing huge stuff like this hard? Of course it’s hard. But when you try to do things bigger and better you have one enormous advantage: other people’s laziness. You’re trying to improve and they’re not.

Elon Musk realized the same thing in his quest to build a better spacecraft.

NASA always felt you had to have crazy high standards for equipment that would get you into space. Makes sense, but what they didn’t do was pay attention to just how much better cheap, off-the-shelf technology had gotten over the years.

Musk believed much of what was being produced now was up to the job. So, ignoring NASA, he tested it. And he was right.

Via Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future:

“Traditional aerospace has been doing things the same way for a very, very long time,” said Drew Eldeen, a former SpaceX engineer. “The biggest challenge was convincing NASA to give something new a try and building a paper trail that showed the parts were high enough quality.” To prove that it’s making the right choice to NASA and itself, SpaceX will sometimes load a rocket with both the standard equipment and prototypes of its own design for testing during flight. Engineers then compare the performance characteristics of the devices. Once a SpaceX design equals or outperforms the commercial products, it becomes the de facto hardware.