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Opinion Editorials

Is Elon Musk to Donald Trump what NASA was to JFK?

(EDITORIAL) Undoubtedly, being able to say human feet touched Martian soil during one’s presidency would be a pretty compelling argument on the campaign trail. Is this what we might be seeing with Elon Musk and Donald Trump not feuding?

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Mission to Mars

Word across the galaxy is that President Trump may be interested in Elon Musk’s upcoming Mars mission, known as SpaceX. Now don’t get too excited yet, space fans- the “may” in that sentence is significant. Is it possible? Yes. Is it likely? No. Is it unlikely? No. As of right now, this is all simply conjecture. But to make sure you’re strapped in to this emotional roller coaster, there are some clues that may point to something in the works between the two.

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The timing is too perfect

For those who may be unaware, Elon Musk, CEO and founder of Tesla Motors, is developing a commercial space-flight program. Destination? Mars. While Mr. Trump’s presidency thus far could seemingly care less in regards to space exploration and scientific discovery, the administration’s vow to create jobs would certainly be fulfilled if SpaceX’s proposed flight is a success.

With the program’s first launch expected to be somewhere between 2018-2020, it would also coincide with election season.

Undoubtedly, being able to say human feet touched Martian soil during one’s presidency would be a pretty compelling argument on the campaign trail. Allusions to the moon landing* during JFK’s presidency would abound, and what politician in their right mind (we’ll just let this one go) would not want to be compared to a martyred President- especially when they’re up for re-election.

I mean, and it’s Mars.

Why it makes sense

Though a return trip to the Moon is generally more in line with the congressional space policy, SpaceX is already in the works. Asking NASA to shift gears to focus again on sending men to the Moon would more than likely take more time and money. Instead, it would seem more prudent, as well as fall in line with President Trump’s plans to cut discretionary spending, to create a commercial-government partnership- especially since SpaceX is using its own lower cost rocket fuel.

But also, humans on Mars!

Elon is on board

Adding to this theory is the fact that Musk is currently a member of Trump’s economic advisory council, and has decided to stay on the council considering Trump’s recent much maligned immigration bans. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick reportedly left the economic advisory council this week, after receiving heavy criticism for his continued involvement in lieu of the immigration bans placed on 7 Muslim countries. However, Musk took to Twitter Thursday to defend his decision to stay on the council, stating that “Advisory councils simply provide advice and attending does not mean that I agree with actions by the Administration.” He then reinforced that his goals “are to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy”, as well as to “help make humanity a multi-planet civilization”. That’s right, a multi-planet civilization.

United Federation of Planets, here we come.Click To Tweet

But then again, we could always get to Mars and find out there are Bugs, a la Starship Troopers.

And just in case, it may be worth it to bring a copy of Slim Whitman’s “Indian Love Call” to play over loudspeakers upon landing on the “Angry Red Planet”. (Just because the article cannot be complete without at least one Mars Attacks! reference.)

Allow me to reiterate

Again, though, guys, HUMANS COULD BE GOING TO MARS. HOW COOL IS THAT??

*I would like to note that this article does not take into account the idea that the U.S. government faked the moon landing, as I, personally, do not have the patience for that nonsense (though the theory that Stanley Kubrick all but “confessed” to his involvement in the staging of the moon landing by making The Shining is at least interesting).

#SpaceXTrump

Andrew Clausen is a Staff Writer at The American Genius and when he's not deep diving into technology and business news for you, he is a poet, enjoys rock climbing, monster movies, and spending time with his notoriously naughty cat.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Gabe Sanders

    February 11, 2017 at 9:01 am

    I doubt that this will go anywhere. But, you never know with these two.

  2. Pingback: Elon Musk nerds out about AI, assures us they won't take over the world - The American Genius

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Opinion Editorials

How to turn your complaint mindset into constructive actions

(EDITORIAL) Everybody knows someone who complains too much. While being open is important for mental health, constant bellyaching is not.

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Everybody knows someone who complains too much. While being open is important for mental health, constant bellyaching is not, so here are a few tips on turning your complaints into constructive actions.

It’s important to understand the difference between “complaining” and “addressing.” Talking about problems which mandate discussion, bringing up issues slated to cause larger issues down the line, and letting your boss know that you have the sniffles all fall into the latter category due to necessity; complaining is volitional, self-serving, and completely unnecessary in most contexts.

Complaining also puts you in an excessively bad mood, which may prevent you from acknowledging all the reasons you have not to complain.

Another point to keep in mind is that complaining occasionally (and briefly) isn’t usually cause for ostracization. Constant or extensive complaining, however, can lead others to view you as a largely negative, self-centered person — you know, the kind of person literally no one actively seeks out — which is why you should focus more on redirecting that negative energy rather than using it to remind your barista why they gave up their dream of becoming a therapist.

Complaining stems from two main sources: the need to be validated—for example, for others to know what you’re going through—and the need to be comforted. Addressing a chronic complaint mindset, then, is largely about validating and comforting yourself. This is a simple solution which nevertheless can take years to manifest properly, but you can start by doing a couple of things differently.

“Focus on the positive” is perhaps the hokiest advice you’ll get from anyone, but it works. In virtually any situation, you can find a positive aspect—be it an eventual outcome or an auxiliary side-effect—on which you can concentrate. Think about the positive enough, and you’ll talk yourself out of complaining before you’ve even started.

It’s also good to remember that no one, no matter how much they care about you, can handle constant negativity. If you find yourself constantly hitting people with bad news or tragic personal updates, try mixing up the dialogue with some positive stuff. That’s not to say that you can’t be honest with people—friends, family, and colleagues all deserve to know what’s going on in your life—but make sure that you aren’t oversaturating your listeners with sadness.

Lastly, keep your complaining off of social media. It’s all too easy to post a long Facebook rant about being served cold pizza (no one likes cold pizza on day one), but this just results in your loding a complaint reaching a larger number of people than vocalization ever could. If you have to complain about something in earnest, avoid doing it anywhere on the Internet—your future self will thank you.

Being honest about how you feel is never a bad thing, but constant negativity will bring down you and everyone around you. If you can avoid a complaint mindset as a general rule, you’ll one day find that you have significantly less to complain about.

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Opinion Editorials

What Musk’s tweets say about toxicity of modern work culture

(EDITORIAL) Musk is an inspiring figure, but his recent tweets speak volumes of what’s wrong with work culture, especially in tech.

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Oh, Elon. Haven’t you learned yet? No? Your beautiful, sweet, brilliant mind. I don’t know whether you need a hug or a stern talking to — maybe both — after your crazy, erratic tweets, but Elon Musk’s Crazy Tweet of the Week™ shows a huge problem growing in the tech industry and modern work culture.

In case if you missed it, here’s what went down:

1. On Sunday, the WSJ wrote that Tesla is the “hot spot” of young job seekers and engineers, in spite of or even because of Musk.

2. Par for the course, Musk responded on Twitter with the following comments:

3. Twitter exploded with replies such as these:

If anything, this opens a discussion on a toxic tech — and honestly, American — work culture. But we’ve written about that. It seems like we’re slowly learning that 40 hour workweeks are often okay, and here’s why:

Elon isn’t normal and we shouldn’t compare ourselves.

The thing is, Musk does get more done in the average workweek than a normal person. But this is because he’s brilliant and has figured out ways to beat the system, and he has a million different ideas that other people are implementing. Elon shouldn’t compare himself to the average person, because, well, he isn’t. It’s clear he’s brilliant (and knows it), so we shouldn’t compare ourselves to him, either.

Something we can take from him: learning to automate the remedial tasks and spending our time to maximize efficiency and not waste time. And for the average person, that probably means getting a good night’s sleep or eating well (that means not just drinking Soylent. Looking at you, developers!) so you can actually be effective the next day at work or with your loved ones.

Improve your efficiency.

Are there productivity tools that you haven’t been using that you can? Are you tracking your time and how you’re spending it? If you’re an entrepreneur, or better yet, solopreneur, are there small tasks that take a lot of time that you can do better, faster, stronger? If you need some ideas, check out the years of tips accumulated here on AG.

Elon knows where his strengths don’t lie, and he has a lot of people doing those jobs. So take some of the things he does, but take it with a grain of salt. But unlike Musk, treat your employees well, don’t burn them out, and empower them to do the tasks you don’t do as well.

Most “average” humans have normal responsibilities: families, maintaining a healthy lifestyle (this means sleeping well, eating well, and exercising), and maintaining balance with other interests that make us better employees, bosses, and entrepreneurs. Remember: you’re a human being, not just a worker bee. Don’t let Elon’s Tweetstorms lead you astray.

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Opinion Editorials

How to crush your next remote job interview

(OPINION EDITORIAL) Working remotely is becoming more and more popular. Learn how to excel during a remote job interview.

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As the career landscape continues to change, so does the way in which we interview. With an increase in remote workers, there is also an increase in video interviews.

What immediately comes to mind for me was three years ago when I had a video interview with the fabulous COO of The American Genius. Since the company is based out of Austin, and I’m in Chicago, we had a video chat to see if I’d be a good fit for the company.

While it took some of the pressure off being able to be in my own home for the interview, there was definitely the con of…being in my own home for the interview. Fear of any noise or interruption posed as a slight distraction.

Like an in person interview, there are some pressures that go along with a video interview. The main one being that you need to sell yourself as an extremely responsible individual who can handle the freedoms and rigors of remote work.

Employers are looking for accountability in their remote workers. You must be able to execute your tasks in with a heightened amount of self-discipline.

This can be done through use of time trackers and proactive reporting. Keeping track of each task you do, and the time spent doing it, will provide something tangible for your employer. Be sure to explain during the interview that this is something you will provide to the employer.

Next, because there is a change in environment, and arguably a change in responsibility level, the questions asked during the interview may be different from your standard interview.

A few questions that may pop up to keep in mind: what hours will you be working? What is your remote experience like? Is this something you’re seeking for supplemental work, or trying to do full-time? What is your home workspace like? What tools do you use to keep yourself on task? What is your preferred method of payment?

In turn, there are some questions you should be prepared to ask, as in any other interview. For example: What would a typical day look like if we were working together in-house? Do you offer advancement opportunities? How many of your team members work remotely and how do we all stay in contact?

Working remotely can be a whole different beast in terms of proving yourself to your employer. Having yourself fully prepared for an interview can help start you off on the right foot.

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