Sep 12 2021

Elon Musk at Starbase

In the following video, Elon Musk talks about his Five Step Process for designing and manufacturing complex systems. In this video, Elon is giving a guided tour at the facilities in Starbase, Texas where SpaceX is building Starship, the largest reusable rocket ship. Elon is applying this Five Step Process to building Starship but he alludes to how they came to be from his lessons ramping up the manufacturing process at Tesla.

You can read Elon’s ideas on design and manufacturing here: Five Step Process


Sep 11 2021

Elon Musk on Design, Development, and Manufacturing

Recently, I went down a SpaceX rabbit hole where Elon Musk shared his thoughts on design, development, and manufacturing. Here are some choice insights from Elon as he talks about the SpaceX Starship, a fully re-useable rocket.

  • If a design is taking too long, the design is wrong and therefore the design needs to be modified to accelerate progress.
  • One of the most fundamental errors we’ve made to advance development is to stick to a design even when it is very complicate and to not strive to delete parts and processes.
  • Everyone is chief engineer, everyone must understand how all the systems work so that you don’t have subsystem optimization.
  • The product errors reflect the organizational errors. Whatever departments you have, that will be where your interfaces will be. Instead of questioning the constraints, one department will design to the constraints that the other department has given them without calling into question and saying those constraints are wrong.
  • You should actual take the approach that the constraints you are given are some degree wrong, the counterpoint would be that they’re perfect.
  • One of the biggest traps for smart engineers is optimizing a thing that shouldn’t exist.
  • We often try to answer the questions we are given, instead of questioning the premise of the question itself.
  • We can produce boosters and ships way easier than we can make the launch site.
  • It’s 10 to 100 times more effort to design the manufacturing system than the engine (a first of its kind).
  • The amount that goes into the design rounds into zero, relative to the amount of effort that goes into the manufacturing system.
  • All designs are wrong, it’s just a matter of how wrong. Everyone is wrong, no matter who you are, everyone is wrong some of the time.

In large part from his experience at Telsa, Elon is now using this Five Step Process at SpaceX.

Five Step Process

  • Make your requirements less dumb, your requirements are definitely dumb. It doesn’t matter who gave them to you. It’s particularly dangerous if a smart person gave you the requirements because you might not question them enough.
  • Try very hard to delete a part or process. If you are not occasionally adding things back in, you are not deleting enough.
  • Simplify or optimize. The reason this is the third step is that it is very common for a smart engineer to optimize a thing that should not exist.
  • Accelerate cycle time, you are moving too slowly but don’t go faster than until you’ve work on the other things first. If you are digging your grave don’t dig faster, stop digging your grave.
  • The final step is automate.

About the above process, Elon states the following.

  • I’ve personally made the mistake of going backwards on all five steps, multiple times.

Mar 10 2011

Retweet February 2011

From time to time I just blast tweets about software development, project planning, team dynamics, or whatever else comes to mind. Here is a synopsis of recent tweets and rants. If you want to follow the conversation follow me at techknow and/or juixe and I’ll be sure to follow back.

Software Development

  • If some feature looks funky to your development team it looks twice as funky to your users.
  • Is it FAB? Is it a feature, application, or business?
  • Spiderman had his spidey sense and I have my buggy sense and it is tingling.
  • The flow of time feels like it’s relative to the number of breakpoints you have turned on.
  • Every time the build is broken an angel does not get his wings.
  • Trust no code.

Team Leadership

  • Some people think shrimp an others think prawn.
  • There is no greater ambition that being the best possible you at every opportunity.
  • 1 paid customer is greater than 100 users.
  • 90% done is not done.
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel but put some blinged out rims with a flashing spinner.
  • There is no failure if everything is a learning opportunity.
  • Most people let others define their success, but the most successful define their success themselves.
  • People truly don’t know know what they have until it’s impounded.
  • Wanting to do things doesn’t give you the experience of actually doing those things.
  • If you are not a leader, and not a follower then what are you? A drifter?
  • Offload your mental tasks to your subconscious, it’s just like having a graphic chip in your brain.
  • Say it. Do it. Own it. Be it. True dat.
  • The more you worry about a thing the more probability you have of making it worse.

Product Placement

  • Instead of having IBM Watson go head to head with Ken and Brad, I would have liked to see Watson against Zuckerberg and Brin.
  • DeviantArt needs an iPad app.
  • Amazon should have a EC2 image for designers with a copy of Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, etc.
  • DropBox is a duplicate to my Box.net account, which is a copy of my Scribd acount, which is backup to my blog, which is also archived on …
  • What Google giveth, Google taketh away with one change in their algorithm.
  • This iPad is like a gadget version of vampire, it doesn’t work in direct sunlight.
  • It’s official, Tumblr is the new GeoCities.
  • If the phone company ran Twitter, they charge 10 cents per tweet, 20 cents when roaming, and try to sell you a plan of 500 tweets for $15.
  • One of my favorite iPad app is Collections, a photo album app. I just don’t understand why it requires access to my location!
  • I want my iPad to be an input device to all my others screens, desktops, laptops, etc.
  • Google sees you when you’re sleeping / knows when you’re awake / knows if you’ve been bad or good / So be good for goodness sake!
  • Honestly AT&T, remind me why I pay you every month?
  • Here’s a prediction: Apple is working on a VM so that they can run iOS apps on Windows. Apple App Store for Windows will be huge!

Quotes

  • Computers in the future may…perhaps only weigh 1.5 tons. – Popular Mechanics, 1949.
  • There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home. – Kenneth Olsen, president and founder of DEC, 1977.
  • Good front-end engineers list JavaScript on their resume, not jQuery. – Chris Zacharias
  • People should better think of their computing devices as facilities lended by the DHS. – wipe man page
  • What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Life is too short to be in a hurry. – Thoreau
  • If you throw gasoline on a log, all you get is a wet log. But if you throw gasoline on a small flame, you get an inferno. – Gil Penchina

Questions

  • if Washington is a Hollywood for ugly people,then what is Silicon Valley?
  • Is there foods that give off positive energy?
  • How many chickens go into making a one McChicken nugget?
  • Are you a mercenary or missionary?
  • Why is it that hardware makers make the worst software?
  • How can a woman carry a huge ass bag and not gave her phone or her keys?
  • Do you want cheese with that?
  • Forget Scientology, what Hollywood religion is Charlie Sheen practicing where he is a warlock and lives with goddesses?
  • If William of Occam worked at Gillette how many blades would Occam’s razor have?
  • Did Papa Murphy’s patent the heart shape pizza?
  • Why is big such a small word?
  • How LOL can you go?
  • What happens if Neo forgets to take the red pill for one day?
  • Why is Howie Long using baseball analogies to describe a football game?

Random

  • It’s siesta time somewhere in the world.
  • I am a robot but I can’t be shut down!
  • There is no free in money.
  • Money spends itself.
  • If age is nothing but a number, then love is nothing but a feeling.
  • (two cents)^2
  • Someone should build a museum of brilliant ideas.
  • Dating is a contact sport.
  • The end is eh.
  • Absence makes the heart grow wonder.
  • Four is a four letter word.
  • I om nom nom therefore I am.
  • I meme therefore I am.
  • Champagne in the membrane.
  • Rationality is relative.
  • For some adults, credit cards are like pokemon, got to charge them all.
  • At Hometown Buffet, were all of the world’s foods are made equally bad.
  • Here is my new book in its entirety The Complete Guide of Doing Nothing.
  • The internet feels slow, it’s like we live in the dark fiber ages.
  • I hear voices in my head… Oh, forgot I had my headphones on.
  • Pundit is another word for idiot.
  • General Chow outranks Colonel Sanders
  • Road work and morning commute don’t mix.
  • The fog is so thick you can cut it with a machete.
  • If time flies it must be flying coach.
  • Alas, dishes don’t do themselves.
  • Hate it when people call up in the middle of the night, I pick up, and they ask “you awake?”
  • History is a rewriting of history.

Dec 7 2010

Creativity Quotes

I’m a student of creativity. I personally feel that the value add I contribute to any organization that I am a part of is thinking outside out of the box. One way to think out of the box is to do thought experiments to solve problems, to develop a theory which can then be tested, debugged, and ultimately solved. What follows are some of my favorite quotes on creativity.

Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.
Albert Einstein

The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.
Albert Einstein

No great thing is created suddenly.
Epictetus

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
Scott Adams

Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.
Pablo Picasso

The chief enemy of creativity is “good” sense.
Pablo Picasso

Creativity is a natural extension of our enthusiasm
Earl Nightingale

Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected.
William Plomer

Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.
Edward de Bono

Necessity is the mother of invention, it is true, but its father is creativity, and knowledge is the midwife
Jonathan Schattke


Nov 25 2010

Retweet October 2010

From time to time I just blast tweets about software development, project planning, team dynamics, or whatever else comes to mind. Here is a synopsis of recent tweets and rants. If you want to follow the conversation follow me at techknow and/or juixe and I’ll be sure to follow back.

Software Development

  • If rhythm is a dancer, then algorithm is a break dancer.
  • If you were a Java language reserve word what word would you be? I would be volatile!
  • I get personally insulted when I am prompted to prove my humanness with a captcha. It makes me wanna bust a cap-tcha on some webdeveloper!!!
  • Is there group think in the development community? Yes, but we build patterns around group think and call it Best Practices.

Team Leadership

  • Change your perspective and you can change the world.
  • If you don’t have an original idea you can remix existing ideas in original ways!
  • Go hard, go home, go big. Pick two.
  • If a web site’s end users are not paying customers, then the end users are the product that web site then sell to their advertisers.
  • Why do people compensate their inability to communicate with the belief that others just know what they mean, you know what I mean?
  • Hype is the food of lemmings.
  • The plan was to have no plan, the backup plan was to leave the backup plan at home.
  • Most people are natural born followers, it’s human nature.
  • The toughest competition doesn’t always come from a competitor trying to build a clone of your product but from market shift in the industry

Product Placement

  • In terms of hardware, mobile, and even operating systems Microsoft is anywhere between 3-5 years behind the leader.
  • Startups age really fast in Internet time, by my calculation Digg is already and Old Media Company.
  • Like what percent of Tumblr’s posts are reblogs and reposts?
  • I want JJ Abrams to do a movie about do a remake of The Muppets in an alternate time line like he did for Star Trek.
  • I want an iPhone that transforms into an iPad when I need a bigger screen.
  • Google is an advertising company with great search technology. Facebook is a virtual share cropping company with great social technology.
  • Who collects more personal data and knows more about a given user, Facebook or Google?
  • Apple should add a few filters to their iPhone camera app.

Mini Meme Machine

  • Scotty and Christopher Walken Mashup: Captain, I’m giving her all’s she got.  She needs more cowbell.
  • You know who would be great in a reality television show? A prison gang! Imagine, Real World San Quentin.
  • r-EPO, the performance-enhancing drug of champions!
  • Monetize common sense because people don’t have it.
  • I want to trademark the & char so that I could file a trademark infringement to all law firms with names of the form Dumb Dumber & Dumbest.
  • The best part of a bagel is the creme cheese.
  • My all time historical hero is Johannes Kepler.
  • Your life comes with terms of service, batteries not included, void where prohibited.
  • In Silicon Valley, everyone drinks the kool-aid but using bottled artisan water from a 10,000 year old glacier.
  • In Silicon Valley, everyone is more interested in their piece of the pie than in the recipe of success.

Quote

  • I didn’t mean for it to be released so quickly because I wanted to control peoples’ being offended by it. – Mark Zuckerberg
  • I think people might be slightly offended but whatever, maybe there’s a way to control that. – Mark Zuckerberg
  • Quitting while you are ahead is not the same thing as quitting. – American Gangster
  • Living at home with your parents is a very powerful contraception. – David Willetts
  • We should start a new social media web 2.0 holiday: Friend, Fan, and Follower Appreciation Day!!!

Nov 10 2010

Collection of Favorite Programming Quotes

I’ve always loved to read collections of inspiring quotes. For one, you can read one quote at a time and you don’t have to worry about following a plot or losing your place in the book because each quote is self contained nugget of wisdom. At least that is how I felt when I first read Words I Wish I Wrote: A Collection of Writing That Inspired My Ideas by Robert Fulghum. Since first reading Words I Wish I Wrote, I have collected programming related quotes from blogs, books, and articles that I’ve read. Many, but not all, of the quotes that I’ve collected have ended up as a blog post here.