Tag: Boring Company

Elon Musk’s Bizarre Twitter Marketing Strategy

Nickolas Roberson | United States

Elon Musk is quite a curious and peculiar individual. The man has 120-hour work weeks and sleeps in his factories for days at a time, and he has also been seen insulting an analyst during a Tesla earnings call. Musk also appeared on Joe Rogan’s podcast, discussed his companies and smoked a blunt, and has been accusing the British diver, Vernon Unsworth, who helped save 12 members of a junior Thai soccer team trapped in a cave, of pedophilia; the investor and business magnate is constantly stirring up a storm. Yet there is one thing that is the most peculiar of them all: his Twitter account.

The utilization of Twitter by CEOs of major corporations is usually very limited; their posts and tweets are low in frequency and presence, yet high in rectitude. The Twitter account of Jeff Bezos, founder, and CEO of Amazon is a prime example of this, with his postings consisting of the political support, history, and news concerning Amazon.

These corporate executives have surrounded themselves with and have had their lives consumed with the professionalism that runs rampant in corporate culture, with its pressed suits and ties, firm handshakes, and lack of personalization. They refuse to relax, unwind, and have some fun in their lives. However, Elon Musk appears to be breaking the mold of this, with postings such as this:

That’s right, one of the brightest minds of this century, the CEO of multiple, billion-dollar corporations, and the man pushing humanity to the stars is asking his 23 million followers for memes. A meme, as defined by Dictionary.com, is “a cultural item in the form of an image, video, phrase, etc. that is spread via the Internet and often altered in a creative or humorous way.” They’re the iconic Grumpy Cat, the mocking Spongebob, and the “nothing but respect for MY president” phrases that are posted and flood all of our social media accounts.  Yet this meme Tweet is not the first, and most certainly not the last, bizarre Tweet that Musk has shared with the world. There are others such as this, where he compared major social media sights to popular video games:

Or when Musk confessed his love and passion for anime, and that he owns a Wolverine chibi:

… after which he was quickly locked out of his Twitter account:

There was even a string of Tweets where Musk talked about his presumed past life of being a sponge:

Social media plays a major role in everyone’s lives; in the year 2005, only 5 percent of Americans used a form of social media, but that figure increased to 69 percent by the year 2011.  Thus, by posting memes and bizarre Tweets in general, Musk is marketing himself and his companies to the individuals who are entranced by “meme culture.” He is marketing especially towards Generation Z, who are young adults and teenagers born between the mid-1990s to mid-2000s. Of people who are between the ages of 18 and 29, 88 percent of them use social media; these forms of social media include, but are certainly not limited to, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Snapchat.

These individuals utilize social media differently than past generations, spending much more time on it than any other generation and by using it mainly for entertainment, rather than connecting with friends. Vibrant pictures and videos garner the attention of these young people, especially memes, with nearly every teenager today being absolutely absorbed by and addicted to memes. This addiction was confirmed back in 2016 when Google Trends discovered that “memes” surpassed “Jesus” in the number of searches on Google platforms. That’s right, the central figure of the largest religion in the entirety of this Earth, with 2.4 billion religious followers, was deemed less searchable than funny and absurd images on the Internet by the tech junkies of the world.  

Thus, by marketing his Twitter toward this “meme culture,” Musk is also gaining the attention of these young people, allowing his companies to create a customer base which will last for years to come. His absurd tweets begging for memes and discussing the Precambrian era aren’t instances of insanity as suggested by his stockholders and major figures in politics and media, but are a strategic plan to further the longevity of his businesses: Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity, and the plethora of other ventures that the billionaire has started.


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Privatizing Mass Transit Could Solve the Global Gas Crisis

By Indri Schaelicke | United States

With oil and gas supplies dwindling, it is more imperative than ever that we cut back fuel consumption. For years, experts have been encouraging the populace to find ways to scale back. Easy ways to achieve this include carpooling, keeping vehicles up to standards that maximize fuel efficiency, walking, biking, and using mass transit. Public transportation infrastructure has greatly improved since the dawn of the concept. However, like any publicly funded program, public transportation suffers from several major issues.

Economic Flaws of Government Agencies

A flaw inherent to government agencies is that they have no incentive to turn a profit. These programs will continue to exist no matter how profitable they are. Hence, they have no reason to innovate and provide better, more appealing products. In the first three months of 2018 alone, the US Postal Service reported a $1.3 billion loss. A private business could not afford to experience such losses without going bankrupt, but the USPS has been doing this for years now.

In the years between 2001 and 2015, the USPS posted a loss in 11 of them. The Post Office has not been profitable since 2006, when it had a $900 million surplus. By comparison, UPS, a private mail delivery company, has posted a profit in excess of at least a billion dollars in 12 of 14 years since 2005. The company profited by $382 Million in 2007, and $807 Million in 2012. UPS attracts many more customers and makes a much greater profit because the goods and services it offers are more desirable to consumers.

Private companies must offer a desirable, in-demand product in order to make a profit and stay in business. A famous example of a company going bankrupt due to their products becoming obsolete is Blockbuster. The beloved movie rental store was run out of business because of the changing movie rental market. Customers were no longer interested in checking out a movie from a store, but rather, in on-demand streaming services. Blockbuster did not offer this, so its customers took their business elsewhere. As a result, companies like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon took off.

The Oil Crisis and Private Mass Transit

Current estimates say that the world could run out of oil by 2052. In addition, gas supplies will likely run on empty by 2060. In order to extend this timeframe so that we can find more reserves, we must drastically cut back on the amount we are using as a whole. Admittedly, automobile technology is making great strides every day, which will boost fuel efficiency and eliminate waste. However, this may not be enough. Experts have already been encouraging the widespread use of mass transit, a step in the right direction.

If the widespread adoption of mass transit is to be most effective, the industry must be privatized. Mass transit companies’ privatization would encourage the development of new, more efficient technologies as businesses seek to cut down on costs and offer better goods and services to consumers.

A prime example of the success privatizing mass transit could see is Elon Musk’s Boring Company tunnel in Los Angeles. Seeking a solution to the notoriously bad LA traffic, Musk has begun the construction of an underground tunnel, in which specialized vehicles will shuttle cars and people on a two-mile journey. By operating the venture in the private sector, Musk’s venture will avoid the ball and chain of the government bureaucracy. On the contrary, it can harness its profit incentive to drive innovation and provide the best services it can.

Failing Public Transportation

When governments run unpopular businesses, there is little to no chance for innovation. Since the foundation of Amtrak in 1970, the passenger railroad company has never generated a profit. The company has no incentive to survive the competitive transportation market, as it knows it will continue to receive government funding every year. A private company, however, could never afford to take losses for 48 straight years. It instead would need to innovate and create better services to attract customers. Mass transit must be privatized in order to promote innovation and bring costs down for consumers.

If the world is able to use privatized transit systems more than conventional automobiles, global gas and oil consumption will slow down, and the lifetime of our existing reserves will increase. This is crucial, as renewable energy resources are yet to be reliable and mainstream. Further development must go into renewable energy, and private mass transit will ensure that oil and gas do not run out before then.


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Elon Musk’s Boring Company Is His Most Exciting Project Yet

By Spencer Kellogg | United States

Elon Musk can’t run for President of The United States. I know this because I checked a long time ago and then I checked again recently:

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Disappointment for a second time.

Lovingly compared to the comic book tech titan Tony Stark, Musk is one of those rare thinkers that has the vision, money, and hutzpah to significantly move our human civilization forward. His politics are a futurist medley of populist libertarianism and he is right at home warning on the future dangers of Artificial Intelligence:

His failures with countless Tesla rollouts have been well documented and the quarterlies for Tesla have not looked good. His promise of a “mass-market” vehicle that can meet the energy efficient demands of consumers has nearly become a running joke. Tesla, for all intensive purposes, feels decades away from turning a market away from the insatiable bank accounts of oil executives. Which is why Musk has been looking into other ventures. Namely, rockets and tunnels.

First, the rockets:

One of the great obstacles in the exploration of our universe is the immense costs associated with rocket technology. By producing a rocket that can land on a pinpoint location, SpaceX will cut the prohibitive costs of space travel and allow for low orbit missions that include the Moon, Mars, and asteroids for mining. With the federal government as uninvolved as ever with space exploration, accurate and reusable rockets are among a new class of assets that will only grow in necessity and value.

But what about simple problems on earth? Like traffic. Our roads and bridges are falling apart after decades of poor maintenance and the need to address transportation issues of today is critical. As Trump calls for a 1.5 trillion dollar infrastructure plan, Musk has suggested one alternative to the transportation builds of the 20th century:

The Boring Company.

The Boring Company’s idea is simple: dig into the earth and create massive tunnels that can transport humans with efficiency and timeliness throughout the Southern California area and beyond. The thought was birthed one day as Musk sat through another day of insufferable Los Angeles traffic:

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The tunnels will be multi-tiered with as many as 12 layers of underground transport. Users will board autonomous transportation pods located in public areas the size of a parking space. The pods will lower into the ground and act as an updated subway system to transport people to their destination in a timely manner. According to the image on The Boring Company’s media page, the initial plans show paths that crisscross Los Angeles:

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One major obstacle that Musk will have to hurdle is California politics. Just last week, Californians were informed by state officials that the proposed price of the above ground bullet train project has more than doubled in estimation from an initial $33 billion dollars to a now staggering $77 billion. Some analysts have pinned the project’s cost at closer to $100 billion dollars after a slew of regulatory and aesthetic issues have cropped up in the past few years.

There are also structural concerns for the project. Southern California sits on the San Andreas fault line and is known for its earthquakes. Furthermore, no one can be quite sure what sits underneath the ground and what the cost of relocating sewers and water lines might be.

In late 2017, Musk and his team put in a bid to build an express transit lane between O’Hare airport and downtown Chicago. With ongoing discussions in LA, Chicago, and NYC, The Boring Company could become the biggest disruptor in the modern transportation field.

Image Sources The Boring Company