The future of humanity is going to bifurcate in two directions: Either it's going to become multiplanetary, or it's going to remain confined to one planet and eventually there's going to be an extinction event.
If you don't have sustainable energy, you have unsustainable energy. The fundamental value of a company like Tesla is the degree to which it accelerates the advent of sustainable energy faster than it would otherwise occur.
I think it's very important to have a feedback loop, where you're constantly thinking about what you've done and how you could be doing it better. I think that's the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.
If you look at our current technology level, something strange has to happen to civilisations, and I mean strange in a bad way. And it could be that there are a whole lot of dead, one-planet civilisations.
An asteroid or a supervolcano could certainly destroy us, but we also face risks the dinosaurs never saw: An engineered virus, nuclear war, inadvertent creation of a micro black hole, or some as-yet-unknown technology could spell the end of us.
I would like to fly in space. Absolutely. That would be cool. I used to just do personally risky things, but now I've got kids and responsibilities, so I can't be my own test pilot. That wouldn't be a good idea. But I definitely want to fly as soon as it's a sensible thing to do.
It's obviously tricky to convert cellulose to a useful biofuel. I think actually the most efficient way to use cellulose is to burn it in a co-generation power plant. That will yield the most energy and that is something you can do today.
A battery by definition is a collection of cells. So the cell is a little can of chemicals. And the challenge is taking a very high-energy cell, and a large number of them, and combining them safely into a large battery.
To make an embarrassing admission, I like video games. That's what got me into software engineering when I was a kid. I wanted to make money so I could buy a better computer to play better video games - nothing like saving the world.
What most people know but don't realize they know is that the world is almost entirely solar-powered already. If the sun wasn't there, we'd be a frozen ice ball at three degrees Kelvin, and the sun powers the entire system of precipitation. The whole ecosystem is solar-powered.
A company is a group organized to create a product or service, and it is only as good as its people and how excited they are about creating. I do want to recognize a ton of super-talented people. I just happen to be the face of the companies.
A utility can handle up to 20% of production from solar and that helps the grid because it produces electricity when needed. Solar power peaks in the middle of the day and that's also when air conditioning is running and businesses are operating, so power production matches usage.
If you look at space companies, they've failed either because they've had a technical solution where success was not a possible outcome, they were unable to attract a critical mass of talent, or they just ran out of money. The finish line is usually a lot further away than you think.
The space shuttle was often used as an example of why you shouldn't even attempt to make something reusable. But one failed experiment does not invalidate the greater goal. If that was the case, we'd never have had the light bulb.
I think people can choose to be not ordinary. They can choose to not necessarily conform to the conventions that were taught to them by their parents. So yes, I think it's possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary.
I think Tesla will most likely develop its own autopilot system for the car, as I think it should be camera-based, not Lidar-based. However, it is also possible that we do something jointly with Google.
Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time. Sometimes it will be ahead, other times it will be behind. But brand is simply a collective impression some have about a product.
In the case of Apple, they did originally do production internally, but then along came unbelievably good outsourced manufacturing from companies like Foxconn. We don't have that in the rocket business. There's no Foxconn in the rocket business.