91. SpaceX & Elon Musk’s Mission to Mars, Part 2 (Tim Urban)

Download_v2Nick Moran Angel List

Today we cover Part 2 of SpaceX & Elon Musk’s Mission to Mars with Tim Urban of Wait but Why. In this segment we address:

  • Tim Urban SpaceX and Elon Musk's Mission to MarsWhen does Elon project that the first crew of people will land on Mars?
  • The surface of Mars is not livable. How does Elon plan on addressing the atmosphere issue?
  • After finishing the series on SpaceX and Elon’s mission to colonize Mars; what were some of the takeaways that impacted you most?
  • What are the key, defining things that make Elon such a unique figure in human history?
  • What is it about Elon that makes him a visionary creator?

Guest Links:

Key Takeaways:

1- Backing up the HardDrive
If you care about the survival of the human species, then the importance of space travel is critical. There may be many of you that don’t care about our specie’s survival and, for you, “backing up the humanity hard drive” probably seems ridiculous. But for the rest of us, there are few things more important. As Tim articulated and laid out in his article, extinction events have been numerous and catostrophic on earth. Events including a supernova, a gamma-ray burst, a solar super flare, a black hole, a global epidemic and an asteroid could all result in another extinction event. Thus far, since animals began existince on the earth, there have been five major extinction events; each wiping out between 60-96% of all species. And there will be more extinction events, potentially even brought about by humans. The question is not if an extinction event will happen, it’s when. And while it hopefully will not occur within our lifetimes, it will likely take many lifetimes to effectively back up the human species hard drive. There’s no better time than the present to start the process and that’s what Elon is doing.
Extinction timeline
2- The Mars Trip Venn Diagram

Tim did an excellent job of breaking down the problem with space travel to Mars. And it’s not that we can’t do it. The issue is that it’s incredibly expensive. Tim outlined that there must be both a will and way to go to Mars ie. people must want to go and they must have the means to go. But, contrary to the popular phrase, “if there’s a will, there’s a way,” Elon thinks the reverse, that “If there’s a way, there’s a will.”

As Tim explained, the demand-side will take care of itself. Just like immigrants that traveled to the new world and colonized foreign lands, there will be plenty of adventurous-types that have a desire to visit Mars. The real issues lies not in the will but in the way. If millions of people want to go to Mars but do not have the financial means to do it, it will never happen. This is where Tim talked about the Venn Diagram… one circle representing those that want to go, the other representing those that can afford to go. And it’s Elon’s objective to expand the overlap of these two circles. Which leads to our third takeaway:

3- Revolutionizing the Cost of Space Travel

Currently it is possible to put a human on Mars. The technology may be old, but it exists. However, the estimated cost per seat is around $100B. This is an industry that only governments and billionairs have access to. But, as Tim described, Elon set out to revolutionize the cost of space travel in three ways.

1) Building new Technology

2) Bringing more people per flight

3) Making rockets reusable

On the first point… Current rocket technology is based on innovation from the 1960’s. What we’re using is actually really old rocket technology. So Elon endeavored to rebuild the rocket from the ground up. And by building a new, fresh rocket they’ve reduced the cost to take payloads into orbit by 1/6… and Elon believes this can be reduced to about 1/10 of the cost of old rocket technology.

The second point was to bring more people per flight. Simply, if the cost of one mission is $500B, and you take five people, it will cost $100B per seat. Whereas, if you can build a much bigger, more efficient rocket to take a 100 people, the cost base can be spread across many more tickets.

And finally, the third point and most significant cost reduction opportunity is: making rockets reusable. As Tim explained, about 99% of space flight cost is the rocket. And each time a mission is flown, the rockets are discarded or need to be rebuilt. So if these now become reusable, cost could be reduced by a factor of 100.

Elon aimed to do this by landing a rocket vertically; where the rocket lands the same way it launched, on its two feet. This was a tremendously difficult challenge that SpaceX has now done successfully three times.

The initial goal was to get the price for a trip to Mars down to $500k/seat and Elon now thinks SpaceX may get it down to $100k. That overlap on the Venn Diagram starts to get much larger at this point.


Tip of the Week:   The First Mover’s Dilemma: Competing Against Non-Consumption

*Please excuse any errors in the below transcript

Tim: Picture airplanes, every time an airplane flies, it’s done. It flies it’s maiden and only voyage, people get off and the plane is scrapped. You want to fly again, a new plane is built. It would cost a few billion dollars for a coach seat. It would not be an industry at all. It would be something that, that governments and billionaires do. And which is by the way who does space right now- governments and billionaires.

Nick: That’s a great analogy. I mean, could you imagine every commercial aircraft, you know, one use, you get one use out of it, that’s it?

Tim: Yeah. Governments and billionaires. Which is who, which is who flies in space right now. #Richard Branson, #Elon Musk and governments. I mean, that’s, that’s what it’s for, you know. It’s, it’s governments and billionaires. There’s #Jeff Bezos, that’s literally that’s not, not just billionaires by the way. Like people who are worth ten billion. Even normal billionaires can’t even afford this and they wouldn’t be able to really afford air travel either. So

Nick: A handful of people on the planet

Tim: Right. That’s it. And by the way, if that were the case, no one will be saying we have to revolutionize the cost of air travel. People will be saying why, air travel is so frivolous, that’s something for like billionaires, we don’t need to. Because you wouldn’t yet realize that if we revolutionize it, everyone will use it, it will become a normal thing that’s incredibly important because you will have gotten so used to thinking it’s like a crazy thing for billionaires. You would think why put money into that, who cares, we have ships to cross the ocean. And so, sometimes you know without having the industry there you don’t even see the, the need for the industry yet. So #Elon sees it. And what he says is, you know, apart from the whole Mars thing, it costs a huge amount of money to bring a satellite up for example, or to take cargo to the space station. And all that means is that most of our satellites are from 1990. Built in 1990 that are up there because no one wants to pay to, you know, bring, you know, go bring a new one up there, it’s so expensive.

Nick: Yeah

Tim: And so, 1990 again, we were using big desktop computers, you know. We were using MS DOS mode, you know. There was not even, you know, there wasn’t the internet yet, there was no Windows yet. So those are satellites built in that time running on that kind of software. That’s what we’re using to power our TVs and to power or, you know, our , our GPS’ and stuff. And so if this were a hundredth the cost, people would be bringing satellites up all the time, and replacing them and updating them and tweaking them and, you know, all, probably bringing up new telescopes and it would just, it would just revolutionize a lot of stuff just in low Earth orbit, let alone Mars. So anyway, the challenge is how do you make rockets re-usable the same way that planes are? A plane lands, it gets some, some maintenance and it goes back up in the air. And that’s what #Elon wants to do. He wants to have the same rocket be able to go up and down, up and down a bunch of times in the same day. So, the, right now rockets come down and either they burn up in the atmosphere and they crash into the ocean and shatter, or they go into the ocean where the salt water just destroys them. Just like the salt water would destroy your laptop if it went in the ocean. It’s not, you know, the, the, you , you can refurbish it but that takes more money than building a new one at that point.

Nick: Yeah

Tim: So, you know, the, the space shuttle people think is re-usable when the, you know, the space shuttle rockets. First of all, that big orange fuel tank was not at all. That was just a new one each time. It’s hugely expensive. That you know looks like it’s just a big tank but that’s an incredibly expensive item. And then the two rockets, those two solid booster rockets, those went into the ocean and were, you know, “re-usable”. But again, that was 9 months of 10,000 people working on it to make it reusable. That’s not reusable. That means that you basically built a new one essentially. You, maybe you’ve saved 25% of the cost

Nick: Right

Tim: And the result was it cost $1.6B to fly a space shuttle mission. Not a viable industry. So reusable for #Elon, he thinks the only way, reusable happens is the way that an advance species should be landing rockets, which is a vertical landing. You take off vertically, you come right back down the same way, land right on your feet, upright. And that’s incredibly challenging. Russia has tried tens of billions of dollars into trying to figure that out. So has the US. No one has ever done it. #SpaceX has now officially done it. They’ve done it, you know. I used to say when I did the post, they’re going to do it, they’re on their way, they’re getting close. Now I can say they’ve done it. They have actually done it three times, both on ocean platforms and on land. And it’s just, it’s hard to explain why it’s so hard. One thing I will say is that any one who’s not totally clear on why on, on, the fact that #SpaceX has done this and #Jeff Bezos’  #Blue Origin has not, needs to learn about this. Because it’s, I don’t, I don’t mean to, you know, to rail on #Bezos’ #Blue Origin, they are an awesome company, I love them, I love that they exist, they’re doing incredible things. It’s just not in the same league. It’s just not. It’s the same thing as comparing #Virgin Galactic to, you know, #Boeing and #Lockheed. It’s a different level. #SpaceX is about to be taking, you know, doing military airfare missions to the space station to taking air force satellites up. They’re competing with the biggest companies in the world. They, the, #Virgin Galactic and #Blue Origin are, you know, a billionaires pet project. Maybe one day they get there but right now they can’t do any, they can’t take anything to orbit. And so you know, just because there is some, you know, confusion there, #SpaceX is the only company in the world, including all the governments in the world, who’s landed a rocket and the, the next step for them is actually flying a mission with a rocket that has been flown before. That will be a ground breaking thing. So that’s the thing. If they can do that successfully every time, #Elon believes that will cut the cost down by a 100 times. So 1%. Because 99% of the cost of the flight is the rocket that you have to build. 1% is the maintenance and the fuel, it costs like few hundred thousand bucks to re-fuel a rocket. So

Nick: Right

Tim: That’s the goal. And, and suddenly it will be, you know, anyone, anyone who has a decent amount of money can, can build a satellite and launch it to space. And, and of course, you know, a side note is that #SpaceX has also started a satellite division where they’re going to reduce the cost of satellites hugely because I’m sure everyone’s doing that in the old fashioned way too. And they’re going to try to turn the number of total satellites that humanity has put up there from 1300 to about four or five thousand in ten years, meaning they’re going to quadruple the total number of satellites in space because they’re going to have a cheap way to launch them and a cheap way to make them. Which means it’s just going to be like, you know, be able to put 300 satellites for the cost right now it costs to put up one.

Nick: Right

Tim: So anyway, that’s the long answer

Nick: Yeah I mean

Tim: #SpaceX is awesome

Nick: Yeah. A number of folks have asked me about #SpaceX like is it a real company, how do they make money? And, I mean, your point here on their ability to deliver human and commercial payloads is unrivaled at this point. And

Tim: yeah

Nick: you know, they’re, they’re flying NASA scientists. And they’re making plenty of money at this point.

Tim: Yeah. It, it’s, it’s two things. They are, they had to build a sustainable model. They didn’t want to take, you know, there there’s no one who’s going to just invest in the company like that. So they had to build a business model in order to fund their development of the technology that’s going to put a million people on Mars. So what they’re doing is, you know, the space delivery service.

Nick: Yeah

Tim: That’s what every space company currently does. That’s, that’s the extent of what space is these days. It’s a space delivery service. You’re either delivering people or cargo to the space station, or satellites. Basically the things that are delivered to, to and from space. And so #SpaceX now their Falcon 9 is their, their money maker, their work horse, that’s going to continue to operate even when their much bigger Mars Colonial Transporter starts taking people to Mars. The, the Falcon 9 is going to be making, making a lot of money for them on Earth forever because it’s by far the cheapest way right now to launch anything in the whole world. So suddenly all these clients, international, are trying to get on #SpaceX’s docket because now that they trust #SpaceX they realize wait this is way cheaper than all the other options. So, you know, it’s like the iPhone of the space delivery services, you know. It’s just, there’s just, everyone is, is, is, is coming on board. So yeah that, that’s how they pay their bills and, and again though, you know, people, people don’t get it. They think, they don’t look hard enough, they think that’s what #SpaceX does. Like no, no, no, no, that’s what #SpaceX does to make money to figure out how to do the thing it really does which is put people on Mars and back up the humanity hard drive. It has, it has this, this incredible mission, you know, that’s so broad for humanity that’s so hard to wrap your head around until you really learn about it.

Nick: So #Tim, I’m, I’m reading through the post and I understand the need to back up the hard drive. And then I understand the way that #Elon is going to revolutionize the cost side of this and make it viable. Then you transition into a part of the, the piece that really blew my mind, which is once you get on Mars you got to figure out a way to, to terraform it and make it livable. You were, you were touching on this before. Can you talk a little bit more about that and what the plan is to make Mars a livable planet in atmosphere?

Tim: Yeah. So, right, because I think when people picture Mars, they picture, you know, we’re all living in an underground bunker forever there. And of course, you know, you’re not going to get, you, you might, you’ll get some people to go if that were the case just because it’s cool. I, I would go live in a Mars underground bunker for 4 years if I can come back and it were safe. I mean, yeah, that would be an awesome experience. But most people aren’t going to go and they’re certainly not going to set up new lives there. It’s going to be a, a tourist thing. If you’re going to get a million people there, which again the million people isn’t the end goal, the million people is the beginning of, that’s when he thinks okay now it’s happening, now it’s sustainable, a million people. He wants to turn that into, he, you know, he thinks that will naturally turn itself into a billion people. And that will be a thriving society, it’ll be a, you know, it’ll be a huge world there, a whole, you know, people will talk about Mars as the whole same thing. They all in the whole world, there’ll be like a world there of people eventually. You know, they’ll have continents and then they’ll have oceans. Okay so, anyway. In order to, to do that, humans at least until AI makes us robots, at the moment we are still biological creatures who are meant for Earth, just like a fish is meant to be in the ocean not on land. Like we don’t want to be out of our, our natural environment, that’s not a, that’s not what we’re, how we want to live. So to get a million to go, you have to have a system of starting to turn Mars into a human friendly place. There’s a lot of things that need to happen. First, so at the beginning, the very first phase, people are living in an underground bunker, you know. You know, they have a green house and they grow their vegetables and they have, you know, a little underground world there. And, you know, you, you need like a little school, you need a little hospital, you know. You need, you know, you need to have a little restaurant, a little movie theatre down there, you need, you need to be, you know, because people are going for years. Just like I’m sure if people went to Antartica right now, you know, there are people stationed there. I’m sure it’s not just labs. I’m sure there’s little, there’s little school there, little you know people still get sick there, still bring their kids, they, they don’t, you know. So

Nick: Yep. Got a buddy there right now and there’s a bar there and there’s a little restaurant

Tim: Yeah, exactly. So, you, you know, you got to set up a little, little thing for humans to be part of. And so you have a little tiny underground village in Mars. That’s the first phase. And you have basically just engineers and their families going to start, you know, building stuff. You know, scientists and other things. And maybe, maybe some writer, you know, will go in order to like write about the experience. Because #Elon will send him because he’s grateful that he wrote a 95,000 word post. So thats, that’s, also something that might, that I’ve, that I’m pushing at. But anyway. So phase two would be I think kind of like a big dome. That would, you know, it’s, phase one would be, you know, I don’t know, ten, twenty years. Phase two would be a big dome. So again, so the fish lived in the water. And if you want to bring a fish into your house you have to get them a little slice of the ocean to live in, which is the, a fish bowl. So you, you , you put them in a fish bowl so they can be in their natural thing somewhere else. So that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to build a human bowl. Which is, you know, a big dome that is, that, it’s heated to the right temperature, it’s protected from harmful radiation from the sun, oxygen is pumped in and nitrogen to the exact proportions that we like. There’s a, you know, there’ll be a river, there’ll be water pumped in, and you can really build like, you, somewhere I think you’ll be able to look around and, and if you don’t look that far you, you, you don’t realize you’re not, you know, it feels like Earth inside the human bowl. So then you got the next phase. The big dome that will be really, hopefully really great to live in. You know, with, that actually would have a lot of things. They’d have hotels, it would have, you know, lots of fun things to do, it would have, it would be a full human city inside a dome. Now that is built. So that we can start to terrafom the planet. And we do that first by melting the huge amount of ice on Mars’s poles. It’s, you know, there’s a few ways to potentially do that. But #Elon thinks that the best way is by nuking them with huge nuclear bombs that will provide such a huge amount of heat that it will melt the poles. And, and what that does is A- it warms things up in general, that’s a lot of new heat on the planet, and the water then suddenly releases all of this trapped CO2, so that’s a greenhousey gas as of course we know on Earth. You want to get until, he also thinks there might be pumps that are pumping really greenhousey gases, even greenhousier than, than carbon dioxide. Like methane, things that really, really trap, trap heat, you know, make it very hard for heat to, for sun heat to escape. And so that starts to A- protect you from the sun, and B- warm things up. And it starts a cycle. Then once it warms up then more of the water vaporizes and that’s a greenhousey gas, and that’s a feedback cycle. And, so you actually engineer global warming that way. Now you still have a problem with, there’s a magnetic field around the Earth that protects us from the sun’s radiation not just clouds. And there, there is no magnetic field on Mars. And I don’t think right now anyone quite has this, a, a solution for that. There will be a solution. I’m not really concerned. Enough technology can solve really anything including that. So, you know, they’d have to have something, some solution to fully protect us from, from harmful rays. And so once we get there, all of that I’ve read at least some experts thing that can happen within, you know, a century. So maybe it’s only a 150 years from now. And all of that is already done. There’s clouds, and then of course what happens is, you know, now you, you can start to have vegetation and, you know, other things. So now people can, the idea is you can walk around outside on Mars in a t-shirt and jeans. And it’s, you know, it’s, it’s maybe a little crisp still, it takes a while to fully warm up. It’s, it’s , you can walk around outside on Mars and nothing bad happens. Now you have to have a gas mask on still because the last step, the thing that takes much longer like a 1000 years they think, is getting it, the atmosphere to have enough oxygen. That, you know, that is just a slow process. And, and although it’s slow by, you know, thousand years by our current technology, maybe in a 100 years technology is so much better and they actually do it very quickly, who knows. But, you know, I picture that happening gradually where, you know, first if you, if you take your mask off at all, you’re going to suffocate pretty quickly. Then, you know, you get to the point where it’s like being at the top of Everest, where you can take your mask off but you get, you, you kind of pass out pretty soon. Then, you know, you get to the point where it’s like, you know, you’re at a pretty high altitude where you can, you can actually walk around without a mask. But if you start jogging you’ll get winded immediately. And eventually we get to the point where it’s like being on sea level on Earth. And so I picture, you know, at some point in the future maybe it is a 1000 years from now, maybe it’s sooner, you’ll see a beautiful picture of a landscape with mountains and flowing river and trees and, and a, you know, a pretty sky. And you will not know what planet you’re looking at.

Nick: Red planet turns green and blue

Tim: Yeah! It won’t be red anymore. So that is their plan. And, and, you know, it sounds crazy now. But once, if we actually were there and there were, you know, 3 billion people on Mars, and , and 6 billion people on Earth, and these were these sister planets and we humanity lived on both, then it, #Elon wouldn’t seem crazy anymore. Then it would seem like well this was inevitable, of course this is what all, you know, intelligent species eventually do. And suddenly we would think about an intelligent species that was only on their home planet as very primitive. They haven’t like, you know, they haven’t figured out how to do this yet. Just like we would look at a species that doesn’t know how to cross the ocean yet as much more primitive. This is just, you know, this is, crossing the ocean of, a huge ocean of space and then colonizing in a much more intense way.

Nick: Right. Yeah. #Reid Hoffman is the oracle of Silicon Valley. Maybe #Elon Musk is the oracle of the Earth.

Tim: Yeah. I mean, I, I think he has a chance to, if this, if he pulls this off and if humanity lasts for a long time, I think he will be looked upon as one of like the, the most famous humans in all of human history. I, I kind of think that he has, he has a good shot at being one of those people that like is remembered, like remembered like Julius Caesar or like Constantine. Like one of these people in 2000 years that is still known. I think he’s got a, a shot at that because this is such a big thing if he can pull it off.

Nick: True. Columbus or any of the great explorers

Tim: Yeah. Right

Nick: So, you know, after you finished the article, there’s way too much to talk about just in today’s conversation. So, I encourage all the audience to go to waitbutwhy.com and, and find the SpaceX article as well as many others. But, you know, after you finished up, what were some of your final thoughts, key takeaways, either on the mission of #SpaceX or just #Elon himself?

Tim: Well, I, I, I will say that I, I know this is been a lot of #Elon compliments on this podcast. But I just, he’s kind of worthy of them. I, I’ve, one of my takeaways was the dude is not overrated. If anything, I think he’s actually really underrated, which is crazy because he’s, you know, at this point thought of as like a really impressive person. And, and, you know, he gets to know it when people say stuff like that because he says it’s, it’s not me, it’s me and 6000 #SpaceX employees and it’s me and, you know, 12,000 #Tesla employees. It’s this huge groups of huge societies of people that are doing this thing. So I, I would say yeah, I’m very impressed with him. But I am also super impressed with the teams. I mean, it’s like, you know, what happened you know when I visited #Tesla, I mean, I realized that all of these best people from these other companies, all kind of defected and went to #Tesla because that was the exciting place to work. So I think that people should be trying to work at those two companies. I think that people should be following what happens with both. I think specially #SpaceX, you know, watching their launches when they come. And, and one of the things I think we should all be doing is trying to like learn from the way #Elon thinks. I, I wrote 4 posts in this series. And the fourth one was kind of a reflective post on what did I learn about , you know, what did I learn from #Elon that I can like take with me and actually use. And it sounds like a silly question because it’s like, what, what do you mean. Like he’s a genius billionaire, you’re not going to use, you know, you can’t, you can’t do what he does. But the truth is, and no I can’t do what he does exactly but actually I think what’s special about him is his way of thinking and his way of reasoning and the fact that he’s so, so, so very trusts his own, his own reasoning abilities. So even if, if he says okay let me think about this. Well I know A, I know B, and I know C, and A + B + C means that D should be true. So even then if he looks and then everyone in society says well D will never happen, D is outrageous, everyone’s tried D, no one’s ever done it, it’s crazy, its destined to fail. #Elon is able to look and say but A+B+C, we know those are true, and to me when I look at those I see D. That’s just what the math says. So I think you’re all wrong. And then he puts his money down on D and his life down on D

Nick: Personal fortune, everything

Tim:Yeah. Yeah, I mean, really and, and it’s that most of us can’t, you know, some of us we’ll say A+B+C, we won’t even look at A, B, C, we’ll just look and say has D been done? No? Then it’s not possible. And then we just stop on D. Some people get a little further and they will start with A B and C, they add it up and they say huh, I kind of think D is possible. And then when everyone else says it’s not, they lose their nerve. And even if, even if, you know, some people deep down they actually do think that society is wrong, they say no I think D is right, I think you’re all wrong. But they don’t quite have the, they can’t put their actual money down on it because they’re just too, you know, they don’t fully trust themselves quite enough. And then there’s that fourth kind of person who just says well the D looks right me so I’m going to do it. You know, not that you want to be arrogant but when you’re, when, when you start reasoning from what #Elon calls first principles, you know, just the things you know for sure, the, the base facts, and you reason upwards from there, and you get to a conclusion that seems right to you, you should, you should run with it, you should trust it.

I wrote in the posts I called this like a, you know, a chef and a cook. A chef writes recipes from scratch. A cook follows recipes. Because I think most of us are cooks most of the times

Nick: Yep

Tim: and I think #Elon is a rare chef. I think if a cook made the iPhone, the first thing they’d say is okay well, well what do we have here, we have a screen, we need a screen. We have a keyboard, okay we need a keyboard. We have some of these other buttons. Okay so what, what are, what’s our keyboard going to look like? Let’s make it a really sleek, really cool looking Apple, apple-y keyboard, because that’s what a cook would do. The reason of my analogy is that a reason about first principles they say what other people do , hey let’s iterate on it. What a chef does, which is what #Steve Jobs was, is he said okay should a mobile device be? And most just reason from first principles upwards and they reason their path, they puzzled upwards from there. By the time they got to the top there was no, no keyboard every made it into. It was, the keyboard wasn’t part of the plan because that didn’t make sense to #Steve Jobs and to the #Apple team. And now no phones have keyboards because then what happened is when a, when a chef reasons his own way and says I don’t care if no one else is doing it. Other people are dumb. I’m going to do it, what I think is right. And it works. Suddenly everyone all the cooks the flock over to the, to the, to the what the chef did and they all start copying

Nick: Everyone falls in line after they see it

Tim: Yeah! Yeah! And most of us, it’s not that, you know, first of all, it’s, we should be cooks most of the time because it’s not efficient mentally, too much mental energy to try to be a chef all the time. So it’s okay to be a cook. I, if you look in my wardrobe, it’s a bunch of things that I think a guy like me should probably be wearing, probably wear based on what other people wear. I’m not, I’m a total like fashion cook, I don’t care, because I’m terrible at fashion, that’s not where I want to spend my mental energy as trying to like well who am I, you know, what let me reason about what kind of fashion I should, I don’t care. What do you wear? Good, I’ll go get me one of those.

Nick: I’m with you

Tim: You’re right. And, and there’s a lot of examples like that. So we should, A- we shouldn’t feel bad about being cooks in many parts of our lives, and B- even in the important parts of our lives where we really should be trying to chefs, it’s okay if we’re cooks. We shouldn’t feel terrible about ourselves because we are evolved to be tribal people who were supposed to fit in and follow the leader and begged tribe members. And it’s really scary for us to be different because it’s, in a tribe that was really not okay. And so we should be forgiving of ourselves that probably most of us, myself definitely included, are cooks in, you know, more than we would like to be. And, it, and when, you know, #Elon and #Steve Jobs, these guys have a special kind of confidence that allows them to just be a chef, effortlessly be chefs. And I think what the rest of us need to be doing is just trying to be aware of this distinction, realizing we’re being cooks. And the times when it really matters to be a chef, trying our hardest to, to, to just gather the nerve to say I’m going to just do this thing that I think even though no one else is doing. I’m going to quit my job for this other career even though everyone says that other career will never make any money because I kind of think I will. I’m going to like, I’m going to marry this person even though no one thinks I should. I’m going to not get married at all, even though everyone else does. It’s like, you know, these are big, they’re big things like that. I’m going to move to this country because I just like it there, even though no one else I know does stuff like that and everyone’s telling me it’s a bad idea, I kind of feel like it’s right. You know, just to be able to be chefs in the biggest life decisions I think is like a huge goal or should be a huge goal of all of us. And then if you’re in your actual career, if you’re in business for example or doing something in, in the Arts, those are two, or really many things, if you’re working , if you’re trying to, if you’re working as a trader trying to figure out the right investments, we know there’s so many different careers where it really pays hugely if you can have the guts to like be a chef. Now, you know, you’re going to fail more. Chefs definitely fail. Cooks are very safe, they’re doing something they know already, it’s proven to be true. But if you are trying to research cancer and all you did is experiments that you knew already were basically going to work, you’re not going to learn anything ground breaking. The person who, who learns how to, the person who makes a breakthrough in cancer research is trying all kinds of stuff. Failing, trying, failing, trying, failing, trying, and then they hit something huge that they never would have hit if they were scared of the failures.

Nick: Yep

Tim: And so it’s like, you know, we want to treat our lives like scientists in a lab and realize that failure is just being a bold chef. Of course, you know, and even a chef in the kitchen. They’re going try stuff and be like eww that tastes terrible, let me try something different. We want to try to live more like that and realize that failure is not like this dark bad thing. That’s our tribal brain talking. It’s actually totally okay. It’s actually awesome. It means you’re like being bold and like trying stuff. So it’s always easy to say, you know, I’m saying this, now it sounds all easy to say, but it’s, it’s, in practice this is very hard. That’s the big challenge I think for all of us.

Nick: It’s hard. I mean, I got to imagine that every great creator or every great chef has been told they’re crazy by the vast majority of the people they talk to

Tim: Specially when they failed a lot

Nick: Yeah

Tim: and they, then, then, then people are saying yeah you see. Absolutely

Nick: Yeah. We’ve talked about it before but I think #Peter Thiel calls it The Secret. It’s like when, when some innovator has a secret that nobody else knows, and many other people don’t believe. But, you know, if they’ve got the will and they’re willing to fail, you know, they can, they can see it through.

Tim: Right. The, the plan should be, I mean, it shouldn’t be oh and I’m okay if I, if I fail that’s okay. It should be I’m going to fail. I’m, I’m absolutely going to fail at a bunch of stuff because I’m going to be this, I’m going to be trying a bunch of stuff, you know. You wouldn’t want a scientist that says it’s okay if I fail. Like you’d say of course I’m going to fail, I’m going to be experimenting, I’m going to be out there, you know, in the lab, sciencing away. As opposed to, you know, I don’t know.  So, anyway.

Nick: Alright. Well, you know it, in the interest of that, what’s next for #Wait but Why? What are you experimenting with, what are you going to, what are you going to fail at, any new efforts that we should look out for?

Tim: Well, I’m doing a big post now that I, I might try to do a video with. Make my own video. I’ve never done that before

Nick: oh cool

Tim: and the tribal cook in me is saying don’t, don’t do that, don’t, just don’t do that. And the chef in me is saying why not? Let’s go for it, who cares! Though we’ll see who wins. And if there’s a video up sometime in June 2016 you’ll know that the chef won, if there’s not then the cook won.

Nick: Well you did an audio version of the #SpaceX post and I thought it was fantastic. So without any audio training or any advanced equipment, you pulled it off really well.

Tim: Thank you, I appreciate that

Nick: Alright. And then just finally here, what’s the best way for listeners to connect with you?

Tim: Just the Contact page on #Wait but Why has my, has my email address tim@waitbutwhy.com And, you know, anyone should feel free to email.

Nick: Awesome. Well, thanks again for doing this. It has been a big thrill for me and hope to get a chance to connect in person at some point. 

Tim: Yeah. Thank you #Nick, it was good talking